One of the most beautiful little villages I’ve ever been to, Geiranger is very small, with only around 200 to 250 permanent residents calling it home. But yet… it’s the 3rd most popular cruise stop in all of Norway, typically coming in behind Ålesund and Bergen, respectively. It’s located in the Sunnmøre region of Møre og Romsdal county, at the end of the picturesque Geirangerfjorden, which is considered by many to be the “most beautiful fjord in the world”. This fjord is home to the famous Seven Sisters Waterfall (Norwegian Fjords: Beautiful, Magical, Breathtaking.), which you will pass coming to and from Geiranger. Named “the best travel destination in Scandinavia” by the major Australian travel guidebook publisher, Lonely Planet, Geiranger is somewhere well worth a visit.
I’m my opinion, it’s safe to say that tourism is by far Geiranger’s biggest industry. Between 140 to 180 cruise ships will visit during the four-month tourist season. It’s not uncommon for this small village of 200ish people to see between 800,000 to 1 million visitors between May and September. So, if you want a sparser population of tourists during your visit, I’d highly recommend not coming between these months 😬. Although, you may have to deal with some snow.
As mentioned, it sits at the very end of Geirangerfjorden, nestled deep into the mountains and quite isolated. To drive from the closest major city, Ålesund, Norway: Charming and Colorful., it takes approximately 2.5 hours. From Oslo or Bergen, Norway: City of Seven Mountains., 8 to 9 hours, depending on the route. From Trondheim it’s 7 to 7.5 hours. Be forewarned, if you come by car, you will have to cross on a ferry or two. You can also make it via bus and train. The bus runs daily, but with many stops, and only during the summer months (June to August). If you travel by train, the closest railway station is in Åndalsnes, about 2 hours away. From there, you’d need to hop on a bus or take a car. If you want to come by boat, you can during the summer months (June 1st to August 31st), as boats will only reach Ålesund during the rest of the year. You’d then need to catch a bus/car to Geiranger.
Although Geiranger is tiny, and isolated, and difficult to get to, there are still five hotels and over ten camping sites in and around the village. The biggest one is the Hotel Union Geiranger, seen perched atop the hill in the top left corner of the photo below. Most of the hotels run between $300 and $450 per night.
Due to Geiranger’s isolation and small size, there’e not a lot of attractions or things to do aside from nature related activities. Hiking, kayaking, boating, and camping are the main activities for this village and surrounding areas of the fjord. Aside from that, there is the Geiranger Church and Norsk Fjordsenter, which is a World Heritage center, complete with a historical exhibition, café, and souvenir shop. There’s also a massive souvenir shop, located front and center and impossible to miss. Like with most of Scandinavia, trolls were aplenty.
After leisurely strolling through the village, we found ourselves at a waterfall called Fossevandring Geiranger in Norwegian, translating to “Waterfall Geiranger” in English. There are thousands of waterfalls in Norway and this place was no exception. Luckily, we were able to enjoy the peacefulness of the rushing stream completely uninterrupted. It was beautiful, tranquil, and serene, while also powerful and intimidating. There are trails that take you to the top of this waterfall, which offers a nice view of the fjord. Most take approximately one hour to complete, and while not terribly high up, it still offers a lovely view.
Overall, I’m so happy to have visited this wonderful, charming, beautiful, and serene little village in Norway! While it’s a journey to get to, especially by car, it’s well worth it. As mentioned, unlike the big cities of Bergen and Oslo, there’s truthfully little to do here that doesn’t involve nature, particularly hiking or boating, but for nature lovers, it’s absolute paradise. Norway as a country is firmly on my “revisit list”, and you best believe Geiranger will be on the itinerary!