Norway’s fjords are beautiful in a serene, otherworldly way. The entire coast of the massive country seems to be littered with incredible scenery with huge snow-capped mountains, even in the middle of summer, reaching up from the water and majestic waterfalls cascading down from them. However, there is beautiful and there is stunning, take-your-breath-away beautiful. Geiranger is very likely the most beautiful example of Norway’s fjords, even recognized above and beyond the others as the most beautiful UNESCO site in the world.
Geiranger is a tiny town of under 1000 inhabitants even in tourist season. There can be over four tourists per local on days when multiple cruise ships are in port during the high tourism season in the summer. Even still, for a tiny town, it packs a punch with a lot to do. The town doesn’t have a ton to do, but it makes a great setting out point for adventures around the fjords and mountains nearby.
On our visit, we started the day with a fjord boat tour out and back to get up close to the waterfalls. And we got really close. The boat actually pulled up directly under one of the waterfalls to get us some samples of the fresh spring water right from the source. Thanks to a stunningly warm day with the sun up high and no clouds in the sky, we were treated to shinning views of the mountains and waterfalls from the boat. We even got to see a rainbow take form over the most famous waterfall, The Seven Sisters, a waterfall formation made up of seven separate streams from the mountain peaks.
On the boat, we enjoyed the commentary on the history and nature of the area including highlights of the mountainside farms the region is known for. Until recently, these farms were completely isolated from the rest of civilization and entirely self-sufficient. Even more so though, we enjoyed the excellent local craft beer from Geiranger Brewery, available on the boat.
Later, in town, I tried to find the brewery with the assistance of Google maps. Upon arriving at the small unpaved driveway leading to what looked more like a barn than a driveway, I discovered that the brewery did not offer tastings or tours. Thankfully, near the brewery was an overlook above a small waterfall that feeds into the fjord right above town that offered a nice diversion. Also up above town was a historic wooden church and the massive hotel that overlooks the town and offers several of the Geiranger brews on tap.
Once firmly rooted back in town along the water, we again took off along the fjord, this time in a van up the mountains for views over the town and fjords. Thanks to advanced booking with a phenomenal tour company, we had no problem bringing along our twins and their large twin stroller for the drive. We first headed up the nearby Mt. Dalsnibba, where snow still lay on the ground even in the middle of July. From the peak, we could just barely see down into town with the massive cruise ships as tiny dots in the fjord between the massive mountains. Looking down the slopes covered in waterfalls made us wonder at how small the town looked from here and just how huge the landscape really is.
As we descended back down, we passed a beautifully tranquil blue mountain lake formed from melting snow with water so clear you could see the bottom, dozens of feet below. We stopped at another overlook a bit closer to town for different views of the fjord.
After, we passed back through town again in the van and proceeded up the Eagle’s Road to another overlook for a different perspective. The Eagle’s Road was built to finally connect the town to the rest of the country and winds like a snake up the mountainside. The town is only really connected during the summer as in fall, it is closed once snow begins falling and accumulates enough that it can’t be cleared until the spring. Here. we got to stand under a waterfall and look directly down the fjord. Along the waters of the fjord, we glimpsed kayakers enjoying the warm blue waters as well as small craft cruising in the sun.
As we departed town, we were treated to the sight of the sun just edging below the mountain peaks to the west. The sun never actually set during our time here in the summer, but the low angle it cut across the water lent a beautiful golden hue to the water. Geiranger is a small town, but one with a ton to keep visitors busy. For the active explorers, getting out on the waters in a kayak or biking up the mountains provides for plenty of muscle pumping action. For those more in the mood for a slower paced visit, touring the fjords and nearby mountains is an incredibly rewarding adventure with enough natural thrills. Don’t overlook this town just because of its size.