Sognefjord and Vik Tour With Go Fjords Review

When my Mom and I went to Norway in late May/early June of this year, one of, if not her main reason for going, was to see some fjords. Me, I was honestly a bit..."Eh, fjords whatever". No, I don't know why, either! I do like nature, but I think I am generally more into the idea of city breaks as opposed to the great outdoors when it comes to European holidays.


Sorry to shout! But seriously, go see some fjords if you ever get a chance, they are beauteous!

Sognefjord, Norway

Given my somewhat limited experience, if I were to give advice, I would say, allow for more time than we did. We were limited to day trips as we were on a short break based out of one city, Bergen.

Don't get me wrong, it's totally possible to see quite a bit with many of the tour companies, arguably even more if you choose to do a "Norway in A Nutshell" type tour, which are very popular (but very daunting in my opinion if you are trying to do that one in a single day).

But if I were to do it again (*cough* WHEN I do it again, totally kidnapping the husband!), I would plan to leave from one port/city, and give myself a few days to cover the ground offered in many of the tours, and finish up in another city. There are lots of lovely campsites and things around the countryside and it seems relatively easy to do it either via public transport or rental car.

So anyway, we were arriving in Bergen just before peak tourist season starts, in late May, so we chanced our luck and booked our tours once we got there (this is not recommended during summer). We went down to the harbour where the tour companies are, having done a bit of research. We had ruled out arguably the most popular tours, the "in a Nutshell" tours, for a couple of reasons:

1. You are basically just paying for public transport with the Nutshell tours, albeit with the convenience of having all of your tickets ready and organized for you beforehand, which is definitely a plus in high season as I have read they can sell out. But there are no tour guides, and most of these tours do not offer any guarantees if you miss a train or bus or ferry, you are basically on your own.

2. The Norway in a Nutshell tours and their ilk, when trying to do them in one day involve numerous changes - we're talking a train to a bus to a train to a boat to a bus to a train, etc., all in one day, with little breathing room for error.

I think my Mom and I know our limits, and this sort of tour would be something I might consider with an overnight stay, because I would love to do the famously scenic Flam railway and see the fjords near that which are meant to be beautiful. I think I would maybe do it starting in Oslo and finishing in Bergen, or vice versa.

So we settled on the idea of a one day semi-guided tour, and a shorter boat tour, the Mostraumen Cruise (I will post a wee separate mostly pics blog on that because that trip was also stunning).

For the day trip we went with the relatively new outfit Go Fjords (they just started up this year I believe) because they offer a few guided tours, as well as a couple of shorter boat only trips out of Bergen.

We decided on the Sognefjord and Vik tour option, which includes:

  • A scenic bus ride that stops at Tvindefossen Waterfall and then up into the mountains

  • A stop at a Stave (Viking) church and a Hove Stone church near Vik

  • A cheese tasting and lunch

  • A guided tour around Vik Harbour, and a scenic boat ride along Sognefjord back to Bergen (this is just the public ferry boat to be fair but it was very scenic, more on that later!).

Sognefjord and Vik Tour Review

With this tour you had a choice of beginning by boat at 8 a.m. or bus at 10 a.m., both tours depart at the harbour.

We chose the bus to start as it was our first day and we had to walk for about 15 minutes from our hotel so it would have been an early start!

As it was not quite peak tourist season there were only about a dozen or so of us, which actually was nice I thought and as the day went on and we developed a bit of camaraderie being such a small group. I will say that the bus not having a toilet was a bit of a problem for me as we drove for a three hour interval in the morning with no toilet break, and I was having a bit of an upset stomach (sorry if this is too much information but a lot of people would struggle with this anyway so I thought it worth mentioning!).

When we did stop at the Tvindefossen waterfall many of us rushed for the toilets, and were told by our driver we had 15 or 20 minutes to visit/take pictures at the waterfall, which wasn't really generous time wise seeing as most of us needed the loo! I think I ended up with like five minutes to look at the waterfall, which I felt as the tour went on we had more than enough time with other stuff we were doing that they could have allowed for more time at the waterfall (I have a feeling that this popular tourist stop might impose time restrictions on bus tours though, but Go Fjords should really look into buses with toilets!).

The waterfall itself was very impressive, even if it was less flowing than it can be (I have seen pics on Instagram and it really does get even more majestic!).

Do I look like a tourist? ;-)

The actual bus journey is very pretty - with an aside that they love a mountain tunnel in Norway, so the first hour or so of the journey you are in and out of tunnels at regular and long intervals. The driver throws out a few fun facts along the way about various towns but mostly you are left to your own devices to take photos.

There are lots of lovely streams alongside the road and scenic hills and valleys that only increase in dramatic splendour the higher you climb into the mountains. A couple of the roads are quite bendy and steep and I did have to look away a few times to stop myself getting too scared!

Cute campsite!

Idyllic Norway


The next stop after the waterfall is a stop on top of the mountain where the tour company says that you can "throw snowballs at each other!". Honestly no one really did this on the tour, it was a very chilly day and a lot of the snow had melted already from an unseasonably warm April.

My Mom was very happy to go frolic in the snow though, crazy Floridian!

Hurry up lady, the bus is leaving!

Another hour or so on the bus and you end up in the quaint town of Vik, where the bus portion of the tour terminates. But first, you stop and see a couple of churches. This is also when you meet your local tour guide who you finish the guided portion of the tour with in Vik.

View of Vik Norway from above

The Hopperstad Stave church is a medieval style of church that mainly exists in Norway. It is believed to be one of the oldest stave churches still in existence, estimated to be built around 1130 (!), with an extensive renovation from near ruin in the 1800s. What makes Stave churches unique is that they have many wood carvings (often animals on the exterior) and detailing that are associated more with Vikings than Christianity, so they are an interesting sort of fusion of cultures and religion.

Our tour guide for the church itself was very knowledgeable and detailed but there were a few groups stuffed into the church and I found it a bit hard to concentrate. Again, this section of the tour felt a bit rushed to me considering what was to come next.

Hopperstad Stave Church, Norway

Similar to shot above but brightened for detail
Wall painting Stave Church

Ancient wall carvings, Stave church

Hopperstad Stave church interior, Norway

Stave church detail

The little pastoral valley of Vik is undeniably pretty and idyllic, and I couldn't help but think how peaceful it must be to live there. But as the clouds darkened and rain began to drizzle and then pour, all of a sudden it seemed more fitting for a Netflix noir murder mystery!

Vik, Norway

We got back on the bus for our next church stop, the nearby Hove Stone church, believed to be the oldest stone building in the region, with some Roman ruins apparently according to the website, but they were just sort of gestured by our guide vaguely as being in a nearby field. Maybe if it's not raining they take you to look at them!

This church was also very old but not as old as the Stave church. It was built for the rich people in town, and it was a nice enough looking thing from outside, but it was pouring rain and we were locked out for reasons that the tour guide didn't seem 100% about (insert crying laughing emoji). So we stood, in the rain, as our local guide rattled on various facts, mostly being drowned out quite literally by the rain.

Hove Stone Church Norway
Dragon carving for protection (likely Viking), Hove Stone Church
Little miss "I want to play in the snow" is not so keen on the rain lol! ;-))

Now, don't get me wrong, I live in Scotland, but we don't really stand around in the rain much if we can help it, but this must have gone on for 20 minutes, eventually members of the tour sort of filed back onto the warm dry bus even though the guide was still speaking, which was perhaps not polite but also we were cold and wet (and noticed some people hadn't even bothered getting off the bus!). It was a harbinger of the slightly oblivious quality our guide had. It was something like 1:30 and we were due a cheese tasting. Again, by this point it had been around 3 hours since we had a toilet break.

So we were driven into town and bade farewell to our bus driver, who was a very affable and cheeky type chappie. As we went into the small café, I made a beeline for the toilet (not outrageous as it had been 3 HOURS, some of which standing in the freezing rain), and our guide sort of barked at me that we had to stay on schedule for the cheese tasting (I had to bite my tongue a bit here as he wasn't worried about the schedule when we were standing in the rain for a stupid amount of time! I just went anyway and so did a couple of other people because people need the toilet ok!).

Anyway then we had the cheese presentation, which was about the "Old cheese" they make in Vik, which is actually a form of blue cheese that is in fact very young and not old at all. It basically tasted like an extra tangy cream cheese with a sort of crumby crust, we tried it savoury and sweet, along with a small cup of fresh raspberry juice that they produce in town, which was delicious. The cheese was not my favourite thing I ever ate, but it was cool that they can make a form of blue cheese so fast. Honestly I was starving at this point and looking forward to lunch.

Ok so I shouldn't have gotten too excited about lunch. It was a buffet at a nearby hotel that sort of had the air of breakfast leftovers (our hotel had a similar buffet except it was much nicer tbh). It was very functional, with no real option to order anything even if you wanted to pay extra. So we had the salad bar and some small nibbles.

Mostly I drank lots of tea because my bones were colder than those in the nearby medieval graveyard. It was ok, don't get me wrong, but for the money the tour costs I thought it should have been a bit nicer/not have such a "here are some leftovers" vibe. We got to chatting with several fellow tour members, our guide had dropped us off and given us near enough two hours to kill at this place, which yeah, at this point some of the tour were getting a little restless with the Norwegian hospitality (ME, me ok. I think it's fair to say I was not alone in feeling this portion of the tour was a bit mismanaged time wise).

My Mom and I wandered over to a local grocery store as it was the only place open and we still had a half hour to kill. It was neat because unlike the more urban style grocery stores in Bergen it had a Mom and Pop/little bit of everything type feel. Also no one spoke English so that was fun! (Most people in Bergen seemed to it must be said; I was no way expecting everyone in Norway to speak English, I actually wish I had heard a bit more Norwegian spoken although we did watch a couple of Norwegian tv shows with subtitles for fun!).

After lunch our tour guide met us for a walking tour around the harbour of Vik. This could have been accomplished in twenty minutes, tops, but was dragged out, and again we were frog marched around and he monologued out facts before most of the group caught up, and didn't take many questions because of the language barrier and basically at this point many in the group were just wandering at our own pace and taking lots of photos.

It wasn't great, and I don't mean to be overly critical but I do think tour guides should be a bit personable and less drill sergeant like. I fully admit as well that I am not used to guided tours, we mostly do things at our own pace when travelling, and trying to absorb all of this detailed information just lost my interest eventually. Vik harbour was very pretty, and like Bergen had unfortunately burned down at least one time (also I got distracted by this cat who was following us to be honest!).

Friendly (but quite skinny, I hope someone feeds him  :-/ cat)
Vik harbour

He really was a ham

I loved the mountains surrounding the town feeling, so cozy!

Mouth of Sognefjord

We were taken to the boat dock by our guide and told that you have to be very quick getting on the boat or it will leave without you (he was kind of dramatic about this, in fairness the boat does just pull up, let people on and off, so were you not at the dock you would be in trouble. I imagine at some point or other tourists have been left behind!). But we all thought it was a bit ludicrous that we were expected to stand there, in the largely un-sheltered freezing air, for the better part of an hour and just...wait (there was a small shelter but it was warmer if you stood behind it!).

Many of us were cold and needing the loo again, there really wasn't much open in Vik as it was around 5 ish, it is a super sleepy town with like two cafes and a couple of shops. Luckily there was a public restroom which was heated and a had a seating area and some vending machines a minute or two away. The boat dock tourist info place was shut, I was surprised there wasn't a cafe open nearby but maybe there is during peak tourist season.

We also felt like we had to wait for the guide to leave so we could sneak a visit to the toilet, which the tour members found on our own. This kind of thing should really have been pointed out by the guide as an option, but his main concern was that we were there when the boat arrived, even if that meant getting there stupidly early. Go Fjords let the ball slide here a bit, like "Just kill some time, there is nowhere open and it's freezing, good luck!". They should really arrange for a coffee in a local cafe or something if there is one to fill some of this time if nothing else.

I appreciate that I am sounding a bit moany/complaining, but I found it a bit irksome that we were so hurried and harried at other points in the tour when we ended up with SO MUCH TIME to kill in Vik. The lunchtime could have been halved, the church tours extended, we easily could have spent more time at the waterfall or honestly had another photo stop along the way. I appreciate it's a balancing act, though I do feel there was enough breathing room on this tour to make it a more relaxed experience at various points.

At any rate. we were finally about to get a boat into the fjords! Huzzah. We were all fairly chomping at the bit, and more than a bit frozen! I will say that I SEVERELY under packed warm clothes-wise. It was JUNE, I was wearing a fleece and a waterproof jacket, but I really could have done with a hat and gloves and warmer trousers and a warmer jacket and maybe some thermals and hand warmers too! It was in the low to mid 40s this day, but the air was icy and it felt so much colder than Scotland at the same time of year. It can be very nice there and warm apparently but it was unseasonably cold, I would recommend you prepare for the cold regardless of when you visit just in case.

We were super grateful that the boat was heated inside and had hot drinks and snacks on offer if you needed (at a steep price of course it being Norway!). It's actually a large ferry boat that stops at various towns/ports along the way. I guess a lot of the tours use these, our other shorter tour we did was a dedicated tourist boat though.

I feel like the tours could be a little bit more up front about this, as it was described as a "Fjord Cruise" which seems a tiny bit misleading, as the boat goes at a fair speed and doesn't really meander or stop at any vantage points or scenic spots. It's kind of hilarious though; because it was so cold, a lot of people didn't brave the very windy and cold outside bit until we pulled into the ports, then everyone would rush out for a couple minutes, have a gander, and then go back into the warm.

Not this hardy lady though:

We are having so much fun I swear!
Mummy has rock star hair!


There was a girl who took nine million Instagram type shots every time we slowed down, none of them came out like this I bet!

I can't feel my fingers!

There is a reason there are no other crazy people on deck, it's blowing a GALE as they say in Scotland! I was genuinely concerned my little Mom might blow away, ha ha! We tried to stay out as much as possible, I would go back inside at intervals to warm up but my Mom was a real trooper and put me to shame! It must be her Massachusetts blood! There were some benches nearer to the doors that had a bit of shelter so we sat there mostly.

Beautiful Sognefjord

Totally worth it for views like this!

I'm not sure what this statue was about but it was impressive! My picture came out misty because the air was super (icy) misty!

Obsessed with the fjord water - so pristine!

One of many docks we stopped at on boat back to Bergen

I love all the little boat houses


Buy me a boathouse please

Hi I want to live here.

The boat trip took almost four hours, and it was really stunningly lovely and scenic and totally worth any quibbles I had with the rest of the day. It's VERY cold though and I imagine the wind is always a factor even when it's warmer, so definitely wrap up!

Overall I am glad we took this tour as it allowed us to cover a lot of ground in one day without too much stress, we were still very tired at the end of the day though, touristing is hard! Go Fjords are a young outfit and I think it's great they are offering some competition to the more established tours, also it is a really good option for anyone nervous to attempt to Norway in a Nutshell in one day as we were.

I think everyone on our tour was pretty happy overall, although a few kinks being worked out like time allowed for bathroom breaks, the food could be a bit better (I had a look at their website and I would swear they have updated the lunch to sound more akin to what it actually is than the description we were given, this makes me wonder if other people complained ha ha!), the tour guide being a bit more flexible and chatty, all of that sort of thing, would make me recommend them without reservation. We really didn't see any wildlife of note on this tour (it is mentioned on the website I just noticed), but honestly the air/water was so cold when we visited I am not surprised!

This tour definitely takes up your entire day, and you get back to Bergen a little bit late for dining out, just before 9 p.m. (well it was for us, we just grabbed some supermarket sandwiches!). I was glad we did this tour at the beginning of our visit, and it did make me keen to see more of the fjords.

Basically after getting just a taster of the fjords I was hooked and am now very eager to see more. It's the kind of thing that's hard to explain, it's maybe not for everyone, but it's incredibly peaceful and scenic and magical, I felt transported into another world and I truly would love to go back! I think a camping holiday (ok I don't really camp but they have all of these adorable campsites with little cabins around!) where you drive yourself and maybe take a few things at your own pace, I think this would be a really nice way to see the country too.

This and the rest of our trip definitely whetted my appetite to see Norway again. It's a very pleasant and beautiful country, you feel really safe there and something about it really gelled with me. It's not that different from the U.K. weather wise, so maybe that made me feel at home, too! Have you ever been to or thought about visiting Norway?


  1. I don't know a person who has been to Norway and not commented on how beautiful it is. It is on my list of places I would love to see. The fjords look amazing - such a wonderful experience. The tour your took sounds fab too, especially the cheese tasting! ♥

    1. Thanks Ellie, it is definitely a must see in my opinion!

  2. What breathtaking views! How time flies and how easy it is to miss loving the moment. I love the majesty of the waterfall, the beauty of the snowy mkutains, and the quiet of the graveyard.

    1. I think I mostly enjoyed the moment, especially on the boat anyway. :-) Thanks for stopping by.

  3. The colour of the water and the views are just incredible. Very jealous.

    1. My photos don't even do it justice really, maybe someday I will go back with a really nice camera! Thanks for reading. :-)

  4. Wow, so beautiful and quaint! I think I would die though, sounds SO COLD, ha.

    1. Also wanted to add, I would have missed the boat once I saw that cat. I've been known to get distracted by kitties :D

    2. I really didn't think I would bee too bad, but it was SO COLD ha ha!

    3. The cat was so friendly, he followed us for most of the tour, I'm surprised no one stole him tbh!