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Hellesylt or Geiranger

In next year or so my wife and I are planning a Norway cruise with either Princess or Holland America. We did Alaska with Princess and it was wonderful; have not sailed with Holland America, but I know they are great, also.

Both lines have a 14 night sailing, both of which are quite similar. For example, they both hit Hellesylt and Geiranger on the same day as the cruise the Geirangerfjord.

However, Princess is in Hellesylt from 9 - 11 am and then in Geiranger from 1 - 7 pm.

But, Holland America is in Geiranger from 7 - 10 am and then in Hellesylt from 11 am - 6 pm.

Both towns and surrounding area looks beautiful. However, I'd like your thoughts about which to spend the most time in: Hellesylt or Geiranger. Of course, this would lean me to one cruise line over the other. So, just give good advice!!! Thanks.

Posted by
245 posts

Our experience as follows. We drove into Geiranger from the south after stopping at the Dalsnibba viewpoint. We saw Geiranger in 10 minutes and sat around for several hours waiting for an early afternoon ferry to take us to Hellesylt to stay overnight with a friend. Upon arrival, she drove us through the valley that extends from Hellesylt southwest toward Hornindal. She walked us around the town. Next day we took the ferry back to Geiranger and departed by car north toward Trollstigen. Our impression is that Geiranger is much more tourist oriented, probably because it has more cruise ships. It has a fine set of tourist trap eating places serving burgers & ice cream, etc. and souvenir shops with stuffed trolls and the like. Dalsnibba viewpoint, however is not to be missed on a clear day. We saw plenty of bus traffic up there from Geiranger, so I’d guess either cruise ship will offer that ride. There’s really not much else on that end of the fjord IMO unless you want go on a hike or spend lots of time in the rustic bakery. Hellesylt is much less touristy and looks more like a common Norwegian village. The large waterfall in the middle of town is very impressive, but I’d likely not spend more than 10 minutes gaping at it. Not sure if cruise ships offer any sightseeing out of Hellesylt or not. There is a somewhat interesting museum dedicated to presenting the Peer Gynt story in art. The scenery on the road to Hornindal was just short of spectacular. I suppose if I were to do it again, I’d still spend more time in Hellesylt because it was less crowded since there were no cruise ships while we were there. But you’ll have hundreds of friends with you wherever you go, so I’m not sure our experience helps you. My advice: the fjord scenery is excellent and you’ll get that either way. Enjoy.

Posted by
3304 posts

I can't imagine what one would do in Hellesylt for 7 hours! There is very little there except a few tourist shops, the ferry terminal, and a small, old hotel. Geiranger is also small and touristy but the views of the fjord are much nicer with a couple of restaurants right on the water. Hire a taxi and have them take you up to the Ornesvingen overlook or drive up the switchback road directly behind Geiranger to the massive waterfall at the top of the valley...there is a mountain farm you can walk to or you can just enjoy the views. OR you can drive one of the most beautiful roads in the world...the Trollstigen Road - all the way to the pass is only about 1 hour 45 minutes away and it's one of the greatest views anywhere. Stop at the Gudbrandsjuvet cataract on the way. It's an amazing road.

Posted by
1700 posts

While both towns are very small. Hellesylt is really tiny. It is good for a 30 minute stop IMO. If you have a car you could drive from Hellesylt to overlooks off Geirangerfyord and the Queen's Highway which is nearby but otherwise there is basically nothing to do in Hellesylt for more than 30 minutes.

Geiranger has far more and easily occupies the time you have.
You can hike the waterfall trail in town, shop, go to the flybyjuliet (ms) overlook ; take a trip up to Dalsnibba overlook above the town ; would require a bus/taxi/car/or other
The Ornesvingen overlook on the outskirts of town the other direction is also a nice site.
and other hiking is in the area that can make it a good place for a multiple day stay.

Only negative of Geirnanger is it is very touristy and can have almost a fake feel to those that are not fond of it ; It is the type of town that without tourists would not exist.
If that bothers you it is easy to go on a hike above the fyord with very few others and escape that very quickly though.

Posted by
9 posts

Hey there!

The Geirangerfjord is the one definitely worth stopping in; it's so beautiful and there's so much to do there!

Posted by
5 posts

If you look at the Princess excursions, you will discover that the 6-8 hour Best of Geirangerfjord and Scenery of Geirangerfjord ones leave from Hellesylt and return you to Geiranger so you have a taste of both and all the beauty in between!

Posted by
5 posts

Spend more time in Geiranger. Then figure out a way to go up to Dalsnibba! It is like another world up there! And Trollstigen Pass if possible! Both are stunning! Hellesylt is tiny. Can’t imagine what you would do there for 7 hrs. We waited there for the ferry for 1 hour and that was way more than enough!