If you’re thinking of heading to Norway I would highly recommend a visit to Flåm. I can well and truly say that to this day, this is still one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited. We only spent a few nights here so we wanted to maximise the time we had so I booked us on a day tour which included land and water.
The Day Tour || Kayaking and Hike
For our first adventure I booked the Old Kings Path tour with a company called Njord Seakayak and Wilderness Adventures. This day tour of 4 hours included kayaking out of Flåm and along Aurlandsfjord which is the longest and almost the deepest Fjord in Norway, as well as a hour and a half hike along part of the Old Kings Path.
This tour was great for people of all ages and I would say that you did not need any previous kayaking experience as your Njord guide will be great support throughout the whole adventure. The tour cost 720 NOK (roughly £66) for an adult and 540 NOK (£50) for a child if booked via phone or email. You will receive a lovely 50 NOK (£5) discount if you book directly on the Njord website. There are 2 different daily departure times to choose from depending on whether you’re an early bird or night owl!
The Kayaking Dream Team
When Colin found out that we were going to be paddling a two seated kayak, I think he imagined a whole lot of shouting and paddling in circles. Although excited, the fear and apprehension that so early on in our trip we may kill each other, had clearly set in – I could see it on his face whilst we waited on the beach for our tour guide! Thankfully the Kayak had an ingenious paddle which is controlled by the person sitting in the rear; which in our case was Colin. The only thing we had to do was avoid hitting each other’s paddles, or each other, whilst we made our way along the Fjord. After a slow start and some shared pointers, we began tearing across the water. We had managed to get into such a rhythm that we had to constantly stop to let the other couple on our trip catch up, which thankfully gave us time to take in the scenery.
The kayaking tour took us out of Flåm and alongside some steep cliffs dotted with waterfalls. Our guide explained the methods used for farming in the area where the farmers use the sheer cliffs or hills in a strategic way depending on the time of year. Due to the harsh snowy winters and the steepness of the hills, the Nordic farmers will use the highest point in summer and slowly will bring cattle down the hill as it gets cooler to make the most efficient use of land. Looking up at the angle of the hills, it almost seems impossible that they have to navigate for the sheer purpose of survival which may explain the high cost of meat in the area!
The Hiking Adventure
After an hours paddling, we stopped off at a small bank and moored up onto the sand. After putting on our footwear, we trekked up into the hills past some large Viking graves. The Nordic culture and traditions fascinated me and I was keen to learn more. Our guide explained that due to the Fjord being so narrow and the burial boats that were set on fire crashing along the shore, sometimes on the opposite bank to their homestead they would bury the dead under huge piles of rocks.
We followed the sound of falling water as we continued to climb, the air cooled as we walked through the trees which was a welcoming break from the scorching heat. Colin and I powered through the humidity unaware that we were reaching a small clearing where we were presented with a sharp rainbow beam from the base of a small waterfall. The falling water cooled the air even more and refreshed our senses – we were in magical unicorn heaven!
After stopping for some dream team selfies and a water refuel, we started the decent back down towards the lower part of the waterfall. We stopped at a large pool of fresh water to refill our water bottles which was the freshest and tastiest water I that I have ever tasted. Colin of course was the brave (or stupid) as he was the only person to take a dive bomb dip into the deep pool to cool off! The water was freezing which isn’t surprising as it is mostly ice melted directly from the still snow covered mountain tops, but apparently it was well worth it! I’ll take his word for it as I was happy just dipping my feet in.
A Norway Folk Tale
A quick spot of lunch (we took our own) and some Norway Folk tales were shared; my favourite being The Hulder. The tale tells that many years ago farmers hid their daughter from the young boys by sending them to the highest point of the farm in a small shack to sew and mend. However, boys being boys, would go in hunt of the young girls who would sing beautiful songs to help them to be found!
Also in the forests and hills lived the Hulder, a beast who had the most beautiful voice of all that would trap any man who seek out her sounds. The Hulder was deceitful and would appear to be a beautiful lady but hid a hollow back and a cows tail. Once captured, men would often lose their sanity and the only way this beast could be defeated is to shoot her with a hollow bullet or alternatively they could lure her over the threshold of a church and remove the tail. By doing this, The Hulder would turn into a beautiful woman and the two would be wed, her tail falling off and her body becoming whole. To this day some men are still known to refer to their wives as their Hulder, which can be seen as either a complement or an insult!
Kayaking || The Final Leg
To finish off the tour, we jumped back into the Kayak and again we were dream team paddling through the water back to Flam. I actually think at some points Colin even ‘forgot’ to paddle! We both had such an amazing day of adventuring around the Fjords of Flam. If you’re heading here, this is a must do and I can’t recommend Njord enough.
Preparation tips for the day:
- Bring sunscreen
- Wear a hat and sunglasses
- Wear comfortable and supportive shoes for the hike
- Bring some lunch plus water with you
- Use a dry bag so you can take your phone or camera