Is the Tourist Village of Geiranger Worth Visiting?

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The town of Geiranger is one of the most recognizable scenes in the West Norwegian fjords.

The image of the large cruise ships with the glowing blue water is a feature on most cruise ship brochures. As a result, the town gets flooded with tourists every day from multiple vessels pulling into the port. 

As a result, Geiranger has a reputation as being a bit of a tourist trap, and on first impressions, I thought exactly the same thing. But there is more to this beautiful little village than I first thought and it is absolutely worth a visit. 

Geiranger Video Experience

If you prefer to watch rather than read then check out the video below. 

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8 Things to Do in Geiranger

1. Kayak the Fjord

Kayaking is the best way to soak up the beauty of Geiranger, the fjord, and the surrounding mountains. It is an incredible experience to gently paddle along the water in almost complete isolation. 

Aside from the occasional boat passing by, and one gigantic cruise liner, it was incredibly peaceful on the water and was the one activity that made me fall in love with this place. I cannot recommend it highly enough! 

The highlight of the day was paddling out to the two waterfalls that sit on opposite sides of the fjord. 

The Seven Sisters is on one side, which I assume got its name from the seven streams of water that flow down the face of the cliffs. 

And on the opposite side is the Friaren waterfall. You can get very close to the base of the waterfall and the view from the water is incredible. 

This was our turnaround point and the trip was just over two hours in total. You can make a full day of this and go further, slower, or have stops along the way if you wish. 

You have the option to join a group tour or just head out yourself. If you are heading out on your own make sure you give yourself plenty of time, and take a packed lunch to enjoy along the way. There are plenty of places you can stop along the shore to eat in a truly memorable spot. 

Kayaking in Geiranger

2. Cruise the Fjord

If Kayaking is not for you and you still want to see the twin waterfalls, you can get the same views in a fraction of the time and effort by just taking a boat. 

Cruises leave the main port frequently and is a relatively affordable activity. You can pre-purchase your tickets here.

The cruising time is much shorter vs the kayaking so a good option if you just want the views rather than the experience of being on the fjord.  

3. Waterfall Walk

The Waterfall Walk is a series of rapids and falls that flow through the town of Geiranger and out into the fjords. 

There is a suspended platform with walkways and viewpoints that track the edge of the Geiranger River that allows you to get very close to the roar of the water as it thunders down each waterfall. 

You will get close enough to cop some of the spray in some points but this is easily avoided if you prefer to stay dry. 

No single waterfall would rate highly against the best waterfalls in Norway, but altogether it is an impressive display of nature and a very enjoyable walk up the 300 steps from the base to the top. 

Waterfall Walk Geiranger

4. Skywalk (Mt. Dalsnibba)

Sitting on top of Mount Dalsnibba, overlooking the town of Geiranger, is the Skywalk viewing platform. Here you will get the best panoramic view of the town, the fjord, and all of the surrounding mountains. 

There are numerous outdoor platforms that you can explore freely, and inside you can find a gift shop and cafe with various places to enjoy the views and a snack in the warmth of the visitor’s center. 

The viewing platform itself has a guard rail made from glass so even those unwilling to go near the edge (and 500m drop!) will be able to get a clear view through the valley to the town of Geiranger. 

For the more adventurous, you can also park at the lower car park and hike the steep 400m path up to the Skywalk viewpoint. 

The views are sensational no matter where you look and is the best way to introduce yourself to this little corner of Norway. 

View from Skywalk

5. The Icy Lake

On the drive up to the Skywalk you will pass by a lake that is almost frozen over. This was surprising to say the least considering it was the middle of summer and not being that cold. 

I am sure there is an actual name for this location but I have not been able to find it. It is not far from the toll booth on the way to Skywalk and it is right next to the only road in and out, so you can’t miss it.  

Seeing this for the first time was a bit of a wow moment!

It is a very quiet location and despite the icy surroundings I was still just wearing a t-shirt. 

Icy Lake Norway

6. Viewpoints Along the Ørnevegen Bends

Back on the main road that runs down towards the town from the mountains and there is a series of viewpoints at varying elevations that give you different perspectives on the same view that you have experienced at the Skywalk. 

As you get closer to the town, you the view may seem familiar with many tourist brochures of Norway having this view on the front page! 

The road into town is full of hairpin bends and will have multiple turnoffs with car parks available to stop at each of these viewpoints. I would encourage you to stop at all of them to find the one you like best! 

My favorite was the Flyalsjuvet viewpoint, which is much lower and not far from the town limits. 

Viewpoint Overloooking Geiranger

7. Hiking Trails

The mountains surrounding Geiranger is a hiker’s dream. There are trails that set off in every direction that range from one hour to four hours in length and varying degrees of difficulty.

What all routes have in common is the incredible views to be found of the fjords and surrounding mountains. 

You can get the official hiking map here.

8. Geiranger Sjokolade

You can sample the handmade chocolates in-store and decide which one you would like to purchase to take with you. This led me to buy multiple bags to take with me, and you will too! 

But the highlight was the waffles on a stick that you can eat at the in-house cafe.

These soft and fluffy sweet treats were well-earned after a morning of kayaking and are an absolute must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. 

Sjokolade Waffles

Where to Stay in Geiranger

Being a popular tourist town the accommodation is expensive and not of the highest quality. If you have your own vehicle I would recommend you stay outside of the main town, where you can get some amazing accommodation for half the price. 

My top recommendation is an hour away in the small town of Olden which has one of the best roadside motels I have ever stayed in – Nesset Fjordcamping.

The rooms are affordable and you can opt for a balcony that sits right over the fjord. 

Olden Fjord Hotel

However, if you are looking for accommodation in Geiranger itself, then you are unlikely to find any budget-friendly options. We stayed at the Havila Hotel Geiranger, which is the only option in the center of the village. 

It was double the price of the Olden accommodation but also had a balcony with an amazing view over the fjord. The decor is old and looks like something out of the Titanic but it is an ok place to stay… Just overpriced. 

View from Hotel Geiranger

Other alternatives that are close to the waterfront but further out are: 

Is Geiranger Worth Visiting?

Geiranger is definitely worth visiting as part of your Norway road trip itinerary, but you don’t necessarily need to stay there overnight to enjoy most of what this destination has to offer.

You can complete most of these activities in a single day, unless you plan on tackling multiple hiking trails. 

Given the cost of staying in town, a day trip is the best option so you can leave and stay somewhere nearby but far cheaper.

At night there is no nightlife to speak of, and only a few restaurants are around the hotels.

So, half a day for kayaking and another half a day to walk around the village or take on a moderate hike and you will have done 80% of what is possible.

But if you want to move a bit slower and take your time, then the hotels won’t break the bank for a single night. 

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