For this first visit of Norwegian fjords, I chose to go through Fjord Tours to directly book a “package”. One of them raised my interest, the Geirangerfjord & Norway in a Nutshell® tour. It is an organized, unaccompanied tour which only includes transportation and covers two of the most popular excursions in Norway: a cruise on the Geirangerfjord and the famous Norway in a nutshell®, which is a beautiful trip from Oslo to Bergen (or vice versa/roundtrip) via Voss, Gudvangen, Flam and Myrdal. Moreover, a visit of Ålesund and a cruise on the Hardangerfjord, second fjord of Norway, are on my to do list. I make this trip with a friend and we stay in hotels which provide us some comfort after long days of sightseeing. We eat from time to time in local restaurants and take the opportunity to do some activities on site.
We start our journey from Bergen by bus to reach Norheimsund. Here we embark on a 3 hour cruise on the Hardangerfjord. Around noon, we arrive at Eidfjord where a bus takes us on another 3 hour tour to visit the region, the nature center of the Hardangervidda and finally Voringsfossen waterfall.
Hardangerfjord is located in the department of Hordaland. It is 179 km long, the second fjord in Norway and the world’s third in length. The area is best known for its fruit trees in blossom each spring, Folgefonna glacier and Voringsfossen waterfall, which we will see later on. Each village where we stop is more picturesque than the previous one and each offers quantity of excursions and activities. A glance at the brochure Hardangerfjord 2014 will certainly help you finding what suit you best in this beautiful region known as “the Orchard of Norway”.
We get up early and have Norwegian pancakes “made by Kevin” for breakfast (one advantage of our hotel : preparation for pancakes and hob are available). We then reach the central bus station and leave Bergen to join Norheimsund.
We arrive there one and a half hour later, and the weather is awesome! We board a small boat and start our wonderful cruise. Enjoying so much the weather and fresh air, we sit outside on the upper deck until we finally get down in Eidfjord, our terminus. During the cruise, we briefly stop in five small towns, Herand, Utne, Lofthus, Kinsarvik and Ulvik, where we will leave by bus in the late afternoon. The map below shows our cruise symbolized by the white dotted line.
Once in Eidfjord, we directly board the bus which takes us through the beautiful region to the nature center of Hardangervidda.
Hardangervidda is a modern center of cultural and natural activities, describing Norwegian landscape, climate and environment. This “museum” has an exhibition on 3 floors, an aquarium and interactive stations. Before that, we can admire a large panoramic movie, produced by Ivo Caprino, who help us discover the beautiful surroundings: an exciting helicopter tour over high mountains, deep valleys, beautiful waterfalls, wild reindeer and glaciers is an amazing experience, all on five giant screens! The place has obviously gift shop, a tourist information center, and a restaurant serving traditional cuisine.
We then continue our bus trip to Voringsfossen. The old road, built between 1887 and 1924, climbs the mountainside by 125 hairpin bends – a feat in road construction. We arrive at the foot of hotel Fossli and follow a small trail to admire the waterfall. 182 meters high and 145 meters of free fall, it is without doubt the most famous in Norway.
After a few photos, we go back down by bus to Eidfjord and take the boat to Ulvik. From there, another bus takes us to Voss main station, where we take a train back to Bergen.