Photo: Colourbox

Western Norway (Vestlandet)

Western Norway is one of Norway's major geographic areas: Rogaland, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, and Møre og Romsdal. Its nature has a lot to offer.

Norway's Geography

Norway is considered to have five major geographic areas (landsdeler): Nord-Norge (Northen Norway), Trøndelag (described as the northern most section of southern Norway, it is the area containing the city of Trondheim), Vestlandet (Western Norway), Østlandet (Eastern Norway) and Sørlandet (Southern Norway).

This article summarizes Western Norway, which contains the following counties: Møre og Romsdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Hordaland and Rogaland. Bergen, Hordaland and Stavanger, Rogaland are the two largest cities in Western Norway. This region, which the official Visit Norway website refers to as ‘Fjord Norway’ has a variety of natural beauty, from mountains to fjords to islands, rushing waterfalls to gentle rivers and lakes. Western Norway's climate is such that a short trip from the milder coastal areas can bring you into a colder inland climate providing seasonal opportunities for skiing and other winter-sports. The summaries and links below to the counties will get you started exploring the nature of Western Norway.   

Rogaland

Stavanger is the largest city in Rogaland and is situated near many of Rogaland's natural attractions. Read about attractions near Stavanger here

Preikestolen

  • Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), a steep cliff offering a spectacular view, towers 604 metres above Lysefjorden and is one of the most visited toursit attractions in Norway. Read more about hiking Preikestolen here.    

Kjerag

  • Kjerag is a 1,110 metre tall mountain featuring Kjeragbolten (a 5-cubic-metre stone wedged in the moutain's crevasse) and Kjergafossen (among the highest waterfalls in Norway and in the world) as well as opportunities for hiking, base jumping, and climbing. Read more about visiting Kjerag and exploring its surrounding area here. 

Magma Geopark

How to get there

Stavanger can be used as a base for reaching several attractions in Rogaland. It is possible to reach Stavanger by plane or bus.

  • To Stavanger By Bus- From Bergen bus station, you can take Nor-way Bussekspress to Stavanger Sentrum Jernbaneveien (4 hrs 50 min - 5.5 hours). 
  • Preikestolen – Preikestolen can be reached from Stavanger (via Tau) with the Pulpit Rock bus seasonally. Additionally, you can get to Peikestolen by a combination fo boat, bus, and hiking
  • Kjerag – Kjerag can only be hiked without a guide seasonally (June-September). During the summer, you can reach Kjerag via Stavanger with a guided tour via Go Fjords. Read about your options for getting to Kjerag here
  • Magma Geopark – Magma Geopark may be a challenge to visit without renting a car or booking a tour (Trollpikken's trailhead, for example, is located outside of the town of Egersund and does not have direct bus service). You may wish to book a guided tour or a bus trip to Magma Geopark through the Magma Geopark website.  

Hordaland

Natural experiences, including Bergen's own Byfellene (city moutains), Kvamskogen (a ski and recreation area), and a variety of natural beauty around Voss. 

Nature to explore in Hordaland

In addition to the mountains to explore surrounding Bergen, Hordaland also boasts other natural bounties that provide opportunities for skiing, hiking, water sports, skydiving and more. 

  • The Hardanger area
  • Voss
    • Voss is one of the most famous winter recreation areas for Norway featuring outdoor recreation all year round. Rafting, climbing, skydiving, skiing or just flying inside an indoor wind tunnel. Read more information about Voss here

How to get to Hordaland

The good news is that if you are staying in Bergen, you are already in Hordaland! 

  • Hardanger Region
    • By Boat: You can get to Rosendal (in Hardanger Region) by boat on Rødne Fjord Cruises' Hardangerfjord Express Boat (about 2 hours).
    • By Bus: You can get to a number of destinations within the Hardanger Region by local bus (Skyss), including Odda (the starting point for Trolltunga), Route 930 from Bergen Bus Station (about 3 hours). Use Skyss's travel planner to plan your trip and/or take a look at our transportation guide.
    • To get to Kvamskogen you can take bus number 925 and 930 from the Bergen bus station. Use the Skyss Travel Planner to plan your trip. 
    • Here is a complete guide for travel to the Hardangerfjord
  • Voss
    • By Train: Voss is easily accessible by Train (about 1 hour away from Bergen). Plan your trip at NSB's site. 
    • By Bus: It is also possible to take the bus to Voss (about 1 hour, 45 minutes), with Nettbuss. 

Sogn og Fjordane

Glaciers, fjords, rivers and mountains await exploration in Sogn og Fjordane. 

Nature to explore in Sogn og Fjordane

  • Jostedalsbreen Glacier
    • Jostedalsbreen is the largest glacier in continental Europe. Briksdalsbreen, one of the best known and most accessible arms of Jostedal Glacier, attracts international tourists. 
  • Jølstra River
    • This 22 km long river flows out into Fødefjorden from 207 metres above sea level. It offers recreation such as rafting. 
  • Skåla
    • A moutain with a depression in it that earned it a name meaning 'the bowl'. This is the longest uphill stretch in Norway - providing a hike with amazing fjord views. Read more about visiting Skåla here. 
  • Fjords
    • Many picturesque fjords cut through Sogn og Fjordane. 
      • Aurlandsfjorden: a branch off of Sognefjorden, sometimes referred to as 'the King of Fjords' (Norway's longest fjord). Read about Stegastein viewpoint, a viewing platform offering a panoramic opportunity to take in the landscape of Aurlandsfjorden. 
      • Fjærlandsfjord: also a branch of Sognefjorden, is at a meeting point between glacier and fjord. Read about visiting Fjærlandsfjord here.
      • Nærøyfjorden: another branch of Sognefjorden, 18 km long and at times only 500 metres wide, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
  • Read more about visiting Sognefjorden here
  • Other, more man-made attractions include Selje Abbey, a Benedictine monastery; stave churches such as the Borgund Stave Church (the best preserved of Norway's stave churches); as well as the extremely scenic and steep Flåmsbanen (the Flåm railway line). If you want to take the Flåmsbanen, you can buy tickets at Norway's national rail service, NSB. Flåmsbanen runs between Myrdal and Flåm (you can take the train from Bergen to Myrdal first). 

How to get there

  • By boat: Norled offers express boats from Bergen Strandkaiterminal (near the Fishmarket) to Flåm, Aurland, Sogn, etc (around 5 hours). The routes are prone to seasonal variation, explore Norled's website here. Explore their routemap and schedules here. 
  • By Bus: Nor-way Bussekspress offers routes from Bergen Bus Station to Flåm, Aurland, Loen (a town about 2 km from the trailhead for Skåla), Stryn (a town about 3 km from the Brikksdalsbeen glacier arm). These take between 2.5 hrs and over 6 hours depending on the destination. 
  • By Train: NSB offers the Flåmsbanen route to Flåm, you must first take the train to Myrdal (about 3 hours total).

Møre og Romsdal

Geirangerfjorden, a UNESCO World Hertitage Site, is one of the major natural attractions in the region of Møre og Romsdal. 

Nature to explore in Møre og Romsdal

How to get there

  • Geirangerfjord
    • By boat: In the summer you can take the Hurtigruten from Bergen to Geiranger. In winter you can take the Hurtigruten from Bergen to Ålesund and a bus from Ålesund to Geiranger. If you want to book a port-to-port trip through the Hurtigruten English web page, you must contact their customer service directly. You can book havn-til-havn (port-to-port) on the Norwegian Hurtigruten webpage if you can get by in Norwegian.
    • By Bus: Nettbuss has buses that run from Bergen Bus Station to Ålesund (about 9 hours 45 minutes, route 430). From Ålesund you can take a local bus (route 210 and 211, with ferry in between) to Geiranger (~3.5-4.5 hours). The rutebok.no site may be helpful for planning this part of the trip. If it loads in Norwegian, click the three bars in the upper right corner of the tripplanner and select English.
    • Take a look at options for getting to Geirangerfjord on their official website. 
  • Hjørundfjorden/Sunnmørsalpene
    • By boat: You can visit Hjørundfjorden and the Sunnmøre Alps via the Hurtigruten. The Hurtigruten has a port at Urke (Urke and Sæbø are roughly opposite each other across the Hjørundfjorden). If you want to book a port-to-port trip through the Hurtigruten English web page, you must contact their customer service directly. You can book havn-til-havn (port-to-port) on the Norwegian Hurtigruten webpage if you can get by in Norwegian.
    • By Bus: One option for traveling to Sæbø (a tourist village next to Hjørundfjorden) is to take Nettbuss from Bergen Bus Station to Ørsta (about 8 hours, route 430) and then take a local bus (route 370) from Ørsta to Sæbø.