Staying in the Sognefjord
Norway's western coast has 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) with several branches. Because of its expansive size and accessibility from Bergen and Oslo, it's also the most visited fjord in the country. That's not to say the area is mainstream. Given the rugged environment, we've chosen three hotels, as close to luxury as it gets here, and each one is unique in size, style, and location.
In this article is a farm stay in Aurland, near a southern branch called the Aurlandsfjord, with access to hiking, kayaking, and fishing. Another option is a small hotel in Solvorn, on a northern branch called the Lustrafjord, with access to fjord-side trails and a UNESCO-listed stave church. There's also a large hotel in Balestrand with boat access through the Fjærlandsfjord, which leads to the Norwegian Glacier Museum at the edge of the Jostedal Glacier (the largest glacier in mainland Europe). For more ideas on what to see and do, check out the top experiences in the fjord region.
If you're looking to stay at the oldest hotel in Norway, which the same family has run since the 17th century, this is it. The Walaker Hotel is a seasonal property in the scenic village of Solvorn, steps from nature trails, swimming beaches, and 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 using local ingredients and enjoy 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
Surrounded by jaw-dropping mountains and waterfalls, 29|2 Aurland is 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 that 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 on-site garden as possible, while others come from regional farmers. The rate includes daily 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
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 floors, there are 30 rooms with old-world decor and patterned wallpaper—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 (look for regular tastings in the cellar). A nautical-themed bistro provides casual lunch and dinner options. 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