Norway Trip Part 3 – Sea Kayaking in the Fjords

Our train trip across Norway took a bit of a detour here. Rather than continuing on the train from Voss to Myrdal we were missing a bit out and heading north a little to the village of Gudvangen at the end of the Nærøyfjord. Here we would meet up with a kayaking group tour that would see us paddle up the Nærøyfjord, wild camp overnight, and then paddle down the Aurlandsfjord to Undredal. We would then get a small mountain train from Flåm back to the main line at Myrdal where we would continue our journey across Norway.

Looking at the map we weren’t missing out much of the railway line by skipping the section between Voss and Myrdel. Sea kayaking in the Fjords was another highlight of the trip not to be missed.

Railway Map
Railway Map

Off to Gudvangen

Breakfast at the hostel was a little busier today and I joked that they were no doubt all people coming kayaking with us. After a decent feed we once again loaded up our bags and walked into town where we were to meet the Nordic Ventures bus ready for our sea kayaking expedition. Carrying all of our kit was a bit of a chore, but we’d planned things so that it wouldn’t be too far.

As we got into town a little earlier than needed I spotted a Nordic Ventures coach heading the other way – up towards the hostel. No doubt going to pick all the other people up from the hostel now that we’d just carried all of our bags into town.

The bus then arrived at 9:15 am as planned. Sure enough, it contained all of the people we had seen at breakfast in the hostel. We could have jumped on the bus there saving ourselves the walk into town with our heavy bags! Oh well, at least the front seats of the coach were free so we jumped on them ready for the trip to Gudvangen.

This trip wasn’t short of scenery as we climbed up over a mountain pass with towering cliffs above. Torrents of water fell from these creating impressive waterfalls. Alongside the road was a beautiful mountain stream with what seemed like endless opportunities for white-water kayaking – if your skills allowed!

Roadside Waterfall
Roadside Waterfall

Sea Kayaking Prep

We soon arrived at Gudvangen and were introduced to our guide Juliette and the rest of our group. Gudvangen wasn’t short of waterfalls either with some particularly impressive ones on the cliffs to the East.

Waterfalls above Gudvangen
Waterfalls above Gudvangen

I think we ended up with a really nice chilled group as some of the other groups seems a little larger and a little more raucous. Juliette our guide was from Cornwall, there was a slightly older man from the east of Norway called Petter who was on the trip alone having been bought it as a birthday present by his daughter. We were joined by two younger girls from Singapore whose names I never quite managed to remember. Along with Anna and myself that was it. Everyone seemed nice enough as we got to know each other a little and repacked our bags ready for the trip.

We were supplied with wetsuits, wetsuit boots, spray deck, buoyancy aid, paddles and of course kayaks. We had Boreal Design Inukshuk kayaks which were the same as the one I had used (and liked) in Sardinia last year. We packed everything we would need (and probably lots that we wouldn’t) for two full days on the water, a night of camping and plenty of food to keep us going.

The other groups around us were off on different trips with different leaders. Some were on 1-day tasters, others on a 3-day kayak and hike, and yet others on a 6-day tour.

We got fitted into our kayaks and were soon on the water paddling gently along in absolutely perfect conditions.

Perfect Paddling Conditions
Perfect Paddling Conditions

It was warm, sunny and there wasn’t even the slightest of breezes to trouble the waters. The girls from Singapore hadn’t done much paddling before so they were, a little reluctantly, in a double kayak. This was insisted upon as it was needed for its extra load-carrying ability and for safety should there be any issues along the way.

Paddling Day 1

The paddling was really easy for me and at a very slow pace. That didn’t matter though as there was more than enough dramatic scenery to keep me occupied. Anna and Petter were doing well too. The girls in the double were a little slower than us despite being in what should be a faster boat but we all stuck to their pace so as to stay together.

We stopped off at an impressive waterfall at one point and scrambled up towards the top where we were battered by the wind and spray coming from the full force of the falls. It’s impossible to describe the granduer of the scenery and impossible to capture it in a photo too. It’s one of those things you have to see for yourself. Needless to say every huge waterfall or impressive cliff face was looked at in awe as we made our way up the Nærøyfjord crossing back and forth from side to side a few times.

There were a couple of sight-seeing boats and ferries every so often, including an impressive looking electric boat. We passed by supposed biking burial grounds and secluded villages that were only accessible by boat. There were tiny little farms perched high on the cliff sides here and there too.

We stopped for lunch on a grassy bank in the sunshine. As soon as we did Juliette had a Gingham tablecloth spread out on the ground that had snacks to keep us going while she prepared lunch. It was all very efficient, very well planned and designed to keep us all happy. Lunch itself was a decent affair of bread rolls with ham and cheese, plenty of salad, crisps and sweets. There were hot and cold drinks available too. Most of us mucked in to help with the prep and clear up where we could, but Juliette was actually quite happy doing most of it herself. In fact, as we got to know her better during the trip, it was nice to see that she genuinely wanted to make sure everyone had a good time. She was always analysing what was going on and what she could do to make the trip run smoothly, keep everyone safe and most importantly make sure everyone was getting what they wanted from it.

Lunch Stop
Lunch Stop

After lunch, we continued on. I was struck by what seemed to be a distinct lack of wildlife though. There was the occasional gull, some oystercatchers here and we did at one point see a few fish jump but that was about it on the water there. There were more gulls, sparrows and what seemed to be an ever-present pied wagtail whenever we stopped but again, not much in the way of life. I’m not sure why this was. We did briefly spot a seal while at camp and a goose but I would have expected to see much more in such serene and remote surroundings. What we did see, we see more of at home and the vegetation was pretty much the same too.


We made camp for the night on a somewhat slopey grassy bank behind a nice little beach near to the village of Dyrdal.

Another group was camping on a similar spot across the other side of the fjord and the hike and kayak group joined us on our beach but stayed separate and a little distance away from us. There was even another group at a third campsite across the bay. It makes sense to put them all fairly close as they can share resources if needed. We were supplied with tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mats. I’d brought my own sleeping bag that I wanted to try out as well.

Water was collected from a nearby river running off the sides of the mountain. The campsite opposite didn’t have such a water source so the leader from that group took another paddler across the fjord to collect water from our river. Some people went for a dip in the fjord but I decided to stay dry for a change and took in the views.

Once again Juliette was on the ball as soon as we arrived at camp and soon had us all sorted and a table set up full of snacks while she started preparing a delicious pasta bolognese for us all. There was even plenty of wine to go with it! We all sat around in the warm evening air eating, drinking and chatting before heading off to our tents for the night.

Breakfast was good too, but judging by the girls tent in the morning they hadn’t used any of their tent pegs – maybe they hadn’t done much camping previously either! I don’t think they were too impressed by the long drop toilet either. It was the nicest long drop I’ve ever seen, but I don’t think the girls used it.

Kayaking Day 2

After breaking camp, day 2 was more of the same really. Easy kayaking through stunning scenery. The girls from Singapore wanted to go in single kayaks today so Anna and Petter paired up in the double. Juliette was a little reluctant about this and it was soon clear that they were struggling and very slow. We made our way out of the Nærøyfjord and into Aurlandsfjord.

As calm as it gets
As calm as it gets

There wasn’t really anywhere to stop today though so lunch wasn’t until quite a way into the paddle at a time little beach called Stokko. I was dying for a wee by now so went on ahead with Anna and Petter close behind. Juliette held back for the two girls. She was now towing one of them and I offered to tow the other but there wasn’t another rope available.

Lunch was once again good as we marvelled at the abandoned farm perched high up the cliffside on the opposite side of the fjord. There was also a farm high on the cliffside above us too which was now an Air BnB. It’s only accessbile by boat and then requires a strenuous 45 minute climb up the cliffside path to get to it. It was in a stunning location though and has a cliffside hot tub. What a place!

Into Undredal

After lunch the girls were still a little tired so we sat around giving them chance to recuperate a little and convinced them to go back into the double. Fortunately for them it was now only a short hop to our destination of Undredal.

Here we packed our kit away, explored the village a little and waited for a bus to take us back to the Nordic Venture HQ in Gudvangen.

I even rode a goat!

Riding a goat!
Riding a goat!

Sea kayaking was the perfect way to see the fjords up close and personal. ‘Wild’ camping (albeit not that wild and with a long-drop toilet) added to the fun and we’d all enjoyed it. It’s an amazing place and I was left wishing I could explore it more.

Gudvangen Vikings!

The trip back to Gudvangen was nice too. First, we drove up the valley alongside another amazing white-water river. Next, we went into Gidvangen tunnel which at 11.42km is the ninth longest in the world and the second longest in Norway. We emerged back at Gudvangen, sorted out our bags and I was reunited with my shoes. Somehow I’d left them behind so had spent the whole kayaking trip barefoot.

Gudvangen itself is a little odd. Overlooked by the impressive waterfalls, it is dominated by a Viking village. Along with the adjacent Viking hotel, there’s a petrol station, a small supermarket, the entrance to the tunnel and the Nordic Ventures HQ. That’s about it really, other than the river, the fjord and a statue of a Viking! We did see a few of the ‘Vikings’ though. They had just been shopping in the supermarket and were following us across the bridge whilst texting on their mobile phones!!!

We were staying in the Viking hotel tonight, but not in one of the Viking rooms. Instead, we were in a nice self-contained apartment. After dinner at the diner (Viking themed of course!) we settled in for the night. Tomorrow we would be retracing our paddle strokes along the Fjords, this time by boat to Flåm. From here we would take a mountain train to Myrdal and re-join the Bergen to Oslo Railway.

Kayaking the Norwegian Fjords

1 Response

  1. Avatar forComment Author Mum x says:

    Sounds a bit better than my trip ( with 60 children aged 5 to 9 years olds) to Weston. Still I did volunteer for it !

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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