The Geirangerfjord reaches more than 62 miles from Ålesund to Geiranger. The first stretch is typified by lively small towns and villages, such as Sula on the fjord’s north bank and settlements that were once the center for seal hunting in the Arctic.
The entrepreneurial, ‘go-getter’ attitude manifests itself in Sykkylven and Ekornes, where the 7,000 inhabitants produce furniture such as the Stressless for the world´s markets.A bit further in to the fjord is the small town of Stranda, where the 4,600 inhabitants work in 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 to the mountainside.
Farms only accessible with ladders
The mountainside farms are often so steep that ladders are 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 ‘Brudesløretog de syvsøstre’ – 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 center containing the Geiranger Fjord Centre, which, in conjunction with UNESCO, brings the story of the fjords and its people to life.