Aurlandsfjord (cruise-by), Norway
Sailing through the Norwegian fjords is one of the great maritime experiences. Formed during the Ice Age when the glaciers retreated, the deep valleys and narrow inlets were flooded with seawater creating these natural wonders. Thanks to the warmth of the Gulf Stream they are virtually ice free and easily explored.
Aurlandsfjord is located in the southern part of the county, in the middle of Western Norway. Although it is one of the smaller fjords, it is also one of the most picturesque. It's surrounded by steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400 m from the sea and extend 500 m below sea level. Aurlandsfjord is also part of the World Heritage area surrounding the Naeroyfjord.
Aurlandsfjord is a 17 km arm of the world's second longest fjord, the Sognefjord (which in total is 204 km long). Aurlandsfjord starts at tiny village of Flaam and stretches to the Beitelen Mountain, which separates it from Naeroyfjord. Its shores are dotted with picture-postcard coastal towns and colourful fishing villages.