There is no experience that can even come close to the experience of cruising through the majestic Norwegian Fjords that are one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The narrow, crystal clear waterways you’ll sail are surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains, ancient glaciers, remote fishing villages and incredible gushing waterfalls that cascade down the cliff faces.
The Norwegian Fjords are truly amazing, and cruising this region presents an incredible opportunity to see some of the most spectacular natural sights in Europe, and marvel at the beautiful scenery this Northern European destination has to offer. It is often said that there is no finer way to see the Norwegian Fjords than to sail through them, and we could not agree more.
Although there are many reasons to visit this region, the primary attraction is the Fjords themselves, and you simply can’t get closer to the action than by a cruise ship. It’s a unique chance to soak up the enchanting history and revel in the photograph opportunities of breath taking glaciers and rapid falls.
The places you’ll visit will vary considerably, despite staying in and around Norway. Bergen, is a wonderful example of an important old fishing port, and gives a glimpse into how Norway built its economy and how it maintains its importance in terms of international trade. Bergen is also home to bright and vibrant wooden buildings of all different colours which is very reminiscent of the old towns of Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, and is also home to one of Europe’s largest and most interesting fish markets. Perhaps you’d like to enjoy lunch on shore? The vendors dotted around the fish market serve up delicious fresh offerings for all to try.
While Geiranger lacks the lively town atmosphere of Bergen, it certainly makes up for it with its stunning natural beauty. In fact, there is arguably no port more visually appealing than Geiranger in the Norwegian Fjords. The lush green foliage contrasted against the cool blue waters are picture perfect, and this really is somewhere everyone should visit at least once in their lives.
While the Fjords are frequently thought of as quite relaxing and slow-paced, don’t be mistaken into thinking there’ll be chances for plenty of lazy mornings and early nights! Some of the most awe inspiring moments during a Norwegian Fjords cruise happen in the early hours of the morning, and late at night. Depending on your exact itinerary, you may find that your ship enters a Fjord very early in the morning, ready to reach the port for mid-morning. Making the effort to get out on deck as you enter the Fjord is highly recommended, as the views are simply unbelievable. Similarly, standing out in the evening with a cocktail or a warming hot chocolate is a great way to bask underneath the magnificent midnight sun - a true phenomenon that has to be seen to be believed.
Indeed, the Fjords can be as relaxing, or as adrenaline-fuelled, as you desire. A cruise to this region appeals just as much to thrill-seekers as to those looking for a luxurious and chilled out getaway. Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock as it’s commonly known, is one of the most exciting places in Europe - and one of the most dangerous! Standing 1900 feet above the beautiful Lysefjord, this jutting rock commands amazing views across Stavanger. However, to enjoy these views, you need to creep around the rock’s summit, which is void of any safety bars or railings. With your heart pumping and face sweating for the sheer adrenaline, you’ll never forget this experience (and you’ll be pleased to hear there has never been an accident!).
Some Norwegian Fjords itineraries sail a little further afield, passing by the North Cape and venturing into the icy waters of the Arctic Circle. Many cruisers liken the scenery and wildlife to that seen during an Alaska cruise, but the beauty is that the Arctic Circle can be cruised directly from the UK, with no need for flights or hotels - perfect for those who want to experience the beauty the world has to offer without travelling too far from home.
Of course, a further advantage to an Arctic Circle & North Cape cruise is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the bright, vibrant lights of the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights - a natural phenomenon that only a select few get to enjoy.
The Norwegian Fjords cruise season runs between spring and autumn, but the ‘best’ time to go is subject to debate. The early season brings the snow-capped mountains, melting snow, and heavily gushing falls, along with good chances to view the Northern Lights. The late season, however, typically brings nicer weather and better chances to enjoy the midnight sun.
Can’t decide? Why not take two cruises!