Waterfalls in Norway: where Finland is the land of 1.000 lakes, Norway is the land of a 1.000 waterfalls. Norway is the undisputed leader regarding waterfalls. Norway has the most waterfalls, the highest waterfalls and the most beautiful waterfalls of Europe. This can’t be a surprise when you consider that the Norwegian scenery forms an ideal basis for high and powerful waterfalls. The Norwegian countryside has a lot of mountains, plateaus, glaciers, high volume of rainfall and many fjords with (relatively) high and steep mountain areas.
The Norwegian word for waterfall is “fossen” or “foss” as in several other Scandinavian languages. At the moment I have approximately 300 waterfalls registered in Norway, the highest number in Europe. It is almost impossible to place all waterfalls in the database because often, small rapids are named waterfall and even more waterfalls that are sure to be considered as a waterfall but have no name. The next few years I will undoubtedly discover dozens of waterfalls in Norway and I have planned several trips to Norway. I love Norway and its waterfalls, although it one of the most expensive countries in Europe!
When you want to chase waterfalls in Norway, the best period to got to Norway is around June when temperatures are rising and there is still a lot of snow in the mountains. If want to visit the most southern part of Norway, with a hilly landscape, you can go to Norway a little bit earlier. For regions near glaciers, July is usually the ideal time for chasing waterfalls. If going north, July or August is the ideal period. Of course there are always exceptions, but it is a nice reference.
Norway is a very large, diverse and multifaceted country with a surprisingly viewpoint around every corner. From the north to the south Norway is almost 1.800 kilometers long, but the narrowest part of Norway is just 6 kilometers wide (Tysfjord). Don’t think you can explore Norway in a short time. There are hardly any highways and most roads are 80 km speed roads. Also there are many fjords that have to be crossed by ferry. Not a problem, but this takes time. The most popular ferry is the one from Hellesylt to Geiranger that leads through the gorgeous Geirangerfjord, which is on the world heritage list of Unesco. Often the ferry between Gudvangen and Flåm is also named as one of the best boat trips.
Norway is a country with a great diversity of landscapes and climates, with small areas with microclimates. In the far south the countryside exists of hilly landscapes, getting rougher going more north. Here you enter the western part of Norway (the fjord region) with its numerous waterfalls. Just north of Bergen you enter an area where the mountains are higher, where the largest glacier of Norway is located. The Jostedalsbreen with (currently) an area of 474 km2 is the biggest glacier on the mainland. Slightly to the east you enter the region with Norway’s highest mountains. The Galdhøpiggen with a height of 2.469 meters is located in Jotunheimen Nasjonalpark is the highest mountain in Norway. Further north the landscape becomes more hilly and much colder. Still there are several extremely beautiful waterfalls to be found in the area Reisa (on the border crossing of Sweden-Finland-Norway).
The majority and most beautiful waterfalls in Norway (there are always exceptions) can be found in the southern provinces Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane and More og Romsdal which are my favourite regions because there is a high concentration of waterfalls per km2. Moreover, here you will find the highest and mightiest waterfalls of Norway.
Near Kinsarvik you will find, within 50 kilometers, 15 sublime waterfalls part of my top 30 most beautiful waterfalls in Norway. The absolute highlight of Norway is a walk near Kinsarvik, into the Husedalen. The walk from the end to the start of the Husedalen leads along four mighty waterfalls (Tveitafossen-Nyastølsfossen-Nykkjesøyfossen-Søtefossen), the most beautiful walk I ever made. I should also mention that the weather was perfect, which gives a much positive experience.
There are more of those beautiful walks where you will encounter several large and powerful waterfalls. Also one of the most beautiful experiences I had was the walk I made into the Utladalen (again with beautiful weather), where you simply (again) encounter four of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Norway: Hjellefossen-Avdalsfossen-Vettisfossen-Stolmardalsfossen.
So I can actually still continue for a while with beautiful experiences and beautiful waterfalls walks to be made in Norway. There is a reason why Norway is called the land of waterfalls. Not only in Europe but it also one of the best waterfall countries in the world. Please send an email if you want advise or suggestions.
Highest waterfall in Norway
Finally, something everyone loves, a list of the highest waterfalls in Norway. I really don’t know why everyone always wants to know which waterfall is the highest waterfall off Norway. It is difficult to determine how high a waterfall is and when it is okay to name a stream a waterfall. Opinions are divided and there are multiple lists with highest waterfalls in Norway with different waterfalls in it. That’s why I have to say that my list of highest waterfalls of Norway is subjective assembled. You do not always know what is the exact height and where you should start measuring and where a waterfall starts falling according a predetermined definition. Sometimes a waterfall is temporarily or is the current minimal, when is then called a waterfall?
But Okay, according to my figures and research the Rangåafossen near Flatmark is the highest waterfall with a total drop of 920 meters (exceptional because I am the only one with this waterfall in my list). Strupenfossen is more often named as one of the highest waterfalls in Norway with a total drop of 840 meters. Place number three as highest waterfall in Norway is a shared place because there are three waterfalls with a total height of approximately 800 meters: Balåifossen, Vinnufjellfossen and Kvannskorfossen.
Most beautiful waterfall in Norway
The most beautiful waterfall is even more subjective and has a high personal experience. I know myself that I think a waterfall is beautiful as the weather was good and I really enjoyed the walk and I love the nature. Perhaps I drove past a waterfall when there had just been an awful lot of rainfall. Then a waterfall is much nicer than in a dry period. What I think is funny that the Langfossen has been mentioned as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world by CNN in 2011. Many people take over this thought without forming an own opinion. Don’t get me wrong, Langfossen is a beautiful waterfall, but there are frankly other and more beautiful waterfalls to be found in Europe. Personally I like the Låtefossen very much, which is also the waterfall I visited most in Norway. Then there is a long list with waterfalls I rated with 4 stars. But the Sötefossen impressed me very much and the Vesleulfossen was a big surprise.
Biggest waterfall in Norway by volume
You can create as many lists as you want, but this one should be the easiest and most objective one: most powerful waterfalls in Norway by volume. There are several agencies that measure how much water is flowing through a river. But Norwegian is still difficult to read for me (some words are similar to English and Dutch). This is on my task list next year. There are several very powerful waterfalls I drove by like the Kjosfossen (Flåm), of cause the Langfossen, Låtefossen or maybe the Sötefossen.
Most touristic waterfalls in Norway and the most famous waterfalls in Norway
Finally some information about the most touristic and most visited waterfalls in Norway. For tourism Norwegian waterfalls are a major attraction and the Voringfossen is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Norway with more than 500.000 visitors each year! But there is one spot in Norway, with a dozen waterfalls, that even attracts more visitors, the Geiranger Fjord where each year 600.000 visitors pass by and where you can see the famous Sju Systre (waterfall).
Another busy spot is road 13 in Hordaland. Many tourists head from south to north Norway and take road number 13 with many large and famous waterfalls such as Låtefossen and nearby the famous Langfoss. In my opinion road number 13 (between Skare and Vossevangen) is an ideal base for visiting the most beautiful waterfalls of Norway.