Discover Sognefjord: A Destination Guide
The Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. It is located in the Sogn og Fjordane region in Western Norway and passes through the municipalities of Solund, Gulen, Hyllestad, Høyanger, Vik, Balestrand, Leikanger, Sogndal, Lærdal, Aurland, Årdal, and Luster.
The Sognefjord was created by the ice age and is still connected to the Jostedal Glacier. Surrounding the Sognefjord are deep valleys, blue glaciers, towering mountains and the widest, deepest and narrowest fjords in Norway. There are many smaller fjords which branch off from the Sognefjord with quaint villages and modern towns, offering lots of outdoor activities.
Plan your visit to the Sognefjord and discover what to do, where to stay and how to get to the area.
Sognefjord Things to do
Because the Sognefjord covers such an expansive area, there are so many things to do. From historic churches to kayaking or hiking, you will be spoilt for choice to fill your time in Sognefjord.
Urnes Stave Church
5 of Norway’s oldest stave churches are in the Sognefjord region. The oldest is on a hillside at the edge of the Lustrefjord, an arm of the Sognefjord. Urnes Stave Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the most protected list and was built in 1139AD. The church’s facade is an amalgamation of Celtic art, Viking traditions and Romanesque spatial structures. Take the ferry from Solvorn across the Lustrafjord then either drive or hike up to the church. It is recommended that you take a guided tour around the church and admire the breathtaking views over the Lustrefjord from the church.
Sognefjord Boat Cruise
Experience Norway’s longest fjord by taking a relaxing boat cruise of Sognefjord as well as the world’s greatest railway journey. Your journey begins in Oslo where you will take your seat on the Bergen Railway towards Myrdal. From here, you will change over to the epic Flam Railway and climb through the clouds on one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Finally, your trip ends with a Sognefjord cruise from Flam to Bergen where you will voyage along the stunning king of the fjords.
Situated in Balestrand is the modest Sognefjord Aquarium. It is a small family-orientated aquarium focusing on the saltwater inhabitants of the Sognefjord. There are 24 aquariums inside and it does a great job on educating visitors on the importance of the ocean. You should ask for an English guide when you arrive and make the most of the 30 minutes of free kayak or rowing boat hire, included in the price of your ticket. There is also a lovely cafe next door serving up delicious homemade cakes and you don’t need a ticket to enjoy a bite to eat.
There are some beautiful glaciers in the Sognefjord region where you can admire from a distance or get up close. On our Sognefjord and glacier tour, you will visit The Norwegian Glacier Museum in Jostedalsbreen National Park, home to the largest mainland glacier in Europe. We will also stop at Bøyabreen where you can see a glacier up close for yourself! If you’d like more of a challenge, you can embark on a blue ice walk in Nigardsbreen. It is one of the most accessible arms of the fjord for glacier hiking. It is not physically demanding but it can be challenging in parts and we would always recommend wearing warm, waterproof clothing a booking a trip with a guide.
Hiking in the Sognefjord Region
There is an endless number of hikes to encounter where the fjords meet the mountains. Trek past waterfalls, alongside summer pastures, up to challenging mountain peaks in national parks or alongside lakes and fjords. The Jotunheimen National Park and Jostedalsbreen National Park are home to some of the highest mountains in Norway and the mountainous areas surrounding the fjord are some of the most popular places to go hiking. Check out the difficulty level of your chosen hike before embarking on an adventure and don’t take on any hikes if you don’t have the right equipment or experience to complete your trip safely.
Fjords and Falls
From peaceful fjords to gushing waterfalls, the Sognefjord region has it all. Sail along Aurlandsfjord to Flam to experience the wonderous Flam railway where you can see the Rjoandefossen waterfall cascading down the valley from the train. The Fjærlandsfjord flows towards Jostedalsbreen National Park where you can go glacier hiking. Nærøyfjord is a stunning world heritage site and the narrowest fjord in the world. Vettisfossen waterfall is the highest protected waterfall in Norway, with a freefall of 275m, and can be found at the end of Årdalsvatnet at the innermost part of the Sognefjord. Finally, visit the epic Drivandefossen waterfall off the banks of Lustrefjorden, just a 15-20 minute walk away from the road in the beautiful Mørkridsdalen in Skjolden.
Kayaking on the Sognefjord
Because the fjord covers such a vast space, there are a number of different ways to experience Sognefjord whilst kayaking. Paddle at the foot of the mountains, between glaciers, past waterfalls or along the fjord whilst the porpoises play around the kayak. Covering everyone from complete beginners to more experienced kayakers, the kayak centres in Balestrand, Fjærland, Flåm, Jostedalen, Marifjøra, Sogndal and Årdal offer equipment hire or guided tours. Some centres even offer winter kayaking for a unique way to experience the Sognefjord and surrounding areas.
Restaurants in Sognefjord Region
Visit local breweries, discover secluded bakeries and try some delicious local cuisine when you are staying in the Sognefjord region.
The Cider House, Balestrand
The Cider House is just a short walk from the Kviknes Hotel and the harbour and is home to a cider distillery, shop and restaurant. Serving up tasty tapas-style dishes with European, Turkish and Scandinavian influences, the a la carte menu includes local ingredients such as salmon, venison and Aberdeen Angus. You can also take part in the cider tasting experience and buy a bottle to take home.
Aegir Brew Pub, Flam
With stave church decor and inspiration from Norse mythology, the Aegir Brew Pub will make you feel just like a Viking! The menus are based on Viking history, incorporating local ingredients, and you can order a 5-course‘ Viking plank’ with 5 samples of different beers. There is also a roaring fireplace with communal dining areas and you must check out the tree carvings outside!
Lustrabui Bakery, Luster
The Lustrabui Bakery is a wonderful surprise on your way to a day of hiking or exploring the glaciers. It is in the middle of nowhere and you can sit outside whilst enjoying a hot drink and a pastry with stunning views of the fjord. You will be spoilt for choice with the selection of baked goods but we would recommend the cinnamon rolls for breakfast and grab some bread rolls to take away for lunch as well.
Kviknes eating and drinking, Balestrand
Overlooking the harbour from the Kviknes Hotel, the restaurant serves up a 4-course evening meal or a buffet option. With a seasonal, local menu, an extensive selection of beautifully presented dishes and fresh fish of the day, you will be spoilt for choice. There are over 300 wines to choose from and tea and coffee are served in charming rooms with a wonderful piano player. Alternatively, there is also the option to dine from the separate bar menu.
Travelling to Sognefjord
Because the Sognefjord is the longest fjord in Norway, at 204km, it is extremely easy to reach as it is a major tourist attraction. There is plenty of public transport available, or you can even catch an internal flight into the area.
Bus and boat tours to Sognefjord
You can join us on a truly Norwegian experience through deep fjords, high mountains, cultural heritage and fantastic food. Book a fantastic day trip from Bergen with our Sognefjord & Vik tour.
Ready to go fjords? We can get you there. Check out all our Sognefjord tours here.
Driving to Sognefjord
Driving to Sognefjord is relatively easy as there are 4 national tourist routes in the area, so there are many roads leading towards the fjord. Travelling from Bergen to Sognefjord takes around 2-3 hours, from Oslo to Sognefjord it will take around 4-6 hours and from Trondheim, which is much further north, it will take between 5-7 hours.
Train to Sognefjord
Travelling to Sognefjord by train from Bergen or Oslo is easy. Simply take the Bergen Railway from Bergen or Oslo to Mydral. From here, take the epic Flam Railway down the steep mountainside to the edge of the fjord. These are considered to be the most beautiful and scenic train rides in Norway.
Flights to Sognefjord
If you are looking for flights to Sognefjord, you will have to fly to Bergen or Oslo first. From here you can fly with Widerøe, a Scandinavian regional airline, to Sogndal airport towards the innermost part of the fjord. The journey takes between 30-45 minutes.
Hotels in Sognefjord Norway
Whether you are looking for authentic accommodation in Sognefjord, a luxurious hotel or somewhere cheap and cheerful, there are plenty of places to stay along the Sognefjord.
Hotel Leikanger Norway
The Leikanger Hotel in Norway is in the heart of the Sognefjord, providing an excellent base to reach many great attractions in the region. With themed Norwegian decor and stunning views of the Sognefjord, the Leikanger Hotel is perfectly placed to explore the Sognefjord. Some bookings include breakfast, a buffet for the evening meal and there is also a bar.
For those who are travelling on more of a budget and would prefer hostels in Sognefjord, Norway, the Flam Hostel is ideal. Just 300m away from the Flam Railway, the Flam Hostel is surrounded by steep mountains and open green fields, on the edge of the fjord. Choose from private or shared rooms, cabins or holiday homes and there are also pitches available for tents and campervans.
Built in a traditional ‘Swiss’ style, the Kvikne family have been hosting guests in the Kviknes hotel since 1877. Situated in Balestrand, the Kviknes Hotel is one of the largest hotels in Norway, with 190 rooms. You can choose from standard rooms or demi-suites in either the historic or modern building and many rooms have a balcony with spectacular views of the fjord. The hotel also has an extensive collection of artwork as well as a restaurant serving great food and wine.
Vangsgaarden in Aurland offers charming accommodation in Sognefjord, just a 10-minute drive away from Flam. Double or family rooms are available in the main hotel building, with stunning views of Aurlandfjord from the second floor, or there are quaint fisherman's cabins available on the edge of the fjord. This is a great location for longer hikes as it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and is much more peaceful than the main towns.
Don’t miss out on the ‘King of the Fjords’ when you visit Norway. With great transport links to the Sognefjord and so many beautiful places to stay in the area, you will be spoilt for choice.
Plan & book your trip with Go Fjords
Plan your trip now and start by booking your accommodation and an epic Sognefjord cruise with Go Fjords.