While Norway has endless fjords, Geiranger Fjord is one of the most magnificent. Because of this, nearly a million people visit each year during the high season from May through September. Cruise ships alone bring in nearly three hundred thousand people from all over the world. We somewhat dreaded the possibility of crowds, but were pleasantly surprised it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. Here is how we avoided the crowds and enjoyed our time at Geiranger.
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The area has a population of around 200, so it is not a very big town. It centers near where the cruise ships dock, which is precisely the area we avoided. There is a nice hike that we took which was plenty known, but many on the cruise ships weren’t interested in working their way up the side of the Fjord for the views. This certainly didn’t stop us from doing the hike, and we had many pleasant surprises along the way.
The hike started at Westerås Restaurant, not to be confused with Westeros for you Game of Thrones nerds. This is the starting point of many hikes of various difficulty levels. You go through a gate to start your adventure which is right at the restaurant. There are several trails to choose from but we opted to take the Løsta trail which hugs the edge of the fjord. The gate is there to keep the wildlife on the privately owned Westerås Farm, but it is accessible to hikers due to the right to roam laws. Just off the trail or even on it, you will find goats.
The goats were everywhere and they were clearly used to people being around. One of them was a little intimidated by my presence, but most would be more interested in grass than any of us. We started questioning whether we were in Norway or Scotland as these little guys were everywhere. They were unique to us, especially since we are more used to cats and dogs where we are from. Goat cheese anyone? We also spotted some llamas which made us think about going to Peru.
During the entire trek up the trail we had views of the fjord below. When there was an open spot in the trees we would stop for a quick peek or photo. The further up the trail we went, the fewer cruise ship tourists we would find. The water was so blue and smooth with little to no wind. We saw numerous waterfalls on both sides, and the fjord became more picturesque with gentle ripples when a boat was leaving the area.
Key to Avoiding Tourists
Like everything in life, if you want to avoid crowds you need to get there early. Also, the more off-the-beaten-path you are, the better. We did not feel like we were missing out much doing this hike as opposed to some other nearby easier-access hikes. We saw more people as we worked our way back to the car. At least we were pretty spread out and not tripping over each other. Most of the time we had the trail to ourselves.
Have you ever been to Geiranger Fjord? Please tell us about your experience.
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My name is Aaron, I am an adventurer who knows no bounds and is thankfully no longer tied to a desk job. My passion is finding the human connection with others who differ from me, understanding their culture, and learning various viewpoints on the world. I want to break down the boundaries of fear and inspire people to travel more. My passions are travel, video, anime, and culture.
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