New cruises highlight nature’s beauty
Cynthia Elyce Rubin
The Norwegian American
Fjord Cruise Hjørundfjord
Discover the majestic Sunnmøre Alps from the Hjørundfjord between Ålesund and Øye. Travel through unspoiled nature in a dramatic, rugged, and varied landscape. The Hjørundfjord is surrounded by steep mountains that rise up vertically from the fjord, their peaks stretching almost 6,000 feet above sea level. The fjord splits the Sunnmøre Alps in two with small villages along both sides of the fjord, some without any road connection. Many of these villages remain unspoiled and have kept their authenticity because of their isolation. A boat has been the only form of transportation for these villagers during centuries.
The Sunnmøre Alps are a paradise for the mountain climbing or exercise enthusiast and the adventurer, offering a host of possibilities for spectacular nature and cultural experiences during both summer and winter, whether on the beach, in the city, or in the inner part of the fjords. There are three departures daily from Ålesund to Øye. The boat will stop at Trandal or Urke with advance notice. The ticket price is NOK 410 for adults.
The fjord cruise is a picturesque voyage through the core of the Sunnmøre Alps. You now have the opportunity to embark or disembark in Trandal. In recent years, Christian Gaard Bygdetun in Trandal has become one of the most spectacular and most visited music festivals in western Norway. Major national and international national artists such as the Blues Brothers and Adam Douglas have been seduced by the mighty landscape and the atmosphere of Trandal and continue to return year after year. Now you can easily return too.
Fjord Cruise Hjørundfjord is an excellent hub from which to explore the region, whether you are travelling to or from Geiranger, exploring the beautiful Jugend-style city of Ålesund, or checking in for a few days at the historic and legendary Øye Hotel Union. For example, in the Øye area you can explore the ruins of underwater farms in Norangsdalen in the summer or spend lazy days by the fjord with a fishing rod.
Try Scandinavia’s longest zipline this summer with a span of about 4,500 feet from Vatnahalsen near the Bergen Line and the Flåm Railway to Kårdalen close to the Rallarrosa Cheese Farm in the upper part of the Flåm Valley. It is open every day until Oct. 15. Combine it with the Flåm Railway from Flåm to Vatnahalsen. To make the most out of the experience, rent a bike and cycle back through the beautiful Flåm valley. Visit the Rallarrosa Cheese Farm, one of the small family-owned farms in the Flåm valley and unwind while taking in the stunning scenery. The farmers, who are devoted to preserving the area’s rich food traditions, are on site and show you how geitost, Norway’s famous caramelized brown goat cheese, is made. The farm also serves light meals. Try a sampler of the feta in the creamy, hard, and brown varieties served with flatbread and goat sausages. These goats graze summer pastures and come from the Sogn School of Organic Agriculture and Horticulture and from Dalsbotten, a farm farther down the valley. Open from mid-June until mid-September.
The ziplines (løypestreng) were primarily used to transport goods, timber, hay, milk barrels, and even animals from mountain farms and rocky outcrops. Some were motorized while others operated by gravity. There are rumors that goat herders sent their bucks via zipline when the autumn mating season was over. Sometimes people also had to take the cableways. Now it is the tourist taking to the cables.
Enjoy the Fjærlandsfjord and the villages among glaciers on the Fjord Cruise Fjærlandsfjord between Balestrand and Fjærland, with fantastic views towards Jostedalsbreen glacier. There are two departures each way every day between June 1 and Aug. 31 and one departure in each direction from Sept. 1 to 15.
Why not combine a nice lunch with a cruise on the fjord? Take in a great view, looking toward the glaciers and the great fjord scenery, while enjoying your lunch. What could be better? The “Fjord Lady” departs from Fjærland at 1:45 p.m. with return at 3 p.m. One may also join a full day or a half-day excursion, including visits to one or two glaciers and the Norwegian Glacier Museum. Departure from Balestrand at noon daily from June through August.
Fjord Cruise Lysefjorden
Join a fjord cruise on the Lysefjord to admire spectacular natural phenomena, such as the Pulpit Rock, Kjerag mountain, rugged scenery, and dramatic rock formations. Fjord Cruise Lysefjorden will have two round trips every day between June 1 and Sept. 15.
Stegastein evening departure
Get a different Stegastein Viewpoint experience with the new evening route in July 2019. In the evening, Stegastein is quieter, and the colors and light are different. There is departure from Flåm daily in July.
The Flåm Express Boat
The FlåmExpress gives early risers in Flåm a chance to visit Balestrand and the northern side of the fjord. The boat leaves Flåm at 6 a.m. and takes two hours in each direction. One can choose to return with other boat services later or stay overnight. Whatever you choose, the result will be memorable.
Cynthia Elyce Rubin, Ph.D., is a visual culture specialist, travel writer, and author of articles and books on decorative arts, folk art, and postcard history, who collects postcards, ephemera, and early photography. See www.cynthiaelycerubin.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 28, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.