The Geirangerfjord is one of Norway’s most recognizable tourist attraction. It graces covers of magazines and postcards and is the gateway some of the most adventurous activities in Norway. I was out and about exploring and looking for places to hike when saw a postcard in the tourist information center. There on top of the fjord sits a mountain farm calledSkageflå.
Appearing magnificent and impossibly built. The Skageflå farm in Geiranger is one of the most unusual landmarks in all of Norway and Europe for that matter. It sits high above the Geirangerfjord on a steep mountain ledge overlooking the magnificent Seven Sisters Waterfall. It can only be accessed by steep, narrow stairs or a long hike from the village of Geiranger. It’s one of a handful of farms on the mountainside ledges of the Geirangerfjorden in Stranda, Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. But it’s no ordinary farm. The King and Queen of Norway celebrated their silver wedding anniversary here back in 1993!
Though there were a bunch of hiking trails in the area, I was so enamored by the postcard photo that I wanted to capture the scene for myself with own my camera!
There are two ways to get to the Skageflå farm. You can hike from Geiranger to Skagefla on a round trip hike covering 12 Kilometers, or you can take a water taxi to Skagehola and hike up to the farm making your way back to Geiranger.
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I swear I was a pirate in my previous life because I just had a desire for a boat ride and I’ve been driving around too long and was starting to feel like a landlubber. So I decided to take the water taxi route and do the hike back to Geiranger. This route is very steep, but steps have been carved into the rocks and supports are in place along the most exposed stretches. There are also handrails on the most challenging sections.
You might want to do the round-trip route instead if you have any fear of heights. I saw a guy slowly getting carried by his buddies on the way down because he was hyperventilating from his fear of heights. But this is an adventure blog, what’s an adventure without a little danger, right? Hell, I looked down every so often on the way up, and my legs would feel weak from the sight of sheer vertical drop below.
Don’t look down!
In many of these mountain ledge farms, people had to tether their children and animals on ropes, so they don’t fall to their deaths in the fjord below. After this harrowing ascent, you finally arrive at Skageflå. The farm was abandoned in 1916, but it was once one of the more prosperous goat farms in Geiranger with 2 or 3 mountain pastures for its animals. A rock slide in 1873 destroyed much of the cultivable land. It is now a major tourist attraction, and the world heritage celebration in 2006 was held there.
The views of the fjord from the farm are very dramatic, and you can see the Seven Sisters waterfall flowing directly across the fjord. From there you can see yet another mountain farm on the ledge next to the waterfall. It makes you wonder what sort of madness drove these people to build farms this high up.
There and Back Again
The trek to town and back again would be such a miserable ordeal. There are no convenient stores nearby. There are no roads for cars. It’s just a narrow stair to the fjord or a rugged trail to the village. You’d have to trek 6 kilometers to get a soda! I mean, if I was a billionaire and had a helicopter service, sure maybe. But we’re talking about old folks here with just donkeys and their own feet for transport. Crazy!
I left the farm and continued to hike up the steep terrain. The steepness slowly diminished as it led me to the summer dairy farm, Homlongsætra. Here’s yet another dramatic view of the Geirangerfjord with houses that look like it’s plucked out of a Tolkien novel. It makes wonder if anybody will open one of those wooden doors and somebody would walk out yelling: “No, thank you. We don’t want any more visitors, well-wishers, or distant relations!”
Continuing past this leads yet to another dairy farm, Bjønnastien where the trail slowly grows milder as it tapers downhill towards the Homlong and slides down close to a precipice the Geirangerfjord. There are markers along the way warning you of the dangers on the trail. There are holes in the ground that drop directly below into the fjord, so take caution! Once you’re past this section, the path will join the Geirangerfjord, past a couple of campgrounds and you’re back in the village of Geiranger.
HIKE THE SKAGEFLA FARM YOURSELF
- To get to Skagefla, you can take the bus directly to Geiranger from Oslo international airport.
- There’s a high volume of tourist boats that frequent the Geirangerfjord, so the town has built up an excellent tourist infrastructure.
- You can do the round-trip hike from Geiranger to Skakegfla or take a water taxi across to Skagehola – this is the steepest section you can choose to avoid if you take the round-trip route.
- There are a lot of knee popping sections that will keep you honest. Take hiking poles if you must.
- Good hiking shoes like the Vasque Breeze is a must. There are a lot of steep and slippery sections.
- If you need a place to stay in Geirangerfjord, I recommend the Homlong Gjestetun, which overlooks the fjord!
- Take your time. The views here are stunning beyond words. You don’t want to rush anything like this.
- Carry a camera like a mirrorless Sony A7ii, mount it on a Carbon Fiber Tripod and take a bunch of pictures!
HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE GEIRANGERFJORD?