A brief presentation.
By Per Urke 

Hjørundfjord is one of the most distinctive and magnificent fjords of Norway. Among the wildest and most beautiful mountain areas in western Norway – Sunnmørsalpane - the fjord stretches 33 km in a straight line south-south-east from Storfjorden in the north to Bjørke  in the south. By Leknes the narrow Norangsfjorden go to the east towards Øye.


Map of Hjørundfjord and the areas around.

 Hjørundfjord is surrounded by high, steep mountains. On the western side from the north Ramoen (or Jønshornet) to Standal lies the highest peaks in the outer Sunnmøre: Kolåstinden (1432 m) surrounded by Sylen, Fingeren and other nunatacs. Almost near Sæbø lies Dalagubben and further south Skåratind (1546 m.). In the Bjørke random Horningdalrokken up to say distinctive pointed needle. On the eastern side of the fjord from the south lies the queen between Hjørundfjord mountains: Jakta (1589 m). Straight up from Øye lies the mountain king himself, the famous Slogen (1564 m). With its characteristic peak. Saksa at Leknes (1173 m). East of  Trandal lies Råna (1586 m.) which provided the name for Rånahalvøya between Hjørundfjord in the west and Storfjord in the east.


This is where we want to invite you!
As an inconceivably large bulldozer the ice digged the fjord deeper and deeper through the iceages - maybe up to 30 in number. The fjord is over 400 m at its deepest.

View from the mountain Otola on the west side, across from Viddal. We look north to Ålesund area. The headland into the fjord is Leknes. Urkebygda lies east of Leknes. On the opposite side (west) of Leknes, we see a part of Sæbø.


There are powerful forces that have shaped this landscape that has a bottom more than 400 m below the sea surface and range in altitude near 1600 m over the sea level.

It's the ice that was the master builder of the fjord. Through many ice ages have this mighty geological primal force more than anything gained designing fjords and valleys through their strong graving power.

When the ice covered  the country up to 1500-1700 meters thick, was there an unimaginable force that pushed the crust down while ice elasticity always searched down and tough to melt areas on the outskirts. The ice that carved out Hjørundfjorden came trickling from the highest areas boarding Nordfjord towards the coast.

The glacier digs the surface with his large weight. Stone, sand and gravel that he brings with him, acts as a sandpaper gainst the base and sides. Where the rock is soft, ice digs  quick, where as toughest bedrock is less affected and remain. Through many ice ages that each stretched over a thousand years, have these huge ice masses dig out the fjord, valleys and  sidevalleys.

Most of the loose masses from this excavation has been added again in the ice- melting area outside  the coast. That is what today is that the shallow, large fishing banks off the coast, all the way out to the Norwegian Trench.

At the end of glacial ages, when the ice stopped up and retreated back into the fjord, moraines - loose masses -  remained at the bottom. Such bottom moraines we find in  the notht end of the fjord,  between Leknes and Sæbø, between Finnes and Kalnes and between Maude and Stenes.

The highest sharp edges and  peaks – called nunatacs - in Hjørundfjord reached over  the glacier and is little affected by the ice. These peaks have been eroded over the millennia of frost and ice, thawing and freezing, running water and wind erosion forces.

Aerial view of Hjørundfjord and Norangsfjorden with Urke in the middle. As high up as the ice reached up to 10-1300 m. were rounded mountains. Above is the alpine landscape - Sunnmørsalpane - with pinnacles and spiers.


A boat trip into Hjørundfjorden makes us "spell-bound" as a tourist on one of this ships – Hurtigruten – said.  "Polarlys" passing Standal with Kolåstinden in the background. Photo: Rune Sæbønes.


The blue-black cliffs rise to the sky, with sharp shadow effects from cliffs and mountain canyons. Sharp peaks, tags, awls and towers rises against a sunny sky as in a majestic cathedral. It is nunatacs that were not covered by the glacier, but sticking out of the ice without being cut down to around clubs. What you see on this picture, is the Sunnmørsalpane. (Photo Svein Myhre)

In the area between Molaupen and Nes, you can see this figure in a rocky wall on the eastern side. See the map.

It is Trollgjøttemannen that shows himself. This giant man is linked to a legend.


We pull up the fjord. Small hamlets and individual farms - most of them abandoned farms today - has been a homestead for busy hands in earlier times. Name like Brattheim (“Steephome”) says it all.

Standal is a village known as a major exporter of sand and stone. It goes a road up to Standaleidet to Ørsta. Standaleidet has long been regarded as a winter center, and is now being developed with cottages on a large scale.

Store Standal


The mountains on the eastern side cowerd with snow . The picture is taken from the road to Standaleidet. By the fjord lies Standal. On the opposite side the farms on Nes and Trandal. To the left of these farms lies Molaup. See Map.  Photo: Eli Anne Tvergrov.


These mountain areas are summer grazing land for goats, sheep and cows. In a sort of this terrain you should be both familiar and know about mountain hiking to bring animals home before winter arrives. During gathering goats at  November 24th  1971  Molaupsfonna ( a snow avalance)  took a total of seven lives.


Rynningen lies south of Trandal. We see the boathouses, trail up from the boathouses to the farmhouse and barn that contained both the animals and room for winter fodder, mainly dried hay. In ancient times  grass was gathered from the hillsides in the outlying areas . The grass was taken home and dried on the farm.


Frå Elsandtindane

From Elsandtindane in southwesterly direction towards the valley Maradalen and mountainous area with Saksa nearest and in the background rises Jakta highest up. (Photo: Knut Hustad)

On our journey southwards the fjord, we are no arriving  Sæbø on the west side – the biggest village in Hjørundfjord which now is part of the municipality  Ørsta .

Frå Grøthaugen

Sæbø is the church site with Bondalen, the valley which extends about 10 km westwards to Bondalseidet and Ørsta. In the background Elsandtindane,  Sæbø was formerly the center of Hjørundfjord municipality, but was in the 1960s  a part of Ørsta.

Photo: Svein Ivar Mo

GAmle hj kart

From “Årsskrift - Hjørundfjord Sogelag” we collected this map wich lists of place names and farm names along the fjord and into the valleys leading up from the fjord.

You can not expect to be alone on a fine summer day in  Hjørundfjorden. It is over 100 years old tradition that the large cruise ships arrived disembarking passengers at Øye, in the east end of Norangsfjorden.

Here is the Queen Elizabeth 2nd  on her last visit. The picture was taken from Sæbø. Saksa  (1073 m high) right across the bow of the "Queen".   Photo: Arild Stokke.

Queen Elisabeth 2

Hurtigruta Polarlys på fjorden

In the autumn of 2012  Hjørundfjorden had visits by Hurtigruten who presented a program that was called "Autumn Gold". Here we see one of the fleet, "Polarlys" which lies at anchor outside the harbour at Urke while several hundred passengers from many countries wisited the village and on the bus ride to Øye and Norangsdalen. If successful, we may see  Hurtigruten as a guest the following years.
In the background  Skåratindane with Skårasalen as the highest point.
Photo: Rune Sæbønes. /Møre-Nytt.

Hjørundfjorden continues south past Lekneset and inwards to Bjørke.


Bjørke - in the south end of Hjørundfjorden – is the church site for inner Hjørundfjord and with one of the biggest  power stations (Tussa) at Sunnmøre, our part of the country. Tyssefossen waterfall (left).

From Bjørke the valley  Skjåstaddalen go south to Austfjorden in the municipality of Volda.

Our trip does not go into the south end of Hjørundfjorden.

At Lekneset we turn left and enter Norangsfjorden. 

Photo:  Ivar Svein Mo

Frå Skårasalen

Frå Lekneset

Leknes is a ferry on the eastern side across from Sæbø. We here look eastward to Norangsfjord. The top of Slogen (1564 m high) in the center.  The massive Stålberghornet at right hand.

Frå Saksa

From Saksa (1073 m.) Against Stålberghornet, Øye and Norangsdalen in the end of Norangsfjord. The farm Stenes lies close up between Stålberghornet and the fjord.. A part of  Urke are visible nearby


Eastwards from Urke the mountain Urkedalstindane prick up like a row of teeth of a predator.

A tourist stood completely still for observing these peaks and then he said: "This is like an altarpiece!"

Midway along Norangsfjord we see the two farmyards at Stenes that lies beneath the mighty Stålberghornet. This is typical beachfarms which used uncultivated land for grazing for large flocks of goats. Therefore, the hillsides is open and without forest. Schoolchildren came across the fjord by rowing boat and then they went to school at Urke. It was built a road from Stenes to Øye a few years ago – a nice walking trip. Stennes

Frå Slogen

This is the view from Slogen (1564 m.). Sæbø in the background.

In the east end of Norangsfjord lies Øye with the world famous Hotel Union Øye - a historic hotel with over 100 years of traditions that are conserved in the best way.

The hotel is located a few hundred yards up from the quay. In the background Skruven.
Hotell Union

The trip from Øye through Norangsdalen is a classic. For 120 years since they came first Norwegian, then English and German tourist ships to Norangsfjorden. The horse carriage tourist road went through Norangsdalen and even to Hellesylt by Sunnylvsfjord. This trip took most all day and it was a break for animals and people in the Fivelstadhaugen, a small hotel in the upper part of the valley.

In 1908, a large rock avalanche went across the valley east of the farm Skylstad and a barrage across the valley  made a new water so that small houses (mountain huts) came under water. The road went through the valley where the lake now lies, and we see the remains of both huts and old road under the surface in Lygnstøylvatnet.


This is the most narrow area in Norangsdalen. The mountain wall on the right side is more than 1000 m straight up.

Lygnstølvatnet Left:  The foundation walls of huts in Lygnstøylvatnet and in the background the top of Smørskredtind (1631 m high)


So the trip from the north end of Hjørundfjord to the east end of Norangdal comes to an end. We are here reaching the border of the neighboring municipality Stranda. In the valley there are many lakes, but the rivers between lakes flows underground. Even in the middle of summer, there will be found remains of the snow and avalanches from last winter. Smørskredtind in the background.





At sea:          Hurtigruten is mentioned, but normally we come to the area by ferry,                        passenger boat, private boat or kayak from Storfjord.


                        NB!     Norangsfjord between Øye and west towards Leknes is a calm                                    sea area highly suitable for kayak use.

Ferry offer:
                        -           Solavåg - Festøy,
                        -           Sæbø - Leknes - Trandal - Standal - Skår                      

Road connections:  

                        From Ålesund area:

                        Festøy - Standal or Festøy – Ørsta - Sæbø
                        From Ørsta:              Ørsta - Standal
                        From Volda / Ørsta - Sæbø

                        Grodås/ Kalvatn:      Bjørke - Viddal                       
                        From the Stranda/
                        Hellesylt / Stryn:Tryggestad (Fv. 655) - Øye - Urke - Leknes

                        Hotel Union Øye, Saga Fjord Hotel, Sæbø, Bjørke Fjordtell, Bjørke


                        Search the web for other overnight stop-places (and. cottages) on village  names:
                        Rekkedal, Bondal, Sæbø, Ytre Standal, Standal, Standaleidet, Trandal,

                        Urke, Øye, Bjørke.

                        You will then find lists of cabins and camping offer .