County: Sogn og Fjordane fylke.
The ‘Sognefjord, the largest of the Norwegian fjords, surpasses the gentler scenery of the Hardanger-fjord with the austerity of its mountain setting. From Sygnefest, at its western end, it extends inland for 180 km (110 miles) to Skjolden, at the eastern end of the Lusterfjord, with an average width of no more than 5 km (3 miles). Its greatest depth is 1245 m (4085 ft).
At its eastern end the fjord is split into a number of narrowarms, enclosed by steep rock walls rising to over 1 700 m (5500 ft). Dotted along the narrow strip of land on the shores of the fjord one finds cornfields, orchards and trim residential houses. The eastern part of the fjord has a continental climate, with warm summers and long, cold winters.
Since there are no roads running along the whole length of the fjord it is best explored by boat. From Bergen ( 63) a number of ships (some carrying cars) run trips to the Sognefjord.
BOAT SERVICES. Ships of the Hurtigrute (Express Route) sail from Bergen to Ardalstangen, at the E end of the Ardalsfjord, twice daily from June to August (afternoons only from 15 to 31 May and from 1 to 20 August). The boats leaving Bergen in the morning stop at Lavik, Balestrand, Leikanger, Midfjord and Fl§m (transfer from there to Gudvangen and to Revsnes and Ardalstangen); the afternoon boats at
Rysjedalsvika, Lavik, Nordeide, Balestrand, Vangs-nes, Leikanger, Revsnes and Ardalstangen. These boats carry passengers only; no cars, bicycles or animals. The luggage allowance is 1 5 kg (33 lb). Passengers are not allowed on deck during the journey. It is advisable to book at least a day in advance.
The motor-ship Kommandoren, which carries cars as well as passengers, plying between Bergen and Balestrand from 1 5 May to 20 September, calls at Rysjedalsvika, Hoyanger and Vik; it returns at night. For the rest of the year, the ship sails only as far as Hoyanger.
Within the Sognefjord there are various local services (some of them carrying cars) which offer attractive excursions.
From Balestrand, there is a service via Hella and Leikanger to the Aurlandsfjord (Aurland and Flcim), which from 15 to 31 May and from 1 to 20 September supplements the Hurtigrute services (above).
There is also a service from Balestrand via Leikanger, Fresvik, Undredal and Aurland to FI3m, and from Undredal into the Naeroyfjord (Dyrdal, Styvi, Bakka and Gudvangen). In winter, this service sails from Leikanger via Kaupanger to Fresvik and from there as above.
There are also car ferries from Balestrand to Hella and Fjaerland in the Fjasrlandsfjord, from Balestrand to Hella and Vangsnes, from Flcim to Aurland and Gudvangen, from Ardalstangen to Ornes and Solvorn in the Lusterfjord, from Kaupanger to Revsnes and from Flm to Gudvangen, Revsnes, Kaupanger and Ardalstangen. Information: Fylkesbaatane i Sogn og Fjordane, Strandgata 197, N-5000 Bergen; tel. (05) 21 40 15.
Rysjedalsvika lies at the extreme western end ofthe Sognefjord, which at this point is enclosed between low hills worn smooth by glacier action, and with scant vegetation.
Lavik is the chief place in the western Sognefjord and an important junction of land and water-borne traffic (ferry to Brekke on the S side of the fjord). The church dates from 1 865.
Vadheim (pop. 600), on the Vadheims-fjord, has an electrochemical factory.