How would you recover a motorhome from the bottom of a Norwegian fjord 1,300 metres deep? This was the question that briefly ran through my mind whilst we were on the Kaupanger to Gudvangen ferry that runs daily on Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. Luckily, there was no ferry disaster that day so we never got to find out the answer to that question, but I can confirm that Nærøyfjorden is a UNESCO area for very good reason.
Sognefjord facts and information
- Sogneford is 127 miles long
- Maximum depth is 4,291 feet
- It’s 3,300 feet deep for over 70 miles of its length.
- During the last ice age the ice was 3,000 metres deep in Sognefjord.
Kaupanger to Gudvangen car ferry
Running from the middle of May to the middle of August the Kaupanger to Gudvangen ferry is special because it is basically a 3 hour fjord cruise that includes Naeroyfjord, a branch of Sognefjord, which has been awarded UNESCO status. The fjord is 17km long and at the narrowest point is only 250 metres wide. The passage through Naeroyfjord is said to be one of the most dramatic fjord trips in Europe and just like Geiranger fjord is a ‘must see’. It passes giant waterfalls, snow-capped mountains and ancient farms that cling to the mountainside.
The Kaupanger to Gudvangen ferry is not cheap to take a 7 metre long motorhome on, but we thought the £146 cost was well worth it as we saved a significant amount in diesel and this was no ordinary Norwegian ferry.
Undredal – A hidden gem
After arriving on the ferry at Gudvangen there is a Shell station with a motorhome service point, that we didn’t use, but there is also a small Joker supermarket (its real name!) which we did use.
Turning left onto the E16 we immediately entered the Gudvangen tunnel, which is Norway’s 2nd longest tunnel at 11.4 km. It’s dead straight and all uphill. If you follow the E16 it takes you to Laerdal but we turned left just after the tunnel onto the road to a lovely place called Undredal. This is located on the fjord and is a small traditional Norwegian village with a population of 100 people and 500 goats! The road to the village was only built in 1988 and until then the only access was by sea or a long trek over a mountain.
There is a small campsite at Undredal, not featured on any apps. which turned out to be excellent (coordinates N60º 57’4″, E7º 6′ 18″). The location of Undredal is really good, with mountains all around and even a small cafe. Undredal is famous for a very special brown goats cheese that is sweet tasting called Gjetost. It was made by farmers as a method of using the goats milk because they couldn’t transport it due to lack of roads, and has a sweet caramel taste.
The FV13 to Vikøyri
Just when you think you will be driving on an ordinary road, another high mountain road surprises you with its magnificence. This was the case with the FV13. This stretch of road took us to 1,281 metres over Vikafjell up hairpin bends, past mega frozen lakes and so close to a huge raging waterfall that we could nearly lean out of the window to touch it. We were heading for a campsite on the side of Sognefjord but came across a parking area with such an awesome view that we decided to stay the night. ( Coordinates N61°0’47”, E6°32’34”)
After a night on the campsite, Tveit Camping, where we saw porpoises in the fjord, we caught the ferry from Vangsnes to Dragsvik via Hella and stopped at the historic town of Balestrand where we visited Norway’s National Travel and Tourism Museum, and walked into the historic Kviknes Hotel, owned by the same family since 1877.
Another free night was spent beside Sognefjord at the Kvamsøy Rasteeplass, Balestrand, where there is room for at least 10 motorhomes. (Coordinates N61°7’51”, E6°28’52”).
After a peaceful night next to the fjord we set off to continue on the FV13, to complete another of Norway’s National Tourist Routes. Our majestic journey on the FV13 was completed with our 4th overnight stay at Haukedalen. (Coordinates N61°24’11”, E6°13’31”) before we reached the town of Førde on the E39. We had spent 4 nights in total on the FV13 and it had turned into a mini epic adventure.