Photo by Lucas Vallecillos
In remoter parts of Norway it can feel as if you've stepped back in time. I'm standing on top of Preikestolen, a Norway cliff popularly known as Pulpit Rock because of its dominating position overlooking Lysefjorden. It has taken us two hours and 15 minutes to reach here on a strenuous three-kilometer hike, but it has been worth every aching muscle to see this view.
Carmen, an old college friend who now lives in Norway, says to me: “Enjoy the most beautiful scenery in the Stavanger region, but be careful not to fall. I would not want to have to climb down 600 meters to get you from the bottom of the fjord.”
Norway is not the only country in the world with fjords, but it is home to some of the most beautiful. Two of them – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord – are recognized by Unesco as World Heritage Sites and they stand in this region of west Norway. Here, the coast from Stavanger to Kristiansund is cut everywhere by these remarkable remnants of the ancient Ice Age.
The landscape is a living lesson in glaciology, with the retreating mountains of ice having carved deep valleys, now filled by the sea. Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord are among the world’s longest and deepest fjords, with steep-sided walls that rise up to 1,400 meters direct from the water, whose crystal blue surface hides depths of 500 meters or more.
Lysefjorden, stretching out below me, is less grand in scale, but a cruise ship – the 42-kilometer-long fjord is a popular outing from Stavanger – is made tiny by its 1,000-meter walls. I feel insignificant in this dramatic landscape, lost for words – but Pulpit Rock is surely a good place to recall some lines from the King James Bible: “And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas: and God saw that it was good.”
Want more stories from Norway? Check out TRVL's Norway destination guide.