Written by Lisa from Fjords & Beaches
Flåm and the Nærøyfjord has been one of Norway’s most visited places in the past years, and I was lucky enough to be born and raised in the area. There are so many things to see and do here, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site is only one of them. I would love to show you the stunning villages where I was born and raised – right in the heart of fjord Norway!
Where to stay on a budget?
In the Flåm/Aurland area there are several hotels, hostels and camping grounds- something to fit all budgets! You will find lots of options, but I’ll let you in on where my heart belongs.
The Vangsgaarden Inn is owned and managed by a local family living on site. It is a beautiful hotel and Pub/Restaurant, with only 17 rooms and 6 cabins (right on the fjord, they sell out incredibly fast!). Some of the buildings on the property are from the 1700s, and breakfast is actually served in one of them! If you are looking for that specific Norwegian charm, this is the place for you. Prices start from 1150 NOK per night (for a double room including breakfast), which really isn’t too bad when you are visiting one of the world’s most expensive countries.
Where to eat on a budget: Located only an 8 minute drive from the centre of Aurland (or 15 minutes by boat along the fjord) you will find Flåm Marina & Apartments, right in the middle of the bay of Flåm. They serve up a mean nachos for your hangover days, a ‘grown up’ milkshake for your weekends (including vodka and kahlua – my all time favourite), and if you are looking for an amazing meal; try their home made burgers or maybe something from their selection of local meats from Haugen Farm.
Prices vary, nachos cost 85 NOK and burgers are 160 NOK. The best view in Flåm is included in the price.
What to do or to look at?
The Sognefjord area is extremely popular among tourists, and there are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of travellers passing through each day. I always make sure to bring my visiting friends to the Stegastein Viewpoint. Stegastein is a panoramic viewing platform 650 metres above sea level giving you stunning views (and Instagram photos) of the Sognefjord. You can see as far as Flåm on one side, and all the way to ‘Beitelen’ (the mountain marking the beginning of the UNESCO World Heritage Site) on the other. It is definitely worth a visit, and is available either by booking a tour, going by taxi or driving yourself. A few people also walk here on their own, but that takes a while.
I’ll also let you in on a local secret! If you enjoy an active holiday, I always advise travelers to take a hike up to the Prest mountain top. The trail starts about 1km further up the mountain from Stegastein, and takes about 3 hours from start to finish (breaks included). This hike is rather steep in some places, but I promise you that when you get to the top you will have forgotten all about it! The views are absolutely breathtaking, just make sure you don’t forget to but your name in the mountain top book you’ll find at the top! (Rule #1 for hiking in Norway: If your name isn’t in the book, you were never there).
What not to do?
The Flåm area (port and train station) is extremely crowded with tourists and travellers, making it rather uncomfortable in the summer months. Most tourists worry about getting enough time in Flåm, as they (wrongly) believe that it is where all the action is. To be honest, most tours/attractions there involve leaving Flåm in one way or another, so I wouldn’t waste too much time there. You will either go on the Nærøyfjord Fjord Cruise (leaving Flåm by boat), take the Flåm Railway (leaving Flåm by train), or go to the Stegastein Viewpoint (leaving Flåm by bus or car).
My point is: do not worry to much about Flåm itself, as this village is not the attraction or the point of visiting the fjords. Just enjoy the nature, look around and take it all in. It doesn’t matter if you are in Flåm, Aurland or Gudvangen, as long as you can appreciate the majestic mountains and fjords of Norway!
3 fun facts?
- If you are visiting during the summer months, try and be here for the first weekend of July. This is when the Aurlandsmarknad (‘The Aurland Festival) takes place, which will add so much fun to your trip! It is a short festival/market weekend with bands and music at night (the locals get CRAZY, trust me!), and market booths and entertainment during the daytime. It is not something I would miss!
- The Fjord Pass gives you discount on selected tourist boat routes with Fjord1.
- If you prefer the locals to the tourists – visit the pub Duehuset in the centre of Aurland. It is where all the locals get together for a beer at the end of the week, and it is also where you will meet the most interesting people! Pro tip: Buy us a drink and we’ll forget that you’re a tourist for the night.
This amazing guide was written by Lisa! Check her out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. She also has a really great blog which I think you will all love, check it out here. If you are looking for more accommodation then check out Agoda and Hostelworld, I highly recommend them. Travel insurance? Go World Nomads, a trusted and reliable travel insurance company.
Author : HI! A quick introduction is due since you’ve already read my top tips for visiting my home town! My name is Lisa, I am a 24 year old wanderluster from Aurland, Norway (you guessed it!). I love travelling, writing and sharing, so I figured out blogging was my ideal frontier. I started my blog LisaLDN.com when I moved to London to get my Law Degree, and decided to continue blogging as I crossed the ocean to spend a year working in Walt Disney World, Florida. Since then I have moved back to Norway, but I make sure to go on an adventure every day – if not international, then local! I would love for you to follow me on my journey!