What makes Norway so special, at least in this humble traveler’s opinion, is the life and culture you will find along the Fjords of Norway. These breathtaking beauties you can see scattered all over the country but what will impress upon you when you are here is all the small villages attached along the edges of these fjords. The village of Hellesylt is a Norwegian escape and is one fine example of the charming small village places you will find here.
You will find this village at the tip of the Sunnylvsfjord. Historians have it marked as a sacred location. And what wouldn’t make people think that with the panoramic views you are about to partake? What makes this place even better is that this branches into the Geirangerfjord, one of the most iconic fjords in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site because of it. Which makes it a popular place to stop for anyone passing through the Geirangerfjord and Nordfjord.
Large cruise ship tours catering specifically for the Norway fjords come through constantly embarking off in the Geirangerfjord cruise port and you will probably pass by one on your way through the fjord. Filled with both nationals and tourists you can find them flooding the town on their holiday cruise and possibly making their way over to Hellesylt as well.
The Hellesylt waterfall shows the pure nature of the area with melting snows from the mountainous top pouring into the ever-present flood of water. Watch it from the bridge and see how this waterfall has become part of Norway’s standard of excellence. It is one of the most popular photography spots in Hellesylt and is located in the center of the village.
Between the mountains and fjord, this village has a population of less than three hundred with another several hundred living throughout the valley. It is reasons like this that make Hellesylt almost seem like it’s coming to a standstill in time, a real Norwegian gem. Being able to enjoy the atmosphere even more and not feel the need to rush yourself is a great benefit to being here.
What to do in Hellesylt
There is a car ferry which also doubles as a short sightseeing fjord cruise that makes daily round trips between the village on Sunnylvsfjord to the namesake village Geiranger at the end of Geirangerfjord. Here is the main attraction the entire town provides. The mountains and waterfalls are so impressive it’s hard to believe that this place isn’t more populated for the views. You’ll see the Seven Sisters waterfall which is a highlight and part of the myth and legends of the area. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to bring your camera and phone for pictures. This is another way to see the fjord scenery and enjoy the day.
Going out fjord kayaking is a great option here. The water here is so calm and refreshing. It is also extremely cold so if you want to take a dip just be prepared. Here is a good opportunity to do a solid polar dive if you think you can handle the water temperatures. There is a tower near the edge of the fjord for you to dive off if you are feeling very adventurous.
Fishing is also allowed as a day activity if you want to try and catch your dinner. You can purchase a commercial license which allows fishing access to the lakes and rivers in Hellesylt. The day will cost you enough to just buy yourself dinner, but it is easy for you to just lose yourself in thought and relax with this activity.
You can also find nice hiking trails along the fjord. This will give you views of the entire Geirangerfjord landscape. Perfect for photography with the mountains in the background and the fjord waters in the center. Some people live pretty close to the mountainside, and you’ll be able to see some of the houses and former farms as you go through.
If you prefer to stay in town, walk to the Sunnylven Church. It’s not a stave church that Norway is popular for but the 19th-century building is another central part of the town and can fit the entire local population in its walls. It’s a nice slow casual walk and you can still get some great views of the fjord across the town square.
What to eat in Hellesylt
When it comes to a small village like Hellesylt, the culinary options are going to be pretty limited. If you do decide to take the ferry across to Geirangerfjord they will have a number of places to eat, but you better make sure you catch the last ferry back across to Hellesylt. But you can still find quality eats here. Or make sure to pack some snacks in case of emergency.
The Hellesylt Boutique & Bar is the main restaurant in town. Here you can get typical Norwegian dishes, coffee, ice cream, and cocktails. It has pretty much everything you need wrapped into one spot. The restaurant is a hot spot for both locals and tourists passing through. And it has a warm and homey feel to it that will make you want to stop by again.
The hotels will also provide you with simple food choices. It will usually be buffet style breakfast along with an array of meat, bread, and cheese for lunch, and another buffet style dinner of chicken or meat, salad, and sides.
Where to stay in Hellesylt
Hellesylt Hostel & Motel is one of the few places in the village where you can stay. It may be the only place you can stay in town. What makes it so popular is the terrific fjord view on the terrace and balconies. This is why it has become such a popular tourist attraction yet has kept its small-town charm.
Camping is also allowed here if that is how you want to spend your time in Hellesylt. Close by on the outskirts of the town, it’s easy to make your way to the campgrounds once you’ve finished for the day.
Life is far too short so don’t avoid spending some quality Norway time here. Add this location into your Norway travel itinerary. It may seem to be a little off the beaten path but if you plan to make your way through the Geirangerfjord this is the best place to spend part of your time and to put your feet up for the night.
This article originally appeared on The World Overload. Featured Photo Credit: Nicholas Rosen