How to Experience the Authentic Nordfjord

Thanks to the warm invitation from Innovation Norway and Visit Nordfjord, I had the opportunity to realize that Nordfjord isn’t just a destination, but a canvas for unforgettable memories waiting to be painted with activities and experiences of a lifetime. 

Here are some takeouts from my journey.

Get to Know The Norwegian Fjord Horse

Fjord Horse

The Norwegian Fjord Horse, deeply rooted in the Nordfjord region and western Norway, stands as one of the world’s oldest horse breeds. Recognized for its distinct features, including the iconic dark stripe along its mane, this breed holds a special place in Norwegian heritage.

Encounters with the Fjord Horse are a common delight in Nordfjordeid’s shopping area. Here, you can greet these magnificent animals and capture memorable photos. 

For a special experience, horseback rides along scenic paths offer stunning views of the town center and surroundings. 

With their rich history and captivating presence, it’s no wonder many have fallen in love with the Fjord horse. Leaving with cherished memories, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for this proud and beautiful animal in its natural setting.

During the visit to the center, I was fascinated by the care and dedication the community puts into sharing the characteristics and history of this horse breed. Their work ensures that visitors, especially locals, can interact with these gentle horses, taking care of their health and cleanliness, and learning to ride them to keep the tradition and development of this beautiful species alive. 


Did you know Nordfjord has its own Opera House?

Nordfjordeid hosts the Opera House Nordfjord, the second one built in Norway, after the largest and most famous one in Oslo. The community itself strongly desired a venue with good facilities for performing music. Many hours of voluntary work were involved in the realization of a space like this. Its yearly program shows how people here are passionate about concerts and art events.

Moreover, Nordfjordeid beckons with a stroll along its historic main street, inviting you to explore local shops and bakeries, and, why not, a comforting hug if the wind blows strong. 🙂  



Take the Loen Skylift to Mt. Hoven and watch the dramatic landscape from the top 

Loen Skylift is one of the steepest cable cars in the world and brings you from the fjord to the top of Mt. Hoven, 1011 m above sea level, in only 5 minutes. There are many walks to choose from in the mountains around it, which vary both in length and degree of difficulty. 

The view from the top of Mt Hoven is breathtaking. A terrace exposed into the void, offered me a vista that stretches over the fjord, not recommended for those afraid of heights. In the distance, you can see the roof of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier, with its perpetually snow-capped mountains. I couldn’t help but breathe and relish in a landscape that has origins in ancient times.


Loen Skylift is a great engineering result that considers the environment’s preservation. This goes from its electric operational system to its locally owned project. The hiking trails available on top of the mountain are designed to prevent crowds and subsequently erosion. Conscious travelers are welcome. 

The Via Ferrata is the main highlight of this mountain. You have to be in good shape to do this fantastic tour. Set up in 2012, it quickly became one of the top tourist attractions in Norway. The path runs along the south face of Mt Hoven. Due to its difficulty and need of dry rocks, it is available between May and October. To elevate this experience, a thrilling zip line ride is available in summertime. Rental of Via Ferrata equipment without an instructor is for experienced climbers only.




Stepping back in time at Nordfjord Folkemuseum 

The Nordfjord Folkemuseum is an open-air museum with 45 antique houses from the period between the 17th and the 20th century, many of which are decorated in styles from the appropriate era.There also are indoor cultural historical exhibitions. Smiling and passionate local guides will welcome you at the entrance and take you for a tour.

I was very impressed by the visit to this cultural site. It’s the result of hard work involving the on-site reconstruction of dwellings used throughout the centuries in the area. Stepping into some of the houses felt like a true leap back in time. Often, large families lived in cramped spaces without electricity, relying solely on fire for warmth. A vent in the roof allowed smoke to escape. These were tough times, and only a strong, united community could endure. It’s the same community that now celebrates its past by preserving its memory. 

Visit Selja Monastery on the roaring Western coast Nordfjord

Selja rises like a green cathedral from the foaming sea at Stad. Once I reached this place, I immediately felt the force of the ocean blending with an ancient and mystical history. What I found in Selja was tranquility and the opportunity to wander amidst ancient ruins while absorbing the captivating tale of Saint Sunniva.

Seeking refuge from the Vikings, she suffered a martyr’s death in a cave on this island. After many centuries, she was found beneath fallen boulders and her remains were miraculously untouched and unharmed. Sunniva was declared a saint, the first in Norway and the only female saint in Norway’s history.King Olav raised a church near the cave in her honor and placed her remains in a reliquary by the high altar. Selja became the country’s first pilgrimage site and throughout the Middle Ages, pilgrims from all over Europe made long journeys to this island at the end of the world. 

Take a deep breath of fresh air and relax your senses at HarpefossenNordfjord

I found Harpefossen as a great place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle. More than 100 km of marked and signposted trails and paths can gently take you through idyllic summer pasture farms, fishing lakes and a well deserved and peaceful time in nature. The Old Postal Road, steeped in history and charm, winds its way through the picturesque landscapes of Harpefossen. Once a lifeline for communication, It has been such a regenerating experience for me to walk through a short part of this ancient route, surrounded by forests and valleys.

Experience the “Taste of Nordfjord” 

Nordfjord has a long and proud tradition of food based on an exciting range of locally produced ingredients. Traditionally, agriculture and fishing have provided the region’s most important sources of nourishment. The sweetness and delicate touch of acidity in seasonal berries and fruits compliment the rich flavors of venison, lake trout, veal and salt-water fish. 

This region is a major fruit farming area, and local businesses have established themselves as producers of high-quality foods and beverages from homegrown fruits and berries.

Gårdsbrenneriet, in an artisan Farm Distillery run by chemical engineers Jann and Synnøve. Both have rural roots and share a dream of combining their modern education with local traditions. Their selection of ciders, aquavit, gin, brandy, and even whisky, is remarkable. I had the opportunity to taste their products accompanied by a passionate and detailed description of their work, from harvesting and processing to the pairing of essential local herbs and fruits to create traditional beverages with an innovative touch. A private transfer to and from my accommodation was essential. Safety first. 😉

My trip here has reinforced a concept that I increasingly find prevalent while exploring this wonderful country. Nature and human creations can work miracles for the external and internal well-being of everyone. The power of the ocean, the depth of the fjord, the majesty and pride of the mountains, the struggle for survival of the glaciers, the work and passion of local communities to keep alive the history and memory of ancestors, the effort to promote more sustainable tourism through the access to aware visitors who understand that beauty should be admired and not exploited – these are the ingredients that have made my, and perhaps your journey to Nordfjord an unforgettable experience that leaves a strong desire to return.


This article is written by Mathia Pacenti, who visited this region in March 2024 on an invitation from Innovasjon Norge and Visit Nordfjord.

Need help from a travel designer? Do you want to visit Nordfjord and Fjord Norway? We are here to help you tailor your dream holiday. Contact us here.

Take the next step — your trip to Norway begins here