To reach Fjaerland, Norway isn’t easy. The journey might take a whole day and requires the use of several modes of transport. But when, at the end of this long day, you finally arrive in the small village modestly occupying several hills in the valley of the largest glacier in Europe, your heart will stop beating. And you will ask yourself: “How can this place really exist?”
I came to this village by chance. But you know that there is nothing accidental in this world. I chose it quickly and booked my room online almost instantly. From the pictures, it seemed to me that the place is special. And that’s all. I had no time to read anything in advance about it. And I didn’t want to know more. I like to ‘feel’ the places I visit with my senses, not by memorized facts.
The place of Fjaerland, Norway
In June in Norway are ruling the white nights. During this period you can’t sleep but you have the opportunity to explore places almost continuously, without fear of darkness. When I arrived, the village was quiet. The few tourists, mostly elderly couples seeking the tranquillity of the fjords, were walking on the single road after dinner.
Here you don’t hear a splash of waves. It’s so quiet that even the seagulls comply with the law of silence reigning in the valley. The village is like a fingertip on the hand of Sonefiord – the largest fjord in Norway. Here is the end of one of its sleeves. At the end of the sleeve is a blue hat; that is the glacier.
I will not retell the facts. You can find them elsewhere. I’ll tell you how you will feel and how you can have fun in Fjaerland. First will feel tranquillity that you haven’t felt for a long time. Away from the bustle and demands of the big city, you will feel oneness with yourself. You will hear clearly your thoughts and will get rid of all the stress you have accumulated in recent months and even years.
You will walk without hurry and with wide open eyes will breathe the absolutely pure air. You will also have a cup of coffee on the porch and all the time you’ll wonder how it is possible that water of the fjord is so crystal clear, just like a mirror. In summer the water of the fjord becomes blue. This is because of the snow that melts from the glacier. And if you don’t know much about glaciers, here is the place to learn everything.
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What’s is so special about this place? Surely there are countless beautiful villages in Norway. Yes, there are. But they are not characterized by the energy of glacier, intellect from books and quiet kindness and courtesy of its inhabitants, as it is in Fjaerland. In fact, it is difficult to distinguish where ends Fjaerland and begins Mundal. These two villages are so small that during the years they have merged into one in order to survive.
Until 1986 the villages could be reached only by ferry. They were carrying the supplies and also the tourists coming to see the blue glacier hanging over the valley. Then asphalt road was built and everything here changed. Tourists no longer stop to stay in the village, at least much less so, and locals had to invent another tourist attraction that attracts tourists to the village.
This attraction is now called The Book Town and although the locals are very proud of the several antique bookshops, on a weekday they look rather sad, empty and without a soul. The stories of the books that you’ll find here are different. Some are donated (as I did with the hope that my book will bring joy to someone who has come from afar), others were bought. But too many of these books are with yellowed pages and have the unforgettable odour of old paper and ink mixed with dust and nostalgia.
The largest glacier in Europe and its museum
The village may not offer many attractions but has a Glacier Museum. At the front of the museum, you will see the statue of mammoth, which somehow fits perfectly the landscape. Inside the museum, you can learn about not only this glacier (with the difficult pronounceable name Jostedalsbreen) but about the nature of glaciers in general.
You can learn a lot about their structure, their history, where they are found and what are their characteristics. The film projected on a big screen, shot from a helicopter, quite impressively presents what we cannot see – the diverse compositional immensity of the glacier and it is a memorable experience. The experiments with ice that can be made on the spot attract not only children.
Entrance ticket for Bremuseum: 120 NOK
For those who want to experience the glacier first-person, tours are offered.
Hotels with a spirit and history:
In the grown into one Fjaerland and Mundal, there is no large selection of hotels. But the few places you will find here have a special charm, imbued with the scent of classic and mystery, something that cannot be described with words. I can certainly say that when you see the white facades of the two hotels in the village you will instantly imagine scenes in dining rooms from the past century and illuminated by the setting sun porches.
The hotel that I recommend is Fjaerland Fjordstove Hotell. Small family-run hotel with a staff that will make you feel at home and whose porch is an attractive place with a magical view from where will have to get you out by force. It is so beautiful that you will never want to leave! More about this hotel I will write in one of the following posts.
Your other alternative is Hotel Mundal. It is a historic hotel with beautiful architecture that proudly takes centre stage on the hill next to the church.
For those who want to stay close to nature and rely on a tight budget, just behind the bus stop, you will find Boyum Camping, whose red building is furnished with the typical for Norway grassed roof.
Getting to Fjaerland:
You can reach it by car or bus. Check here for bus timetables.
The best period to visit Fjaerland, Norway:
May-June is the perfect time to visit Norway. The weather is warm, the nights are white, and if you’re lucky like me you might not see even a drop of the Scandinavian rain.
Norway is a magical country. I can even call it Dreamland. And although you can see its beautiful and clean nature almost anywhere you travel around the country, there are places that are special. Fjaerland is one of those places. Because it is off the beaten tourist paths, the valley preserved its authenticity and serenity that seems to come straight from the past centuries.
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