Guest Author - Julie Fredrick
Are you interested in a cultural ecotour like no other? Look no further, Fjord Norway may be your answer!
Norway’s motto is “powered by nature”, and from the abundance of outdoor opportunities available, the title is rightfully deserved. Norway is a sparsely populated Scandanavian country lying on the western and northern most area of Scandinavia. Its entire western coast is made up of a system of fjords flanked by tall mountains.
To begin, let’s define the word “fjord”. A fjord is a deep, long and narrow sea surrounded on three sides by steep mountains. The opening toward the sea, called the mouth of the fjord, and is often shallow. The fjord's sea bottom is its deepest, inner part. If the geological formation is wider than it is long, it is a bay or cove, not a fjord. These U-shaped valleys were formed over several ice ages by glacial activity.
The main reason for visiting Fjord Norway is to experience the ecological and geographical diversity contained in this area. In 2003, Norway’s western fjords beat out Machu Picchu, Egypt’s pyramids and the Great Wall of China as the most popular World Heritage Sites.
Norway’s tourism authorities recently signed the National Geographic tourism charter, encouraging geotourism, which National Geographic defines as "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of the place being visited – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents."
There are a number of ways to combine tours in Fjord Norway, either independently or through a travel specialist—or a combination of both. Tours can be from 2 days to 2 weeks in length. My suggestions is that the traveler enjoy some time on either end of the trip exploring the sights on their own, and embarking on one or more guided tours through the fjords.
Bergen, the “gateway to the fjords”, is a stunning World heritage city surrounded by mountains and fjords. With one of Europe’s oldest symphony orchestras, it offers much in the way of cultural entertainment. International airlines, cruise ships, rail and highways make access to Bergen simple. Don’t let the remoteness of this area fool you, though, there are many small cities and towns to visit during your trip, each with its unique personality.
Adventure travelers have plenty to choose from, including bicycling, hiking, scuba diving, climbing and kayaking and skiing. These activities can be arranged independently or through a travel service, either escorted or self-guided.
Scuba diving? In Norway? I know, it sounds like a frigid idea, but thanks to the Gulf Stream, the water is warmer than expected. Diving with orcas is quite popular, as is diving the many wrecks of WWII ships.
Climbing in Fjord Norway is excellent and dates back 150 years, although the scenery is just as breathtaking as ever. You don’t have to be a base jumper to get the most out of climbing in Norway, but you should watch their videos of the “Birdmen of Norway” to see what I’m talking about.
Another way to see Fjord Norway is, of course, by boat, and here you will find a wide range to suit any preference, from small, express vessels speeding you through the waterways to 1000-passenger cruise ships. Sailing is a relaxing way to absorb the beauty surrounding you.
Accommodations range from camping, cabin rentals and hostels to farm stays or luxurious hotels and spas. Check out www.fjord-pass.com to save money on accommodations.
Visit www.fjordnorway.com for one of the most comprehensive guides to travel opportunities in Fjord Norway. www.fjords.com is also a useful travel-planning tool.
Great book from Amazon.com to get you started