My first view of Geirangerfjord was from a viewpoint at the top of the town Geiranger, and wow, it was quite a sight. Low-lying clouds, high-rise mountains filled with greenery and a quaint little town in the valley -- and all of them surrounding the fjord - it was literally breath-taking. It's hard to not fall in love with this fjord, and easy to understand why it was made a UNESCO world heritage site!
After some picture-taking, we headed down and pitched our tent at Geiranger Camping right in front of the fjord. The next day, we started early and went to the visitor center asking for things-to-do. As usual, there were no dearth of hikes to do, and we decided to explore a couple of hikes for the day. Leaving early turned out to be a great thing, because later in the day we saw two cruise ships stop by at Geiranger bringing hundreds of tourists with them.
Our first hike of the day was to Losta Viewpoint, which was supposed to provide us with panoramic views of Geirangerfjord. This hike was tagged as medium, and it was 5 km from the trailhead with an elevation gain of 450 m. We parked our car at Norwegian Fjord Center, and walked to the trailhead right across the road.
The hike started in the midst of forests and we were surrounded by trees and greenery. After a while, we emerged out from the forests to the farm area, where we saw a few llamas. I never thought I'd see South American llamas in Northern Europe, but that's what happens because of civilization I guess :)
We could see a few glimpses of the fjord from here, but we continued along. After another uphill ascent in the forest, we came across what we thought was the viewpoint -- but there was no board in sight. We took a couple of pictures here and continued further uphill.
The trail was pretty good, but there were a few muddy areas because of rain from the previous days. After some more ascent, we finally saw the sign Losta Viewpoint and there it was.
The view from here was a stunner, and it was not just of Geirangerfjord but also of the road uphill on the way to Ornesvigen viewpoint. The sun had also come out making it picture perfect. We had the entire place to ourselves for the entire time we we there (about 30 min) which we spent taking pictures and munching on some snacks enjoying the gorgeous view. It is incredible how nature formed such a deep fjord, and kudos to the Norwegians for maintaining it so well!
After Losta, we headed down back to the farm and the trailhead to our next hike, the Storseterfossen Waterfall. There are actually plenty of waterfalls in the Geirangerfjord area, including the famous seven sisters falls. But, we were only interested in Storseterfossen, because it gave us the unique opportunity to go behind the waterfall. This hike was only 2 km and 250 m uphill from the trailhead in the farm, but this stretch was tough.
I was hot, sweaty and tired as we continued uphill, and when the trail started leveling off, I got my first glimpse of the waterfall from afar. It was pretty big, and it got me wondering whether there was actually a safe path down to the falls. Soon we were at the falls, and I saw little kids coming out. This made me more confident, and I started getting down the steps to get behind the falls. This was when I noticed steel chains and railings provided there for support. And, within minutes we were behind the falls - yay!
There is a cave-like area behind the falls where you can stand without getting wet and enjoy the falls. You can even hold the railing and look around to see the falls pouring down. This is an unbeatable experience, and something I never thought I'd see.
After taking pictures and videos, we walked out from behind the falls and spent some time outside re-living the experience while eating our sandwich.
Soon, it was time to head back. Since the way back was all downhill, we were back at Norwegian Fjord Center in no time. Oh, when you come back onto the road after exiting the trailhead, there is a water-tap to clean your shoes from the muddy trail :)
We went back to Geiranger Camping, and we could see that the town was still swarmed with tourists from the cruise ships. We spent the rest of the day lounging around at our campsite, meeting other travelers in the camp kitchen and discussing about places. There are a ton of other hikes to explore in this area - for viewpoints, panoramas, forest hikes and waterfalls so make sure to ask in the visitor center before finalizing the hike you want to see.
Our Hike Details
- Total Hike Distance - 14 km
- Norwegian Fjord Center to Farm (Westeras gard) - 2 km
- Farm (Westeras gard) to Losta - 3 km
- Losta to Farm (Westeras gard) - 3 km
- Farm (Westeras gard) to Storseterfossen Waterfall - 2 km
- Storseterfossen Waterfall to Norwegian Fjord center - 4 km
- Total Elevation Gain - 700 m
We started early the next day after having breakfast in one of the small restaurants in Geiranger, and headed up to see another view of the fjord from the viewpoint at Ornesvingen. Unfortunately, this day there were low-lying clouds all over the fjord making everything under the cloud cover opaque. Although I was a tad disappointed, this was a unique view too - so after taking some pictures, we headed out.
The next couple of hours we drove through the Geiranger-Trollstigen national tourist route to get to the Trollstigen and drive on the mountainous road (aka troll's road). The views of this hair-pin drive were better than the actual drive itself.
We walked on wooden pavements to see the panoramas of this road and the fjord beyond it. It was excellent, and as we were driving on the road we even saw a huge waterfall!
By the time we got to end of Trollstigen - we were landscaped-out, we were unable to enjoy the scenic landscapes as much as we should, because we were living in them for the past two weeks :D
So after finishing this drive, we headed down to Andalsnes for lunch, and then drove all the way back to Oslo for some city-life. More on that in my next post!
Related: Check out our day-to-day Norway Itinerary for 2 weeks
That was our time at Geiranger and Trollstigen. These places, although a tad touristy, were absolutely worth it. What were the places you thought that were worthy of their titles?