Geiranger and Hellesylt are villages in Møre og Romsdal. The Geirangerfjord is one of the most beautiful mainland fjords and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Norway. In a rating of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Geirangerfjord (along with Nærøyfjord in Sogn og Fjordane) obtained top score in a survey conducted by the prestigious National Geographic Magazine. A visit to Geiranger can be included in a trip along the Norwegian coast. The villages of Geiranger and Hellesylt sit at either end of the Geirangerfjord and Hellesylt is included in this article.
- See also: Fjords of Norway
Geiranger is the tiny village and rural community at the eastern end of Geirangerfjord. Hellesylt village sits at the western end of Geirangerfjord, and from there the fjord does a sharp turn north with the name Sunnylvsfjord. The latter fjord is in turn connected to the main fjord, aptly named Storfjord (large fjord), at the small town Stranda. Strictly speaking Geirangerfjord is merely the inner 15-kilometer section of the wider Storfjord system. Storfjord is about 100 km long and one of main fjord systems in Western Norway. While Geiranger and Hellesylt are small villages, Stranda is the municipal centre.
Several hundred cruise ships with some 300,000 passengers visit Geirangerfjord every summer, making Geiranger the 2nd biggest cruise port in Norway, only surpassed by Bergen. Many tourists also arrive by charter bus. In addition there is a large number of independent travellers. Geiranger is a small village of 200 people, but the influx of 5,000 or more tourists daily makes Geiranger a relatively crowded place at day time.
The Geirangerfjord is one of Norway's oldest destinations for international tourism. Cruise ship tourism began in the late 19th century. Kaiser Wilhelm visited Geiranger every summer until World War I. Road 63 between Åndalsnes and Geiranger via Valldal is one of Norway's 18 national tourist routes, these being the most scenic drives in Norway.
The distance from Ålesund Airport is 124 km (77 mi), while Ørsta/Volda Airport is 65 km from Hellesylt.
- 1 Ålesund Airport, Vigra, Vigra near Ålesund.
- 2 Molde Airport.
- 3 Ørsta/Volda Airport.
- Oslo Airport Gardermoen is 400 km from Geiranger
- Road 63 from Eidsdal and Valldal to the north via Eagles Highway (mountain pass, 10 hairpin turns); from Otta, Stryn and Grotli to the South via Geirangervegen (mountain pass, 50 hairpin turns).
- Road 60 from Stryn or Ålesund to Hellesylt, from Hellesylt car ferry further to Geiranger
- From Ålesund
- summer only:
The closest railway stations:
- Otta - station on Dovre line (Oslo-Trondheim), 160 km to Geiranger
- Åndalsnes - terminal station for Rauma line, 90 km to Geiranger via Trollstigen
By boat or cruise ship
Car ferry from Hellesylt, on the famous Geirangerfjord. Eight daily departures 1 Jun - 2 Sep, four daily departures 1 May - 1 Jun, 3 Sep - 30 Sep (310 kr for a car and its driver). There is also twice daily ferries from Valldal (20 Jun - 20 Aug). Hurtigruten calls Geiranger on a summer service (15 Apr - 14 Sep). Embarking/disembarking by small boat.
Cruise ships make semi-regular visits to Geiranger in the Summer months (May-Late August). Cunard Cruises, Queen Elizabeth and other lines visit the Geiranger Fjords every summer. The Geiranger Port has a cruise terminal, a Seawalk, and 3–4 anchor positions depending on the size of the ships. Opened in 2013, the Seawalk is a self-propelled three-segment articulated floating pier, 236 m-long by 4.5 m-wide steel platform on 10 pontoons, which moves out to the ship (like a floatable jetwalk) to accommodate 4,000 passengers per hour disembarking from a single ship. With Geiranger a busy cruise port, you may have to take a short tender when there's more than one ship in port. Hellesylt now offers a sizable pier for single ships, while local car ferries use a separate facility for both locations.
The sailing into the fjord is not to be missed as many cruisers wake up as early as 4am to witness the stunning beauty of this Norwegian fjord. Or enjoy the Geiranger sail away in the afternoon. Small towns and homes cling to the high cliffsides. Friendly Norwegians' can be seen doing their farmwork, milking cows, working in cliffside garden fields. Temperatures and weather can vary by the minute, it is best to wear warm clothing layers and bring your binoculars to see animals grazing on cliffsides, small Norwegian homes, and the beauty of this fjord. Check if your cruiseline visits the Geiranger Fjord, it is truly one of the best, most relaxing, awe-inspiring cruises that you will ever take.
Both towns are easily walkable and scenic, and each blessed is by a waterfall.
It's a lovely small Norwegian town that you must visit in the summer months. Plenty of photo opportunities in and around Geiranger.
Adventurers take to the hills of Geiranger via walking and sometimes even biking. Winter closes most of the roads in the Geiranger fjord, so its best to visit in the summer. Watch out for campers, trucks, and tour buses, especially when biking, walking or hiking. Hills are steep and for more fit adventurers.
Cruising is one of the best ways to see the fjord. No need to use the tour boats. You can see just as much from the Hellesylt ferry with commentary in German and English as well as Norwegian - from a comfortable lounge with a good snackbar.
- 1 Dalsnibba (Detour from route 63 towards Grotli). summer only. Dalsnibba is a 1500 m (4920 ft) mountain summit. Fabulous view over the fjord and the mountain behind. Detour from road 63 (Geiranger mountain pass) direction Skjåk and Stryn. Toll road: kr 80 (cars), kr 50 (motorcycles).
- 2 Geirangerfjord (Ferry or cruise ship). The steep-sided fjord with its waterfalls, including the Bridal Veil and the Suitor. Geiranger-Hellesylt ferry, Hurtigruten (summer) and cruise ships travel the fjord.
- 3 Norsk Fjordsenter, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. May-Sep: daily 10-18; Oct-Aprː daily 10-15. Visitor centre for the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Topside terminus of Waterfall Walk in Geiranger (See Do below) Adults: kr 120, Children: kr 60.
- 4 Ørnesvingen (The Eagles' Bend), Road 63 (On route 63 towards Eidsdal). View of the fjord and the village from high point.
- 5 Ljøen panorama point, Road 60 (Hellesylt-Stranda road). Panorama point towards Geirangerfjord and Sunnylvsfjord from high point near Ljøen hamlet, between tunnels.
- [dead link] Flydalsjuvet (Off road no. 63, about 4 km from Geiranger, heading towards Grotli). Flydalsjuvet offers an impressive and closer view than Dalsnibba of Geiranger and Geirangerfjord and the cruise ships. The viewpoint is divided into two areas, one upper and one lower plateau, with a gangway running in between, and the view is from the southeast, allowing for fine photography.
- 6 Seven Sisters Waterfall (Sju søstre). Iconic waterfall that splits into seven strings (hence the name). Total drop about 400 meters and tallest vertical drop about 250 meters. Not among the tallest waterfalls in Norway, but quite tall by European standards, and the drop directly into the fjord makes it a lovely sight and one of the most photographed waterfalls in Norway. It is barely visible from the Eagle's Bend of road 63, but best viewed from a boat on the Geirangerfjord or from the hills on the opposite side. A waterfall on the opposite side is about 300 meters tall and called "The Suitor". free.
- 7 Knuten and Geiranger road. A 270-degree curve designed in 1880 to overcome the steep terrain on the Geiranger road. This fine piece of road engineering is still functional although traffic now runs on a newer road next to it. The Geiranger road from Geiranger village to Djupvasshytta and Grotli was a daring project in the late 1800s. The road was designed for horses and carriages, not cars, and includes about 30 hairpin curves in steep and very difficult terrain. Geiranger's other great hairpin road, Ørnevegen, was completed in 1955.
Walk around the lovely, hillside town. Main road wraps the coastline. Townsfolk are very friendly and engaging. Many different tour buses available in the summer, June-late August. Weather changes many times during the day: warm, windy, cool, freezing, and do not forget the sunscreen, especially when leaving Geiranger and visiting the Geiranger Valley and glaciers. You might need some bug spray for the mosquitoes and sunscreen is a must!
Sadly many Geiranger citizens talk about the glaciers retreating more and more each year.
- Waterfall Walk in Geiranger (Fossevandring) (walk up starts near Geiranger campsite). The well-maintained pathway includes metal stairs (327 non-slippery steps with railings) going up one side of the waterfall all the way up to the Norwegian Fjord Centre and Hotel Union, with viewpoints along the way. Powerful sounds and stunning viewsǃ Prepare to get wetǃ Free.
- The "Sky-to-Fjord" trip, run out of one of the small gift shops by the ferry dock (easily identifiable by its green roof), is a spectacular 17 km bike trip from the top of the mountain (high enough to still have snow in August!) back down to the gift shop. The trip includes van transportation to the top of the mountain and bike rental. You can go at your own pace as long as you return your bike to the gift shop by the end of the day. Take your time, as the spectacular views can make for worthy detours!
- Coastal Odyssey, ☏ , [email protected]. Guded tour start: 11AM. Kayaks for rent either by the hour or for a whole day. You can also take part in a guided tour. Kayaking down the fjord is a very enjoyable experience; it offers spectacular views of waterfalls, mountains, and even, occasionally, dolphins. Rent: 1 hour: kr 150 (price drops for longer rent); guded tour: adults: kr 700, children: kr 550.
- Naustkroa, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Pizza.
- Olebuda Restaurant, Geiranger Sentrum, ☏ , fax: , [email protected].
- Weserås Restaurant, ☏ . Traditional Norwegian food.
- Grand, local favourite beer, delicious, light beer, enjoy it with a sandwich or fresh salmon. Available at most pubs and restaurants.
- The Grans Brewery (Grans Bryggeri AS) is a brewery founded in 1899 in Sandefjord, Norway.
- Hotell Geiranger, 6216 Geiranger, Norway (in village center), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. 145 rooms, within walking distance of the ferry dock, sightseeing boats, bus stop and other activities in the village.
- Hotel Union, 6216 Geiranger, Norway (Road no. 63, just above Waterfall Walk), ☏ . 197 rooms, with restaurant, spa, pool, a vintage car museum and easy access to Waterfall Walk in Geiranger
- Grande Fjord Hotel, ☏ , [email protected].
- Vinje Camping. A campsite in Geirange near a waterfall. 195 kr for a tent a two persons..
- Geiranger Turistinformasjon, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Internet.
- Return to Ålesund: Visitors arriving by cruise ship usually return the same way along the fjord towards Ålesund.
- By car or bus there are two directions along route 63:
- The Geiranger-Hellesylt ferry allows travellers to bring cars to Hellesylt with connections by route 60 north to Ålesund or south to Stryn or Nordfjordeid. Bus connections at Hellesylt and Stryn towards Bergen.
- Hjørundfjord - nearby and less crowded lovely fjord surrounded by sharp alpine summits