Norway has the highest concentration of fjords in the world, and nowhere on earth are there more fjords than Fjord Norway. For this reason, the region is commonly referred to as Fjord Norway. The fjords are nature’s own work of art, formed when the glaciers retreated, and sea water flooded the U-shaped valleys.
The Norwegian fjords enjoy a mild climate and remain virtually ice-free. Seals, porpoises and an abundance of different fish swim in the fjords, while eagles and other birds soar in the skies above.
The fjords, which consist of saltwater, are often very deep in their upper and middle reaches. Take the Sognefjord as an example – it drops 1,308 metres below sea level, making it Norway’s deepest fjord. Because fjords are so deep, they permit navigation by large ships, allowing you to experience their beauty at close range.
A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by ice segregation and abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth’s crust as the ice load and eroded sediment is removed (also called isostasy or glacial rebound). In some cases this rebound is faster than sea level rise. Most fjords are deeper than the adjacent sea; Sognefjord, Norway, reaches as much as 1,300 m (4,265 ft) below sea level. Fjords generally have a sill or shoal (bedrock) at their mouth caused by the previous glacier’s reduced erosion rate and terminal moraine. In many cases this sill causes extreme currents and large saltwater rapids. Saltstraumen in Norway is often described as the world’s strongest tidal current. These characteristics distinguish fjords from rias (e.g. the Bay of Kotor), which are drowned valleys flooded by the rising sea.