The Geirangerfjord reaches more than 100 kilometres from Ålesund to Geiranger. The first stretch is typified by lively small towns and villages, like Sula on the fjord’s north bank and settlements that once the centre for seal hunting in the Arctic. The go-getter attitude is manifested by what is called the “furniture adventure” in Sykkylven and Ekornes, where the 7 000 inhabitants produce furniture like the Stressless for the world´s markets.
It all started in the small town of Stranda, a bit further into the fjord, where the 4 600 inhabitants now have switched into food production supplying all of Norway with frozen pizza. Otherwise mountains dominate the mid section of the fjord, where human activity is restricted to small farms clinging on to the mountainside.
Farms only accessible with ladders
The pathway up is so steep that ladders were installed several places. The story goes that more than once the ladders where taken away for “repairs” when the tax collector was on his way. The ladders, however, were all there when Queen Sonja and King Harald celebrated their silver wedding at one of the farms. The Queen took the original route while many of the guests chose to fly in with helicopter.
The Bride's Veil
Provided there has been enough rain, the Hurtigruten deck offers a front row seat to the waterfalls “Brudesløret og de syv søstre” – the Bride’s Veil and the Seven Sisters – who dance playfully down the mountain in youthful joy while the manly “Friaren” – Courtier - flirts with them from the far side of the fjord.
At the very end of the fjord is the village of Geiranger, an agricultural centre with a modern adventure and experience centre.