Sognefjord: A Self-Guided Tour from Bergen, Norway
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get planning. Sognefjord, known as the King of the Fjords, is the largest and deepest fjord in Norway. “Norway in a Nutshell” offers some great guides & packages, but we opted to purchase tickets on our own.
The high speed ferry leaves central Bergen, just past the fish markets, a few times a day. The boat has a large indoor seating area, in addition to several viewing decks.
There is a cafe on board serving sandwiches, chips/candy, waffles, beer & wine. We were able to snag a window-view table, and enjoyed the company of many solo travelers who joined between stops.
The boat takes time to navigate around some of the most beautiful sites I’ve seen, including a massive glacier, stunningly-tall waterfall, and picturesque fjord towns.
This trip can be done as a day-trip, but I recommend staying overnight in one of the villages that is not Flam. (Flam is like … Downtown Disney or Disney Springs. Do allow yourself time to go, but not more than an hour.) Above 3 hours into the ride, we stopped at a town called Balestrand. It was so beautiful, I considered running off the boat even if it meant leaving my belongings behind. There’s a hotel on the water that looks off into the mountains, and glaciers, and just screams .. I own this fjord. We did not stay here, but you should if the summer months align.
Stay on the boat for one more stop, and you hit Aurland, where I did have a hotel reservation. If Balestrand looked majestic and beautiful, Aurland was its oh so charming cousin. I can say nothing bad about Aurland, and absolutely recommend staying here all year round!
- It’s close enough to Flam to grab a taxi if you miss the Ferry
- There’s a coffee shop & bakery with a view to rival any in the world
- The residents, staff & visitors (of which there are few) all seemed like we were in on the same secret.
- It’s directly under Stegastein Lookout!
You can hop on a shuttle up the Fjord to the Stegastein lookout from the center of town, just past the church
Times are posted at the bus stop, but feel free to ask for assistance. If you’re a fan of narrow winding roads up a mountainside, enjoy! It is absolutely worth the harrowing drive to the top. And once you’re there, you’ll notice you aren’t even NEAR the top.
The shuttle also offers the option of going back to Flam afterwards. We spent a few hours exploring, which left time the next day to avoid rushing before our train over since we’d already seen it. Flam has a number of tourist shops, a fantastic brewery, and a hotel or two if you get stuck after the tunnel closes (read: catch the bus back on time.)
Aurland, Norway: this was the view from our hotel room, the Aurland FjordHotel.
The hotel had a lovely restaurant & bar, and don’t be shy to ask about a bottle of wine for your room. The nearest liquor store is 90KM away! Across the way is another hotel & pub, the VangsGaarden, where the pub and outdoor seating area provided entertainment all night long – even in the cold, fall night.
Breakfast is best at the bakery along the main road, outside before catching a taxi or ferry to Flam!
The Flam Railway is one of the most well-known railways in the world, but the ride is fairly short. Trains depart flam almost every hour throughout the day, and end in Myrdal, where you can catch the train back to Bergen (or Oslo, or back down, or whatever delights you!)
You’ll arrive in Myrdal, where you transfer to the Bergen Railway back to Bergen. This is the best part of your journey. Do not fall asleep. Trust me. You’ll regret it. <3