There’s one prime reason to take a cruise among the Norwegian Fjords – to witness some of the planet’s most spectacular scenery. The views from your ship’s deck are splendid enough, but the region also boasts plenty of spots that truly showcase the landscapes.
Look at any Norway brochure or advertisement and the chances are there will be a picture of Geirangerfjord taken from Flydalsjuvet, up the hill behind the village. It’s one of three key viewpoints over this Unesco-listed fjord. The others are Dalsnibba, with a new Skywalk platform up in the mountains, and Ørnesvingen on the zigzag Eagle Road, from which you can look both ways along the waterway.
Holland America offers a trip to all three viewpoints on its seven-night Norse Legends cruise from Amsterdam. From £1,199pp (excluding flights), departing June 21, 2020 (hollandamerica.com).
Everyone marvels at the sail into Geiranger through the twisting fjords. A good reason then, to construct the gondola at the village of Stranda, lifting guests up to 3,400ft to look out across Storfjord, Tafjord and the Sunnmøre Alps, with Geirangerfjord down to the right. Up here, there are hiking routes and a restaurant. Stranda is accessible from Ålesund or Hellesylt.
Silversea has a Stranda excursion on its 12-night Copenhagen to London voyage. From £4,410pp (including flight), departing August 1, 2020 (silversea.com).
Mount Aksla, Ålesund
Pick out the Art Nouveau buildings, admire the rocky islands and ring of mountains – and spot your toy-like cruise ship far below. It’s all there from the 600ft summit of Mount Aksla in Ålesund. Coach trips and the tourist train stop here, but if you have the legs, take the rewarding 418-step hike from the park at its base, within walking distance of the cruise dock.
Hurtigruten combines Aksla with an aquarium visit on its 11-night Classic Round Voyage from Bergen. From £1,598pp (including flights), departures year-round (hurtigruten.co.uk).
Like a string of spaghetti flung down the mountainside, the Trollstigen (Troll’s Ladder) road is a remarkable piece of engineering. Those about to drive its hairpins get to stop at the balcony at the top, look down and gasp “Wow, are really going down there?” A trip here also gives sight of the 600ft Stigfossen waterfall and the awesome Trollveggen (Troll’s Wall), Europe’s tallest rock face. A great day out from Ålesund.
Oceania’s 12-night Fjords cruise, Oslo to Southampton, features a Trollstigen tour. From £3,529pp (including flights), departing July 16, 2020 (oceaniacruises.com).
Poking out 100ft from the mountainside off the bendy ‘Snow Road’, the pine-and-steel viewing jetty at Stegastein offers an eye-popping perspective from 2,150ft on Aurlandsfjord. The cliffs that drop into the water here are especially steep, adding to the drama. Built in 2006, it’s a less visited spot a short drive from ever-popular Flåm.
Costa can take you to Stegastein on its nine-night Norway cruise from Amsterdam. From £819pp (excluding flights), departing June 9, 2020 (costacruises.co.uk).
Mount Fløyen, Bergen
Get to Bergen’s funicular early to beat the queues to glide up Mount Fløyen for a magnificent vision of the city and its surroundings. There are some good woods-and-lakes walks up here to escape the crowds. Not far from Bergen, the cable car up to 2,100ft on Mount Ulriken is the gateway to even more expansive vistas.
Viking has excursions to both viewpoints on its 14-night into the Midnight Sun cruise from Bergen. From £5,290pp (including flights), departures June and July 2020 (vikingcruises.co.uk).
Pulpit Rock, Lysefjord
How close to the edge dare you go? Flat-topped Pulpit Rock is a Norwegian icon. The monolith rises almost 2000ft above serene Lysefjord and is often viewed from below by smaller ships. If you get the chance, it’s a four-mile round trip hike to the top – the path is of medium difficulty. When you get there, don’t step back when taking a selfie…
Saga offers a Pulpit Rock hike on its seven-night Norway’s Great Outdoors cruise from Dover. From £1,458pp, departing August 30, 2020 (travel.saga.co.uk).
With more cruise ships exploring the fjords, the demand for attractions grows. From Olden, the de rigueur excursion has been to the Briksdal glacier, now sadly shrunken. Welcome, then, the Loen Skylift gondola which whisks view-hungry visitors up to 3,300ft on Mount Hoven for a wraparound vista of Lake Lovatnet, the Jostedal glacier and Olden village, two miles from Loen.
P&O Cruises has three Skylift trips on its seven-night Fjords cruise from Southampton. From £749pp, weekly departures May to September, 2020 (pocruises.com).
Pounding 600ft into an impressive gorge, the twin falls of Voringsfossen are one of Norway’s greatest sights. They make a splendid stop on the way to the vast Hardangervidda plateau from the village of Eidfjord. The current viewpoint between the two cascades is fine enough, but restorations of other lookouts are scheduled to finish in 2020.
Cruise & Maritime offers a Voringsfossen trip on its nine-night Fjordland Splendour cruise from Poole. From £719pp, departing April 17, 2020 (cruiseandmaritime.com).
Sometimes you don’t even need to leave your ship to enjoy one of Norway’s finest panoramas. Slender, Unesco-listed Nærøyfjord burrows between spiky 5,000ft peaks, close to Flåm. At one point, the utterly beautiful fjord is just 820ft wide. Only smaller ships can make the journey past waterfalls and farms clinging to the mountainsides – you can also look out for goats and seals.
Fred Olsen sails up Nærøyfjord on its seven-night Best of the Fjords cruise from Newcastle. From £899pp, departing May 28, 2020 (fredolsencruises.com).