Norway by Boat

Float with me as we continue our Norway in a Nutshell tour through the gorgeous Norwegian Fjords. More than one scenic train ride (read more about Norway by Rail here) stemming from Oslo yesterday brought us to charming Flåm for a relaxing overnight once the tourist hoards had vacated. Bellies sated from the full Nordic buffet at the Fretheim Hotel this morning, we check out and head to the harbor to start the boated portion of our pre-planned Norwegian package.

Check which dock for your vessel scheduled time
Check which dock for your vessel scheduled time

Make sure that you know which dock your scheduled boat departs from – signs for “Norway in a Nutshell” fjord tours can mislead you to an earlier or later slated ticket time. Coveted window seats in the cafe area of the fjord boats fill up quickly and on a slightly soggy day like we experienced, enjoying a warm cocoa and slice of eplekake (apple cake) or muffin along with the passing fjord views helped. (Note, outside food and drink not allowed in the cafe area.)

Our vessel, comparatively small to the mammoth cruise ships docked nearby, departs with a chugging putter and we wave goodbye to little Flåm, Norway. Once aboard, there is minimal communication about where and what you are seeing, it is best just to soak it all in. And soaked we sometimes were, with clouds and mist and ensuing rain following our watery tour. The first hour of our cruise heads up the wider Aurlandsfjord and allowed us to get our fjording bearings. The wee peaked houses that we met initially in the Oslo Fjord and again along our train route mark our progress cheerfully from the shores. The canned recording overhead tells us of historic churches not to miss in four languages but we have difficulty pointing them out, wondering if the announcement settings aren’t off pace. It doesn’t really matter. The scale of anything human in this neck of the woods pales in front of the awesome cliffs they are set against.

It is really all about the FJORD here. We stop in and out of little ports of call per se – not much more than a cluster of little colorful houses and a dock. The captain expertly maneuvers his boat and quickly passengers are let off and more embark. A few here, a few there. Hikers with packs and sticks greet us at one such dock, as we turn into the narrower Nærøyfjord. Quick hugs and they release two members of their group to join us – the rest apparently fjording on by foot. Just another place to customize your Nutshell experience.

The Nærøyfjord is much more impressive than the first hour on the Aurlandsfjord. The water is deeper and the cliffs closer, and they seemingly plunge with their waterfalls right into the ancient water with us. Goats amble up the rocks. An occasional seal surfaces and his glance proves that in fact, we are the ones being watched. The rain turns to mist and white clouds drip down the mountainsides only making this place more magical and surreal. Seagulls follow us, a reminder that these waters eventually lead to the sea. Today, I’m taking you only as far as Gudvangen which we reach after two lovely, albeit passive, hours on the water. I will admit that my children became a wee bit numb to the spectacle but were revived with the upcoming twisty bus ride to Voss. Our next Norway in a Nutshell leg – on the road to Bergen – in the next post… stay tuned! Enjoy the pics. (Want to see them larger? Just double click and scroll through!) Traveled on a different fjord? Liked it better? Please share in the comments below! Cheers from Denmark – Erin

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43 thoughts on “Norway by Boat

  1. Oooh this brings back amazing memories! We did the Norwegian Fjords about 7 years ago on the QE2, we stopped at Bergen, Stavanger and Oslo and took a beautiful boat ride down some of the Fjords, it was such a magical trip. Thank you for reminding me!
    Katrina #MondayEscapes
    http://www.mumforfun.com

  2. Pingback: By Bus to Bergen – Onsdag Wanderlust – Volume V | oregon girl around the world

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  4. Clare Thomson

    How magical, Erin, and I was delighted to spot our Faraway Files picture in here! The Norwegian fjords are so high on my travel wish list. My youngest son has been desperate to go to Norway ever since seeing Frozen and years later, he’s as keen as ever. I love the slowness of this trip up the fjords too.

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      You should definitely go! We have never regretted going to Norway any of the times we’ve visited. So much awe inducing epic landscapes to be seen and adventures to be had!

  5. Jacki L

    The Norway Fjords are high on my list. We recently visited Milford Sound in New Zealand, which has some similarities, so I can only imagine how awe inspiring Norway is!

  6. We did the Norway in a Nutshell tour when we visited and stayed overnight in Flam.It’s great how they organise it for you and was a fun way to see a lot of great scenery. Glad you enjoyed it too! #FarawayFiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      I liked staying in Flåm after all the tourists left! Completely different atmosphere. Such a beautiful area isn’t it?

  7. We visited Norway this summer and it just felt like one incredible view after another! We skipped Norway in a Nutshell tour because we felt it would be a bit much for our two small kids, but we did take the train from Oslo to Bergen – easily one of the most beautiful train rides I have ever done! Looking forward to seeing more of your posts! #farawayfiles

  8. Ruth

    Oh, I want to visit the fjords one day. I think it is a good idea to ride on a small ship. Big ships can be a bit maddening. I get what you are saying about the recording. I had the same experience on a Rhine cruise. I felt like the recording was taking about a place when the boat was leaving for another place. #FarawayFiles

  9. This is just spectacular! I must admit your proximity to so much beauty is something I envy, but thankfully I get to see it through your eyes! Question: Did you have to arrive extra early to get those great window seats? I loved the photo looking through the portal. Somehow I feel that here in the US we’d never be able to open the portal… #farawayfiles

  10. bavariansojourn

    I am so glad you got to do this, it looks just stunning! I don’t suppose you read my friend’s guest post on my blog about her slightly catastrophic Norwegian trip and missing their Norway in a Nutshell cruise!!! 😀

  11. Isn’t Norway just beautiful! I have recently returned from my 4 days there – didn’t get to do the Norway in a Nutshell tour but only my relatives drove me around up to Voss from Bergen – just beautiful. Did a short fjord cruise from Bergen too. Heart strings pulling while reading this post and seeing your photos! #farawayfiles

  12. Lyn

    I am hoping to get to the Norwegian Fjords next year and after reading this post am really quite excited. Your photos are great.

  13. Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    I was only a young girl when we visited the Hardangerfjord and still have very vivid memories of its beauty. I remember your Norway in a Nutshell trip. Might need to investigate further – I’m needing a mountain and water fix!
    #farawayfiles

  14. This is fantastic! Something we’ve been wanting to do for far too long now. Is there a specific tour you would recommend? (We see many tempting options at Norway in a Nutshell!) We have definitely Pinned this for future reference. For now, we’re going to look at your pictures and daydream some more. 🙂

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