Gudvangen is one of the the four villages along the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord, and a popular tourist destination. The village only has around 100 inhabitants, yet there are several great things to do in Gudvangen. Having grown up in the area, I love visiting Gudvangen to explore the viking village of Njardarheimr, or as the starting point of a fjord cruise through Nærøyfjorden.
Located just a 20-minute drive (or bus ride) from Flåm, Gudvangen is a popular village to visit, and a natural stopping place on the way to Bergen. Whether you are travelling to Flåm by car or bus, if you are coming from Bergen, Gudvangen will be along the way. So why not plan for a few hours in the village?
As Gudvangen is where you start (or end) the fjord cruise through the Nærøyfjord, you can also opt to get off your bus here, and take the boat the rest of the way to Flåm. It is a beautiful journey, and the Nærøyfjord is absolutely spectacular. But more on that below.
Want to learn more about all the villages in the area? Head this way!
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All the best things to do in Gudvangen, Norway
As Gudvangen is quite small, you’ll find that this list is not as long as the list of things to do in Aurland or Flåm. However, that doesn’t mean that you should skip it! Gudvangen has loads to offer, especially for those interested in Norwegian Viking heritage and history.
Gudvangen is located through the Gudvangatunnel, the second longest tunnel in Norway (11,5 kilometers long). Aurland, Flåm and Undredal are actually nestled between the two longest tunnels in Norway; the Lærdal Tunnel and the Gudvangatunnel! Before the tunnels were built, the only way to access the villages was by water or by driving over the mountains.
Below you will find a comprehensive list of things to do and activities in Gudvangen. It is numbered, to make it easier to navigate, but the items are all listed at random. So, in no particular order, don’t miss any of these when you are in Gudvangen!
#1 Fjord Cruise through the Nærøyfjord
This is also listed in my local’s guide to Flåm, as the fjord cruise through the Nærøyfjord travels between the villages of Flåm and Gudvangen. The fjord cruise also stops in Aurland and Undredal, so it is possible to get on the boat in either of those villages, and use the cruise as your mode of transportation around the fjords.
The fjord cruise is one of the most popular things to do in the area, and an absolute must for anyone visiting Gudvangen. The Nærøyfjord (or Naeroyfjord, if you don’t have Norwegian letters on your keyboard) is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and one of the most breathtaking fjords in Norway.
The fjord cruise leaves from Gudvangen several times a day in the summer, and twice in the winter half of the year. If you are travelling in the winter, I recommend getting on an earlier departure, as there is limited daylight during that time of year. You’ll be very disappointed if you get on the boat and realise 10 minutes in that you can’t see the fjord.
If you are staying in Gudvangen, you can book the fjord cruise one way by boat, and return by shuttle bus from Flåm. This is a great way to do the tour, as the bus only takes 20 minutes to get back to Gudvangen.
#2 Kayak through the Nærøyfjord
If you would rather explore the fjord a little closer, you are in luck! There is a company that offers half-day guided kayak tours on the fjord, and this could just be the perfect way to spend your day. The tour runs in the summer half of the year. Gliding through the Nærøyfjord on a kayak sounds like an absolute dream, and on these tours you are accompanied by a guide to tell you all about the area and the fjord. If you are hoping for an active trip, and want to make sure you explore the fjords without staying idle – this is perfect for you!
Of course, no blog post about Gudvangen, Norway is complete without mentioning Njardarheimr. Also known as the Viking Village. I have often recommended this place, as I love visiting myself, and even had a few Tiktoks go viral because Viking enthusiasts started fighting in the comments’ section. (About which country in Scandinavia had the “original Vikings”..)
The Viking Village of Njardarheimr in Gudvangen is an authentic Viking Town/Village, where you can get to know the culture and heritage of the Norwegian Vikings. Njardarheimr opened just a few years ago, but it had been a vision to build a viking village in Gudvangen for a long time.
There is an entrance fee to enter (currently it is set at 200 kroner), and once you have bought your ticket you are free to roam the village all day. Also included in your entrance fee is a guided tour of the village. These are held several times a day, in both Norwegian and English.
I highly recommend joining one of the tours, as it is a great way to learn about the ways of the Vikings! The freemen and workers at Njardarheimr are all highly passionate about what they do, so I would even go as far as joining a couple of the tours, just to get a different delivery (everyone hosting the guided tours put their own spin on it).
If you are starting your day in Flåm, you can book a trip to the Viking Village here (including transfer and entrance tickets)!
Here are just some of the things you can do in Njardarheimr:
- Try Viking food in the “Viking Diner”
- Watch freemen living in the village work on their crafts
- Buy authentic crafts and artefacts – most of which are made in the village
- Visit the Chieftain Georg in his Chieftain’s House (he actually lives there)
- Make sure to challenge him to a game of Hnefatafl if you are up for it (the original Viking game!)
- Find Loki and ask him to tell you a story (he is a great storyteller)
- Join one of the guided tours
- Try your hand at axe throwing and archery
Just a short drive from Gudvangen you will find Stalheimskleiva. Technically, it is located in the Voss municipality, but as it is so near Gudvangen, a lot of people opt to visit Stalheimskleiva during their fjord trip.
Stalheimskleiva is a narrow valley between two waterfalls, with a (very) winding road snaking its way down the valley between them. It is the steepest road in Northern Europe, and for several years, travellers have held their breath driving down.
As of 2021, the road is permanently closed for motorised vehicles. However, it is still possible to visit the Stalheimskleiva viewpoint, as the main road to the top is open (naturally). Instead of the winding roads up to the viewpoint, you simply drive through two tunnels instead, and take a right as you exit the second tunnel towards Stalheim Hotel.
In the past, tour buses and the Norway in a Nutshell bus has driven down the road, but alas, this is no longer possible. However, the view of the waterfalls and the valley towards Gudvangen is still worth a visit.
#5 The White Caves
Did you know that Gudvangen is home to the largest deposit of anorthosite in the world? Anorthosite is a type of marble, and as a result, there are some magical white caves you can visit in Gudvangen. The caves are lit with colourful lights, to resemble the Northern Lights often seen in the winter in Norway. In the summer months, you can join a guided tour of the caves, which takes about 30 to 45 minutes. This is quite a unique experience, and definitely something to add to your Gudvangen bucket list! Learn more about the caves here.
Rimstigen is one of the most popular hikes in Gudvangen, and with good reason. From the top of this hike, you are offered some spectacular views of the Nærøyfjord below. I love this hike mainly because you are able to enjoy the views of the fjord throughout the entire journey, as you hike up the side of the mountain.
The hike is only 1,5 kilometres long, but very steep. So make sure you set aside at least 1,5 hours to reach the top (perhaps even 2). The start of the hike can be found a little further into the Nærøyfjord from Gudvangen. To get there, drive (or walk) on the small road going towards Bakka. There is a small (free) parking lot right by the trailhead.
#7 Bakka Church
If you were to keep following the road past the trailhead for Rimstigen, you would get to Bakka. Bakka is a tiny village (some might simply call it a neighbourhood of Gudvangen, but it is a village in its own right) along the Nærøyfjorden, around 10 minutes by car from Gudvangen. There you will find Bakka Church, which dates back to 1859. This is a beautiful little white wooden church, surrounded by majestic mountains. This makes for quite the spectacular imagery, to be honest, and it is worth making the trip to see it for that reason alone.
#8 Rent a bicycle
If you don’t want to drive everywhere, you can also rent a bicycle in Gudvangen. This is a great way to explore the village a little easier, and also lets you travel to the village of Bakka and up the valley towards Stalheimskleiva without a car. Bear in mind, though, that to get to Stalheimskleiva you need to drive along the busy main road. However, once you get there, you can ride your bike up Stalheimskleiva without worrying about any traffic (as mentioned, the steep road is permanently closed for motorised vehicles).
Another one of the most popular hikes in Gudvangen, and one worth doing for anyone who loves hiking on their travels. Bakkanosi is a mountain top at 1398 metres above sea level, with stunning views of the entire UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord below. The hike is a lot longer than Rimstigen (20 kilometres versus Rimstigen’s 1,5), and will take you up to 8 hours in total. However, the view is even more spectacular, so for an experienced hiker with some extra time on their hands it will be worth it.
#10 SUP Expedition
If you have a few days to spend by the fjords, this is an adventure you don’t want to miss. Starting in Gudvangen, you’ll spend 3 days and nights paddling through the Nærøyfjord on a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) with a small, exclusive group of just 12 people. You’ll be camping in beautiful locations along the fjord, and three meals per day are included. These expeditions are lead by expert guides, and sell out very early (as in, the summer expeditions may be completely sold out by February). So make sure to book very early if this is something you’d like to do on your trip to the fjords!
This is a new addition to the list of what to do in Gudvangen, and one I am excited to try this summer! These stable bicycles run on water, and you can cycle your way through the Nærøyfjord as a result. There are several options for how long you want to rent the hydrobikes, starting with 1 hour and going up to 24 hours and more (if you want to bring a tent and stay somewhere along the fjord, for example). The bikes are stable and practically impossible to tip over (all though, I have been told the same about jetskis, and managed to tip it just fine). The rental is located by the harbour in Gudvangen.
#12 The Royal Postal Route
In the 1600s (1647 to be exact), the Royal Mail route between Bergen and Oslo was created. The route went through the fjords via Gudvangen, and the remnants of the route can still be found along the fjord. This is a popular hiking path, as it treks along the fjord in a relatively flat and easy manner all the way to a place called Styvi (more on that below). From there, the post was taken out the fjord via boat, to the nearby village of Lærdal (where the Aurlandsfjellet mountain road and the Lærdal Tunnel goes).
#13 Norway’s Smallest Working Post Office
I’m sure I should have added this above, when talking about the Mail Route, but it is just too fun not to include as its own sight in Gudvangen. In the place called Styvi, mentioned above, you will find Norway’s smallest (working) post office! This is a result of the post route going through Styvi back in the day, and so now there is still a post box/office there that works. So, if you are going on a hike along the Royal Mail Route in Gudvangen, why not bring a post card and mail it from Styvi?
Where to stay in Gudvangen
Now that you know what to do when visiting Gudvangen, you’ll be looking for somewhere to stay. There are a few options for accommodation in Gudvangen, all though you will find more places to stay in either Flåm or Aurland (the two larger villages). Here is a list of some of the accommodation in Gudvangen (and nearby):
You can have a look at these, and a couple of more options, on the map below:Booking.com
I hope you have enjoyed this list, and that you now have a good idea of your options for activities and things to do when visiting Gudvangen, Norway. If you have come across any other activities, why not leave them below for me and fellow travellers to check out?
Read next: Things to do in Undredal, Norway