Ocean Cruising in Hardangerfjord, Norway
Nicknamed the ‘Queen of the Fjords’, Hardangerfjord is the fourth longest fjord in the world and the second-longest in Norway. One of the most breathtaking fjords in Norway, the Hardanger area is home to Folgefonna National Park and the third-largest glacier in the country. The fjord stretches 111 miles from the Atlantic Ocean into the mountainous interior of Norway along the Hardangervidda plateau, offering up spectacular scenery along the way, from towering mountains to picturesque orchards. Its deepest waters, located just outside the village of Norheimsund in the middle of the fjord, run to a depth of more than 2,820 feet.
Why cruise Hardangerfjord
You cannot cruise the Norwegian fjords without visiting the queen, Hardangerfjord, the fourth longest fjord in the world. As you sail along the 111-mile long stretch of still, azure water, you will get the chance to soak up some amazing scenery as well as experiencing once-in-a-lifetime adventures, such as hiking the third largest glacier in Norway and walking behind a colossal waterfall. With its fruit-laden orchards, cascading waterfalls, flora-rich valleys and pastoral scenes, picture-perfect Hardanger is for many the epitome of Norway.
What to see and do in Hardangerfjord
Located in the village of Steine, Steinsdalsfossen is one of the most visited waterfalls in Norway and it’s not hard to see why. The mighty fall is 151ft high with a main drop of 66 feet, but what makes is truly unique is the footpath which leads up from the car park and under the waterfall, allowing visitors to walk safely (and stay dry) behind it. The waterfalls of Vøringsfossen, Skjervefossen, Furebergfossen and the twin cascades of Låtefoss are also well-worth a visit when in Hardangerfjord.
The home of Norway’s wealthiest heir, Karen Mowat, and Danish nobleman, Ludvig Rosenkrantz, this historic estate and manor house dates from 1665. In 1678, King Christian V of Denmark gave the estate the status of barony. Over the years, notable Norwegian figures including author and playwright Henrik Ibsen, painter Hans Gude and musician Edvard Grieg have been among the frequent visitors at Rosendal. One of the highlights of the manor is the beautiful surrounding garden, featuring more than 1,600 blooming roses.
Rosendal Stone Park
One of the main attractions of the Folgefonna National Park Centre is the Rosendal Stone Park. A great place to enjoy a picnic with the family, the picturesque park features blocks of stone that have artfully sculpted and placed together to show the geological diversity of the Folgefonna peninsula. Other notable features include a sculpture by artist Bård Breivik, a traditional Sami lavvu (tent), and the Dinosaur House, which displays real weapons and tools used by the first people to settle along the Hardangerfjord.
Along with bountiful mountains, waterfalls and lakes, Folgefonna National Park is home to Norway’s southernmost glacier and the third-largest in the country. Glacier hiking is one of the top things to do in the park and the Folgefonni Glacier Team will take you on a guided blue-ice hike, a snowshoe hike, ice climbing or even cross-country skiing across the glacier. There are also hiking and walking trails to Juklavatnet lake and the Bondhusdalen and Buardalen valleys.
Need to know when travelling to Hardangerfjord
Getting around in Hardangerfjord
Cruise ships typically dock in the village of Eidfjord, an inner branch of Hardangerfjorden. The port has two pier berths for docking of cruise ships. Other cruise ships must anchor.
When to go to Hardangerfjord
Hardanger can get very crowded during the summer months, so arguably the best time to visit is in the autumn during the peak of the harvest season.
Hardangerfjord uses the Norwegian krone.
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don't need a visa to enter Norway unless you're planning to stay longer than three months.
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