Lifestyle & Travel

May 1, 2016

Europe's Biggest Glacier

In the cold North, in the Scandinavian peninsula, we find Norway. Unified in 872, to this day, it is the guardian to Northern Europe, exhibiting its Fjords, arms of sea that enter the land, sided by astounding mountains and cliffs with huge waterfalls that fall from inland rivers or melted glaciers. Along the shores small communities emerge, from where one can go hike to the mountains or the glaciers on dedicated trails, or just sail the deep breathtaking fjords.

Fjord, from the norse "fjörðr", means, der man ferder over, in English "where you travel across", or å sette over på den andre siden - "put across to the other side", in English. Fjords are formed in and along coasts where glaciation extends below the sea level. When a glacier retreats, and heads towards the sea, it leaves a valley carved in a U-shape. The seawater penetrates into the land, filling the glacial valleys, forming narrow canals connected to the sea. The moraine, the stones and sand that were pushed down to the bottom by the glacier, sits at the fjords entrance, making this area shallower. The result is a bewildering and intertwining labyrinth of canals, between which is possible to sail.

Famous Norway Fjords

Of the more than one thousand fjords that exist in Norway, we will talk about some of the most famous ones: The Geirangerfjord, the Hardangerfjord, the Sognefjord with the Nærøyfjord branch, and the Nordfjord. The Nærøyfjord and the Geirangerfjord were both listed as a UNESCO (United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization) World Heritage Site in 2005.

The beautiful Geirangerfjord is a 15-kilometre-long branch of the Sunnylvsfjord, which is a branch of the Storfjord (the "Great Fjord"). It features unique surroundings, with high mountains, and is frequently listed as one of the most astonishing places in the world. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2005

The Hardangerfjord is the second longest of the Norwegian fjords, following the Sognefjord. It cuts inland just south of Bergen. Sitting on the rim of the continent, the outer parts consist of an archipelago and the Sunnhordland area. O Hardangerfjord features unbelievable spectacles in branches like the 38-kilometre-long Sorfjord, the tiny Ulvikfjord and the Eidfjord.

The imposing Sognefjord, with several majestic fjord branches, including the narrow Nærøyfjord, UNESCO World Heritage, stretches more than 200 kilometres into the land, north of Bergen, from the western coast. It is the deepest fjord, with the deepest parts inland, and reaching a maximum depth of 1308 metres below sea level. It is sided by staggering mountains, rising from the water, that reach a thousand metres high.

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nærøyfjord is the narrower branch, and it is a branch of the Sognefjord, Norway's longest fjord. It is only possible to visit by boat, since there are no roads along the fjord. It is narrow and long, extending for 18 kilometres, and measuring only 500 meters wide in some places. The Nærøyfjord presents us with incredibly steep mountains steep mountains and tiny farms from local villagers, along the mountain sides.

Finally, Your VIP Partner highlights the Nordfjord, that presents us with incredible landscapes, mountains high up above, and a hypnotic coastline. Here is where you can find the biggest glacier on mainland Europe, Jostedalsbreen. The wider area is the middle part of the fjord, where the climate is milder. Closer to the sea, you can promenade on rocky shores or sandy beaches.

The surrounding scenery is almost scary. One can imagine the enormity of the glaciers that sat here in bygone times. The fjords were formed due to a succession of ice ages, and the landscape hasn't suffered much alteration. They are almost a chamber to the past, when the Vikings left in their longships to explore the sea and lands faraway. 

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