The western region of Norway is littered with hundreds of fjords – canyon-like formations formed by advancing and retreating glaciers during the last few ice ages. One of Norway’s most visited and famous is Geirangerfjord, an absolute paradise for landscape photographers. Notice the boat in the foreground of the second picture, ready to make the leftward turn into the heart of the fjord, for scale. This fjord is surrounded by some of the steepest mountains on the entire west coast. It is very narrow and has no habitable shore area because the mountains rise sharply and almost straight out of the water. Several beautiful waterfalls plunge into the fjord from jagged peaks above.
Along the fjord's upper terraces lay a number of now-abandoned farms, whose history serve as a great introduction to Norway’s agrarian past. These mountain farms are accessed by steep paths and (often) hazardous cliff-side trails. Early residents also fixed bridges to the mountain with iron bolts and rings to ease the approach. As Magdalene Thoresen, mother-in-law of Norway’s most famous author Henrik Ibsen, said of them, “they bear witness, in a most striking way, to the remarkable powers of invention which the challenges of nature have developed in man.”
The Lofoten Islands are located north of the Arctic Circle in Norway and are among the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen. Huge mountain islands rise steeply from the ocean with the occasional white sandy beach at their base. One of the best views of the surrounding Lofoten peaks is found after a challenging but rewarding hike up Reinebringen, an amazing place to camp to catch sunset and sunrise (picture one). Notice the size of the peaks and fjord compared to the town of Reine at the bottom-right. The nearby Vaeroy Island (picture two) is also a wonderful island paradise only accessible via ferry across the arctic waters.
The islands are known for their pristine and wild beaches, many of which are only accessed by hiking in and camping overnight. Pictured here is Kvalvika Beach, Uttakleiv Beach, and Horseid Beach. Each beach is typically surrounded by a series of cliffs that add a particular sense of remoteness to the experience.
Trollveggen & Romsdalen Valley
Romsdalen is a valley in Norway containing huge, towering peaks on both sides, including Trollveggen, “the Troll Wall.” Trollveggen (picture one) is part of the mountain massif Trolltinden and was one of the most amazing vertical cliffs in the entire country. I can’t even begin to describe how wide, vertical, and huge this rock wall is. I highly recommend camping overnight across the Romsdalen valley to see the mountains glow during sunset and sunrise.
Leading in and out of the valley is the serpentine “Trollstigen” mountain road (picture three), which winds up mountainside at a steep incline of 10%. The viewpoint at the top offers a fantastic view of the route to the left.
Central Norway Fjords
The following pictures are from the heart of Norway’s fjord region. Some of the largest and deepest fjords in the world can be found in this region, including Sognefjord, nicknamed the King of the Fjords. Sognefjord and nearby Hardangerfjord are so large that various side-fjords branch out from it, including Eidfjord (picture one) and Aurlandsfjord (picture two). The area is also home to one of Norway’s most famous fjord hikes, Besseggen Ridge (picture three), a mountain hike that straddles lakes on both sides. The region is home to several stunning lakes including, Lake Oldevatnet (picture five) and waterfalls, including Vøringfossen (picture six) in the region, which are fed by the movement of water along these fjords.
Lysefjord and the South
The south of Norway contains the famous Lysefjord and two of the country’s famous hikes Kjeragbolten and Preikestolen aka “Pulpit Rock.” The near constant rain prevented me from obtaining a photograph on Preikestolen but both it and Kjeragbolten offered amazing views. I did, however, manage to catch sunset lighting up the beautiful thousand-meter walls of the Lysefjorden through the fog from the shores of Lysebotn, the lake below.
The area is also home to wonderfully situated abandoned fjord mountain farms throughout the country-side.