Skjolden, Norway cruises

Skjolden is a serene village nestled among mountains. You’ll arrive there via Sognefjord, the world’s longest navigable fjord, putting you at the heart of Norway’s majestic scenery.

Skjolden itself actually sits within the Lusterfjord, an arm of the Sognefjord, and your arrival is truly mesmerising. Forested slopes lead down towards the still waters, summer meadows and fruit-bearing farmlands extend from their edge in patchworks of brilliant green, made so vibrant by the melt water of two glaciers. These are Nigardsbreen, which resembles a river frozen in full flow, and Jostedalbreen, the largest glacier in continental Europe.

Feigumfossen could well appear in many of the photographs that document your day here. One of Norway’s highest waterfalls, its broad sheet cascades dramatically 700 feet, often sending up clouds of rainbow-hued spray. You might catch sight of it from the decks of your ship on your way to or from Skjolden along the Lusterfjord, or even on an excursion by road once you’re there.

You’re also close to the Jotunheimen National Park. Its 1,350 square miles are draped over some of Europe’s highest peaks north of the Alps. Rivers rush through this dramatic, jagged landscape, cascades tumble and crash down the cliffs and lakes glint in valleys. One incredible way to experience its majesty is on a drive along the Sognefjellet Mountain Road, the highest and most impressive mountain pass in Northern Europe.

While it’s hard to tear your gaze away from the landscapes, you might be interested in a much-heralded and uniquely Norwegian man-made landmark. Urnes Stave Church has stood in Skjolden since 1130, and features a charming stacked design and panels with intricately carved scenes on its sides. It’s such an excellent example that it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stave church in the nearby village of Lom may not have been afforded that same status, but many consider it every inch as beautiful.

The open-air Sogn Folk Museum was established in 1909. It has 40 reconstructed buildings, some with turfed roofs, that give an idea of life here from the Middle Ages until the present day. Among them are a sea-crofter's home and a bailiff's residence. More recent, and more unexpected, locals round here are llamas. Skjolden’s llama farm is home to thirty or so of the graceful creatures; leading them through the fjord meadows is a delightful way to spend an hour or so.

Of course, if the fjord itself most appeals to you, there are several ways to take to its calm waters and explore, including by motor boat, by kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard.