Sailing from Newcastle
Newcastle • Cruising Lysefjord, Norway • Cruising Hardangerfjord, Norway • Eidfjord, Norway • Bergen, Norway • Flam, Norway • Cruising Sognefjord, Norway • Olden, Norway • Newcastle
The Lysefjord is a stunning example of the Norwegian fjords' spectacular natural beauty. Carved into the landscape by glacier movement in the Ice Age approximately 10,000 years ago, Lysefjord is lined by magnificent mountains and dramatic cliff faces – some soaring over 1,000 metres high into the unpolluted skies above.
In some sections of the fjord the water is as deep as the mountains are high, however at the shallowest point the water depth drops to just 13 metres. This means only small ships such as those in the Fred. Olsen fleet can cruise the Lysefjord.
Sailing along the glassy waters on board a smaller cruise ship is without doubt the best way to take in the fjord's eclectic sights. Lookout for tumbling waterfalls, wonderful wildlife and pretty settlements dotted along the shores; and marvel at the sight of the impressive Lysefjordbrua suspension bridge as so you sail into the fjord.
On a clear day it is possible to see the famous Preikestolen – a huge 604 metre-high flat mountain plateau – and Kjeragbolten, a large rock wedged in one of Mount Kjerag’s crevices. If you’re very lucky you may hear the gunshot-like bang of Kjeragsmellet – an unexplained natural phenomenon that’s particularly prominent in the winter months.
Known as the queen of the Fjord, Hardangerfjord is situated centrally in the heart of Western Norway. The best way to experience this incredible Fjord is to sail along the 197 kilomteres, enjoying the spellbinding scenery, towering mountains, waterfalls and idyllic orchards.
The picturesque village of Eidfjord set within the breath-taking Hardangerfjord, is a gateway to some of the region's most spectacular natural features. Eidfjord is possibly the most beautiful place in the Norwegian fjords. Located beneath a back-drop of soaring, snow-peaked mountains, engraved with rivers and waterfalls, Eidfjord simply cries out to be photographed. The village’s tranquil feel extends to the lush fields that run for miles, meandering through clusters of wood-slat homes in ice-cream hues.
Two quaint churches, one dated back to 1309, are both worth exploring, while the cute Troll Train offers a 50-minute guided tour of this stunning region. From the train you can experience Eidfjord’s exquisite scenery and Hæreid, the largest Viking burial site from the Iron Age.
Hiking is very popular in the area, and for those keen sports enthusiasts, kayaking down the dramatic, mountain-flanked fjords is a must-do. Alternatively, visitors can head for the amazing Hardangervidda Nature Centre or the infamous Voringfossen Waterfall, a tumbling natural beauty set deep in the mountains of Måbødalen Valley.
Seven hills and seven fjords frame Hanseatic Bergen, a city steeped in maritime heritage. Of Bergen’s many attractions, the 900-year-old UNESCO-listed Bryggen Wharf. A delight to explore, the Bryggen's cobbled stairways are lined with traditional half-timbered buildings and climb away from the waterfront, leading to curious open spaces that are often overflowing with colourful flowers that perfume the air.
Bergen has a vibrant fish market and hosts one of Norway's biggest cultural events of the year, the Bergen International Festival. The city was once the home of Norway's most famous composer, Edvard Grieg, and the Troldhaugen Museum is devoted to his life’s work.
Not to be missed is a chance to ride the Funicular Railway to the top of Mount Fløyen, offering spectacular panoramic views of Bergen and its scenic surroundings.
Flåm is a tiny village on the banks of the Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the spectacular Sognefjord – the longest and deepest fjord in Europe. Situated amongst scenes of picturesque orchards, hamlets, cottages and farmland, this is one of Norway's most breathtaking locations.
Visitors to Flåm are often drawn to the charming village church, with its traditionally decorated walls, while the Flåmsbana Railway is ranked highly on the fjordland's must-do list. Climbing over 20km as it passes through the magnificent mountain scenery, the Flåmsbana takes in incredible sights such as the striking Kjosfossen Waterfall, crashing 225 metres down rugged cliffs. The Flåmsbana Museum, exploring the railway’s design and construction, is worth visiting too.
Flåm is also perfectly situated for boat tours to UNESCO-listed Naeroyfjord, one of National Geographic's top natural heritage sites.
The magnificent Sognefjord is one of the world's longest fjords and the largest in Norway. Truly one of the world's most stunning natural wonders, a scenic cruise along this spectacular waterway will showcase the best that mother nature has to offer including incredible scenery, snow-capped mountains and glistening waterfalls.
At its eastern end, the magnificent Nordfjord divides into three arms beneath the glaciers of the Jostedalsbreen, and Olden sits at the beginning of the southernmost of these arms. A charming village, Olden is among green meadows which are ablaze with colourful flowers throughout the summer, and through which babbling brooks meander between pretty houses.
In the centre of the village is the Old Church, built in 1759 on the site of a 14th century stave church: the timber was used for the pew doors and doorposts. Near the church is the Singerheimen, the former home of William Singer the millionaire founder of the sewing-machine company. He was a gifted amateur artist, and some of his paintings of the Olden area can be seen in his workshop.
The beautiful Oldedalen Valley extends for 12 miles behind Olden and is an absolute joy to explore. On an adventure into the valley you can marvel at huge, near-vertical cliffs, a string of spectacular waterfalls, and sparkling glaciers, such as the astonishing Briksdal.
At a glance....
Balmoral is Fred. Olsen's largest and newest cruise ship, named after the Scottish home of the Royal Family. Still smaller than most cruise ships today, there are 710 cabins and suites and generous public space for the 1,300 guests on board.
|Passengers||1350 Standard Occupancy|
|Beam (width)||28.2 m|