The Norwegian fjords are one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world, with most of the top cruise lines offering itineraries which either solely explore this region or visit it as part of a longer sailing. But what is it about the coastline of Norway which makes it a desirable place to go? Here are ten reasons why you should think about cruising the Norwegian fjords.
It’s Easy To Sail From The UK
The Norwegian fjords are easily reached from a number of different UK ports, such as Newcastle, Dover and Edinburgh. This means that you won’t waste any of your holiday time getting there. There will also be fewer sea days and more opportunities to get off the ship and explore.
Without doubt, the biggest draw of the fjords is the magnificent views that you will see everywhere you look. These steep-sided valleys are breathtaking and the rolling hills, trickling waterfalls and towering rock formations will leave you with a feeling peaceful as you sail into port. You might think that once you’ve seen one fjord you’ve seen them all, but they each offer their own natural points of interest and unique features.
The Flam Railway
One shore excursion that you should definitely do, if you get the chance, is the Flam railway. The steepest standard-gauge railway in the world runs between Flam and Myrdal and will give you a more in-depth view of the area and its wild terrain. As well as marvelling at the views from your carriage window, you’ll also ponder the amazing engineering skills involved in creating a track which rises over 800 metres and sweeps through the famous horseshoe tunnel.
The Beauty of Bergen
Bergen is one of the largest ports you will visit, allowing you to dock right in the harbour and stroll into town. The city is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and offers a pleasing mix of history and modern culture. The back streets and harbour area will transport you back to the times of the Hanseatic League, whilst the Philharmonic Orchestra, Norway’s first National Theatre and various festivals throughout the summer highlight why Bergen was chosen as a European City of Culture in 2000. The city is also features a famous cable car and funicular – two attractions worth doing if you have the time.
As well as sweeping panoramas, Norway is also home to some interesting wildlife, especially those of the feathered variety. From cute little puffins to soaring white-tailed eagles, there is plenty to see in the skies above and on the cliffs of the fjords. As you sail between destinations, you may also get the chance to see some of the species of whale that live in these waters.
Depending on the time of year you choose to cruise to the Norwegian fjords, you could experience some of the awe-inspiring natural phenomena that take place. During autumn and spring, particularly in northern areas such as Tromso, there’s a good chance you’ll see the fantastic Northern Lights dancing across the sky. However, visit during the summer and you will be bathed in extended hours of daylight thanks to the Midnight Sun.
It’s The Happiest Country In The World
In case you missed it in the national media, Norway was recently voted the happiest country in the world according to the annual World Happiness Report. As well as Gross Domestic Product, the survey takes into account how content people are in their workplace, the general health and life expectancy of the country, citizens’ freedom to make choices and their generosity. Even if you don’t believe happiness can be measured in this way, there is no denying that the Norwegians are always welcoming.
Quaint Fishing Towns
As well as the big cities like Oslo and Bergen, you will visit plenty of smaller ports during your cruise. Quaint fishing towns such as Andalsnes, Geiranger and Skjolden give you an idea what life is like in this part of the world – peaceful, remote and slow-paced. The bright colours of the fishing huts in the harbour make for some great pictures and will be one of the lasting memories of your holiday.
Legends And Fairytales
Wherever you go in Norway, there are legends to be learnt surrounding the Vikings. From the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo to bloody battle sites in Stavanger, you will learn how these invaders were skilled craftsmen and traders as well as ruthless warriors. Norway also has a fascination with trolls, with some people believing they exist. National folklore and literature includes many mentions of these mythical beings and there are features of the landscape named after them. On your search, you might get to see the ‘Trollstigen’ (troll path), ‘Trollveggen’ (troll wall), ‘Trolltunga’ (trolls tongue rock formation) and ‘Trollfjorden’ (trolls fjord).
It’s Best Seen From A Ship
Perhaps the most compelling reason to take a Norwegian fjords cruise is that a cruise is precisely the best way to see this region. It is possible to visit the towns and cities as part of a land tour, but the only way you will experience the sheer beauty and allure of the fjords themselves is from the water. A cruise also enables you to see as much as possible in a short space of time.
If you would like to learn more about our cruises to the Norwegian fjords, call us today. We have a wide variety of itineraries available from the best cruise lines and for differing lengths of time.