Can You Kayak In Norway Fjords – My Experience (Voss, Naeroyfjord, Aurlandsfjord)

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Can You Kayak In Norway Fjords

If you’ve landed here looking for information on whether you Can Kayak in the Norway Fjords, then you’re in the right place.

For starters, the answer is YES, you can Kayak the Norwegian Fjords, and this I my experience.

I’ll share my Kayaking trip details, which started in Bergen but took us through the Aurlandsfjord and Naeroyfjord (both arms of the Sognefjord).

Here is a snapshot of the Paddling Route I took through the Fjords;

Chris Watson Kayaking Aurlandsfjord through Naeroyfjord

Stick with me, and I’ll provide you with a detailed trip report below.

I’ll clarify any questions and hopefully encourage you to schedule your trip and provide tips on how to plan for it accordingly.

Reach out and contact me if you have a question.

Kayaking in the Norwegian Fjords was a total bucket list experience; it was honestly something so magical that I can’t wait to repeat it.

I even posted about about my trip on Twitter, and caught the attention of the Norwegian Tourist board!

Visit Norway Twitter replies to Chris Watson of Paddling Ventures

I am a keen kayaker and have spent lots of time on the lochs in Scotland, and I was so excited to see how these seawater fjords stacked up.

Could Norway really match the beauty of my own country, Bonnie Scotland?

Well, I wasn’t disappointed.

But let me take you through my trip and what you can expect should you wish to paddle this journey.

My trip began in Bergen.

Are There Fjords in Bergen?

I arrived in Bergen, having flown into Bergen Airport (BG)  from Aberdeen (ABZ), Scotland, to start my trip.

My mate Jaimie accompanied me; I’d booked this trip as a 40th birthday present for him while also conveniently ticking off a bucket list item of my own.

Win-Win!

Aberdeen to Bergen flight - on way to the fjords

But are there fjords in Bergen?  well, not exactly,

Bergen is a city in the southwest of Norway, and while it has a port, it’s more of a gateway to the Fjords than direct access.

It was our starting where we met up with our guides from NordicVentures.com.

The reality is we had to go further afield to the famous Sognefjord (the biggest fjord in Norway).

But first, we had an overnight stay in Vossevangen, in the municipality of Voss.

Bergen to Voss

Voss is around 1-5 to 2 hours by road from Bergen city or 1 hour 10 mins by train.

We stayed in a private room in the Voss Vandraheim Hostel.

Voss Vandraheim Hostel photos

I’d highly recommend doing this; you’ll get to mingle with and meet other adventure seekers too, and the breakfast and dining area is right on the water.   It has a great vibe, honestly.

It also has a sauna too!

But for those that prefer a tad more luxury, there are these two great alternatives in Voss.

  • Scandic Voss
  • Fleischers Hotel

Click here to see your options

We had a night out to sample the best of what this little village had to offer.

You can walk from the Voss Vandraheim Hostel in under 10 minutes, and the other two recommended hotels are almost in the town itself.

Voss is a sporty little place.

From watersports (kayaking, rafting, whitewater), hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and paragliding, even base jumping!

This little town has plenty to offer on that front.

It even hosts an annual Extreme Sports Event.

P.S. It has more than its fair share of outdoor stores, so if you’ve forgotten some hiking, camping or paddling gear then you needn’t worry.

Prices were very reasonable too, particularly when compared with Bergen city

Tired from the day’s travels, we found a place to settle at called The Tre Broer Cafe.

Nice little setting in the center of town, with an outdoor terrace and fire pit.

We sampled the food and the local beer (only 1 or 2… ok, then it was actually 5-6 ) – before we retired back to the hostel.

Visit to vossevangen pre kayaking

Ultimately this stopover gave us a little time to relax, acclimatize, feed and water ourselves, and get a small taste of Norwegian culture before we set off in the morning to the picturesque Village of Undredal.

Where the real adventure begins!

But first, we had to stop off and collect our gear in Gudvangen.

Travel to Gudvangen

Our actual starting point for the paddle would begin the following morning in Aurlandsfjord from the village of Gudvangen, a 45-minute drive from Voss.

You’ll pass through many, many tunnels on the way – which punctuates the glorious views of the countryside and waterways.

This is where we met our actual guide, who would accompany us on the overnight trip Jordan (@jj_coaching_ on Instagram)

After a meet-greet with Jordan and the rest of our group, including some well-received coffee and classic Norwegian chocolate buns (known as a Boller) we packed up our equipment.

We then headed off to our launch point in the picturesque village of Undredal.

Kayaking & Camping Checklist:

As advised by Nordic Ventures:

  • A good quality jacket with a hood for use at the campsite
  • Warm clothing for the evening at the campsite. Long pants, fleece jacket
  • A set of long underwear (pants + top) as this will help you stay warm (wool or polypropylene works better than cotton in the outdoors)
  • 2-3 pairs of Merino Wool socks or similar; avoid cotton
  • A small towel, should you wish to swim in the fjord 😊😊
  • A sun cap or beanie hat
  • Sunglasses with a retainer strap, sun protection lotion
  • A personal water bottle – you will be able to refill this during the tour
  • Toiletry items and personal medicine, if needed
  • Camera – batteries fully charged – no power outlets at the campsites. We can provide
  • you with a waterproof storage container for your camera while on tour.
  • Personal snacks, if needed
  • 1-2 pairs of finger gloves for the early and late season if you easily freeze your fingers.
  • Some Medium sized Zip Lock plastic bags will come in handy
  • Travel documents, insurance, and passport

Our trip included all necessary equipment such as sea kayaks, paddles, pumps, spray deck, life jacket, dry back, tent, food, and great company. 😊

The journey from Gudvangen to Undredal was only around 40 mins, and again through some magnificent countryside and, of course, more tunnels.

Undredal – Where We Launched Our Kayaks

What a stunning starting point Undredal is.   It’s a must-visit!

It is said to have been (in part) the inspiration for the Disney movie, Frozen, and I can see why.

An air of mystique surrounds it.

We didn’t stay too long here, but it was long enough to leave a lasting impression on me, and it is somewhere id love to revisit, if only for a few hours, to take it all in again.

There’s something truly captivating, almost magical, about this spot, and I can see why Disney thought so too.

Undredal Norway Kayaking Launch
Village of Undredal, in Aurland Municipality in the Vestland County of Norway.

We set off in our groups, a mix of single kayaks and tandems.

The weather wasn’t the most inviting at this point, the wind was picking up, and we encountered some slightly rough waters when we entered the Aurlandsfjord.

Still, after getting going and~ 2 hours of paddling, and drinking in some incredible sights, we stopped for lunch along the way.

After lunch, we continued another 2 hours or so of paddling the Aurlandsfjord before we entered the Naeroyfjord, where our campsite for the night would be.

Lunch Kayaking the Aurlandsfjord

Camping On the Banks of Naeroyfjord

There aren’t that many landing zones along the Naeroyfjord; you’re mostly faced with steep rock faces that descent into the water, and those that we did pass were large rocky outcrops that you needed a little exertion to land into (which was our experience when we stopped for lunch!)

However, the campsite the guide had sorted was on a beautiful patch of green grassy land within a small inlet with a pebbled beach for easy landing with our kayaks and camping gear (and also launching the next morning), somewhere between Drydal & Bakka.

Our Campsite Location & Route Map

Undredal to Gudvangen Kayaking route

It had a few sheep grazing away, which didn’t seem to mind us wandering about and setting up camp!

The highlight, however, was the insane waterfall, an incredible backdrop to the campsite.

This is derived from glacial meltwaters, and we couldn’t resist going for a dip.

It was obviously crazy cold BUT highly refreshing and good for the soul.  I highly recommend it.

Camping in Bakka on Naeroyfjord

It was also a great opportunity to fill up drink bottles and gather plenty of water for the rest of the team for our dinner and festivities that evening,

This was taken in late august, and the weather was surprisingly mild, actually warm –  to the extent – that evening.

We had a hearty dinner around a campfire, a few drinks, and swapped a load of stories before retiring to our tents.

campfire at our campsite in Bakka in Naeroyfjord park

Can You Swim In the Norwegian fjords?

can you swim in the norwegian fjords

Yes, you can swim in the fjords, but only if you can find an entry point!

The Fjords were carved during the ice age, which came as a result of retreating glaciers that created huge re voids that have since filled with seawater.

You’ll mostly be so you’re surrounded by dramatic deep cliffs sides with not many beaches or landing zones as you’d think

So whilst you can swim in the fjords you’ll need to map out your location, find a suitable ebay, or harbour that you can enter and exit safely.. like the image above.

What is the best fjord for Kayaking in Norway?

I’ve only kayaked in Naeroyfjord, & Aurlandsfjord, and I preferred my experience within the Naeroyfjord.

I would therefore say that in my experience that Naeroyfjord is the best fjord for kayaking, for now, at least until I return and test the others further north in Arctic Norway.

But why, in my opinion, is Naeroyfjord the best fjord for Kayaking?

Firstly, when I entered the Aurlandsfjord, I did so with a degree of trepidation (pre-departure nerves, I suppose), partly due to the wind and the weather wasn’t the best at that point; we ended up paddling into the wind, and some waves,  for a good couple of hours before we managed to turn left into the arm of the Naeroyfjord and calmer waters.   

What is the best fjord for Kayaking in Norway

It was calmer and more sheltered, and I had much more opportunity to take in the scenery as I didn’t feel like I was constantly battling the elements.

To be honest, there was less sight seeing at this point of the journey and more time spent adjusting to the boat and the conditions.

Naeroyfjord, and when we stopped for lunch, everything seemed so much calmer, the sun came out, and it was much more enjoyable.

It was serene, full of interest, waterfalls, mythical stories (from our guide Jordan), and incredible wildlife!

It’s clear to see why Naeroyfjord is a Unesco World Heritage Site

We paddled close to a shoal of porpoises; we saw mink scrambling across the rocks as we paddled closer to our final stop in Gudvangen, we were met overhead by a huge Sea Eagle and some playful seals bopping around in the harbor.

Jordan even noted that he’d seen an Orca in the fjord on a previous trip – which isn’t that common this far south BUT much more common the further north you go into the Norwegian Arctic Fjords – hence why I’d love to return and try the fjords in the north, around Tromso.

To paddle up close with orcas would be a dream come true!

What is the biggest fjord in Norway?

The Sognefjord is the biggest fjord in Norway which stretches for 204 kilometers and is 1308m deep (at its deepest point.

To put that depth into perspective, that’s deeper than 3 empire state buildings stacked on top of each other!

What is the biggest fjord in Norway

 

To put the Sogneford width and depth into perspective against  the 2 fjords arms that we paddled;

Aurlandsfjord

  • ~2km wide
  • 1000m deep

Naeroyfjord

  • ~20km wide
  • 500m deep

It makes you feel small, eh?

What is the best time of year to visit the Norwegian fjords?

Summertime is the best time to visit Norwegian fjords; ideally, between June & August is when you’ll have the best weather for being out on the water.

We went mid-august, and the weather was fantastic; we were particularly fortunate.

As you can see in the photos below

What is the best time of year to visit the Norwegian fjords

summertime in the norwegian fjords

Summertime was the best time in the Fjords!

If you visit the Fjords in the autumn, the landscape and forests start to burst with golden autumnal colors, huts and hills and fjords all dusted with snow and frost.  Magical.

As Autumn melds into Winter from December to February, you’ll see much more dramatic landscapes and snowscapes and the chance to catch the northern lights.

When we turn the corner into spring from March to May, the snow and glaziers start to melt and bring the fjords to life with fauna, flora, and more wildlife.

I would say that the fjords will offer different experiences no matter what time of year you go.

I would recommend summertime, BUT from the research I’ve done, you can see it does still offer up unique experiences all year round;

Just plan and pack accordingly!

As the old saying goes.  There’s no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing!

Bringing Our Trip To A Close

As we finished our trip at Gudvangen, we took a short coach trip back to Vossevangen and then the train from Voss Stasjon to Bergen central.

bergen harbour from the water

Time for a short stroll around the center, some beers in the Bryggen, and then wrapping up with some amazing Fish & Chips at the picturesque Bergen Fish Market.

The fish market is worth a visit in its own right – everything from Cod to Whale Burgers!

Fish & Chips at Bergen Fish Market

What Next

Well, I’ll definitely go back to Norway in the future, likely further north, to explore the Artic Fjords.

In the meantime, I’d encourage you to book an adventure, heck, even re-create our Kayaking In Norway Fjords Adventure, and I GUARANTEE you’ll love it.

Click the links below to do this same adventure and create your own lasting memories.

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