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Getting To Know Skjolden – Cruise Port Guide
On the East coast of Norway at the head of the country’s longest and deepest Fjord sits Scenic Skjolden, the gateway port to fjords, glaciers and mountain scenery. To access Skjolden ships must sail the length of the Sognefjord, a staggering 204 km in length, Norway’s longest fjord and also the deepest at 4,260 feet (1,300 metres); it rightly deserves its nickname, the ‘King of the Fjords’. Skjolden is in fact located on a branch of the Sognefjord called Lustrafjord meaning beautiful fjord, which offers plenty of opportunities for spectacular sightseeing. The mountains, waterfalls and the glaciers here making up some of the finest scenery in the world. Welcome to our Skjolden cruise port guide.
Skjolden offers multiple delights to lovers of the natural world, though not much to hold the attention of anyone who prefers city life. Skjolden, whilst very scenic indeed is a very small place, with a population of around 200 people, so perhaps not enough to do to amuse yourselves for a whole day unless you combine it with a sightseeing trip.
If you are keen to explore on foot, you may care to head out for the Senaberget, a viewpoint that overlooks the pretty Eidsvatnet, which is the lake behind the village. This is a unique spot: not only at the end of the world’s longest fjord, but also at the foot of the highest mountains of Northern Europe, the Jotunheimen also known as the ‘Home of the Giants’. If you travel along the Sognefjell Mountain road you will be traversing the highest mountain pass in Norway, which will bring you through the Jotuneheiman National Park and to the village of Lom. It is here that you will find the Norwegian Mountain Museum and can learn how the Norwegian mountain landscape and the relationship between nature and people has developed through time.
Skjolden is surrounded by national parks, including the Jotunheimen National Park to the east, the Jostedalsbreen National Park to the northwest and the Breheimen National Park to the north. These national parks are known for the height of their mountains, including Galdhøpiggen which is Norway, Scandinavia and Northern Europe’s tallest mountain at 2,469 metres (8,100 ft) above sea level. They are also home to some spectacular waterways, both in the form of flowing rivers and cascading waterfalls, and also in the form of glaciers. Glaciers that you can see close by to Skjolden if you venture out include the Nigardsbreen, Bergetsbreen, Harbardsbreen and Spørteggbreen. To learn more about the glaciers make sure you stop at the Breheimsenteret, a museum and one of the three visitor centres for the Jostedalsbreen National Park.
When it comes to ancient architecture without a doubt one of the oldest, most beautiful and certainly most precious of the country’s heritage is to be seen in the increasingly rare stave churches. They were built throughout Scandinavia just after the close of the Viking Age in the 1100 and 1200s. The Urnes Stave Church is one that is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It is the oldest of Norway’s stave churches, built around 1130 AD. It is situated approximately 30km from Skjolden, so you can either arrange your own transport and visit under your own steam or see if your cruise line offers excursions to visit. Further afield in Lom you will find the Lom Stave Church, a triple nave stave church which is one of the oldest types of stave church that dates from the second half of the 12th Century. It was expanded to a cruciform church in the 17th Century which is how it looks to this day.
Remember, Skjolden itself maybe a small place, but it has huge sightseeing opportunities if you branch out and explore the beautiful mountain scenery, so get out there and enjoy it.
The currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone. Norway has a reputation as one of the most expensive countries in Europe and the average price of a standard cup of coffee is around £3/$4. Budget accordingly if you plan to dine out each day, as meals are roughly around 110kr per person (£11/$13 per person).
There are few amenities in Skjolden. A focal point of the community is the Fjordstova. Here you will find the tourist information centre, the post office, a café, handicraft shop, public library, climbing wall, swimming pool, sauna and shooting range.
Did you know that Skjolden was home to the famous Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein? He lived in Skjolden in the early 1900s and wrote some of his most famous works here.
Key highlights of Skjolden
- Jotunheimen National Park
- Breheimen National Park
- Jostedalsbreen National Park
- Norwegian Mountain Centre, Lom
- Lom Stave Church
- Urnes Stave Church
Regular cruise line visitors
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- P&O Cruises
- SAGA Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Celebrity Cruises
- Viking Ocean
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