SONGNEFJORDEN

Sognefjorden is the world's longest fjord (204 km)

Balestrand is located on the northern shore of the mighty Sognefjord as a picturesque little village.

In Balestrand you can relax amid quiet, peaceful surroundings, strolling beside the fjord or rambling in the mountains. And, of course, there are plentiful opportunities for bathing and water sports. Plus, for visitors in search of something new, thrilling tours of exploration on the Jostedal glacier.

Sognefjord Aquarium is a marine activity centre situated in the middle of Balestrand. Here one can study more than 100 different species from the fjord. An audiovisual preformance, put together by color slides and folkmusic from Sogn - will give you a memorable moment.

Fjærlandsfjord and Fjærland/ Mundal (former U.S. Vice-President Walter F. Mondale has his family and name originated in Mundal). Glaciers through successive ice ages have shaped the landscape in Fjærland during the last 2,5 to 3 million years. Towering mountains and U-shaped valleys surround large delta areas, which results from the accumulation of sediment supplied by the glacier rivers.

In Fjærland can you also find the Norwegian Book Town with several picturesque second-hand bookshops. The Book Town opened in 1996, being the eighth booktown in the world and the first in Scandinavia. If you like, a bus connects with the ferry and can take you to the prize awarded Norwegian Glacier Museum

Further in the Sognefjord at Vangsnes you will see the Fritjof Statue. The huge 21 metre bronze statue was a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in 1913. Fritjof was a Viking hero and Wilhelm II did this because he loved Norway so much and had spent so much time in the fjords at his yacht during the years.

The Nærøyfjord is one of the world most beautiful and dramatic fjords. In 2005 it became a part of UNESCO's World Heritage together with Geirangerfjord. In the bottom of the Nærøyfjord is a small village named Gudvangen, and it is a very popular tourist destination.

Flåmsbanen is an incredible train journey from Flåm and up to the mountain station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway. Each year, this exciting stretch of railway attracts people from all corners of the world, making the Flåm Railway one of Norway's major and most spectacular tourist attractions. The train journey provides some of Norway's wildest and most magnificent scenery. On the 20 km-long train ride you can see rivers that cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascade down the side of steep, snow-capped mountains and mountain farms cling dizzily to sheer slopes.

The Flåm Railway is one of the world's steepest railway lines on normal gauge. The gradient is 55/1000 on almost 80% of the line, i.e. a gradient of one in eighteen. The twisting tunnels that spiral in and out of the mountain are manifestations of the most daring and skilful engineering in Norwegian railway history.

The Norwegian Wild Salmon Centre is located on the banks of the Lærdal river. His Majesty King Harald opened the centre on June 15 1996. The Centre provides insight into the life and legends of the Atlantic salmon and informs its visitors about the protection, management and exploitation of the wild salmon stocks. You will have a chance to expand your knowledge on the migratory and breeding habits of the wild Norwegian salmon.

A stave church named Urnes has been built three times on the same site at Orneset and it is the oldest preserved church. A hundred years would pass between the first and the third, the one we can visit today. The timber was felled in the years 1129-1130. On the long northern wall, original decorated sections from the demolished church have been used: the portal, wall planks and a corner post. The decorated gables from the same church are now covered to prevent wear and tear.

The stave churches are Norway's unique contribution to the world's cultural heritage. Most were built between approx. 1130 and 1350, when the Black Death brought all new building to an end. Similar churches existed elsewhere in Europe, but only the Norwegian ones have survived. Of the original approx.1,000 churches, 28 remain. Urnes stave church is the oldest and most highly decorated of them. In 1979 it was included on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

In Solvorn we have the lovely Walaker Hotel. It is a nostalgic, charming hotel, built up by nine generations of the Nitter Walaker family. The hotel has 24 guestrooms in three buildings, and an art gallery that exhibits works by national artists.

www.sognefjord.no

www.visitnorway.com

www.sognefjorden-as.no