Geiragngerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is said to be one of the most beautiful fjords in all of Norway. This fjord is actually the inspiration for the beautiful Adendelle in Disney’s hit movie Frozen. With Geirangerfjord being one of the most scenic fjords, we knew we wanted to go hiking here. However, with only being in Geirangerfjord one full day, we knew we needed to find the best ‘one & done’ hike to do. And we were so happy when we found the perfect, unique hike in Geirangerfjord from Skagehola to Geiranger. Here is our guide on where to hike in Geirangerfjord.
FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in early September. See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter. For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post.
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Take a boat to Skagefla and then hike back to Gerianger
We highly, HIGHLY recommend taking a boat to the Skagefla drop off and then hiking back to Geiranger from there. This unique hike affords stunning views of Geirangerfjord. Map as below.
Book Geirangerfjord Cruise
In order to do this one-way hike in Geirangerfjord, you first book a Cruise on Geirangerfjord to Skagfela (550 NOK). Be sure to book this cruise in advance as it does have limited time spots, especially after September 1st. You take this cruise down through the fjord, past several stunning waterfalls. Once the boat turns around, you will get off the boat on the return route at the Skagehola stop (boat drop-off/pick-up below Skagefla farm).
Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord: Skaagehola to Geiranger Hike Specifics
We measured this one-way hike at just over 5 miles one-way with 1800 feet of elevation gain.
Hike to Skagefla Farm
As mentioned above, the hike to Skagefla starts with a fjord cruise through Geirangerfjord to Skagehola (shore below Skagefla where the trail starts). Here you get off the book and start the steep hike to Skagefla
People had told us this hike was steep before we completed it but we truly did not appreciate how steep this hike was until we completed it. In about 0.5 miles, you gain over 800 feet (250 meters) of elevation making it a stellar workout as well.
Skagefla is one of ten old, abandoned mountain farms in Geirangerfjord. This farm is 250 meters above the fjord and offers a fantastic view of several waterfalls in Geirangerfjord.
The trail then continues onto the highest point of elevation at 1800 feet (550 meters). This is another steep, challenging climb to this spot. You will reach another abandoned farm before starting your descent toward Holmberg. This highest point of elevation offers fantastic views back over Geirangerfjord.
The hike back to Holmberg is then a gradual descent. Just before the final descent, you are afforded the most spectacular views over Geiranger (first picture in this post). Once you arrive in Holmberg, you walk the main road back to Geiranger. It is less than a mile back to Geiranger from this point.
Bonus: On this hike, an unexpected, fun find was many fresh blueberries and raspberries along the path. It was so neat to be able to eat these fresh on the trail. Our daughter loved eating and trying these too!
Note: Trail is slippery even without recent rain
Even without recent rain, due to how water drains into the fjord, the trail is likely to be slippery in spots due to wet/muddy terrain. Especially on your descent into Holmberg. Even though it had not rained in over two weeks when we visited, there were still some very slick spots on the trail. Solid hiking shoes (and being on your A-game with careful steps) are a must for this trail.
Where to Hike in Geirangerfjord: Can kids hike this trail?
Yes! We hiked this trail with our 12-month-old daughter in the backpack carrier. The ascent hike is very steep but the hike to Holmberg/Geiranger is more manageable. We felt comfortable with our daughter in the carrier. Beware that the trail skirts the edge of the fjord and is quite exposed at times. This does pose a dangerous fall risk. However, there are chains in these spots. If your child can handle the steep elevation and you can trust them to be aware of the exposed mountainside at different points, they should be able to complete this hike.
Hike from Geiranger/Holmberg to Skagefla Out & Back
You could alternatively hike from Geiranger out & back. This would make it a very long day/hike (10 miles round-trip). We also consider the steep rocky trail that we ascended to the farm from Skagehola dangerously steep. We would have not felt comfortable descending this trail back to the boat drop off/pick up with our baby on our backs. We find ascending up steep elevation to be more manageable than descending down steep elevation.
However, this alternative is a budget option (for someone not baby-wearing) because you do not have to pay for the pricey cruise to Skagefla/Skaghola. However, we thought the cost of the cruise was worth it allows you to see the fjord from the water.
Hike from Boat Drop-Off/Pick Up to Skagefla Out & Back
Another alternative to hiking the full path is that you can hike to Skagefla farm (from the boat drop off spot below it) and then hike back to the boat drop off/pick up (Skagehola) for a boat ride back to Geiranger. Getting picked up at the boat drop off/pick is included in your cruise ticket cost. This shortens the hike to about 1 mile round trip. However, do not let that 1 mile stat fool you. The hike to Skagefla is an exceedingly steep route with 820 feet (250 feet) of elevation gain and round-trip it will take you at least an hour to 1.5 hours to complete.
We highly advise you against this option though as our favorite views on this hike were all past Skagefla farm/past the highest elevation. Our favorite view over Geiranger was near the end of this hike near Holmberg (above).
Note: If you do choose this option, make sure to check when the next boat will be coming to pick you up. Boats, especially after Sept 1st, are very limited and the boats will not wait for you (as they do not know you are coming) if you are not there when they arrive. Make sure you are back to Skagehola before the boat comes to get you. We witnessed one group of hikers narrowly miss the boat as the frantically moved on the trail to jump onboard
Fun Facts about Geirangerfjord:
- Inspiration for Arendelle in Frozen
- Population less than 300 year round residents
- Less than 20 kids are enrolled in the school here. Once kids turn 16, they are sent to Alesund (2 hours away) for school and live in an apartment on their own at this time
- The town inevitably is going to be destroyed by a Tsunami at some point but it is heavily monitored so that the residents should have 72 hours to evacuate
Where to Stay in Geirangerfjord?
We stayed at Grande Hytteutleige og Camping in cabin option #3 while visiting Geiranger/Geirangerfjord. These simple one bedroom cabins (with a lofted space and bunk beds) can sleep up to 5 and also have a full kitchen. The real draw to this spot though is the back window/patio views over Geirangerfjord. The views are truly stellar. We would stay at this spot again without hesitation. The staff working here were also very kind and accommodating to us. There are other larger and smaller cabin options here as well to meet your group needs. This accommodation was the perfect space for us to base ourselves for two-nights to hike in Geirangerfjord.
Hiking from Skagefla to Geirnagerfjord was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip It was so peaceful, serene and scenic. See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip Trip guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.
We hope this guide helps you plan where to hike in Geirangerfjord. Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Please leave us a comment!
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