Undoubtedly the fjords are Norway’s biggest attraction. No wonder. The natural beauty of fjords is overwhelming. And slightly humbling.
Formed during the last ice age’s meltdown. When the inland valleys were carved out by huge glaciers and filled with seawater. They shape the country’s unique landscape and never fail to take your breath away.
Even though the weather was bad and I should have stayed in Oslo. To enjoy some sun in Aker Brygge and party my nights away. I stubbornly decided to go.
That is how I am. When I decide to do something here is no talking me out of it. Like when I was in India and decided not to leave until I saw the Taj Mahal. I finally saw it. But what did I have to go through to see it?! That is worth a separate post.
Anyway, back to the subject. I knew I would be back in Norway again, I knew the weather wouldn’t change. That’s just me.
The name ‘Flam’ means ‘little place between the steep mountains’. Could Norwegian be more accurate with this name?! Flam is nestled deep in the innermost part of the world’s largest and deepest fjords. The 204-km long and 1308-m deep Sognefjord. Surrounded by steep mountains, deep valleys, waterfalls and old settlements. This stunning beauty is a place for all nature lovers.
Flam is a prime example of a Norwegian fjord village. Red houses with beautiful window shutters. A wooden Hareina church from 1667. A river and even a waterfall nearby! But remember, the Old Flam village part. Not the harbour where you take a fjord-seeing boat or the Flam Railway known as Flamsbana.
The Flam Railway was a true highlight of my trip in Norway, even though it was raining all day long and I couldn’t take too many pictures. Flamsbana climbs about 900 meters from Flam fjord to the mountain top in Myrdal.
To learn more about its construction and history one should visit the enchanting Flam Railway Museum. Imagine this one little fact. The tunnels add up to 5692 meters and each meter took one month of labour! It was finally completed under the German occupation during World War II. Taking all of 16 years to build.
The 20-km-long ride is one of the steepest. most exciting and incredible train journeys I ever took. Provides some of Norway’s wildest and most significant scenery. Snow-capped peaks. Thunderous waterfalls cascading down the mountainside. The most spectacular being the mighty Kjosfossen Waterfall. Rivers, impossibly deep ravines and mountain. Farms clinging dizzily to sheer slopes.
Another attraction worth considering is the Rallarvegen, the Navvies’ Road. This scenic, old construction road follows the railway. In Myrdal you can rent a bike and cycle down while admiring the region’s exceptional beauty.
The next day I embarked on a boat from Flam to Gudvangen to finally see what I have come here to see, the fjords! It was swell, superb and sensational.
Fjords from Flam
The weather was far from good for picture-taking. Frankly this was the first time ever that I didn’t care that much. Sognefjord is deep and narrow, surrounded by mountaintops with peaks that are covered in snow.
When the boat makes its way slowly through the fjord you can admire numerous waterfalls. Villages and houses so high up in the mountains that they can only be reached by ladders. The first stone church in Aurland dates back from the 1200s.
Then there is the colourful Undredal with the world’s smallest church. You will get a glimpse of Naeroyfjord, which is the most narrow fjord on Earth. So beautiful.
I never paid for a ticket. It might have had something to do with a crazy evening with both captains and the whole crew I met the night before in the only bar in Flam, Aegir Bar. But some stories should stay unpublished.
I know I will be back to Norway to discover more fjords. Maybe by ferry next time. All of them are on my ‘to do list’. Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord, Nordfjord.