Staying in the Sognefjord
When planning a trip to Norway, you'll likely want to spend some time on the western coast, which has an intricate maze of more than 1,000 fjords creating a dramatic landscape of steep, lush mountains, tumbling waterfalls, and calm seawater. The Sognefjord, nicknamed the "king of the fjords," is the longest and deepest fjord stretching 127 miles (204 km). Because of its expansive size and accessibility from Bergen and Oslo, it's also the most visited fjord in the country.
There are many cozy villages and towns to choose from depending on your preference and how much time you have: Aurland and Flåm are located on the southern side via a narrow branch called the Aurlandsfjord, with access to hiking, cycling, kayaking, and fishing. Meanwhile, Balestrand, Hafslo, Sogndal, and Solvorn are on the northern side with access to highlights like the UNESCO-listed Urnes Stave Church and the Norwegian Glacier Museum, at the edge of Jostedal Glacier (the largest glacier in mainland Europe). Check out the top experiences in Norway's fjord region for more ideas.
Located in the lush Aurland Valley, a short drive from the Aurlandsfjord, 29|2 Aurland provides a unique hotel experience in the form of a luxury farm stay. The former historic fishing lodge was transformed in 2014 into a small family-run property with 10 individual rustic-chic rooms in several farmhouse buildings with repurposed materials and antiques, which blend with modern furnishings.
Guests spend their days in nature—there are plenty of hikes and activities in the area—and then return to dine on local, organic food. The chef uses as many ingredients from the garden as possible, while others come from nearby farmers. The rate includes breakfast, an afternoon treat, and a three-course dinner with wine pairings served at a communal table in the atmospheric smokehouse, where you'll likely meet new friends from around the world. 29|2 Aurland is a certified Eco Lighthouse business, and the owners, a lovely family who lives on the property, aim to have the smallest carbon footprint possible. Learn more
The Walaker Hotel is the oldest in Norway, run by the same family since the 17th century. It's a seasonal property in the scenic village of Solvorn, on a branch of the Sognefjord called the Lustrafjord, steps from a small ferry that makes crossings to the 12th-century Urnes Stave Church. Guests stay in one of three buildings on the property, and each room has its own look with different furnishings and decor that may include antiques, clapboard walls, and claw-foot tubs. All rooms offer views of the mountains, fjord, or garden.
Guests are encouraged to make reservations for the nightly four-course dinners with optional wine pairings, which begin at 7:30 pm each evening, focusing on local ingredients like seafood, cheese, and produce. Guests also dine on complimentary breakfast buffets in the morning and afternoon coffee and tea. As for activities, there's a lovely nature trail that wraps around the fjord, passing various viewpoints and swimming spots. Other amenities include an art gallery, a seated garden, and free use of kayaks and bicycles. Learn more
With 190 rooms, Kviknes Hotel is one of the Sognefjord region's largest and most famous hotels. It has been family-owned since 1877, and the historic wing is the highlight, with an impressive first floor decorated with original art and antiques. On the above levels, there are 30 rooms with old-world decor and patterned wallpapers—and many come with seated balconies facing the fjord. The hotel also has a less-attractive annex with more contemporary rooms, but they're not as special as the historic rooms in the original wing.
No matter what wing you stay in, every guest has access to a grand dining room serving international buffets and multicourse menus, along with a well-stocked wine list with more than 300 labels (keep an eye out for regular tastings in the cellar). A nautical-themed bistro provides casual lunch and dinner options, or there's room service (a rarity in the fjords). The hotel is a short stroll to Balestrand's passenger ferry terminal with express service to Bergen, as well as art galleries and fjord tours in the Fjærlandsfjord. Learn more
Fjærland Fjordstove Hotel
The building housing Fjærland Fjordstove Hotel dates back to 1937 and overlooks a stellar view of the Fjaerlandsfjord, a northern and relatively narrow branch of the Sognefjord. There are 14 minimalistic-chic rooms spread out over the top two floors, each slightly different from the other. Most have original clapboard walls painted white along with pops of color from local textiles and vintage books (a nod to Fjærland's many bookstores). Keep in mind that rooms do not have TVs, coffee makers, or minibars, as guests are encouraged to get out and enjoy the surroundings.
Like the rest of the property, the spacious lounge and restaurant received a slow makeover in recent years and boasts a chic Nordic design with wood and leather furnishings, jute rugs, and textiles with different patterns and materials. The main room has large windows for views that lead to an outdoor patio with tables next to the waterfront. The fjord-side setting offers swimming and fishing, while the front desk can provide kayak and bike rentals or organize hiking and glacier excursions. Learn more
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Framed by a white picket fence in Flåm village, Fretheim Hotel is the largest hotel in the southern Sognefjord area and stands out for its sprawling size against a steep mountain backdrop. With 122 rooms, guests can choose between various categories—including the elegant historic wing, carefully restored to offer charming rooms with unique details, traditional furnishings, and no TVs. Meanwhile, the modern wing has more contemporary decor, including TVs, and many rooms have balconies and terraces with fjord views. Suites have more space, as well as bathrobes and slippers.
When not in the rooms, relax in the fireplace lounges or seated garden, though most guests are out and about enjoying outdoor activities during the day. The hotel is just steps from the famous Flåm Railway and fjord cruises along the Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord. For meals other than the complimentary buffet breakfast, there is an a la carte restaurant with views serving local Norwegian fare, optional multicourse menus, and a full bar. Learn more
Fjord views surround Hotel Aurlandsfjord and are within walking distance of Aurland's charming attractions, including a bakery, a shoemaker, and a small beach for fjord swims. The hotel completed a major interior renovation in 2021. The 30 modern Scandinavian-style rooms are a major draw with caramel leather accents, mirror backlights, hardwood-style floors, and local bath products in eco-friendly dispensers (request rooms on the third and fourth floors with private balconies overlooking exceptional views of the fjord).
Guests can start each day with a complimentary breakfast that focuses on locally-sourced ingredients while enjoying the fjord panoramas. This main restaurant space, which is also open for lunch and dinner, has new tilework, leather furnishings, and rattan chandeliers, as well as a range of seating options from tables, cushy booths, and al fresco dining on French bistro chairs. Learn more
The Flåmsbrygga Hotel is a rustic-chic hotel in the heart of Flåm, surrounded by walking paths and gardens that face the fjord. The property opened in 2008 and offers 34 rooms with fresh lodge decor thanks to a range of natural materials like woodwork, driftwood, stone, and glass, along with coffee machines and furnished balconies for enjoying the views. Superior rooms even have double balconies facing the fjord. Meanwhile, two peaceful family rooms are available in a separate building above the breakfast room that can sleep four guests each.
Conveniently located next door is the award-winning microbrewery, Ægir Brewpub, which serves local beers brewed on-site along with impressive fare often procured from local farms. First-timers typically choose an experience tasting option that pairs five beers with five small dishes starting with a memorable salmon tartare. In addition, a complimentary breakfast buffet is served daily for guests, and an all-day café serves lunch items, ice cream, and coffee for guests and visitors, including cruise ship passengers who often migrate through the property to get to other attractions in Flåm. Learn more
The 55-room Leikanger Fjord Hotel is a year-round property on the northern shore, though it's perhaps best experienced in summer when guests can use the private beachfront and dock for sunbathing, swimming, and kayaking. For cooler months, there's a fire pit, sauna, and hot tub. Rooms are getting a slight face-lift from new owners, with fresh bedding and Rituals bath products. Many rooms have large windows and fjord views—and the deluxe category adds private seated balconies.
Drinks and meals are served in the cozy a la carte restaurant and bar, focusing on local produce (berries, peaches, apricots, and walnuts) and seafood from the surrounding waters. A simple buffet breakfast is offered every morning for free, and there are popular Sunday lunch buffets that draw locals. Bike rentals are available, and a small spa offers a handful of treatments, including massages and nail services. Learn more
Hofslund Fjord Hotel
Dating back to 1912, Hofslund Fjord Hotel stands out for its classic Swiss-style exterior on the northern side of the Sognefjord. On a nice day, guests take advantage of the manicured lawn and garden with an outdoor pool facing the sea, the only outdoor pool on this list. Rooms are unique with a mix of traditional and contemporary furnishings but what they do have in common are flat-screen TVs, work desks, and armchairs. A higher category of standard rooms offers seated balconies facing the fjord.
Breakfast is served daily in the dining room, free of charge, and next to it is a charming lounge with wicker furniture and additional fjord views, which is pretty special at sunset. A full bar is operated by the front desk staff when needed, though lunch and dinner are not served unless arranged for a tour group. Luckily, the location is within walking distance or a short drive to Sogndal's restaurants (including three options at Quality Hotel Sogndal) and conveniences like basic shopping and EV chargers. Learn more
A 10-minute drive outside Balestrand is the peaceful, family-owned Dragsvik Fjordhotel, situated on a narrow peninsula with stunning fjord views in both directions. Simple, bright rooms come in various categories with charming historical touches and unique configurations. There are also five private cabins dotted along the hillside, which tend to draw couples. These units have private decks, kitchenettes, lounges, and dining areas.
The best views are available at the hotel restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the fjord and, on a clear day, Jostedal Glacier. Dinnertime has a romantic ambiance due to the soft music, low lighting, and candles where guests can choose between a handful of rotating options that will likely include fresh seafood and a house burger, as well as local beers and a wine list. Learn more
Flåm Marina is a fantastic standard hotel for travelers who want a peaceful, waterfront setting. It's located directly on the Aurlandsford, slightly removed from Flåm's cruise ship crowds, yet still within walking distance to village attractions. The year-round property offers 12 units—a mix of rooms and apartments (great for families) with simple, contemporary furnishings—and each faces the fjord with a private furnished balcony or terrace.
Guests can also relax at the year-round bar and restaurant with a seasonal outdoor terrace attracting boaters who take advantage of the little marina in front. It has a cool, laid-back vibe with blankets and candles that add warmth and coziness after dusk. The dock in the front of the property is a nice spot to catch some rays, and there is a ladder for swimmers. There's also a floating sauna on a boat—often docked near the hotel—available for a fee. Learn more
This seasonal, family-owned hotel, Vangsgaarden Gjestgiveri, once hosted British salmon anglers in the 19th century. Today, 22 rooms come in a few different categories and buildings right next to each other in the heart of Aurland. The main hotel offers single, double, and superior rooms with various configurations that blend contemporary decor with antiques. For more space, there are apartment options, including a row of modern fisherman's cabins with balconies facing the fjord, equipped with kitchenettes, living rooms, and two bedrooms.
A light, elegant breakfast spread is offered each morning in the charming Aabelheim House for hotel guests (but not those staying in the units with kitchenettes). For other meals, dine at the hotel's gastropub with indoor and outdoor seating, serving locally sourced meat and seafood and housemade pizzas. Guests can take a dip in the fjord by using a hidden beach next to the cabins, while a larger beach is a short walk away. Or, relax with a book in the private garden surrounded by flowering plants. Learn more