Hjørundfjord Travel Guide

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Discover the stunning Hjørundfjord, a hidden gem amidst Norway's scenic fjords, offering breathtaking landscapes and a tranquil escape from the tourist trail.

Nestled in Norway’s Sunnmøre region, Hjørundfjord stretches over 35 kilometers, flanked by the majestic Sunnmøre Alps.

Shore of the Hjørundfjord in Norway

Its dramatic, rugged cliffs and lush, green valleys remain less affected by the heavy tourist footfall that frequents Norway’s more famous fjords, providing an authentic experience.

This fjord is not just a haven for scenic beauty but also a paradise for adventure enthusiasts. Activities range from hiking challenging trails that offer panoramic views, to fishing in the fertile waters, and kayaking under the steep cliffs.

Small, picturesque villages along the fjord, such as Sæbø and Øye, offer cozy accommodations and a taste of local Norwegian culture and hospitality.

The Hjørundfjord is an ideal destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure in the heart of Norway’s natural beauty.

How to Travel to the Hjørundfjord

Easy to visit as a day-trip by car or boat from Ålesund or in combination with a longer road trip itinerary that includes the Geirangerfjord, this fjord is a worthy addition to any journey around Norway.

European Royals have toured the region since the 19th-century, leading to its nickname the Royal Fjord Route, which has been (of course!) embraced by the tourism authorities.

Hiking near Sæbø, Hjørundfjord
Hiking near Sæbø, Hjørundfjord (Photo: Mattias Fredriksson / www.fjordnorway.com)

To follow in their footsteps, follow the E136 out of Ålesund and turn south on to the E39 (signed Stavanger).

Cross the Storfjord on the Solavågen-Festøya car ferry and continue to Ørsta, where you can stock up on groceries at a handy supermarket. Before you move on, save some time for a quick stroll around the scenic harbourside path.

Leave Ørsta on the eastbound Fv655 and you will reach the shore of the Hjørundfjord at Sæbø. The 53-mile drive from Ålesund to Sæbø should take no more than 2.5 hours.

Sightseeing Tours

A number of ferries depart from Sæbø onto the Hjørundfjord but by far the most popular is the crossing to Lekneset. The road then continues on through the lush Norangsdalen valley to Hellesylt and the Geirangerfjord.

Even without a car, visiting the Hjørundfjord from Ålesund is easy thanks to the 4-5hr Sightseeing Cruise (high season only) that includes a light 2-course lunch at the historic Hotel Union Øye.

Find out more information and book your ticket at the Tourist Information Office in Ålesund.

Another option that travellers don’t always know about is the Norwegian coastal ferry. In the winter and spring, the Hurtigruten and Havila vessels stay in Ålesund for most of day 2 on the northbound voyage.

Hjørundfjord sightseeing cruise
The Hjørundfjord (Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life AS / www.fjordnorway.com)

In the summer, they call into Ålesund before heading off to the Geirangerfjord, before returning briefly to Ålesund and continuing on their way. But in the autumn, the ships visit the Hjørundfjord instead.

Activities in the Hjørundfjord Region

Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of Hjørundfjord with activities tailored for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

Kayaking and hiking reign supreme in this pristine environment. The ascent to Mount Saska, while demanding, rewards hikers with a view that spans the length of Hjørundfjord and reaches out to the coastal town of Ålesund.

This panoramic spectacle over the Sunnmøre Alps affirms its status as a national favorite, with every step offering a new vista.

The kayaking experience in Hjørundfjord allows for a different perspective—closer to the water's edge, where the silence of the fjord is only broken by the gentle paddle strokes.

Kayak rentals provide all you need for a day on the water. Glide past ancient farms perched on steep hillsides and under towering cliffs that drop dramatically into the fjord.

For those interested in cultural experiences, local guides offer historical kayaking tours, explaining the rich history of the region from the unique vantage point of the fjord.

Alternatively, the more adventurous can explore the numerous smaller inlets and hidden coves, each holding their own secrets.

Back on land, another not-to-be-missed hike is the trail to the top of the Molladalen Valley.

Unlike Mount Saska, Molladalen offers a slightly less challenging trek but is equally rewarding with its series of stunning alpine lakes and jagged peaks that encapsulate the adventurous spirit of Norway.

Where to Stay in the Hjørundfjord Region

Sæbø – Just moments from the Sæbø-Lekneset ferry crossing, Hjørundfjord Camping must be a contender for the most picturesque campsite in all of Norway. Go from the comfort of your cabin to kayaking in one of Norway’s best fjords in mere seconds.

The basic cabins sleep four and are great value for money, while there's plenty of room for tents, camper vans and motorhomes too. Search for accommodation in Sæbo.

Bjørke – The tiny village of Bjørke at the extreme southern end of the Hjørundfjord is the idyllic location for the Indiefjord (indiefjord.com) music festival. Inspired by the Britpop movement of the 1990s, Indiefjord brings together fans of the genre every July to dance, bounce, and camp on the shoreline.

The festival is deliberately kept small to keep the intimate vibe and not overload the delicate local environment. Search for accommodation in Bjørke.

Øye – The historic Hotel Union Øye (pictured above) is the best hotel near the Hjørundfjord. Each of the 25 rooms are individually decorated with modern touches despite the 19th-century aesthetic.

A stay at the Union is an all-inclusive experience that includes a lavish three-course meal followed by coffee served in the grand lounge, where European Royals and the wealthy have relaxed for decades gone. Search for accommodation in Øye.

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About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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