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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 23 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Sue Bryant

Endless skies, snow-capped mountains, sheer-sided fjords, ribbon-like waterfalls and emerald green meadows ablaze with wildflowers – all combine to make Norway’s Fjordland one of the world’s most beautiful and serene cruising routes. And the water is one of the best vantage points from which to admire the view from.

Dozens of ships sail here in summer, visiting a selection of fjords, each one different. On a typical cruise, you might visit the Sognefjord, which twists and turns deep into the mountains, dotted with tiny villages, while the narrow Geirangerfjord is one of the most dramatic. At each stop, there’s an enticing menu of bucket list adventures on offer (see recommendations below) – like the long hike from Stavanger to the high granite block of Pulpit Rock, soaring nearly 2,000 feet over Lysefjord. In the autumn and spring, you may get to see the Northern Lights.

Any lover of the outdoors would appreciate the beauty and serenity of a Norwegian fjords voyage. The joy is that you can be as active as you like – or simply enjoy the scenery from the ship.

Logistics

Price from: £Varies
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 10+
When: All year around
Duration: 3-5 days

Getting there & doing it

Cruises start from Bergen, but also ports further south, for example, Dover, Amsterdam, Newcastle or Hamburg.

There are multiple permutations of fjords cruise, although most ships take in the popular Lysefjord, Geirangerfjord and Sognefjord, often with a couple of stops in each one for exploring and activities. Five days is about right.

In the near future, some of the fjords will not be open to any vessels other than those running on battery power, as part of Norway’s conservation strategy, so ships (other than those with batteries) will dock outside the fjords and excursions will take place on electric day boats.

When to do it

The main fjords season is summer, from late April to September. June is peak season, when towns and villages are buzzing with life in celebration of the midnight sun. Come earlier and you’ll see snow on the mountains, or sail late season for the changing colours.

There are winter cruises, too, when the landscape is draped in snow and the days short. This is a serene, dreamy time to travel, with sightings of the northern lights a highlight.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Our writer’s recommended tour operators to book with

Ambassador Cruise Line [Norway’s Fjordland]

Ambassador Cruise Line [Norway’s Fjordland]

Norway

New cruise line offering affordable, in-depth fjords cruises from the London port of Tilbury aimed at a cost conscious, mature British market.

Fred. Olsen Cruises [Norway’s Fjordland]

Fred. Olsen Cruises [Norway’s Fjordland]

London, Norway

Norway expert Fred Olsen operates comfortable, mid-sized ships year-round to the fjords, sailing from British ports and aimed at a more mature market. Itineraries include smaller ports as well as bucket list destinations.

Havila Voyages [Norway’s Fjordland]

Havila Voyages [Norway’s Fjordland]

Mjølstadnesvegen, Fosnavag, Norway

A relative newcomer to the Norwegian cruising scene, operating two brand new, hybrid-powered ships that can sail glassy fjords on battery power, in complete silence.

P&O Cruises [Norway’s Fjordland]

P&O Cruises [Norway’s Fjordland]

Southampton, Hampshire, Norway

British big ship cruise line operator, the oldest cruise line, serving destinations and routes around the world. They operate big, family-friendly ships to the Norwegian fjords, sailing from Southampton, with food and entertainment on board aimed at British tastes.

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