Road trip in Norway: the northern part of the Sognefjord (stage 05)

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Here we continue our discovery of the Sognefjord, north of Bergen. The longest fjord in Europe and the 2nd longest in the world, it stretches 204 km inland, reaching depths of 1,300 m in places, while the surrounding mountains can rise to 1,700 m. It is also the widest fjord in Norway. It is also Norway’s widest fjord. A true natural wonder.

In this article, I’d like to introduce you to some pretty villages in the northern Sognefjord with beautiful standing wooden churches, one of Norway’s jewels.

Sognefjord nord
Stage 05: Northern Sognefjord

Read next:
Road trip in Norway: the south coast, Stavanger and Lysefjord (stage 01)
Norway road trip: from Suldal to Bergen (stage 02)
Things to see and do in Bergen, Norway (step 03)
Norway road trip: the southern part of the Sognefjord (stage 04)
Road trip in Norway: Sognefjellet and Jostedalsbreen (stage 06)
Norway road trip: Geirangerfjord (stage 07)
Road trip in Norway : Trollstigen and Ålesund (stage 08)

What to do in the northern part of the Sognefjord?

1 | Driving on the Aurlandsfjellet between Aurland and Laerdal

Rather than driving through the 24.5 km Laerdal Tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the world, I recommend you take the Aurlandsfjellet. This very picturesque 47 km road is one of Norway’s most famous scenic tourist routes. It offers breathtaking views of mountainous landscapes and is often referred to as the “snow road” because of the snow that runs along the road for most of the year as it winds its way between glaciers. It is closed in winter.

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The little wall of snow in the middle of June!

2 | Take a detour to discover St. Olaf’s church in Borgund

Between Laerdal and Borgund, rather than driving on the E16 (with its many tunnels), I recommend you take the various sections of historic route n°630. You’ll just have to be careful at the various junctions not to miss it.

Borgund’s standing wooden church is considered one of the best preserved in Norway. We liked it, but it wasn’t our favorite, partly because of the tourists! We weren’t alone on the site, and we were a little disappointed when we got there: you have to pay an entrance fee (around €10/person), even to access the grounds in front of the church…

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Church of St. Olaf, Borgund

3 | Admire the Soknefossen waterfall west of Borgund from the road

If you want to take a photo of this waterfall, you won’t be able to stop on the side of the road! What a shame! As a result, we had to make several trips by car to take the time to see and photograph it. There’s no shortage of waterfalls in Norway, but the flow of this one is truly impressive!

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4 | Take a stroll through Solvorn to photograph the village’s fishermen’s huts

One of our road trip favorites: Solvorn! These colorful little cabins reflected on the fjord’s water are just super photogenic.

Sognefjord nord

It’s from here that you can take the ferry to see the standing wooden church of Urnes. So get a head start on your ferry departure time to discover Solvorn.

5 | Take the foot ferry from Solvorn to visit the standing wood church at Urnes

You don’t need a car to visit this church. The first departure from Solvorn is at 10 a.m., then every hour thereafter. The ferry crossing takes 15 minutes and is really fun!

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View of the village of Solvorn from the ferry to Urnes

You’ll then have to walk a good 15 minutes on a tarmac road to reach the church on the heights (it’s a bit of a climb, but there are benches all along the way to rest on if you wish).

I recommend a visit to the church. It’s a guided tour that doesn’t take very long, but it’s very interesting.

By the way, do you know why Norway’s standing timber churches are often black? They’re covered in tar to protect the wood from insects.

And what about the view? It’s just magnificent!

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Stavkirke of Urnes

6 | Visit the charming little town of Balestrand

As we had a bit of time on our schedule, we made the round trip to see the little town of Balestrand. We didn’t particularly fall in love with it, but the road to the village is very pretty and the village very charming. We found the visit pleasant. It’s very easy to park in the town.

Sognefjord nord

Where to sleep near Solvorn?

We spent 2 nights in a house in the heart of Hafslo. Our opinion of this accommodation is mixed. The house is indeed large, but could do with a little more cleaning and more functional facilities. But its location in the heart of Hafslo on the edge of a lake is really ideal, and the owner is very pleasant and responsive to messages. So I’m sharing the Airbnb link with you.

Airbnb rental link: Maison de village cosy

Thanks for reading!


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