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Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords. Wonderful winter fun.

15/04/2024 by .
Winter In Norway’s Fjords

Rupert Parker dons snow shoes for his insider guide to Winter In Norway’s fjords.

Norway is usually thought of as a summer destination, the best time to explore its fjord’s dramatic landscapes in the land of midnight sun. Yet it can also be a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts in the winter. Of course there’s skiing, but don’t forget snowshoeing, sledging and even kayaking.

Usually you fly into one of Norway’s major hubs like Bergen or Oslo, then it’s a short hop, often on small prop planes and ferries, to get you into the heart of the fjords. On the road, you’ll find yourself traveling through winter landscapes adorned with frozen waterfalls, snowy valleys, and towering mountains.


I fly into the tiny airport at Ørsta and take the twisting road to Loen, a small village in the west of Norway, on the shores of Nordfjord .The Loen Skylift is the gateway to the heavens, offering visitors a swift ascent up the side of Mount Hoven. It’s fast, taking only around 5 minutes to climb 1000m. Otherwise, adrenaline junkies can tackle the Via Ferrata, a series of steel cable and ladders, to scale the rocky cliffs.

Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords Viw from Loen Skylift

At the top, there’s the Skywalk, a viewing platform made of steel and glass, blending seamlessly into its surroundings. To the west the peaks of the Jostedal Glacier National Park dominate the horizon while on the east the mountains give way to rolling hills and dense forests. Below, tiny villages dot the edge of the fjord, their colourful houses contrasting with the snow on the ground.

A network of walking trails lead to the summit of Mount Hoven, perfect for a snow shoe adventure. Rent them here and also try out their sledging tracks on the way back down. A giant snow cave, complete with fur rugs, provides a cosy winter refuge from the weather and wind. The restaurant next to the Skywalk serves traditional Norwegian dishes all year round.

Strandafjellet Mountain and Ski Resort

Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords


100km north, in the heart of the Sunnmøre Alps, is Strandafjellet Mountain, rising up from Stranda on the shores of Storfjorden. The ski resort has over 25km of groomed trails and off-piste terrains suitable for all levels. The resort’s elevation, at up to 1200m, ensures reliable snow conditions from late November to April. If you don’t ski, then slip on snow shoes and climb the slopes for wonderful views over the fjord.


From Stranda, it’s around 30 minutes to Hellesylt where I catch the ferry to Geiranger on the waters of Geirangerfjord. The fjord is UNESCO listed and stretches for 15km, flanked by steep cliffs and imposing waterfalls. It’s long been a vital transportation route, serving as a link between isolated communities along the coast. Now it’s a major cruise ship destination, attracting visitors from all over the world

Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords

Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords

In winter, thankfully all is quiet and the village of Geiranger offers a glimpse into traditional Norwegian life, with its charming wooden houses and colourful quayside. It’s worth climbing up above the town to get an overview of the fjord and its surrounding mountains. At the water’s edge, the Norwegian Fjord Centre features interactive exhibits on the geology, flora, and fauna of the area.

Nothing though compares to a trip out on an open rib boat to get up close to some of the fjord’s natural wonders. Deserted farmhouses cling to the steep cliffs high above but the highlight is the Seven Sisters waterfall. Seven distinct streams tumble down from a height of 250 meters into the fjord below. Opposite is the Suitor waterfall, which legend says is trying to woo the Seven Sisters, though you wouldn’t know it.


I take the Eagle’s Road north to Eidsdal, then a ferry, before turning west to reach the port of Ålesund, a distance of around 200km. The city’s architecture is distinctively Art Nouveau, rebuilt in stone after a devastating fire in 1904. A flight of 418 steps leads up Mount Aksla for stunning views of the city framed by the majestic Sunnmøre Alps and the freezing waters of the Norwegian Sea.

Back in the centre, Jugendstilsenteret is located in the old Swan Pharmacy, built in 1907. It’s both a museum and a national centre of Art Nouveau. Authentic interiors and objects from the period detail the history of the style. The prime focus is on Norwegian works but there are also international exhibits. In the basement the multi-media Time Machine re-enacts the tragedy of the town fire and details the subsequent rebuilding.

Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords

In an old wooden warehouse, on the water’s edge, the Fisheries Museum tells the history of fish processing, in particular the dried salted cod exported to the rest of the world. Particular fascinating is the story of cod liver oil, first used for lamps and then later for medicinal use.

It’s worth taking a kayak trip to see the city from the water. You don’t need any experience and guides take you paddling around the various inlets and bays. If you don’t fancy getting into the water, then the Atlanterhavsparken Aquarium just outside town introduces you to the local sea life. Seals, otters and penguins roam the coast outdoors whilst the Atlantic Tank, one of Europe’s biggest, contains a unique collection of large cold-water fish.

Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords

Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords

Norway in winter can offer all four seasons in one day so go prepared. You may be lucky and have clear blue skies and winter sun, but it can still be cold – thermals, waterproofs and boots are all essential, not forgetting warm beanies. There’s a wonderful Norwegian saying – “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær!” which translates to “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Tell Me More About Insider Guide To Winter In Norway’s Fjords.

Visit Norway has information about these winter adventures in Norway’s fjords and the rest of the country.

Fjord Norway has information about Western Norway

Welcome to Nordfjord has information about Loen.

Visit Ålesund has information about the town.

SAS and Wideroe fly to the fjords from London.

Uteguiden offers ski touring packages and snow shoeing in winter plus kayaking all year round in Ålesund.

Hotel Alexandra in Loen is a family-run hotel from 1884 with an excellent spa.

Hotel Union overlooks Geiranger Fjord and has excellent food.

Thon Hotel Ålesund  is in the town centre with good sea views.

Hoven restaurant at the top of the Skylift serves traditional Norwegian fare.

PopUp Norge at Skinkerådhuset in Skanda has good local food.

Brasserie Posten in Geiranger is right on the shore and serves excellent fish.

Anno in Ålesund is good for lunch.

Apotekergata No. 5 in Ålesund has fine dining.

Bryt in Ålesund serves Norwegian Tapas.


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