SituationThe Geirangerfjord and surrounding area offer some of the finest scenery in the whole of Norway. It is the eastward continuation of the Sunnylvsfjord, a branch of the Storfjord. From the shores of the Geirangerfjord, with its numerous waterfalls, there is a succession of magnificent views.AccessThe narrow and winding road to the village of Geiranger, at the east end of the fjord, turns north off Road 15 (Gudbrandsdal to the Nordfjord) to the west of Grotli.
Grotli (alt. 870m/2,854ft), an important road junction, is frequently snowbound well into the summer. Some 15km/9mi west of the town the Geiranger road (No. 58) turns off. The first stretch of the road runs through bare mountain country on the northern shore of the Breidalsvann (alt. 880m/2,887ft), which is caught between the Breidalsegga to the north and the Vassvendegga to the south, and then skirts two smaller lakes (on left). In 18km/11mi the road passes, also on the left, the Djupvann (1,004m/3,294ft), which is frequently frozen until August, and in another 2km/1.25mi comes to the highest point on the road (1,038m/3,406ft), which is open for traffic from June 1 to October 15. On the south side of the lake are the sheer rock faces of the Grasdalsegga (1,570m/5,151ft). At the west end of the lake is the Djupvasshytta hotel (alt. 1,020m/3,347ft), which is frequented by summer skiers (ski race at end of June).
Here the road known as the Nibbevej (normally open June 1 to October 1; toll) branches off and climbs 5km/3miles, with gradients of up to 12.5% and 10 hairpin bends, to the summit of the Dalsnibba (1,495m/4,905ft), from which there are superb views of the mountains and the Geirangerfjord far below.
Soon after Djupvasshytta, beyond the watershed between the Skagerrak and the Atlantic, an impressive stretch of mountain road begins. The Geiranger road (opened in 1885) descends some 1,000m/3,280ft, with gradients of up to 8% and 20 sharp bends (some of them very tight indeed) and several bridges, to reach Geiranger in 17km/10mi (distance as the crow flies only 7km/4.5mi). On this road there is a sudden transition from the severe climate of the mountain regions to the warmer and milder air of the sheltered valley. 2km/1.25mi along the road, on the left, is the Blåfjell, with the Jettegryte ("Giant's Cauldron"), a cavity 2.2m/7ft across and 9.5m/30ft deep gouged out by glacial action.
Beyond the Øvre Blåfjellbro (bridge) there is a magnificent view: to the left the Flydalshorn, to the right the Vindåshorn and beyond it the Såthorn (1,779m/5,837ft) and the Grindalshorn (1,534m/5,033ft), and straight ahead the "Eagles' Road" which winds its way up from Geiranger to Eidsdal. The road then crosses the Nedre Blåfjellbro, with the falls on the Kvandalselv to the right, and descends into the next "step " in the valley, the Flydal. To the left we reach the Flydalshorn, to the right the Blåhorn (1,738m/5,702ft).
Beyond Ørjeseter is the Flydalsjuv (alt. 300m/1,000ft; parking), a gorge offering a superb view. From Hole, a short distance beyond this, a rewarding trip can be made to Vesterås and from there on a marked footpath to the Storseterfoss, a waterfall 30m/100ft high.From Hole the main road continues to the Utsikten Bellevue Hotel. Beyond this (on left, before a bridge) is a standing stone commemorating the adoption of the Norwegian constitution of 1814.
The road then continues to Geiranger, a little port and tourist resort at the east end of the Geirangerfjord.The town of Geirangerfjord has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. As Norway's third largest cruise-ship port, the town has several hundred thousand people pass through from May to early September.
During the summer season very attractive sightseeing cruises by motorship (two hours) are run several times daily - a good way of seeing the impressive scenery of the fjord, with its sheer rock walls and numerous waterfalls. High up on the left can be seen the abandoned farm of Skageflå; then on the right the Syv Søstre (Seven Sisters) waterfall, which forms seven separate falls when swollen by melt-water in spring. To the left of this is another waterfall, Friaren (the Suitor), to the right Brudesløret (the Bridal Veil).
To the west the Geirangerfjord runs into the Sunnylvsfjord. At the south end of this fjord is the village of Hellesylt; at its north end, to the west, Stranda. From Hellesylt there is a ferry to Geiranger.From Geiranger Road 60 follows the north side of the Geirangerfjord, coming in 3km/2mi to Møllgårdene, a group of houses over 200 years old, the starting point of the "Eagles' Road".
The Eagles' Road (Ørneveien) links the Geirangerfjord with the Norddalsfjord. It climbs in 11 hairpin bends, with fine views of the Geirangerfjord and its waterfalls, to Korsmyra (alt. 624m/2,047ft), where it reaches its highest point, and then descends, passing the Eidsvann, to Eidsdal.
Eidsdal, on the southern edge of Norddalsfjord, has some industry (woodworking, clothing manufacture) and a fine octagonal church of 1782. There is a ferry to Linge on the north side of the fjord, from which Road 63 runs east to Åndalsnes and west to Ålesund.