Along the Sognefjord
At the extreme western end of the Sognefjord, which at this point is bordered by low hills worn smooth by glacier action, with only a sparse covering of vegetation, is Rysjedalsvika.
Lavik is the chief place in the western Sognefjord and an important junction of land and water-borne traffic (ferry to Oppedal on the south side of the fjord). The church dates from 1865.
Vadheim (pop. 600), at the head of the Vadheimsfjord, has an electrochemical factory.Vadheim is the resting place for a famous warship of WW I. The SMS Moewe was converted from a merchant ship to a surface raider by the Germans.
Nordeide, a little holiday resort at the mouth of the Høyangsfjord, is connected by ferry with Måren on the north side of the Sognefjord and with Svortemyr on the south side.
Høyanger (pop. 2,200), at the head of its fjord, has a hydroelectric station and an aluminum works. Good hill walking in the surrounding area; fishing.
Balestrand (pop. 700), with high hills rearing above it, is the main tourist center on the Sognefjord. To the northwest is the little Esefjord.Balestrand is home to several notable attractions including the 19th century Kvikne's Hotel, St Olavs Church (built in the style of a Slave Church), the Songnefjord Aquarium and the Museum of Tourism.
To the north of Balestrand, extending to near the foot of the Jostedalsbre, is the Fjærlandsfjord. From Balestrand there is a boat service up the 26km/16mi-long fjord to Fjærland, a popular base for walks and climbs in the glacier area. From Fjærland an 11km/7mi-long tunnel runs under the glacier area to Skei (Road 1), in the heart of the Sogn og Fjordane region.There is a ferry from Balestrand to Hella, on the east side of the Fjærlandsfjord.
Hopperstad Stave Church, Vik, Norway
Opposite Balestrand, on the south side of the Sognefjord (ferry), is Vik, with a hydroelectric station and aluminum and woodworking plants. Nearby are the stave church of Hopperstad (12th C.), with a notable example of middle age wood carvings, and a stone-built Romanesque church. From here it is possible to drive back to Bergen by way of Voss.
At Vangsnes, situated on a promontory on the south side of the Sognefjord, opposite Hella, can be seen a 12m/40ft high statue of Fridtjof (hero of a 13th century Icelandic saga) presented by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Nearby are three burial mounds.
Leikanger and Hermansverk, lying close together in a fertile area on the north side of the Sognefjord (fruit orchards), combine to form the chief place in the county of Sogn og Fjordane. Leikanger has a stone church of the 13th century. To the south is a fine view of the Aurlandsfjord.
The Aurlandsfjord is a southern arm of the Sognefjord, a cleft in the mountains 1.5km/1mi wide flanked by rock walls rising to 900-1,200m (2,900-3,900ft). In Aurlandsvangen, chief place in the commune of Aurland, is the oldest stone-built church in the region (ca. 1200). Nearby is the church of Undredal (only 3.7m/12ft wide, with seating for 40), a stave church which was altered about 1700.
At the southern tip of the Aurlandsfjord, surrounded by mountains, is the tourist resort of Flåm, at the mouth of the Flåmdal. This is the terminus of the railroad line, a branch of the Bergen Railroad, which runs down the Flåmdal from Myrdal.
The western branch of the Aurlandsfjord is the Nærøyfjord, which is hemmed in by almost vertical rock faces, so that for months during the winter the sun never reaches the bottom of the fjord. At the head of the fjord is Gudvangen. Nearby is the Kjelsfoss (waterfall).From Gudvangen E 16, which is joined at Vinje by Road 13, coming from Vik, runs back by way of Voss to Bergen.
Kaupanger, at the head of the Amlabugt, an inlet on the north side of the Sognefjord, is connected by ferry with Revsnes, Gudvangen and Årdalstangen. It has a 13th century stave church (restored 1862) and an open-air museum, the Heibergske Samlinger, with a number of old houses.To the east of Kaupanger the Sognefjord splits into the Lusterfjord, which leads north towards the Jotunheim, the Årdalsfjord to the east and the Lðrdalsfjord to the southeast.
Lusterfjord - Urnes Stave Church
The Lusterfjord, 45km/30mi long, owes the milky coloring of its water to the numerous glacier-fed streams which flow into it. At Urnes, on the east side of the fjord, is one of the oldest stave churches in the country, originally dating from before 1100. From Skjolden, at the northern tip of the fjord, there is a road to the Jotunheim.
The Årdalsfjord is the most easterly arm of the Sognefjord. At its head, on an old raised beach, is the little town of Årdalstangen or Årdal (pop. 2,300), with a large aluminum plant. To the south is the highest peak in the Slettefjell, Sauenosi (1,352m/4,436ft).
Øvre Årdal (Vettisfoss)
To the north of Årdalstangen, on the Årdalsvatn, is the industrial township of Øvre Årdal. From here a road runs north to Hjelle, from which it is a three-four hours' walk up the Vettisgjel gorge to the Vettisfoss, a waterfall 260m/850ft high, which has been protected since 1924 as a natural monument.
The Lærdalsfjord extends southeast from Kaupanger. At the head of the fjord, at the mouth of the Lðrdal, is Lærdalsøyri, with a number of old houses, including the Hanseatic House.