About Laegdafossen and the Naeroyfjorden and Aurlandsfjorden Waterfalls
The falls (according to my Norgeskart measurements) had a cumulative drop of about 580m, but its steepest section probably had a 270m drop.
The waterfall tumbled in a gully on one side of the Lægdafjellet mountain, which had a dual scar facing the confluence of the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord.
It made me wonder about landslides that might have happened here, and whether they produced tsunami-like waves with catastrophic results in these and neighboring arms of the vast Sognefjord.
In any case, in order to experience Lægdafossen, we had to go on a cruise that encompassed the innermost part of the Aurlandsfjord as well as the Nærøyfjord, which was gazetted as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005 along with Geirangerfjord.
That said, this cruise featured many other waterfalls along the way, so I’ve devoted this page to kind of give you a waterfalling guide to this cruise based on how we experienced it in late July 2019.
Obviously, there could be more or fewer waterfalls that what’s described here for your cruise depending on the conditions.
We describe the waterfalls in the order that we saw them as we went from Flåm to Gudvangen. However, you could just as easily do this cruise in reverse.
Waterfalls in Aurlandsfjord
As we left from the dock in Flåm, we started off by looking back towards the town itself, which was backed by the Brekkefossen waterfall.
The cruise continued to proceed northwards, which yielded nice serene views across the width of the Aurlandsfjord.
About 15 minutes or so into the cruise, we started to notice thinner waterfalls in succession on the west wall (facing east).
It was hard to tell which waterfall belonged on which watercourse, but from looking at the maps, they were likely to tumble on the Kongstelgsgrovi, Høydøla, Flugande, Vetlaflugande, and maybe Dimmegrovi.
Of these streams, perhaps the thickest cascade was on the Høydøla.
The Norgeskart map also labeled two named waterfalls in Flugandefossen and Klokkarfossen, but from looking at our photos, perhaps our photos showed that we only captured the Flugandefossen.
By this point of the cruise, we were now able to look back (albeit against the morning sun) towards the town of Aurland.
Our cruise made a brief stop at Aurland to pick up or drop off passengers at the dock there.
As we proceeded to go further north, we noticed a waterfall on the east wall (west-facing), which I suspected was on the Volda Stream.
According to the map, there were actually a pair of waterfalls in succession, and they were named Voldefossen (top) and Midtfossen (bottom).
We probably noticed the Voldefossen more so on our drive from Aurland to the Stegastein Lookout earlier on in the trip, but from the cruise, we could clearly see both of the waterfalls.
At about 40 minutes into the cruise, we then headed northwest and made a brief stop at Undredal to pick-up or drop-off passengers.
During this stretch, we noticed cascades possibly on the Søstragrovi, Kolnafossen, and Hjøllateigrovi.
After Undredal, we spotted another cascade on the west wall possibly on the Kolda or Stegeelvi.
Then, we approached the confluence of the Nærøyfjord with Aurlandsfjord, where we also faced the giant scar on Lægdafjellet.
Waterfalls in Nærøyfjord
At about an hour into the cruise, we left the Aurlandsfjord and entered the narrower Nærøyfjord.
Roughly 4-5 minutes into the Nærøyfjord, we started to notice the tall cascade Lægdafossen, which tumbled and twisted its way down the shoulder of Lægdafjellet into the fjord.
Roughly 6 minutes after passing by the Lægdafossen, we encountered a fairly thick waterfall spilling right into the fjord on the south wall (north-facing).
From looking at the maps, this waterfall could be on watercourse Kappadalsgrovi, Kobbaskjergrovi, or even as far as Geitåna.
Not long afterwards, we made a stop at Dyrdal (roughly 20 minutes from our entry in to the Nærøyfjord) before resuming the cruise.
After Dyrdal, the cruise then passed by more interesting cascades starting with waterfalls that I think were on the Styviselvi as well as neighboring streams on the Nyskredgrovi as well as Ytstaskredgrovi.
On the Styviselvi, we noticed a triple segmented waterfall disappearing into a hanging canyon while being fronted by a tall cascade on either the Nyskredgrovi or Ytstaskredgrovi.
These cascades tumbled behind the hamlet of Styvi.
The cruise then headed further west towards the village of Tufto, which was notable because it was backed by a waterfall on the Tufteelvi (which some people in the literature called the “Tuftefossen”).
While this waterfall didn’t quite have the volume of Lægdafossen, it did have gorgeous mountains surrounding it as a complementary backdrop.
I’d argue that our best photos of the Nærøyfjord involved this waterfall and its surroundings.
Just prior to making a bend southwards to get closer to Tufto, we noticed a fairly thick waterfall on the south wall (north-facing) called Odnesfossen.
This waterfall may have had about a 110m drop based on my Norgeskart measurements.
Roughly 20 minutes into the Nærøyfjord, we finally docked at the village of Bakka (just south of Tufto), which turned out to be the last stop that we made en route to Gudvangen.
Eventually at about 2 hours from the start of the cruise, we eventually ended our cruise at the dock in Gudvangen.
During this final stretch, we noticed a tall waterfall behind the town of Gudvangen that we could partially see.
That waterfall happened to be Kjelfossen.
When the cruise ended, we then had to walk to one of the bus stops in town so we could be shuttled back to Flåm.
We didn’t buy the round-trip cruise ticket though it was possible to relive the fjord journey in the reverse direction if we were willing to pay for it.
Comparing the Aurlandsfjord / Nærøyfjord Cruise with the Geirangerfjord Cruise
Having done both this cruise as well as the Geirangerfjord Cruise, it was natural to want to compare the two experiences, which we found to be quite different from each other.
To summarize it up, we tend to think that the Geirangerfjord Cruise was the more interesting of the cruises.
Here are two reasons why…
First, the Geirangerfjord featured more significant waterfalls as well as historical farms perched high on the fjord’s vertical cliffs.
The waterfalls we encountered in both Aurlandsfjord as well as Nærøyfjord were of the thinner variety with the exception of possible Lægdafossen and perhaps “Tuftefossen”.
We also didn’t notice as many hanging farms (maybe one) perched high up on the cliffs of either fjord though we did spot a few isolated ones closer to the fjord shores.
Second (and perhaps the most actionable of the reasons if you were an operator here), the Geirangerfjord cruise was narrated.
This narration really helped us to better understand the significance of what we were seeing in the fjord.
Our cruise of Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord lacked the narration as I guess the philosphy was to let Nature do the talking.
However, without the narration to back up or at least help us understand the significance of what we were seeing, that made it difficult to better differentiate this experience from all the other fjords in Norway that we’ve seen.
In fact, I never really understood how Nærøyfjorden became UNESCO World Heritage since it wasn’t as well explained or documented whereas that of Geirangerfjorden did have this explanation (because of its hanging farms).
Whether this “silence is golden” philosophy only applied to the modern cruise boat (which we took because it was more spacious) versus the traditional cruise boat remains to be seen since we didn’t do this cruise using the smaller more traditional boats.
Bottom line was that something felt like it was missing from our Nærøyfjord / Aurlandsfjord cruise, and that’s why if we had to make a choice between the fjord excursions, we’d still pick Geirangerfjord over this one.
Of course, it never hurts to do both and make the judgment for yourself.
Laegdafossen resides in the Aurland Municipality. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
You can route to either town using GoogleMaps or other routing apps since finding them are relatively straightforward.
In terms of parking logistics for this roughly three-hour excursion, we parked in the public lot in the sentrum of Flåm.
Conversely, we could have also parked in an area by Gudvangen, especially by the Shell Station near Kjelfossen.
I wasn’t sure if there was similar larger public lot closer to the dock in Gudvangen (like there was for Flåm).
For geographical context, Flåm was about 15km (about 15 minutes drive) south of Aurland, 20km (under 30 minutes drive) east of Gudvangen, 41km (over 30 minutes drive) south of Lærdal, 66km (an hour drive) northeast of Voss, about 72km (an hour drive) southwest of Årdalstangen, 284km (over 3.5 hours drive with a ferry crossing) northeast of Bergen, and 312km (over 5 hours drive) northwest of Oslo.
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