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 The Sognefjord

The Sognefjord or Sognefjorden is the largest fjord in Norway and the third longest in the world. Because the other two fjords are often ice-covered, the Sognefjorden is the longest open (ice-free) fjord in the world. Located in Sogn & Fjordane, it stretches 205 kilometres inland from the ocean to the small village of Skjolden in the municipality of Luster. The fjord takes its name from the traditional district of Sogn, which covers the southern part of the county.

The fjord runs through many municipalities: Solund, Gulen, Hyllestad, Høyanger, Vik, Balestrand, Leikanger, Sogndal, Lærdal, Aurland, Årdal, and Luster. The fjord reaches a maximum depth of 1,308 metres below sea level, and the greatest depths are found in the inland parts of the fjord. Near its mouth, the bottom rises abruptly to a sill about 100 metres below sea level. The average width of the main branch of the Sognefjord is about 4.5 kilometres. Cliffs surrounding the fjord rise almost sheer from the water to heights of 1,000 metres and more.

The inner end of the Sognefjord is localized southeast of a mountain range rising to about 2,000 metres above sea level and covered by the Jostedalsbreen, continental Europe´s largest glacier. Thus the climate of the inner end of Sognefjorden and its branches are not as wet as on the outer coastline. The mouth of the fjord are surrounded by many islands including Sula, Losna, and Hiserøyna. There are many smaller fjords which branch off the main fjord including: Esefjord, Fjærlandsfjord, Sogndalsfjord, Lustrafjord, Årdalsfjord, Lærdalsfjord, Aurlandsfjord, and Nærøyfjord (which is also a World Heritage Site).


 Balestrand
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