The Norwegian fjords are one of the world’s most desirable tourist destinations, but there’s just one problem. At the height of summer, cruise ships and tourist ferries can be uncomfortably crowded, as hordes of international visitors scramble to get a photograph or video and end up missing out. But although the boats are crowded, the water itself remains wide open and available for kayaking.
From early May to mid-September, kayak rental companies offer equipment rentals and guided tours on most of the major Norwegian fjords. Guided tours are great if you want to learn more about the area and some of the things you’ll see along the way, or if you’re a little nervous about being out on the water. The fjords are a long way from open ocean, so such trips are calm and safe for the whole family. The unique vantage point helps you appreciate how hemmed in these waterways are by the sheer cliffs on either side, and you can take time exploring them for yourself.
Kayaking the Fjords
In Geiranger, the feeling of isolation begins before you even get on the water as the kayak rental company is situated a 25-minute walk along a gravel pathway from the crowded village center. You have a variety of options, from an hour-long paddle (580kr), or a two-hour tour to the world-famous Seven Sisters waterfall (1,100kr) to a day-long kayak/hike combination on which you’ll also visit the abandoned Skageflå mountain farm. Just be prepared to climb a few hundred steps!
If you just want to rent equipment, double kayaks offer the best value at 440kr per hour or 815kr for up to three hours. For more details or to book, contact Geiranger FjordService.
If you’re exploring the fjords on the classic Norway in a Nutshell tour, consider a break in Flåm to enjoy a multi-day kayak trip on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. The tours last from two to eight days, and on the longer ones you’ll even earn kayaking qualifications that are recognized internationally.
The three-hour (670kr) fjord paddle tour offered by Njord Seakayak and Wilderness Adventures is popular with day trippers, or you can rent a double kayak for the day for 1,950kr. Single kayaks can only be rented by those holding certification.
Kayaking in the Cities
The fun of kayaking isn’t just reserved for the fjords. You can also explore many of Norway’s cities from the unique vantage point of the water.
Ålesund’s Kayak More Tomorrow offers a range of guided tours, some combined with fishing, cycling, or hiking activities, to fully appreciate the unique beauty of Norway’s Art Nouveau city.
Farther north, Trondheim Kajakk rents kayaks and runs guided tours along the city’s winding Nidelven river. You’ll need to catch a local bus to the meeting point, but you can drop off the kayak downtown once you’ve returned on the water.
Turn Things up a Notch
If the idea of a gentle paddle just isn’t exciting enough for you, then how about white-water rafting to get the adrenaline pumping? Norway’s inland rivers offer perfect conditions for beginners right through to expert rafters.
Voss is Norway’s home of extreme sports, and a three-hour rafting trip suitable for children as young as six will set you back just 700kr per person, while a longer, more advanced trip on a grade 3-4 river (min. age 16) comes in at 1,300kr. For more information or to book, contact Fjord Tours.
From a quiet drift through the Norwegian fjords to a turbulent ride through rapids, kayaking and rafting will add some exciting adventure into your Norwegian itinerary.
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