Cruising with Norled
Norway’s ferries and express boats remain the best way to explore Norway’s coast
For several generations, ferry and express boats have been of great importance for those who live and travel along the Norwegian coast. Western Norway is famous for its beautiful coastline and the majestic fjords. The combination of unique and beautiful nature and a rich cultural life provides many opportunities for sightseeing tours and events at sea. The express boats will take you quickly and safely through the beautiful countryside to your destination. On board you sit in comfortable chairs and just relax viewing the scenery. I recommend the breathtaking 42 km-long Lysefjord and the mighty Pulpit Rock on a fjord cruise.
Norled is one of the largest transportation companies with 50 car/passenger ferries and 30 large express boats situated along the whole coast of Norway as well as in the fjords. Last year they transported 18 million passengers. In 2009 they started up high-speed ferries and boats along the inner fjord of Oslo, including routes between Nesodden and Aker Brygge. From 2011 the ferry company also has activity in North Troms. Norled has 1,400 employees and the company has a turnover of NOK 1.6 million annually. They have administrative offices in Bergen and Stavanger, as well as regional offices in Ålesund and Oslo. The company has received the Confederation of Enterprise in Rogaland’s Innovation Award.
Norled offers sightseeing on three of the major fjords in Fjord Norway’s Sognefjord, Lysefjord, and Hardangerfjord. They also have Coastal Express boats between Stavanger and Haugesund, between Leirvik and Bergen, and between Bergen and Selje (Nordfjord). The Lysefjord is one of Norway’s most breathtaking fjords. The 42 km-long fjord is filled with measurable experiences such as the Pulpit Rock, old mountain farms, waterfalls, goats, seals, idyllic islands, and majestic scenery. The trip takes 2.5 hours. There is a full sightseeing program, with guidance in several languages. On board the modern catamarans you will find panoramic windows and large sundecks. There are facilities such as a kiosk, toilets, and comfortable seats. In the season there are daily trips.
Try fjord fishing with departure from the harbor in Stavanger. Don’t worry about safety instructions on board, as they will be given. The captain will take you to a good fishing place in the nearby fjords of Stavanger and advise the “fishermen” how to use the equipment. The fjords are very scenic and the water is very clear and lots of good fishing places are within reach. Fishing rods, reel, and bait can be rented.
If you want to explore the area’s Viking history, Rogaland has several sites along Hafrsfjord, like Swords in Stone, where you can hear the story about King Harald “Fairhair,” who gathered Norway in 872, visit the Viking Hall for a Viking gathering, experience authentic dressed-up Vikings, and taste “Viking Lefse.”
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 23, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.