Geiranger Fjord

Geiranger Fjord


Location: Møre og Romsdal County Map


Description of Geiranger Fjord

Geiranger Fjord in Møre og Romsdal Conty, Norway is one of the most popular and most visited fjords in the country. In fact it was designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the branches of Storfjord (Great Fjord) cut by glaciers over a course of thousands of years. In addition to picturesque geological formations Geiranger Fjord has several beautiful waterfalls that flow down the sides of the deep natural canyon. One of the most famous fall include The Bridal Veil, names so due to its similarity to a light veil when the sun backlights the water falling from the cliff side. Another water fall is that of Seven Sisters on one side and another across the fjord that is called The Friar or the Suitor. Local legends claim that many centuries ago a man started pursuing these seven sisters. Poor women got so sick of hazing they asked spirits of water to save them. Ancient pagan gods had a strange sense of humour so they turned them into seven waterfalls. The man saw what happened and asked to join them for eternal life. The spirits of Geiranger Fjord complied with the request, but kept him separated from women.


Geography and climate
The geological development in the area took place during the last ice age. The glaciers dug out deep fjords and formed high mountains. At its deepest, the fjords are around 6-700 meters. You will also find mountains that are up to 2000 meters high.

The area around the fjord is mild, which makes fruit and berry production possible. The winters are not very cold in the lowlands, yet there can be a lot of snow, often with good skiing conditions, in the mountains.

The two most famous waterfalls in the Geirangerfjord are Knivsflåfossene, better known as The Seven Sisters and The Friar. The two waterfalls are located on opposite sides of the fjord, and it is said that the Friar makes a cure for The Seven Sisters on the other side.

Another waterfall in the fjord is Brudesløret.

Settlement around the fjord
There must have been settlement in the areas around the fjord from just after the last ice age 10,000 years ago. During this time, the area must primarily have been inhabited by reindeer hunters. Signs of settlement in the Late Bronze Age 4,000 years ago have also been found.

The area is currently divided between the municipalities of Norddal and Stranda. The population of Norddal municipality is about 1760 inhabitants divided into five small settlements, Eidsdal, Fjørå, Norddal, Tafjord and the administration center Valldal. Stranda municipality has 4540 inhabitants in the villages Geiranger, Hellesylt, Liabygda and the administration center Stranda.

Due to all the tourism connected to the fjord, the population in these municipalities increases considerably during the tourist season, especially in the summer. These mostly consist of seasonal workers and people who have cabins and caravans stuck.

Mountain climbers from Great Britain were among the first to discover the fjord as an exotic destination in the mid-19th century. As early as 1869, the first tourist ship sailed into the fjord.

A shuttle service was reportedly established in the area. The goal was to transport tourists up Geirangervegen (built in 1889) to Djupvasshytta. In the beginning, horse-drawn carriages were used, but eventually imported cars were rebuilt to cope with local road conditions.

Since then, several hotels and cabins have been built to provide shelter for the growing tourism. The roads have also been improved and thus made it easier to get to the tourist destinations. In 1936 came Trollstigvegen, Nibbevegen in 1939, and Ørnevegen in 1954. The latter is open all year.

The industry in the district is well served by tourism. It is now estimated that there are about 600,000 tourists visiting Geiranger and Trollstigen during a summer.