Destinations

How to See the Norway Fjords

Norway is the undisputed fjord capital of the world. Norway’s fjords were created thousands of years ago during the ice ages by retreating glaciers, dramatically carving the earth. Its rugged coastline is dotted with over 1,100 of the most beautiful fjords in the world. The Norwegian fjords are now included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List so if you’re planning a trip to Norway, visiting at least one of these nature’s wonders should be on your bucket list.

However, with so many fjords and an impressively large geography, you might need some help planning a fjord expedition in Norway. It is possible to visit some of Norway’s fjords by taking the bus, which is the cheapest mode of transportation to get around in the country.

Aerial view of Sunnylvsfjorden fjord at sunset.
Splendid summer sunset over Sunnylvsfjorden fjord canyon near the village of Geiranger in western Norway.

Where Are the Fjords Located in Norway?

Norway is an extremely vast country with diverse landscapes from one region to the next. It has four distinct regions: the diverse East, where the capital of Oslo sits, the wild West, where most of the world-renowned fjords are located, the Arctic North, where you can see the Northern Lights, and the lively South. 

Most of the fjords are located along Norway’s western coast. The best way to see the fjords by bus is to take the bus from Oslo to a city on the west coast such as Skei or Alesund and then make your way North or South, hitting many beautiful fjords and towering mountains along the way. 

Itinerary to See the Norway Fjords by Bus

Our proposed itinerary for you to see the best fjords in Norway starts in the capital of Oslo. It will then take you across the country from East to West to the small town of Skei. Skei is a picturesque village close to the famous Sognefjord, one of the world’s most beautiful fjord and the longest and deepest in the country.

From Skei, you can take a bus North to the town of Alesund. Alesund is a coastal town sitting at the entrance of the Geirangerfjord, an area in the process of being certified as a Sustainable Destination, a seal of approval given to destinations that work to reduce the negative impact of mass tourism. 

From Alesund, we suggest that you take the bus South to Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city. 

Infographic with the itinerary to see the fjords in Norway
Follow this loop by bus to see the amazing Norway fjords.

The itinerary in a nutshell:

Skei and Sognefjord

The bus from Oslo to Skei takes around 7 hours and will cost you about $60. This is a fraction of the cost of the train or renting a car and by far the cheapest travel. Don’t be scared by the length of the trip, as you’ll be crossing the country from East to West, passing by magnificent landscapes.

View of a lake in Norway.
Road to Skei, in Norway’s wild West.

Skei (also known as Skei i Jølster) is located at the northeastern end of Lake Jolstravatnet, just west of the Jostedalsbreen National Park. From Skei, there are multiple tours, hiking trails, glacier hiking, and expeditions to Norway’s most famous fjord, Sognefjord. This village is a paradise for outdoor buffs, as you can also go kayaking on Lake Jolstravatnet or try your hand at trout fishing.  

Alesund and Geirangerfjord

From Skei, you can take the bus to Alesund. The ride takes about 5 hours and will set you back around $40. There are also multiple daily departures between these two towns, so no need to worry about finding a departure that works for you.

Aerial view of the city of Alesund at sunset.
Alesund is a beautiful coastal town sitting at the entrance of the Geirangerfjord, one of Norway’s main fjords.

Alesund is a perfect base for visiting many Norwegian fjords. You’ll be able to explore the world-famous Geirangerfjord with many hiking trails and expeditions starting directly from the city. 

On top of being an amazing place to see the fjords, Alesund also has a beautiful Art Nouveau district. Most Norwegian cities aren’t recognized for their architecture, but Alesund stands out from the crowd with its impressive and distinctive architecture. You can take a walking tour of the city to appreciate this unusual town.

Another great thing to do in Alesund is to take a cruise down the Geirangerfjord to the town of Geiranger. It is one thing to see the fjords from the ground, but imagine cruising down one of the world’s most beautiful fjords, with its towering walls on both sides! Many cruise ships offer day trips or multiple-days excursions down the fjords.

Bergen and Hardangerfjord

Once you’re done taking in Alesund’s architecture and you’ve visited the king of the fjords, Geirangerfjord, with a fjord cruise or by foot, it is time to head South to Bergen. The bus between Alesund and Bergen will take between 8 and 9 hours. The road between these two coastal towns is one of the most beautiful in the world. You’ll be passing breathtaking deep valleys and jagged mountain tops. 

This bus ride will only cost between $40 and $70, depending on when you book your bus ticket. It is always cheaper to book one to two weeks in advance, as prices tend to go up as you get closer to the travel date. There are also multiple daily departures between these two cities.

View from a lake on historic and colorful Bergen buildings in winter.
Typical Bergen buildings in the historic district of Bryggen.

Bergen’s nickname is the Gateway to the Fjords of Norway. As a UNESCO World Heritage City and a European City of Culture, the Bergen region has something to offer to everyone: nature, culture and exciting urban life all year round. Visit the Bergen Fish Market to taste some of the finest fish in the world. With a lively atmosphere and colorful selection of products, the fish market is quite the experience. 

You can also take a fjord cruise down the impressive Hardangerfjord, or grab one of the many tours starting directly in the city. Bergen also offers amazing mountain biking trails, skiing slopes, and glacier hiking trails with splendid views of the Norway countryside. 

Taking the bus in Norway is an easy, cheap, and eco-friendly way to experience the magnificent fjords. Get to know more about how you can take the bus in Norway and how you can travel around the country without a car.