There is no mistaking that the fjords are a highlight of Norway. In fact, the western side of Norway is so spotted with fjords that it’s certainly overwhelming to figure out how to best see them in a way that aligns with your travel style. If you aren’t into hiking, you definitely don’t want to head to a fjord to learn that the lookout is after a 10-hour hike, one way! You need to know the best way to see the fjords for your liking ahead of time. Look up Hardanger Fossasti – you’ll see what I mean.
It takes a lot of research before booking where you’re going to stay, since Norway is not the easiest to get around thanks to the mountainous landscape. A game plan is certainly required to get the most out of your trip to Norway.
I often found myself getting frustrated when I would start to research different fjords and where to stay to get the best views, hikes, and accommodations. Throw time of year into the planning mix and it will change your situation entirely. Visiting Norway in April was great since it was off-season and it felt very quiet, however, it was still winter enough where snow caps hadn’t melted so many hikes weren’t available, but it wasn’t winter enough to go dog-sledding and do the real winter activities.
Based on how you want to see the fjords, whether that’s hiking and remote camping or just driving through, you can determine where to go and how to best experience them. Since we only had a day to see the fjords, as we hopped from place to place for 10 days in four countries, we started from Bergen and rented a car to drive along the fjords and hop out whenever we wanted to take in the awe-inspiring views.
Bergen is a good jumping-off point to see the fjords of Norway. Stavanger, a few hours south, is even closer to some famous peaks, like Pulpit Rock. I was torn to have to pick one route!
If you are thinking about going to Bergen, or are already booked and going and looking into plans to see the fjords, here are some ideas on how to best see the fjords from Bergen:
Rent a Car
This was just as easy as doing it in the states, especially since Bergen has an Avis right in its center. We packed up lunch, made sure we had an auxiliary cord to blast some jams, and headed towards Kinsarvik, a 5-6 hour hike with four beautiful waterfalls on the route there from Bergen. Renting a car makes your mission to see the fjords from Bergen completely possible and easy. There are so many areas to just hop out of your car and explore in this area, like Hardanger Fossasti.
Drive to Hardanger
Hardangervidda is a popular area for adventure-loving tourists to visit in Norway. It offers stunning views and many different hikes and scenes.
Kinsarvik has a hiking trail up to the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, and is easily accessible. There’s also the Hardanger Fossasti, which is a light walk that starts in Kinsarvik as well.
We actually ended up spontaneously taking a turn in our plans, and after the first waterfall on the way decided to drive to Flam to get more time weaving around the fjords by car and taking in cliff-hanging scenes.
Ever wanted to stand underneath a waterfall? On your drive to Hardanger, you can cross this one off of the bucket list at Steinsdalfossen, one of the most renown waterfalls in Norway.
The fall is 50 meters down. There’s a football from the parking lot all the way up to the lookout point with a stunning view, snowy mountains in the distance are included, and you get to walk underneath the fall on the way up.
Drive along the fjords in the direction of Flam
Flam is a city outside of Bergen that is completely surrounded by fjords, and a popular tourist town. You’ll see a brewery, staying accommodations, and a couple of cafes and parks there. This is probably the most common route for tourists to see the fjords from Bergen.
The city itself didn’t have a ton going on, I personally thought, but the drive from Bergen to Flam was the highlight and what I would suggest if you don’t have time for a hike and just want to see the fjords.
We would stop and get out to breathe in the crisp, pure air and look out over frozen lakes to gaze upwards at the never ending terrain at almost every lookout. Since many hikes weren’t open (most parks for hiking open back up in May or June once the snow has melted), options like Trolltunga (which looks AWESOME) weren’t available for us.
So, getting all the to way to Flam isn’t necessarily, but hopping in the car and heading in that direction from Bergen will bring you to things like this:
Things to Do in Bergen
When you start researching Bergen, this is the historic site that comes up the most. It is really breathe taking to see, up close and also from across the waterway, thanks to its vibrant colors that contrast the dark forest that crawl up the mountains behind it.
Bryggen has bakeries, bars, and some shops in its cute little buildings. We went both during the day and the nighttime, and it was more beautiful during the day, with shops and restaurants open.
Sip some Rignes in UNA
Or choose from their countless options of Norwegian craft beer. However, be warned that beers usually cost between $11-15 per pint.
This spot was right near Bryggen, so it is easy to locate. It has a hip, relaxing environment and was the perfect place to stop into for a drink.
Dine at Egon
Offering all types of cuisine options, Egon has it all. Really, the main point you need to know about this place is that they sell pitches of Rigness that come out to $8 per beer!
I am always one to take part in the local cuisine and culture, but Scandanvian meals were so costly that we tried to stay away from it on this trip, unfortunately. Asian food did not disappoint in Bergen, in addition to almost everything else we had.
The Bergen Fish Market
The one place in Norway we did go that was affordable, authentic Norwegian food was the Bergen Fish Market. This is a Bergen must-see!
You can walk around and gaze at the freshest fish you have ever seen to choose what you’d like for lunch (you could even try a whale burger!). The prices are affordable for fresh fish, beer, and coffee.
Something to note, that is common overseas, is that it is less expensive to take your meal to go than to dine in. It was windy and freezing the morning we visited the fish market, but to save money we put on our windbreakers and dined on the waterfront.