Olden is increasingly becoming a customary stop on a Norwegian fjords cruise. Often referred to as the gateway to Norway’s glaciers, Olden – located at the mouth of the Oldeelva river on the southern end of the 106km Nordfjorden – boasts its own spectacular surrounding landscape, dotted with valleys, waterfalls and mountains.
Why cruise Olden
The gateway to the glaciers, Olden is the perfect stopover on a Norwegian fjords cruise, home to some spectacular natural wonders, including Jostedalsbreen National Park, Mount Hoven and Lake Lovatnet. Adventure-seekers will love Olden, which offers fantastic cycling, kayaking, fishing and climbing opportunities.
What to see and do in Olden
Probably the most popular excursion in Olden is a trip to see the Briksdal glacier, the most accessible arm of Jostedalsbreen glacier (the largest glacier in continental Europe). Cruise lines including Disney and Princess offer this as a tour, which includes a scenic 45-minute coach ride through the village of Olden, followed by a 45-minute self-guided hike to the glacier viewpoint, passing spectacular waterfalls and wildlife as you go. Those who are less mobile can opt for the electric ‘troll cars’ – essentially golf buggies. For the more active among you, Princess also offers the chance to hike two glaciers, Briksdal and Brenndalsbreen.
One of the world’s steepest cable car rides, the Loen Skylift up Mount Hoven is one of the latest attractions in Olden, opened in 2017. The cable car soars more than 3,300ft from the fjord to the top in under seven minutes. The Skylift offers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding fjords, mountains and lakes glaciers, including Mount Skåla and Lake Lovatnet in the east, Jostedalsbreen Glacier and Olden in the south, and the Nordfjord, which winds its way towards Stryn in the west. The truly adventurous among you can climb Mount Hoven along the Via Ferrata Loen – a series of steel ladders, cables, and bridges bolted into mountain rocks that enable climbers to access the otherwise inaccessible – and then return to fjord level via the Loen Skylift.
Jostedal Glacier National Park Centre
Cruise lines including P&O Cruises and MSC offer an excursion to Jostedal Glacier National Park Centre as part of a half-day excursion. On the way, you will travel alongside the Stryneelva river up to the turquoise waters of Lake Stryn. The centre stages varies various exhibitions and provides an introduction to the area and the glacier, after which you will have time to explore and visit the botanical garden, home to local flora of the forests, wetlands and alpine region.
Lying at the end of the Lodal valley, Kjenndalen glacier is the lowest arm of the Jostedal glacier. MSC Cruises offers a trip to Kjenndalen as one of its more adventurous excursions, which includes a coach ride along the shore of Innvikfjorden to reach Loen village, which nestles in between the larger fjord and the smaller lake of Lovatnet. This is followed by a 45-minute cruise along the tranquil, waterfall-strewn mountain lake.
RIB rides and kayaking
Various cruise lines including Silversea and Azamara offer RIB ride and kayaking activities among their list of excursions for Olden. MSC combines a RIB ride with crayfish tasting, while Silversea offers crayfish hunting and Azamara has a fishing trip.
Need to know when travelling to Olden
Getting around in Olden
Olsen’s dock can only accommodate one cruise ship at a time. It is located a 10-15 minutes’ walk from Olden centre. Other ships must anchor in the bay. A new tender pier located in the centre of Olden village opened this June, which increased the berthing options within the Bay of Olden to three. Some ships anchor off Loen, situated four miles from Olden, which also has a new tender pier as of 2018. You can walk around the village and along the fjord’s edge, but the outlying attractions require a coach or bus ride.
When to go to Olden
The cruise season runs from April to October, but the best times to visit Olden in terms of the weather are the summer months, which are typically the driest and warmest. From the late spring months, there are an endless number of cascading waterfalls, formed with the melting of the winter ice.
Olden 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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