Geirangerfjord, one of the most visited tourist destinations in Norway, has a lot to offer. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, National Geographic deems the 15 km long branch of the Storfjorden to be among the best-preserved ones today.
Steep mountains, ice covered peaks, lush green vegetation, high cascading waterfalls and deep blue waters best define the Geirangerfjord. The fairytale landscape is part of most Norway itineraries, and you can reach the area both by water and road.
Seven Sisters Waterfall at Geiranger.
The “S” shape fjord is the result of successive ice ages during which glaciers eroded to form deep hollows between the mountains. Later they filled up with sea water creating the most spectacular natural wonder in the whole world.
Geiranger port, dramatically located at the far end of the fjord, serves as the tourist and cruise operation base.
The port at Geiranger has been serving ships from 1869 and has become Norway’s second busiest cruise port. Though all amenities are available, the village only consists of few hotels, camping sites and souvenir shops. But you can enjoy some of the most memorable land excursions and trips in Geiranger.
The mountain slopes also consist of several abandoned farms which offer amazing scenery. Some of the farms which are still operating are located at the far interiors of the mountains and you need to cross some treacherous trails to reach them. It can make a great day trip for adventurous folks!
The closest airport is Ålesund Airport while nearest railway station is at Åndalsnes. Buses depart regularly from major destinations like Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen and Ålesund.
A drive through the Trollstigen mountain road takes you through multiple exciting hair pin bends and is a marvelous human invention in itself.
During summer the northbound Hurtigruten from Bergen can take you to Geiranger. But in winters you have to get down at Ålesund and take a bus from there.
Though it is a small village, it houses numerous natural wonders. You can explore the town completely within 10 minutes on foot and then seek out surrounding attractions.
Various options like guided bus and car tours, boat trips, self-driven electric cars and cycles can help you in sightseeing in Geiranger. You can also take kayaks and RIB boat adventures in the fjord.
The peak of 4,500 foot Mount Dalsnibba gives the best bird’s eye view of the place. You can take the public bus which runs three times during a day in the summer months.
Geiranger Fjordservice also operates a Mountain Highlights tour which takes the visitors to Dalsnibba and Flydalsjuvet.
The popular Seven Sisters waterfall of the area can be best viewed from the Eagle’s Bend. The Hop On bus service by Geiranger Fjordservice which runs five times daily is the best way to get there. The trip of 90 minutes also makes a stop at Flydalsjuvet.
You can also hire a taxi, but that would cost around 700 NOK.
Don’t forget to visit the Norwegian Fjord Centre which takes you back in time and gives a good glimpse into the local culture, history and nature. You can explore old authentic farm buildings and enjoy some great picture shows off the landscape.
Taking the Geirangerfjord on a kayak is a one a lifetime experience. You get up and close with the coastline and beauties like the Seven Sisters. You can hire a kayak or a boat yourself or take a guided tour offered by Active Geiranger. You will be picked up from your ship for the 2 – 3-hour trip.
Another option is taking the tour operated by Coastal Odyssey. They also add a bit of hiking with your water experience.
Kayaks being transported at Geiranger.
You can also rent a bike and cover the port and neighbouring areas at your own pace. There are options for guided tours, but generally, it’s far more pleasant to ride on your own.
Just be sure you can control the bike while speeding downhill!
Many easy and moderate hiking trails are available in Geiranger. The starting point of most hikes is the bus parking lot at Norwegian Fjordcenter. From Geiranger, you can hike to Flydalsjuvet to get amazing views of the area. You can also walk to the Westeras Fjord farm which takes an hour. Visit Storseterfossen walking 45 minutes from Westeras and get an experience to walk behind a waterfall. A journey from Westeras to Losta will also offer spectacular panoramic views of the fjord. The trails are well marked, so there is no fear of getting lost. You can also hire a guide from the Visitors Information Center.
View from atop a cliff at Geiranger.
Go in for short or multi day cruises – let’s take a look at all that you can do.
The best way to encounter the beauties of Geirangerfjord is by going on a cruise or fjord safari. You will get close to the majestic waterfalls like the Seven Sisters, the Bridal Veil and the Suitor and feel the water sprays on your face.
Many operators run their cruises around the Geirangerfjord with several departures in a day. For 250 NOK, you can go on a 90-minute sightseeing tour conducted by Geiranger Fjordservice.
You can reserve online and book any of the four daily trips.
Apart from the waterfalls, experience the high cliffs, which tower around the fjord reaching the sky. The cruises also take you past the abandoned mountain farms, and some even arrange land based hikes.
Geiranger Fjordservice offers to drop and pick up service for the hike to Skagefla Fjord Farm.
Those seeking more thrills should explore the fjord on a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). Visitors can put on life jackets and get a speedy 45-minute tour of the fjord for around 475 NOK. The boats only carry 12 people, so you need to book your place in advance.
You can also take the ferry service run by Fjord1 from Geiranger to Hellesylt town. During summer there are eight departures daily, so there is no need to book in advance. The roundtrip costs around 200 NOK and takes one hour each way. It is the most affordable way to explore the local attractions and waterfalls conveniently.
Tourists can also rent a boat from Petrine Gjestgiveri and take to the water themselves. There is no need for any license, and you will be given proper instructions. The fare for renting a boat for half day is 550 NOK while a full day rental costs 890 NOK.
Norway Multiday Cruises covering Geirangerfjord
Many cruise operators arrange fjord cruises in Norway covering Geiranger along with other ports of call. The fjord safaris start from places like Bergen and cover major ports like Alesund, Oslo before making a stop at Geiranger.
You are given accommodation in cabins and you can have them on share basis or occupy the whole of it for extra costs. All meals and transport are also provided.
Some of the cruise operators also offer land based excursions and activities and the different ports of call. They may include shore excursions, hikes, train rides and so on.
The fjord cruises can range from 3 to 5 days to 10 – 11 days and cover other attractions along with Geirangerfjord.
Cruises at Geirangerfjord.
Outside Norway Multiday Cruises covering Geirangerfjord
Many cruise operators offer multiday cruises which start outside of Norway and then cover Geirangerfjord along with other ports of call in the region.
Some of the popular departure ports for Geiranger include Southampton in England, Copenhagen in Denmark, Hamburg in Germany and Rotterdam in Netherlands.
A 7-night cruise operated by Royal Caribbean starts at Copenhagen and covers Geiranger. The other places on the itinerary include Stavanger, Bergen and Alesund. The trip costs around USD 841.
A 9-day cruise starting at Southampton is conducted by Norwegian Cruise Line for USD 1,199. It covers Geirangerfjord along with Shetland Islands, Lerwick, Flam and other ports.
For the most part of the year, things are pretty cold in Geiranger. But the summer months experience a pleasant temperature with great weather. The temperature, during spring and summer, ranges between -1 C/5 C to 6/11 C. During winter, the temperature can remain below 1 C for a period of many days.
So the best time would be the spring and autumn months, though you can visit Geiranger all around the year. The weather can be unpredictable, so carry rain poncho and a jacket for your own convenience.
Geiranger as beautiful as it is, looms under the constant threat of destruction by the tsunami. The Åkerneset Mountain is the cause, and anytime it could erode into the fjord. The collapse of the mountain or rocks can be very violent. It could cause a massive tsunami which could wipe out Geiranger and other neighbouring towns in a matter of 10 minutes. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of tourists going to the area over the years.
Geiranger along with its spectacular fjord and landscape is surely not be missed if you are touring Norway.
Lastly, here is a list of top 20 cruises in the world.