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World Heritage Site

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West Norwegian Fjords

West Norwegian Fjords
Photo by Linda van Leuken

The West Norwegian Fjords Geirangerfjord and Naeroyfjord are archetypical for fjord landscapes around the world. They are also among the world's longest and deepest fjords.

They offer outstanding scenery, with crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400 metres from the sea.

The two fjords are located in the southwest of Norway, 120km from another. The fjords are 1-2 km wide.

Wildlife includes four species of deer, arctic fox, otter, and many marine species such as Atlantic salmon, seals, porpoise, dolphins and whales. Over 100 bird species have been recorded.

Map of West Norwegian Fjords


  • Natural

Community Reviews

Clyde Malta - 07-Sep-12 -

West Norwegian Fjords by Clyde

I visited this WHS in May 2010. I trekked around the West Norwegian fjords and peeked down 600m high cliffs. However, the best way to enjoy the natural beauty of the fjords is by boat. By boat, I could gaze at the many cliffs, waterfalls, trees and birds around the fjords. An outstanding natural beauty!

John booth New Zealand - 03-May-10

My journey through the Geiranger and Naeroy Fiords is as much a tribute to the road engineers and bus and train services that operate in the area.

My journey started at Andalsnes railway station after having descended from Dombas on the Rauma line, itself a scenic wonder. Then commenced one of the scariest bus rides I have experienced, up the seemingly endless zig-zag highway over the Trollstigen. From the bottom I admired the cascading waterfalls, then from the top the panorama way below. After descending to the Nordaelsfjord the bus crossed by ferry to Eisdal and then climbed to the summit of the Eagle Highway. From here there was a fantastic view over Geirangerfjord (including two cruise ships). Then began the hair-raising descent to to the touristy town of Geiranger.

Here I boarded a ferry for the voyage to Hellesylt at the other end of the fiord, where another bus awaited to take me through some lengthy tunnels to Stryn and Sogndal. After a side trip to the Urnes church I took a bus from Sogndal to Kaupanger where I boarded another ferry bound for Gudvangen, which after crossing the Sognefjord sailed the full length of the Naeroyfjord. This fiord is much narrower than the Geirangerfiord therby barring access to cruise ships. Besides the steepness of the sides there are more villages and waterfalls along this fiord too which make it more interesting.

At Gudvangen I caught a bus through another tunnel to Flam and from there travelled by train via Myrdal to Bergen.

All this sounds like a lot of travelling, but spread over four days with overnight stops in Andalsnes, Sogndal and Flam it was most enjoyable and rewarding.

Ingemar Eriksson Sweden - 13-Jul-08

Norwegian fjord nature is very special and I agree that it is a must see. First time for me recently, 48 years old and living just 1000 km avay. Expensive to drive nowdays, and Norway is extremely expensive even if it has its own oil. Anyhow, with car you can drive on 1300 m high just about 10 km from sea level and I passed a cut in the snow which vas about 3m high (16 june 2008) at Strynfjell.

Visit Norwegian fjords at least once in a lifetime!

Stephen Brooker UK - 24-Apr-08

Only managed to do the Naeroyfjord - GLORIOUS, go, go, go it can't fail to impress!

We did the Norway in a Nutshell tour from Bergen, by train, boat and bus the cruise portion including Naeroyfjord which is stunning. Also on the trip was the Flam Railway which in my opinion should also be include in this WHS listing - which perhaps should be extended as West Norwegian Fijords and there environs.

Joyce van Soest The Netherlands - 27-Dec-05

In April I visited Norway and since I didn't have a lot of time and most of the tourist sites were still closed, I did the Norway In A Nutshell Tour (to be booked at almost every trainstation and tourist office). You first take a regular train, and form there you take a special train (it has to descend into a steep valley) up to Flam where you take boat trip a along the Aurlandsfjord and into the Naeroyfjord which is truly beautiful: high fjords, very green water, high waterfalls, it was just perfect! You will have a busride and a trainride back, so it's a pretty long day, and a bit touristy, but it's a great way to see something of the fjords in a fast way. You can also take this trip from Bergen, so you can include Bryggen on your trip and see 2 UWHS in one day.

Klaus Freisinger Austria - 27-Jul-05 -

If there is one thing that Norway is famous for, then it's the fjords, and I agree that they are definitely worth a journey. I didn't really make a cruise, like many people apparently do up and down the coast on the Hurtigruten, rather only a few ferry crossings, but I did see the Naeroyfjord, which is a very beautiful area with magnificent scenery, like almost all of Norway is. I don't really understand, however, why only those two relatively small and obscure fjords were inscribed, and none of the more famous and no less beautiful ones like Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord. Maybe they'll extend the site sometime in the future...

Solivagant UK - 13-Jul-05 -

West Norwegian Fjords by Solivagant

In my opinion, of all the new sites inscribed in 2005, possibly only the West Norwegian Fjords are in the “Worth a Journey” category. The 2 fjords chosen – Geiranger and Naeroy really are among the very best scenic sights in Europe and indeed many people do, quite rightly, travel to them for an entire holiday. I say that having visited every European country and most of their scenic sights – but then Norway is one of our favourite destinations so perhaps we are biased!

The 2 fjords are some distance away from each other and are each situated at the head of longer fjord systems – Sognefjord and Storfjord respectively. They are both characterised by being very “narrow” – but what else connects them for selection as a “pair” I do not know! Naearoy is very fine with the pretty village of Gudvangen at its head and is actually the “narrower” of the 2 with the ferry at times almost seeming to touch the 1000 + metre cliffs on either side. My favourite however is Geiranger. Our preferred way to approach is by the magnificent 1 hour ferry journey from Hellesylt and then leaving by the Eagle road to Eidsdal. But Geiranger itself deserves to be explored from every route so go out south first towards Grotli and look at the views from there. Preferably even stay and do some walking. Just pray however that one of the enormous ocean going cruise ships which can reach this far up the deep fjords isn’t in port to spoil the peaceful atmosphere. And if only Norway would pass a law to outlaw all those stupid wooden statues of Trolls which disfigure the towns, villages, restaurants etc!!

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Site Info

Full name: West Norwegian Fjords Geirangerfjord and Naeroyfjord

Unesco ID: 1195

Inscribed: 2005

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   8  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2005 - Inscribed 


The site has 2 locations.

  • West Norwegian Fjords: Geirangerfjord Area Boroughs of Norddal and Stranda, County of Møre & Romsdal
  • West Norwegian Fjords: Nærøyfjord Area, County of Sogn & Fjordane, County of Hordaland, Boroughs of Aurland, Vik, Voss and Lærdal


The site has 13 connections.


  • Hit by Tsunami: Nomination File "On several occasions in historical times, rock avalanches plunging deeply into the fjords have generated large tsunamis that have destroyed villages and killed people. The most recent catastrophic event was the Tafjord disaster in 1934, when about 3 million m3 of rock fell into the fjord and created a tsunami (huge wave) reaching a maximum height of 62 m (Figs. 9 and 10). After moving 8-10 km along the fjord it was reduced to a height of 10-15 m, swamped three villages and killed 41 people. The small community at Fj?r? was totally destroyed by the tsunami, and 17 people lost their lives."
  • Oil Spill: large amount of oil has leaked from a cruise ship in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Geiranger fjord (2009) Link



  • Fjords
  • Glaciers: Nomination file :- Present glaciers Numerous e.g Geirangerfjord - Flydalsbreen, Skjerdingsdalsbreen and Hestebreen) N?r?yfjord - Fresvikbreen(1500 ha) and Syrdalsbreen.

Human Activity

  • Transhumance: Remnants of old and now mostly abandoned transhumant farms add a cultural aspect to the dramatic natural landscape (OUV)


  • Late Pleistocene: The high mountain surface is a slightly undulating peneplain dissected by rivers, the courses of which were deepened, widened and scoured 20,000 years ago by the glaciers of the last Ice Age.  Link



202 community members have visited West Norwegian Fjords.