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Explore the World Heritage

We encourage you to explore the World Heritage. Listen to the rushing rivers and the swirling waterfalls! Feel the wind against your cheeks when you go hiking amidst the natural world heritage! Look for traces of the people who for centuries made their living in the most incredible places in the wilderness.

When you go walking in the world heritage landscape you will realise how important it is to protect the natural and cultural heritage that makes the Geirangerfjord and the surrounding areas such a unique region.

All the World Heritage villages provide access to exciting walks, and you will be able to find a route that suits your own abilities – ranging from short and easy strolls to long and more challenging hikes.

All the walks provide rich natural and cultural experiences.

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Choose your walk according to your abilities – graded routes

All of the villages in the Geiranger area offer access to a number of great walks. All marked routes have been graded according to the national walks standard. It is important that you understand what the different gradings mean. This will make it easier for you to find a route that suits your abilities.

The descriptions below refer to walking, but the grading scale is the same whether you go skiing, cycling or paddling.

Green – easy

Suitable for beginners

  • no special skills required
  • achievable by most people
  • routes that are accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs are marked with special symbols

Gradients and exposure

  • moderate climbs
  • no steep hills

Type of path

  • tarmac, gravel, forestry roads and good tracks
  • generally short walks
  • relatively firm and even surface, no major obstacles or crossing of streams

Elevation and distance

  • < 300 m
  • < 5 km

Blue – intermediate

Suitable for hill walkers with some experience of the countryside

  • moderately fit hill walkers
  • basic capabilities

Gradients and exposure

  • moderate gradients that may include some steep sections
  • may include sections considered to be dizzying by people with a fear of heights

Type of path

  • may include slightly more demanding sections than the green routes
  • may be rocky, but no scree
  • simple river crossings only

Elevation and distance

  • < 600 m
  • < 10 km

Red – demanding

Suitable for experienced hill walkers

  • good stamina required
  • good hiking equipment and sturdy mountain boots
  • map reading and compass navigation skills

Gradients and exposure

  • several types of gradients and challenges
  • several lofty and exposed sections
  • may be technically challenging, some climbing and scrambling

Type of path

  • tracks, open countryside, stony ground, scree and bare rock
  • may include steep inclines and long sections of loose stone and bog
  • may include river crossings

Elevation and distance

  • < 1 000
  • < 20 km

Black – expert

Suitable for experienced hill walkers

  • good stamina required
  • good hiking equipment and sturdy mountain boots
  • map reading and compass navigation skills

Gradients and exposure

  • summit hikes with steep and difficult sections on uneven surfaces
  • precipitous sections, and sections involving exposed climbing
  • narrow ridges, bare rock, screes etc.

Type of path

  • long walks along challenging routes that are more demanding than the red routes
  • may involve demanding river-crossings
  • the routes are not always marked

Elevation and distance

  • No maximum elevation or distance

Hill walking in the Geirangerfjord area

Hardly any other area offers as great a variety of walks as this. You can stroll along easy paths close to the village centre, like the Waterfall Trail in Geiranger, the Folkestien trail in Eidsdal or the beachfront promenade and the Bedringens Vei (Road to Recovery) in Valldal. At the other end of the scale, you can climb to the summit of Slogen, the most majestic of the Sunnmøre Alps. Or perhaps you prefer to take the Dronningruta route across the lofty Holegga ridge, from Herdalssætra to Geiranger?

The walks portal www.morotur.no provides excellent descriptions of numerous walks within the World Heritage Site and beyond. First select a municipality, then browse the walks. Walks associated with the villages of Geiranger, Sunnylven (Hellesylt), Stranda and Liabygda are listed under Stranda municipality. Walks associated with the villages of Eidsdal, Norddal, Fjørå, Valldal and Tafjord are listed under Norddal municipality (soon to become Fjord municipality).

Choose a route that suits your abilities. Enjoy your walk!

The Waterfall Trail

Immediately past the Norwegian Fjord Centre runs the magnificent Storelva river, with swirling waterfalls and rapids rushing down the mountainside towards the fjord. Enjoy the view of the wild waters – and particularly the rumbling Storfossen waterfall – on the Waterfall Trail from the centre of Geiranger and up to or down from the Norwegian Fjord Centre and Hotel Union. The Waterfall Trail consists of 327 steps, with landings and lofty viewpoints, giving walkers the opportunity to safely take in the fascinating power of water up close.

Would you like to experience the Waterfall Trail in the company of a World Heritage Guide? Book here

Skiing

Do you like skiing? Perhaps you enjoy being able to swap between touring and cross-country skiing, or between alpine and alpine touring skiing? If so, you should visit the Geirangerfjord area in the winter.

Strandafjellet is home to one of the greatest ski resorts in Norway, highly rated among those who enjoy off-piste skiing! Overøye ski resort at Stordal offers downhill skiing as well as tens of kilometres of prepared touring tracks in gently undulating mountain terrain. There are great cross-country tracks at Løvoll in Eidsdal as well as at Litleåsen and onwards to Rellingsætra in Norddal. If conditions are good, tracks are also prepared from Korsmyra to Haugsetsætra and Gråsteindalen, close to the Ørnevegen.

There is an abundance of summit walks, but you must always assess the risk of avalanches. If in doubt, talk to experienced mountaineers. Choose a route that suits your abilities!

For specific skiing advice, see www.morotur.no.

Snowshoe hikes

If you are a little wobbly on skis, snowshoes make a good alternative for getting out and about in the winter landscape. Several of the farmsteads in the area can be reached on snowshoes, and you can access wonderful viewpoints or simply potter about in the forest. If you are really fit, it is possible to reach some of the mountain summits on snowshoes. Most people prefer to use ski pole rods when using snowshoes as it helps to keep their balance and provide propulsion.

Remember to always check the risk of avalanches before you head out on a hike in areas that are prone to snow slides!

Kayaking

Fancy exploring the world heritage fjords by kayak: quiet, peaceful, beautiful. The Geirangerfjord, Sunnylvsfjord and Tafjord are all excellent for paddling. You may even paddle far enough to pay a visit to one of the old fjordside farms?

Safety is important when you are kayaking. Avoid getting in the way of larger boats, even if you have right of way. There is a risk of rock slips from steep mountain sides, so keep at a safe distance from the shore. Please note that if you tip over, there are many places along the waterfront where it is impossible to scramble ashore. Keep the necessary safety equipment in the kayak at all times and it is advisable not to go kayaking alone.

There are kayak rental outlets in both Geiranger and Valldal, and guides are available too, if you wish. You can also rent kayaks in Norddal.

Wintry, clear and crisp

Wander along an ice-covered river with frozen waterfalls. Sail past shimmering snow-clad landscapes on a fjord cruise. See the Friaren and the Seven Sisters waterfalls clad in their finest winter attire. Put on a pair of snow shoes and go for a wintry walk amidst dramatic views of the world heritage landscape. Have a go at snow rafting in rubber dinghies. Greet the spring by taking a bike ride between towering banks of snow. Get close to the landscape by renting an electric car fitted with a GPS guide.  Enjoy a relaxing spa and wellness break.

The Geiranger fjord is an exciting winter destination. ‘GoViking in the Fjords’ is a Fjord Norway initiative that seeks to work with local businesses to offer outdoor tourism experiences. This allows our visitors to get closer to the forces of nature at a time of year when they reveal a brisker, wilder and more powerful side.

Go Viking product manual

The Fjordheimen knapsack

We have kitted out a knapsack available on loan upon payment of a deposit. The knapsack contains a topographic map and a walks map for the local village, a first aid kit, two picnic cups and a sheath knife. There is also a leaflet with important information about walking in the countryside. You will need to bring your own food and drink.

You are welcome to borrow the knapsack from the Norwegian Fjord Centre in Geiranger, Petrines Guesthouse in Norddal and Solvang camping in Eidsdal.

Walk safely

Throughout the World Heritage Site the great outdoors is beautiful, but it is also wild and demanding. If you set out on a walk beyond your capabilities, you may trigger a search and rescue operation, and in a worst-case scenario, you may endanger the lives of others as well as your own. We want every visitor to the World Heritage site to experience nature close up, but we encourage you to abide by some important safety precautions:

  • Let someone know what route you are taking.
  • Hillwalking off the signposted footpaths requires considerable experience of the mountain environment. Make safe route choices!
  • Make sure your footwear is appropriate for the terrain.
  • Dress according to the weather. Bring some spare clothes. Be aware that the weather can change very quickly in the mountains. It is (much) colder on the hills than in low-lying areas.
  • The banks of rivers and waterfalls are always slippery. There is a high risk of slipping and falling!
  • Take care on steep inclines, particularly if the ground is unfirm (lichen, gravel, pebbles etc.).
  • Take extra care if you venture out on high crags and unsecured viewpoints! You should also keep in mind that you may get dizzy. Falling can be fatal.
  • Avoid steep snow-covered crevices. All walking on glaciers requires the use of glacier hiking equipment. Snow can cover up deep fissures.
  • Bring sufficient food and drink on long walks.
  • Learn how to use a map and compass.
  • Memorise the phone number for the emergency services: 113, but note that many locations have no mobile reception.

The Fjord Access Code

Show consideration wherever you go

Help us preserve old fjordside farms, farmsteads, stone walls and other traces of the past. They enhance the visitor experience and add an important cultural dimension to the fjord landscape.

  • Show respect and consideration. The fjordside farms and farmsteads are private properties. Contact the owner if you wish to look inside the buildings.
  • Leave things be. Do not disturb any stones or walls, and never make piles or cairns.  Never help yourself to firewood stacked on site.
  • Make use of any toilet provided and never defecate in courtyards or on sites where other people will be walking.
  • Take all your litter home.
  • Never light a fire or a disposable barbeque in the vicinity of a building. Make use of the campfire facilities provided and make sure that the fire has been thoroughly put out before you leave. Heed the ban on open fires in woodlands throughout the summer season.

If you find anything amiss, please let us know.

Everyone has a right to roam in woodlands and outfields

The right to roam in woodlands and on mountains, along rivers and beaches and on the fjord – the right to outdoor recreation – is part of the Norwegian cultural heritage. However, this right to roam comes with a duty to look after nature, and the Norwegian Outdoor Recreation Act also stipulates that your actions must never inconvenience anybody else.

The right to roam does not include infields,such as cultivated farmland, tilled fields, grassland, enclosed pastures, gardens and young plantations.

In particular, please remember:

  • Show respect and consideration for nature and for private property.
  • Leave as little trace as possible, keep to tracks and paths, and comply with the travel rules in the protected areas.
  • Tents must be pitched at least 150 metres away from any residential house or cottage, and never in an infield.
  • Open fires are banned in woodlands between 15 April and 15 September.
  • Show consideration for grazing livestock, and close all gates behind you.
  • Due to grazing livestock in this area, all dogs must be kept on a leash between 1 April and 15 October. Outside of this period you still have a duty to keep control of your dog.
  • A fishing permit is required to fish in lakes and rivers.

For further information about the right to roam and the Norwegian outdoor recreation legislation, see https://www.environment.no/topics/outdoor-recreation/access-rights/

The countryside is not a toilet

It is far from pleasant to come across toilet paper and human excrement when you are out walking, but this has become a bit of a problem in many places. Follow this good advice if you are caught short when in the great outdoors:

  • Make sure to use the toilets you come across when out walking – even if you don’t feel the urge to go. Toilets may be few and far between.
  • Make your way at least 60 metres off the path, and away from campsites, rivers and lakes. Dig a hole in the ground at least 15–20 centimetres deep, and defecate in the hole. You should preferably be using moss, leaves or similar as a wipe. If you insist on using paper, this must be unbleached and unscented. When you are done, cover the hole with soil, moss, leaves or rocks.
  • Remember to wash your hands well after relieving yourself.
  • In areas where the soil, rock or snow has a high mineral content, you should always carry the tools you need to bag your faeces for depositing in a proper toilet. This is due to the slow rate of decomposition.

Help us look after the countryside –leave no trace!