Laegdafossen and the Naeroyfjorden and Aurlandsfjorden Waterfalls

Flam / Gudvangen / Aurland / Naeroyfjorden / Aurlandsfjorden, Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway

About Laegdafossen and the Naeroyfjorden and Aurlandsfjorden Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: cruise
Suggested Time: allow 4 hours

Date first visited: 2019-07-24
Date last visited: 2019-07-24

Waterfall Latitude: 60.98261
Waterfall Longitude: 7.03403

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Laegdafossen (or more accurately Lægdafossen) was perhaps the most compelling waterfall that we encountered while doing the cruise between Flåm and Gudvangen.

The falls (according to my Norgeskart measurements) had a cumulative drop of about 580m, but its steepest section probably had a 270m drop.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_235_07242019 - Looking at the full height of the Lægdafossen waterfall, which was perhaps the largest one in Nærøyfjorden
Looking at the full height of the Lægdafossen waterfall, which was perhaps the largest one in Nærøyfjorden

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_360_07242019 - A nearly picture postcard view towards the 'Tuftefossen' while cruising through Nærøyfjorden
A nearly picture postcard view towards the ‘Tuftefossen’ while cruising through Nærøyfjorden

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_063_07232019 - Contextual view towards some thin cascades (including one on the Høydøla or Flugandefossen, I think) while on Aurlandsfjorden
Contextual view towards some thin cascades (including one on the Høydøla or Flugandefossen, I think) while on Aurlandsfjorden

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_091_07232019 - Looking towards the north end of Aurland with Voldefossen and Midtfossen looming in the distance as seen while cruising the Aurlandsfjord
Looking towards the north end of Aurland with Voldefossen and Midtfossen looming in the distance as seen while cruising the Aurlandsfjord

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).

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_133_07232019 - Undredal was one of the stops while we were cruising the Aurlandsfjord part of our dual-fjord cruise between Flåm and Gudvangen
Undredal was one of the stops while we were cruising the Aurlandsfjord part of our dual-fjord cruise between Flåm and Gudvangen

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_220_07242019 - Looking towards Lægdafjellet and the dual scar on the lower right side of the mountain just as we were about to enter the Nærøyfjord
Looking towards Lægdafjellet and the dual scar on the lower right side of the mountain just as we were about to enter the Nærøyfjord

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).

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_232_07242019 - Looking towards Lægdafossen in full context early on in our cruise of the Nærøyfjord
Looking towards Lægdafossen in full context early on in our cruise of the Nærøyfjord

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_310_07242019 - Context of the waterfalls behind the hamlet of Styvi as we were near Dyrdal in the Nærøyfjord part of the cruise
Context of the waterfalls behind the hamlet of Styvi as we were near Dyrdal in the Nærøyfjord part of the cruise

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_406_07242019 - Context of 'Tuftefossen' with Tufto at the bottom just as we were approaching Bakka in the Nærøyfjord part of the cruise
Context of ‘Tuftefossen’ with Tufto at the bottom just as we were approaching Bakka in the Nærøyfjord part of the cruise

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_508_07242019 - Context of Kjelfossen and Gudvangen as we were about to conclude the Nærøyfjord part of the cruise
Context of Kjelfossen and Gudvangen as we were about to conclude the Nærøyfjord part of the cruise

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

Geirangerfjord_038_iPhone_07182019 - Looking westwards towards the Seven Sisters on the Geirangerfjord Cruise
Looking westwards towards the Seven Sisters on 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.

Geirangerfjord_135_iPhone_07182019 - Looking in the other direction towards both Friaren and the Seven Sisters opposite each other on the Geirangerfjord Cruise
Looking in the other direction towards both Friaren and the Seven Sisters opposite each other on the Geirangerfjord Cruise

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_201_07242019 - Looking back at a smaller traditional cruise vessel, which was kind of like the one they use in Geiranger as well.  I wondered if that cruise would have the narration to give meaning to what we were seeing
Looking back at a smaller traditional cruise vessel, which was kind of like the one they use in Geiranger as well. I wondered if that cruise would have the narration to give meaning to what we were seeing

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.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_130_07232019 - Looking back at a quieter, larger, and faster modern cruise boat (which we also took on our Nærøyfjord Cruise), but it made me wonder if the traditional cruise boat would have had helpful narration
Looking back at a quieter, larger, and faster modern cruise boat (which we also took on our Nærøyfjord Cruise), but it made me wonder if the traditional cruise boat would have had helpful narration

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.

Authorities

Laegdafossen resides in the Aurland Municipality. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_010_07232019 - Looking towards the town of Flåm as we started to cruise into both the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_018_07232019 - Looking ahead towards the expanse of the Aurlandsfjord as the cruise was getting started
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_033_07232019 - Context of the front of the modern cruise vessel with people looking forward at the Aurlandsfjorden scenery before us
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_038_07232019 - Looking back towards the town of Flåm backed by the Brekkefossen waterfall
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_044_07232019 - We started noticing this waterfall as we were cruising along the Aurlandsfjord, which I suspect was either on the Frondøla or the Høydøla
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_045_07232019 - Zoomed in look at the waterfall on either the Frondøla or the Høydøla
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_053_07232019 - Looking ahead towards a big canyon where I knew there had to be a waterfall in there.  The problem was that I wasn't sure which stream it was on the Norgeskart
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_070_07232019 - Looking towards a waterfall at the base of that hanging canyon, which had a farm near it, and I'm guessing it was Høydølafossen or Flugandefossen
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_072_07232019 - Context of another waterfall (maybe this one was Flugandefossen?) with a boat passing before it for a sense of scale while on the Aurlandsfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_079_07232019 - Looking back at the context of Flugandefossen with the hanging canyon respondisle for the waterfall on Høydøla while on the Aurlandsfjorden
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_081_07232019 - Looking towards the Voldefossen and Midtfossen, I think as we were passing by Aurland on the Aurlandsfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_084_07232019 - Looking back against the morning sun towards the town of Aurland
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_087_07232019 - Looking ahead towards the mountains beyond Aurland as we continued northwest on the Aurlandsfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_098_07232019 - Looking way back towards Flåm to give you an idea of how far north on the Aurlandsfjord we've gone
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_099_07232019 - Looking across the Aurlandsfjord of Flåm as we started to cruise into both the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_125_07232019 - Looking towards a couple of thin waterfalls tumbling before getting to Undredal while still on the Aurlandsfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_137_07232019 - Momentarily docking at Undredal on the Aurlandsfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_157_07242019 - Pulling away from Undredal as we continued along Aurlandsfjorden towards the mouth of Nærøyfjorden
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_172_07242019 - Looking towards one of the waterfalls between Undredal and the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_173_07242019 - Another one of the waterfalls between Undredal and the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_183_07242019 - Context of what I think could be 'Koldafossen' on the left, some farm belonging to Stigen in the middle, and a thin waterfall Stegeelvi on the right as we were still on the Aurlandsfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_193_07242019 - Approaching the mouth of the Nærøyfjord with the pair of scars on the face of Lægdafjellet
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_209_07242019 - Entering the narrow Nærøyfjorden
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_221_07242019 - LContextual look towards Aurlandsfjorden and the scar on the face of Lægdafjellet just as we were turning to go into the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_228_07242019 - Getting our first taste of the Lægdafossen
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_238_07242019 - Looking towards full height of the Lægdafossen
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_241_07242019 - Last look back at Lægdafossen
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_243_07242019 - Continuing deeper into the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_250_07242019 - Looking towards some thin cascade on the north-facing wall within Nærøyfjorden
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_259_07242019 - Looking across to the other side of the Nærøyfjord where there were grooves in the cliff walls where I'd imagine more waterfalls could be under wetter conditions
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_264_07242019 - Context of a waterfall that I believe to be on the Geitåna in the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_265_07242019 - All zoomed in on the waterfall on the Geitåna spilling right into the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_341_07242019 - Starting to get our first glimpse of the 'Tuftefossen' as we cruised deeper into the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_371_07242019 - Context of some other cascades along with the 'Tuftefossen' while cruising the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_385_07242019 - Looking towards one of the waterfalls before getting to the bend before Tufto in the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_390_07242019 - Looking up at another one of the waterfalls encountered before the bend just north of Tufto in the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_393_07242019 - Looking against the morning sun towards what I believe to be Odnesfossen spilling towards the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_396_07242019 - Contextual view of 'Tuftefossen', Tufto, and the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_419_07242019 - Looking directly towards 'Tuftefossen' from the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_420_07242019 - Approaching the Bakkahaugen on the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_426_07242019 - About to dock at the Bakkahaugen or Tufto at the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_435_07242019 - Looking back at 'Tuftefossen' backing the Bakkahaugen as seen from the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_437_07242019 - Beyond Tufto as we were on the final leg of our Nærøyfjord Cruise
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_457_07242019 - Looking back past the Bakka Church from within the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_463_07242019 - On our Nærøyfjord Cruise using the modern boat, there were actually no seats on the top deck so people used the slopes as sort of a lean-to
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_473_07242019 - We noticed some interesting cloud formations skimming the surface of the Nærøyfjord during our cruise
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_508_07242019 - Starting to see parts of Kjelfossen as our cruise of the Nærøyfjord was about to conclude
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_502_07242019 - Looking towards some thin waterfall on the opposite wall near Gudvangen near the conclusion of our cruise on the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_517_07242019 - About to dock at Gudvangen to conclude our journey of the Nærøyfjord
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_527_07242019 - Lots of people waiting to get on the cruise boat to sail the Nærøyfjord and the Aurlandsfjord in the opposite direction that we did it
Naeroyfjoren_Cruise_518_07242019 - Looking for our bus to take us back to Flåm to complete the circuit

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This write-up focused on the combination cruise of Aurlandsfjorden and Nærøyfjorden, whose endpoints are at Flåm and Gudvangen.

Flam_003_07222019 - Looking towards the visitor center by the public car park in the sentrum of Flåm
Looking towards the visitor center by the public car park in the sentrum of Flåm

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).

Naeroydalen_151_07232019 - Looking towards the Shell Station at Gudvangen, where there appeared to be a lot behind the gas station though I wasn't sure if that was the official public lot for Gudvangen itself
Looking towards the Shell Station at Gudvangen, where there appeared to be a lot behind the gas station though I wasn’t sure if that was the official public lot for Gudvangen itself

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.

Short sweep of one of the impressive waterfalls on the Naeroyfjorden and Aurlandsfjorden cruise


Video showing a pair of waterfalls flanking each side of the Naeroyfjorden but not focusing on the one in the middle


Short sweep of one of the series of waterfalls near a place we docked at in Naeroyfjorden

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Tagged with: flam, gudvangen, aurland, naeroyfjorden, aurlandsfjorden, sogn og fjordane, waterfalls, cruise, unesco



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