I recently explored the magnificent Norwegian Fjords with P&O Cruises and got to experience some of their most popular shore excursions there. One of our ports of call was Olden, a tranquil village nestling at the southern end of one branch of the Nordfjord and at the entrance to the stunning Oldedalen Valley.
Olden turned out to be a whole lot of fun. The shore excursions available there range from high speed activities to once-in-a-lifetime visits to almost other-worldly natural attractions. It’s a destination where you can eat lunch at an elegant restaurant in the sky, then find yourself gazing at a real-life glacier a few hours later. Where you can enjoy a stroll around the waters’ edge, spend hours chatting to a local fisherman, or get out on the water to truly immerse yourself in the scenery. In case you’re ever lucky enough to drop anchor in Olden, I’ve put together a list of the best things to do there.
6 Best Things To Do In Olden
You can read my post about what to do in Geiranger, the other port I explored, for inspiration if you’re thinking of booking a Norwegian Fjords cruise. But now, here’s my pick of the best P&O Cruises shore excursions and things to do in Olden, Norway.
Take a rib ride across the fjord
Disembark at Loen cruise terminal and you can climb straight into another, smaller, vessel. I donned a cosy onesie and hopped into an inflatable RIB boat to roar across the fjord. The high-speed ride is a thrilling adventure on the aquamarine water, reaching speeds of up to 30 knots. Perhaps best of all for cruise lovers, you can enjoy a new perspective of the cruise ship you just got off from the water below.
We were lucky enough to spot some baby whales during our ride, and the views of the village and mountains beyond are incredible.
Catch crayfish – and eat them!
Fancy catching some snacks out on the RIB? We caught crayfish with our captain during the boat ride and once back onshore, the captain cooked our catch in a traditional lavvo tent on the banks of Nordfjord. We toasted our catch with crisp white wine then retreated into the warmth of the old flour mill by the fjord for our meal. Huddled around a big wooden table, we were given a candlelit de-shelling lesson from the pro and passed the shellfish around the group.
It’s amazing how something so simple can be SO delicious, and this was a really cosy, memorable experience that I definitely recommend.
Ride the Loen Skylift
In the sleepy village of Loen, we boarded the Loen Skylift Cable Car to ascend the 1011m up Mount Hoven in just five minutes for some of the most stunning fjord, mountain and village views in the whole of Norway. From the skylift, you can see a surreal view of the calm glacial waters of the fjord into the Lodalen Valley and Kjenndalen.
Try to do this on a clear day!
Hike on Mount Hoven
From May to October when the weather permits, Mount Hoven is a hiker’s paradise. Ride the skylift to the the top and then choose one of the easy short hiking trails like Mt. Skredfjellet, Jølrunden or Mt. Skredfjellet.
If you don’t want to go by foot, I’m told the mountain will soon have zip-lining and paragliding on offer for adrenaline junkies.
Eat lunch in the sky
Ah, my favourite part of Hoven – its restaurant! The glass panelled eatery in the clouds gives diners panoramic views over the fjord below, and the food is exquisite, particularly the rainbow trout. For afters, try the ‘Suspension Bridge Waffle’, a calorific, indulgent dessert served with brown goats cheese caramel ice cream. This may be the best waffle I’ve ever eaten – and I’ve been to Belgium. Their hot chocolates are also divine.
There’s even a ‘messy’ area at the side of the restaurant for muddy hikers, complete with a cosy fire and blankets. I would happily have hidden there for the day!
Ride a troll car to a glacier
We poured into open ‘troll cars’ which took us through the national park, past thundering waterfalls towards the vast, million-years-old Briksdal Glacier. We then got off the troll cars and walked through the valley to the foot of the Briksdal Glacier – one of the offshoots of the vast Jostedal Glacier. This impressive wonder of nature won’t be there forever, so see it before it’s gone. In fact, there are signs marking the glacier’s rapidly retreating position over the years. You wouldn’t believe how much it’s shrank since the 1950s!
At the place where the troll cars depart, there’s a large gift shop and cafe for coffee and pastries, if you need to warm up or buy souvenirs from Norway.
Why You Should Book Shore Excursions When You Cruise
Despite the amount of activities I packed in, I felt surprisingly relaxed in Norway – a feeling that lingered long after my trip. I think that’s partly because I’d spent so much time immersed in nature, and partly because the excursions I did meant I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I’ve discovered the beauty of cruise excursions is that as well as ensuring you see and do the best things in a destination, they also erase the stress of planning, keeping track of time and keeping yourself safe.
The variety of excursions available with P&O Cruises means that you truly can tailor your holiday to suit your tastes, with plenty of fast-paced adventures for the adrenaline junkies and ample choice of more relaxed, cultural activities for those who prefer to simply unwind when they cruise.
Would you like to explore this part of the world? You can learn more about the P&O Norwegian Fjords Cruise on their website, and read my review of the Christmas Markets Cruise I did with the company last year to get an idea of what life is like onboard.
Please share this post with your friends, or with anyone you know would love to see the fjords! You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for more pictures and travel tales. I also have a Youtube video showing the trip highlights so give that a watch for more wanderlust fuel.
My trip was sponsored by P&O Cruises but all opinions are my own.