Licensed Guide and Norway Tour Planner

Sognefjord Guide

The impressive Sognefjord, also known as the “King of the fjords”, is the largest and deepest fjord in Norway.

It stretches 205 km (127 miles) from the ocean and all the way into the small village of Skjolden.

Much of the Sognefjord is surrounded by steep mountain walls rising almost straight up from the water to heights of up to 1,000 meters (3,300 ft), making this into one of the most spectacular and visited fjords in Norway.

The Sognefjord branches off into several “fjord arms” which some of them are truly stunning with many cultural and historical attractions. The fjord is also dotted with many small villages, making it possible to spend some very memorable days in this region.

When to Visit

Norway has a temperate coastal climate influenced by the Gulf Stream, which generally gives mild temperatures in the winter and a warmer, yet wet climate, in the summer.

Keep in mind that the Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway and weather conditions can vary along its length. Additionally, Norway's coastal areas are known for frequent changes in weather, so it's a good idea to be prepared for different conditions if you plan to visit.

Blog: See my packing list for Norway.

Here's a general overview of the weather at the Sognefjord throughout the year:

Winter (December to February): Winters can be cold, especially in the inland areas surrounding the fjord. Coastal areas may experience milder temperatures. Snowfall is common in the winter months, creating a picturesque winter landscape.

Spring (March to May): Spring sees a gradual warming, with temperatures starting to rise. The landscape comes to life with blossoming flowers and trees. Coastal areas tend to have milder temperatures compared to the inland regions.

Summer (June to August): Summer is the most popular time to visit the Sognefjord. The weather is relatively mild, with daytime temperatures ranging from comfortable to cool. The scenery is lush and green, and you can enjoy outdoor activities in the extended daylight hours.

Autumn (September to November): Autumn brings cooler temperatures and the foliage starts to change colors. It can be a beautiful time to visit if you enjoy the fall scenery. Coastal areas may still have milder temperatures compared to inland regions.

Getting Into

Covering a large geographical area, the Sognefjord has many entry points, and can be reached by ferry, bus, train, car or plane.

Train: Perhaps the most famous entry point is to the town of Flåm. You can easily get there by taking the Bergensbanen Line train from Oslo or Bergen to Myrdal. At Myrdal you can change to the Flåmsbana Line train, which will take you down to Flåm and the Sognefjord.

Bus: With the bus hop on the Nor-Way Sognefjord Express bus which takes you between Bergen - Voss - Flåm - Lærdal & Sogndal. Vy Buss also operates several lines to the Sognefjord. VY170 takes you from Oslo to Sogndal, and VY450 can get you from Sogndal to Flåm.

Ferry: Norled has an express ferry covering large parts of the Sognefjord. It departs from Bergen and goes all the way to Sogndal. In between, you can hop off in popular destinations such as Balestrand, Vik, Aurland, and Flåm. Find routes and tickets here.

Flight: There are not many options for flying into the Sognefjord, but there is an airport in Sogndal (SOG) with Widerø flights from both Bergen and Oslo. Search for flights here.

Car: A fun way to experience the Sognefjord is by rental car. There are roads going along large portions of the fjord offering great views of the fjord itself and the surrounding landscape. At several points you’ll find car ferries getting you from one side to the other. These ferries are not necessary to book, just arrive at the terminal and line up.

Aurlandsfjord Norway and the Norwegian flag on a boat

Places to Stay

The Sognefjord has plenty of good options when it comes to lodging, from larger hotels to small and quaint fjordside inns. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite places for staying in this region, and listed them according to which village they are situated in.

Skjolden

Skjolden village sits at the very end of the Lustrafjord. It’s an idyllic spot where a river runs into the fjord and feels far away from the tourist crowds. A couple of spots you could check out are the Eide Gard Guest House, this is a budget place with shared bathrooms, free parking and a terrace to enjoy the surroundings. For a step up check out Skjolden brygge (docks), which rents comfortable cabins with well-equipped kitchens and a beautiful fjord view.

Balestrand

Another popular village along the Sognefjord is Balestrand. You can easily get to Balestrand with a Norled ferry from Bergen, and I’d recommend staying at the Kviknes Hotel. This traditional hotel from the 1700s is located just next to the fjord and offers great views, and they have a wonderful restaurant serving tasty meals. Try out their big buffet!

Aurlandsvangen

Not far from Flåm you find the quieter village Aurlandsvangen. An idyllic little spot with some great swimming/picnic spots where you can enjoy the fjord. When I visit I prefer staying at the historical Vangsgaarden Guest House with comfortable rooms and a lovely garden that you can enjoy.

Solvorn

Further west along the Lustrafjord is the village Solvorn. Here you find the family-run Hotel Walaker. Built in 1640, and extended since then, this is considered one of the oldest hotels in Norway, and I’ve yet to hear anyone complain about their stay there!

Flåm

Flåm is a tourist hub, but can be a good option for staying a night or two while exploring some of the surroundings. Many choose a night here to split up the Norway in a Nutshell tour going between Bergen and Oslo. There’s a few good options in town, but I’d choose Flåmsbrygga Hotel for a classic 3-star hotel, or check out the historical Fretheim Hotel. However, my favorite would be the Flåm Marina & Apartments which is located a bit outside of the tourist drag and has excellent views of the fjord, plus their own restaurant where you can enjoy breakfast in the morning. NOTE! Lodging in Flåm often fill up in the summer, so book early!

Other

Near the entrance of the fjord, farther west, just north of Bergen are a couple of options that you can consider if you have a car. Nesheim Hytter & Camping had cozy small cabins located just next to the fjord. Lavik Fjord Hotel is a good option if you are driving along the coast and are looking for a place just before or after Bergen.

Note that prices for hotels highly fluctuate throughout the year, and if you book early you can sometimes find good deals! The high season in Norway goes from June to August.

Places to Eat

Quite often your hotel will have a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch or dinner, or you might go for a picnic next to the fjord.

However, here are a few restaurants in the region that’ll give you a nice food experience:

  • Ægir Brewpub (Flåm) - In a building inspired by the Norse mythology they serve great craft beer, aquavit and tasty food
  • Pearl By the Harbor Restaurant (Balestrand) - Run by a Ukrainian lady who serves up good pasta dishes, salads, soups and some Ukrainian specialities.
  • Dampskipskaien Café (Sogndal) - Located right on the harborfront. Cozy spot with a home made fish soup and other good options (vegan options).
  • Lustraporten - A roadside Norwegian style diner with typical Norwegian food.
  • Ciderhuset (Balestrand) - This is a restaurant and a place to try out locally produced ciders.

Things to Do

The Sognefjord area in Norway is known for its stunning natural beauty, charming villages, and outdoor activities.

Here are some of my top recommendations for Sognefjorden:

Fjord cruises

As one of the most popular fjords in Norway, you can expect to find plenty of fjord cruises in this region. The most popular one being Flåm - Gudvangen, taking you on a cruise on the majestic Arulandsfjord and the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord. Book tickets here.

Another option and especially suited for those driving is the Kaupanger to Gudvangen cruise, which also lets you see the Nærøyfjord. Book tickets here.

For a Fjord Safari in a high-speed RIB boat, then check out the company FjordSafari.

To see more of the Sognefjord, I recommend hopping on a Norled ferry which can take you from Bergen and deep into the fjords.

Other Activities

For more activities and guided tours check out GetYourGuide Sognefjorden.

Yellow van driving through the fjord

How to Get Around

Public transportation

The Sognefjord area is connected together with buses and ferries, but don’t expect them to run frequently. If you have time and budget for it I’d recommend you to rent a car. This will make it easier for you to get around, and you can explore places that are hard to get to by public transport.

For public transport check out Skyss (buses) or Norled (ferries). The website ENTUR can also be helpful for tour planning in the area.

Yellow van driving through the fjord

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