If Norway is known for one thing, it is its spectacular fjords. These are long, narrow fingers of water that are lined up along the coast in which the narrow channels which penetrate inland are bordered by steep cliffs which sometimes can rise hundreds of metres straight up.
The fjords are remnants of the last ice age, and were carved by massive glaciers which inched their way towards to sea with such force that the rock was no match for the power of the ice that was able to rupture the surface and rip out great channels to re-shape the landform.
Lysefjord is one of the most impressive of Norway’s fjords, and is also the most southerly of the large fjords. It is a truly massive natural feature being 40 kilometres in length and over one thousand metres in height.
The name actually means “light fjord” and refers to the light colours of the granite rocks which flank the fjord. The fjord is also one of the most visited in Norway because it is located near the port of Stavanger, where many cruise ships berth for shore excursions.
The waters of the fjord are also quite deep, and in parts reach a depth of almost 500 metres. One of the most popular ways to enjoy the fjord is to take a local cruise or to kayak on your own, or as part of a group tour. One of the most spectacular views from the water is of the impressive Hengjanefossen Waterfall which plummets 400 metres into the water from the cliff face.
Hiking is also popular, particularly as you can enjoy some amazing panoramic views. One of the most popular destinations is Pulpit Rock, a huge, flat rock which towers 604 metres above the water. The climb is strenuous, but the views are definitely worth the effort.
Those with strong legs often climb the 4,444 steps from the village of Florli which abut a power station pipeline.
The more adventurous keep climbing to Kjerag Mountain, the highest peak in the Lysefjord, which reaches a height of 1,084 metres. Base jumping is legal here, so it is not unusual to see people off the cliff to experience the exhilarating parachute ride down the side of the cliff to the fjord below.
Another attraction that is not for the feint-hearted is to climb atop the Kjeragbolten, a round rock that is perilously wedged into a mountain crevice. To climb out to the rock does require much courage, but the resulting photograph of the heroic deed is well worth the effort.