Between east and west, where Skarvheimen meets the Sognefjord and the Bergen railway meets Flåmsbana, lies Vatnahalsen (820 moh.). Here you are in the midst of the Western Norwegian Fjord Landscape – one of the wildest and most beautiful sceneries in the world.

The location between the fjord and the mountains on top of charming Flåmsdalen makes Vatnahalsen unique. You move through a cultural landscape filled with memories of a bygone era. You move in proximity to the longest and deepest fjord in Scandinavia. You move through one of the wildest and most breathtaking landscapes in Norway with mountains that extend vertically up from the fjord.

The West Norwegian Fjord Landscape received UNESCO World Heritage Status on July 14, 2005 in Durban, South Africa. According to the committee, this is one of the most beautiful fjord landscapes in the world, thanks to the narrow valleys with steep crystalline mountain walls extending from the bottom of the fjord up to 1400 meters above the water level. Along these walls, countless waterfalls pour out to the fjord far down there, while free-flowing rivers run down from mountain lakes and glaciers through forests, farms and picturesque miniature beaches, before they flow into the blue-green fjord.

On your way through this wild nature you can experience a multitude of natural phenomena, both on land and water. Seal, porpoise and submarine moraines are just some of the fjord's species, while golden eagles, kestrels, gyrfalcons, white-tailed sea eagle and goshawk are in the air. At the same time, the remains of abandoned transhumant farms add a cultural dimension that helps create an unparalleled experience.

The Fjord Region was voted the world's most sustainable travel destination by National Geographic, both in 2004 and 2009. The cultural heritage goes deep in this area, and with its unique location, Vatnahalsen is a natural starting point for exploring the area. Our goal is to bring you into the Norwegian heritage and let you experience untouched nature and exotic fjord culture while taking a break from everyday life.



The earth started moving vigorously about 50 million years ago. Forces beneath the surface lifted the crust, and land rose more than 1,000 metres above the present sea level. Then followed multiple periods of glaciation, where glaciers eroded the bedrock and pressed the landmass down by their weight. The pressure eased as the ice gradually melted, and eventually the land once again rose out of the ocean. The fjords were made.

Millions of years later came the late age of migration. Iron made it possible to build more seaworthy vessels, and in the summer months from 400 AD and onwards, the fjords were used to row or sail ships deep into the country. The fjords opened up Norway to man and the country to the outside world. Then came the era of vikings.

Vatnahalsen is located where two of our most picturesque landscapes meet – the fjords and the mountains – in close proximity to the wild and wonderful Nærøyfjord. The area was inscribed on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List in 2005, officially making it one of the most unique natural and cultural monuments worthy of preservation in the world today.

Within this area, high above the fjord and the small town of Flåm, on the outskirts of Skarvheimen, lies a plateau overlooking the Norwegian Heritage. This is the site of Vatnahalsen Hotel.

Vatnahalsen Hotell


The highland area that connects Jotunheimen and Hardangervidda was originally called Nordfjella, but after a NRK poll in 1995 it was renamed Skarvheimen (both Hallingskarvet and Reineskarvet are located here). It is in this area that Eastern Norway meets Western Norway, which materializes in the mighty, varied nature, with its wide valleys, panoramic plateaus, steep hillsides and snow-covered mountain peaks.



The lush Flåm Valley stretches 18 kilometers from the plateau at Vatnahalsen down to Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord. The Flåm river, which originates north of Hardangerjøkulen, runs through the entire length of the narrow valley. In the Flåm Valley you will find traditional plants, wild waterfalls, and goats who graze at the foot of steep mountainsides. The iconic Flåm Railway swings through the valley before climbing the legendary 21 steep turns towards Vatnahalsen. A trip through the Flåm Valley is truly a journey through the Norwegian cultural heritage.



The currents from Ireland reached the Aurlandsfjord in the 10th century. A young man, Bjørn Brynjulfson of the powerful Aurland family, abducted Tora Roaldsdatter from Fjordane by brute force. After the abduction he asked his father for a longship – it was wise to leave the country after such an act – but the latter refused. Instead, he provided him with a merchant ship and a word of advise: “Sail south to Dublin. That will be your best choice.”

The Aurlandsfjord is a branch of the Sognefjord. It stretches 29 kilometres to the south, and ends up in Flåm, where the adventurous Flåm Railway ascends upwards past thundering waterfalls to Vatnahalsen.



One of the wildest and most spectacular fjords in the world, stretching about 18 kilometres to the southwest from the Aurlandsfjord, and located directly opposite Frønningen. At its narrowest, the fjord is only 250 metres wide.



It’s the longest and deepest fjord in Scandinavia, running about 200 kilometres into the landmass, therefore making it the second longest fjord in the world. This King of Fjords has a maximum depth of 1,308 metres, and is surrounded by a scenic mix of towering mountains and green farmland.



Vatnahalsen – Flåm: 18 km
Vatnahalsen – Myrdal: 1,5 km
Vatnahalsen – Hallingskeid: 14 km
Vatnahalsen – Finse: 35 km

Cultural landscape

A cultural landscape is the definition of a landscape with properties that represent the combined works of nature and of generations of humans.

The World Heritage

The West Norwegian Fjords were inscribed on UNCESCO´S prestigious World Heritage List in 2005. Verdensarvområdet Vestnorsk Fjordlanskap ble skrevet inn på UNESCOs Verdensarvliste 14. juli 2005. The area is considered to be among the most scenically outstanding areas on the planet, with its beauty derived from its narrow and steepsided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1400 meters direct from the fjord and extent 500 meters below sea level.


Vatnahalsen and its surroundings offer numerous unique experiences. An active lifestyle plays an important part, and the cultural aspects of many of the activities provide an extra dimension when you move into nature.