Fjords, besides being narrow steep inlets filled with sea water, are one of nature’s wonders. They are beautiful and spectacular valleys which are carved out by glacial ice eroding the underlying earth. There are only a handful of countries in the world which have fjords; namely Norway, New Zealand, Chile, Iceland, Canada, Alaska and Russia. In this post, we look at some of the most scenic fjords that you must visit in your lifetime.
Milford Sound, New Zealand
One of the most famous landmarks of New Zealand, Milford Sound is the only one of the 14 fjords in the entire Fiordland district that is accessible by road. Milford Sound is a very active tourist area, and hence there are tons of options for transport and activities. You can take a cruise on a boat, go kayaking, do a multi-day walk or scuba dive. If you are lucky, you might spot a penguin too.
Comau Fjord, Chile
Located in the Los Lagos region of Chile, Comau fjord is part of the world famous Patagonia region. While the entire Patagonia region is filled with incredible landscape scenery, glaciers and mountains, Comau (or Leptepu fjord) is unlike any natural wonder of Patagonia. Its water has a rich aquamarine blue colour, which might be mistaken for the tropical waters of the Maldives. A boat from Puerto Montt or a drive on Chile’s route 7 will take you to Comau fjord.
Norway is the nation with the most fjords in the world. So, there are many Norwegian fjords on this list. Our first Norwegian fjord is Hardangerfjord, which is the second longest fjord (179 km) in Norway. It is best known for Troll Tunga or Troll Tongue, a dramatic piece of rock sticking out nearly 700 meters from an adjoining mountain, with nothing but a steep cliff below it. It offers a very spectacular view of Hardangerfjord.
Kenai Fjords, Alaska
Kenai Fjord has it all, glaciers, mountains, wildlife and a national park. Located near the city of Seward in South Alaska, Kenai fjord is a well-known place to spot Orcas, Humpback whales and sea lions. If cruising on a boat bores you, then you also have the opportunity to check out a 650000 acre national park. You can even stay at a lodge and go fishing. Kenai fjord offers a well rounded outdoor experience.
Howe Sound, Canada
Howe Sound is a beautiful and scenic fjord located very close to the Canadian city of Vancouver. This fjord plays its part in making the drive from Vancouver to Whistler on route 99 one of the most scenic in the world. The drive on route 99 has the Coast mountains on one side and Howe Sound on the other. Besides providing amazing views of Vancouver and its surrounding area, Howe Sound also offers a host of outdoor activities such as sailing, fishing, diving and camping.
In the arctic region of Greenland lies Ilulissat Icefjord, an astonishing fjord made up of blocks of icebergs. These tall pieces of icebergs (3300 ft) are calved out from Sermeq Kujalleq, the fastest moving glacier in the world. They are too tall to float down the fjord, and hence simply lie still in shallower waters. The remote but spectacular setting of the Arctic, along with the stunning beauty of white ice formations make this fjord worthy of a visit.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Nærøyfjord makes up one of the many branches of the famous Sognefjord in Norway. Nærøyfjord is the narrowest fjord in the world and has a host of “World’s best…” accolades to its name. It is such a symbolic destination, that the fjord is part of Norway-in-a-Nutshell tour. It is accessible by road, water and air, and there are tons of activity options to really enjoy your visit to this amazing fjord.
Doubtful Sound, New Zealand
A lesser known cousin of the more famous Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is comparatively more remote and pristine. It takes a minimum of two days to visit this fjord, and one has to use a combination of road and water transport to get to Doubtful Sound, and then do an overnight cruise on a boat. With very little human presence, this part of New Zealand offers genuinely un-spoilt nature for you to experience.
Another iconic UNESCO World Heritage site, Geirangerfjord is located further north of Nærøyfjord. It is also accessible by road and is known especially for its waterfalls. In particular, there are two waterfalls ‘Seven Sisters’ and ‘Suitor’ falls. The story of these falls is that the ‘Suitor’ fall is trying to woo the ‘Seven Sisters’ fall. Regardless of the legends, this fjord offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
Lysefjord is located in South Norway, near the city of Stavanger. It is named after light coloured granite rocks along its sides. The most famous attraction of this fjord is Preikestolen, a flat plateau overlooking the fjord and with a huge 600 meter cliff below it. If you like spectacular cliffs and drops, then the nearby Kjerag mountain offers such view points. There are also boat cruises that you can enjoy, if you are not interested in hiking.