Centuries of glacier movement carve bays into rocky cliffs which offer a great view for sightseers. These bays eating deep into the land are known as Fjords, and they are probably the best reason to take a cruise off the coast of Norway. Alternately, one could drive up to the many vantage points or hike there on foot.
The best starting point for your discovery of the fjords is Bergen. A train trip lasting over 7 hours takes and passes some amazing scenery of lakes and mountains which are among the most outstanding in the world. During the winter months, these outdoors are popular with cross-country skiers and other outdoor explorers. As an alternative to the train trip, there is now a highway linking Oslo to Bergen directly. This highway is made possible by the Laerdal Tunnel — at 25 km the longest in the world.
Bergen itself offers hiking excursions for visitors looking for some physical challenges before a trip on the boat to see the fjords from sea. The Ulriken offers a rocky challenge that will set your heart racing. A hike of about an hour will take you to the top, where you will get to enjoy a panoramic view of Bergen, and the fjords surrounding the town.
One close to shore ferry experience is available at Myrdal. The trip to the ferry is an experience in itself. A train finds a winding path downwards into the fjord and hugs the cliffs, cutting into the mountains via tunnels, and by the time you make it to the shore of the fjord, the view of the looming mountains makes for an amazing scene fit for a movie. The ferry cruises for over 2 hours into the Aurland Fjord and the Næryfjord. Apart from the craggy and rocky mountains bracing the shoreline, there are quaint villages in the valleys snaking into the waters of the fjord. The cruise ends at Gudevagen, where a bus takes the passengers on another scenic journey past the mountains back to the start.
The real cruises can be a relatively comfortable but expensive experience. A full 12 day cruise from Bergen to the north could set you back by US$ 4000, but the ships do make stops along the way. Disembarking at an earlier port would still allow you to take in some truly magnificent sights at a much more affordable fare. You can take a trip on the Hurtigruten Coastal Steamer to visit Alesund, and drop off in Trondheim. In the vicinity of Alesund, the ship makes a foray into Geirangerfjord, among the most beautiful of them all.
The waters in the bay appear still, with waterfalls channeling water from the snowcapped peaks framing the bay. Farms and villages dot the shores skirting the fjord waters, completing the picture of an idyllic rural Norwegian scene.
Dropping off in Trondheim, you can rejoin the land-based tourist trail. Trondheim is the old capital of Norway. Today a sleepy town of 8, 000, the remnants of the regal past can be seen in Nidaros Cathedral, the traditional site for the coronation of Norway’s Kings. The Gothic-style church was built in 1070 and is very dark on the inside. This accentuates the colour from the stained glass windows. The front façade of the cathedral, on the outside, features the statues and figures of over 100 Kings, Queens and Religious Figures of old Norway. From Trondheim , the intrepid tourist can either make his way back to Oslo or push on north to Narvik and Tromso. Either journey will offer great views of the mountain, lakes and rivers that make Norway a pristine holiday destination.