Bergen is by far the most popular city to visit if you’re coming to Norway to see the majestic fjords in all their glory, and it’s a great base for a fjord exploration journey.
However, the photogenic fjords you’ve seen in photos are not within Bergen themselves, so let’s take a closer look at the fjords near Bergen, how to get to them, and which you should focus on visiting!
There is technically small fjords all around Bergen (they’re not that impressive), but most tourists who want to see a fjord from Bergen visit either Sognefjord, Osterfjorden or Hardangerfjord, all three reachable within a day trip from Bergen.
All of these three fjords can be visited on a day trip where you leave in the morning, see the fjord, then return to Bergen in the evening. It’s also possible (and even recommended) to book a night at a hotel in the fjord region to further your experience.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at the different fjords near Bergen and how to visit them!
1) Sognefjord / Sognefjorden
The Sognefjord is probably the most well-known Norwegian fjord, and it lies in the heart of the fjord region of Norway. It’s absolutely the best choice if you’re after seeing an idyllic fjord like in the beautiful photos!
There are plenty of amazing places to visit when you’re coming from Bergen to see the Sognefjord. Some places I highly recommend to stop at are:
- Vik: Vik has an incredible 3 stave churches, including the famous Hopperstad Stave Church.
- Balestrand: The small town of Balestrand is most known for the St. Olaf’s Church, but it’s a cozy and chill town where you can really sit back and just relax. The amazing fjord view is seem from the entire town!
- Kaupanger: Kaupanger is a small town that offers an incredible view of the Sognefjord. It has it’s own stave church and many incredible hiking opportunities.
- Flåm: Flåm is one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations, and it lies at one of the Sognefjord’s most beautiful areas. I recommend riding the Flåmbanen (Flåm train line), but it’s also an incredible visit by car.
- Stegastein View Point: Stegastein View Point is one of the very best places to look down at the Sognefjord. The view point itself is located 650 meters above the fjord, and the view is simply otherworldly! You can easily get there by car or bus. Read more about Stegastein View Point.
In addition to those mentioned above, there’s dozens of other small towns and places to stop to just enjoy the amazing fjord. If you’re feeling adventurous, just rent a car an explore the names on the map along the fjord, and you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
How to get to Sognefjord from Bergen: There are daily your buses as well as ferries that take you from Bergen to the Sognefjord. Driving takes around 2.5 to 4 hours depending on which town you want to visit.
Osterfjord is a small fjord that is very close to Bergen. It is much smaller than both the other two options in this article, but the great thing about it is that it’s so close.
You can easily get there from Bergen by bus, and get a small taste of the Norwegian fjords without much hassle.
I would not really recommend Osterfjord if you’re after seeing the spectacular Norwegian fjords, but if you’re in Bergen and want a taste without spending the entire day on a bus, on a ferry or in a car, head to this fjord!
Osterfjord goes around the island called Osterøy, and you can choose to drive along the fjord, or jump on the ferry and get out on the island itself.
3) Hardanger fjord / Hardangerfjorden
The Hardanger fjord, also known as Hardangerfjorden, is the first big fjord that is closest to Bergen. You can get to it by driving south for approximately 1.5 hours by car or bus, so it’s easily reachable.
Hardangerfjorden is Norway’s longest fjord, and even scores as high as the world’s third biggest fjord! It goes all the way from the ocean until it hits the Hardangervidda mountain plateau.
It’s worth noting that Hardangerfjorden has less steep and dramatic mountains rising from the ocean compared to Sognefjorden, but there are other benefits of visiting the Hardanger fjord instead.
Not only can you see the incredible fjord itself, but the area close to the fjord is riddled with amazing sights! Some of the things to check out while visiting Hardangerfjorden is:
- Trolltunga. Trolltunga is one of Norway’s most famous hikes, and the hike trail starts close to Odda, a Hardanger fjord town. The hike is well-known for being difficult, but it’s a truly unique experience if you’ve got the time and skills to get up there!
- Vøringsfossen. Vøringsfossen is in my opinion one of Norway’s most incredible waterfalls, and it’s only a short drive away from the fjord. There are viewing platforms that allow you to get a great look at the waterfall, as well as hiking trails to take you all the way down to the bottom. Read more about Vøringsfossen and see photos here!
- Hardangervidda mountain plateau. Hardangervidda mountain plateau is one of the world’s largest mountain plateaus, and the perfect place to go mountain hiking. You can do lots of different multi-day hikes, or just go to a mountain top in a few hours, depending on what you’re after.
- Glaciers. Norway’s third biggest glacier Foglefonna is just a short drive away from the Hardanger fjord.
- Hardanger Bridge. You’ve got to cross the Hardanger Bridge if you’re going to be driving to Hardangervidda, and this bridge offers a unique look down at the fjord. It’s illegal to stop your car on the bridge, but the passengers can indulge in the amazing view while you are going across it!
This all means that the Hardanger fjord is a great destination for both those of you looking for a quick glance at the fjord only a short drive away from Bergen, as well as anyone who’s interesting in some spectacular and unique attractions along the way.
You will drive along the Hardanger fjord if you’re crossing Norway when driving from Bergen to Oslo.
How to go on a fjord tour from Bergen
It’s generally easy to go on a fjord tour if you have Bergen as a base, seeing as the closest fjord is under one hour away from the city center.
There a plenty of companies that offer various fjord tours, either by car, bus or even ferry. All options are fine, and give an amazing experience, but the prices and experience will vary a lot by your choice.
Let’s take a bit of a closer look at the different ways to explore the fjords near Bergen!
Driving a car to see the fjords from Bergen
The arguably easiest way to see the fjords near Bergen is to rent a car and drive to them. All the fjords have roads alongside them, and it’s generally easy to get to all the fjords mentioned in this article.
So just pick up a rental, plot in your desired destination on the GPS, and head out on the road.
The benefit of using a car to see the fjords near Bergen is that you get a lot of freedom to explore as you wish. Don’t care for that particular view? Just keep driving for a better one!
You are also able to explore more remote and authentic Norwegian towns and villages if you arrive by car, since the towns like Flåm tend to be highly catered towards and affected by tourists.
Fjord cruises from Bergen
If you enjoy being out in the waters, then experiencing the fjords near Bergen from the water is by far the best option.
There are small cruise ships and ferries that depart from Bergen city center daily, and head towards either Sognefjorden or Hardangerfjorden.
So book a seat for you and your travel party, meet up early in the morning for departure, and just kick back and relax while the ship takes you to the fjord!
The benefit to choosing to see the fjords near Bergen from a ship is that you get an absolute unique experience. It’s something special to see the Norwegian coast while driving towards the fjord, as well as experiencing the fjord from the water.
The downside is that this option is a bit expensive, and takes the entire day. You might not be able to go ashore to the small towns along the fjord to experience what life is like there, and spending 9 – 10 hours on a small boat might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
That said, I really enjoy these fjord cruises, because they are truly something special.
Fjord bus tours from Bergen
There are multiple tour guide companies who offer fjord tours from Bergen by bus, and this is a fine option. Just get tickets, hop on the bus, and enjoy the spectacular scenery from the window.
The benefit to this option is that you don’t have to drive yourself, and that you will find it much cheaper than renting a car for the day. Most tour buses make at least 4 or 5 stops for the day at incredible stops that offer amazing views, as well as in cozy towns.
It’s also possible to get on regular public transport buses to see the fjords. That will get you there far cheaper than using a tour guide bus, but it will obviously not have a guide or cater towards tourists.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.