Try Norway in a nutshell in an alternative way. Visit Norwegian fjords in winter, by car and doing something different. One thing I can assure you of – you’re gonna love it!
The area famous for Norway in a Nutshell, the route linking Oslo with Bergen and passing through the UNESCO fjords and mountains on the way. Typically, travelled by train and a boat. It goes through Geilo (where you can try dog sledding), Flåm and Myrdal. It’s the most popular in the summertime.
But how is it in winter? Why do I think it’s the best time to visit the Norwegian Fjords? What to do in Flåm, is it worth to visit Aurland and what else is hidden around.
This area in Norway is particularly famous because of the beautiful gift of nature – a long and narrow fjord. Nærøyfjord is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and every year draws in a lot of tourists. The little village in the area, that got famous because of the railway is called Flåm. A bit bigger one, lying nearby, is Aurland.
Why is winter the best time to visit Norwegian Fjords and Norway in a Nutshell?
The crowds are gone
Summer means summer holidays, many tourists visiting Europe, higher temperatures, and easier travel. That’s also the season, when the most popular touristic route in Norway – Norway in a nutshell, gets the busiest. You need to book your tickets well in advance, fight for accommodation and squeeze in next to the window to see the views.
Winter is different.
You won’t find many people around. You can be alone with the majestic fjords, admiring the nature. The prices will be cheaper, the bookings more available. Some of the places might be closed and it’s getting dark earlier, but this just means later sunrises and earlier sunsets, which are easier to catch.
I loved sitting in the evening by the edge of the fjord and looking at the peaceful mountains (that were still visible because of the snow) and listening to the silence. We often don’t realize how much noise is in our everyday life and it’s so refreshing to cut out of it for a bit and enjoy the peace.
It’s so beautiful
I’m not saying it’s not beautiful in the summer. I’m sure it is. But the winter landscape just blows me away. The peaks covered with snow, the low sunlight, the fluffy snow covering the paths, the fireplace in the cozy cottage. This is real Norway feel for me.
What to do in Flåm and Aurland area and how to spend the best time in Nærøyfjord in winter?
Take a cruise (or not)
One of the most popular activities is to take a cruise that goes from Flåm to Gundvangen (and back) through beautiful and dramatic Nærøyfjord. In winter the fjord looks spectacular. We preferred to view it from the peacefulness of our cabin and from the hike in the mountains, but trying the cruise in winter might be even better than in the summer – as there won’t be many people around.
Take a train (or not)
Flåm Railway has been named one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and is also one of the steepest. As you can imagine, it’s a big tourist attraction of the area. The train takes you from Flåm at the sea level, to Myrdal, located at 867 meters. You can’t get to Myrdal by driving, so train, cycling or walk is the only way.
Pass through the longest tunnel in the world
Lærdal Tunnel measures 24.51 kilometers and it’s the longest road tunnel in the world. The journey through it is rather dull, but it’s always something different, at least when you do it for the first time 😉 You would need to pass through it if you drive through the mountains to get to Aurland or Flåm. The journey itself is amazing!
Admire the view from Stegastein viewpoint
The viewing platform, hanging 650 meters above Aurlandsfjord, makes big impression. Stegastein viewpoint sticks out 30 meters from the mountain and provides great views to the fjord and Aurland below. The road leading to it, is the beginning of the Snow road, hair-pinning above the water. If you do a winter road trip in Norway, it’s easy to get there from Aurland by car.
Hike the Snow road
Aurlandsfjellet, also called a “snow road”, because of the amount of snow falling there in winter, is one of the 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes. It connects Aurland with Lærdalsøyrican and can be driven in the summer months when the snow melts. In winter, however, Snow Road is a perfect place for winter hiking or cross-country skiing. Going off the road into the hills will lead you to the wonderful landscape and open a view to the fjords below. You can hike with snowshoes or your own equipment. Remember to always have a map and a compass with you in the mountains. If you are not experienced in winter hiking, you can take an organized tour.
Visit Undredal village
Populated by 100 people and 500 goats, Undredal is famous for its delicious goat cheese. In the local shop in town, you can find different varieties of the cheese, including famous Norwegian brown cheese. The cheese production is very important for the local economy and the Undredal farms produce up to 10 900 kg of cheese per year. In the center of town, you can even find a monument of Undredal’s goat.
We bought some young matured goat cheese and goat sausage. The seller in the shop let us try different types. One of them was Gamalost, traditional Norwegian cheese made from soured cows milk and then cured for weeks. I wasn’t the fan.
Undredal is also home to the smallest stave church in Northern Europe. The church was closed when we arrived, but it was very tiny. You probably don’t need the big one for just 100 people in the village, as I believe the goats can wait outside 😉
Read more: Experience winter in Polish Tatra mountains.
Stay by the fjord
When you are in the beautiful location, like this one, I like to treat myself to the 24-hour view 😀 Be it camping under the stars or staying in the cozy cottage overlooking the mountains by the fjord. The last one is perfect for those winter evenings. Mulled wine on the terrace with the view – what else do you need? Book your stay in Vangsgaarden Gjestgiveri here.
Would you like to visit Nærøyfjord in winter and try different activities that Norway in a Nutshell in winter has to offer? Do you agree that winter might be one of the best time to visit Norwegian fjords? 😉 Let me know in the comments! I will be coming back in the summer, so stay tuned!
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