Aurlandsvangen

Captivated by the unadulterated and spectacular beauty of Aurlandsfjord

Captivated by the unadulterated and spectacular beauty of Aurlandsfjord

Dates visited: August 19, 2012 – August 21, 2012

Aurlandsvangen is around 200 miles northwest of Oslo. I rented a car for the next five days and was mesmerized by the scenic mountains, winding roads and picturesque fjords of western Norway. From Oslo, I took the route through Lærdalstunnelen (Lærdal Tunnel)—the world’s longest road tunnel (15.23 mi). This really long tunnel has three blue-colored caverns inside to help maintain a driver’s visual acuity. It was fun to pull over and hear the cars speed by in what looked like a futurist setting because of the blue color.

Since I did not want to do the rushed and crowded standard Norway in a nutshell® tour, having a car took me to beautiful and striking views of the fjords that were not accessible to public transport. Thus, we drove from Aurlandsvangen to Gudvangen and boarded the Gudvangen-Kaupanger-Lærdal ferry. This ferry goes through Nærøyfjord (UNESCO World Heritage Site) similar to the Norway in a nutshell® tour, but then breaks away just before entering Aurlandsfjord and enters Sognefjord—a magnificent world of narrow inlets shrouded in occasional mist and watched over by steep snow-covered mountains. Nærøyfjord is a branch of the large Sognefjord which is considered to be the third longest fjord in the world. But since the first and second longest fjords are often ice-covered, the Sognefjord is the longest open (ice-free) fjord in the world. The natural beauty is permanently etched in my mind.

Driving gave us the flexibility of setting our own schedule and appreciating the landscape. Whenever we felt like taking a break, we would just pull over, and start hiking! The air was crisp and pure up in the mountains, and the small glacier-fed lakes were cool and clear. Another attraction worth seeing was Stegastein Viewpoint that peers over 650 meters over Aurlandsvangen and offers dramatic views of Aurlandsfjord.

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