Geirangerfjord, Norway

Hellesylt Cruise Port: Ultimate DIY Guide to Exploring Geiranger & Geirangerfjord (2024/2025)

Welcome to Hellesylt, Norway, a hidden gem nestled on the majestic Geirangerfjord. If you’ve arrived on a cruise ship, you absolutely cannot stay in Hellesylt on your port day! This quaint village, with ~300 residents, serves as the perfect gateway to Geirangerfjord – one of the two UNESCO heritage listed fjords in Norway for their exceptional beauty. (The other is Nรฆrรธyfjord.) These two fjords are among the world’s longest and deepest. So I’ll run you through the top excursions to do with a few different ways you get to experience the magical beauty of Geirangerfjord yourself!

Ship Docking in Geiranger? Then read my DIY guide on Geiranger cruise port instead – I cover different shore excursion options, as you’ll have more time at port without having to do the ferry ride from Hellesylt to Geiranger.

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Planning a Norwegian Fjords cruise but Not Booked?

If you’re still in the planning stage of your Norwegian fjord cruise, don’t hesitate any longer! Norway has banned any greenhouse gas-emitting vessels from sailing into these two UNESCO heritage listed fjords from 2026 onwards. Not just cruise ships but ferries and boats as well. Only zero-emission ferries and boats will be permitted.

When I visited Hellesylt & Geirangerfjord in June 2024, the ferries and tourist boats running between Hellesylt and Geiranger were definitely not zero emission, so it will be interesting to see how new zero emission boats will be adopted in the area in the next two years! Currently only Havila Voyages’ ships have zero emission cruise ships that can sail in Geirangerfjord.

If you’ve been researching Norwegian fjord cruises, many cruise lines, including P&O Iona’s most popular roundtrip cruise from Southampton will stop calling at Hellesylt in 2026. Tourists can of course reach Geiranger by road but it won’t be as easy nor as beautiful as sailing right into Geirangerfjord.

Hellesylt Cruise Port to Geiranger & Geirangerfjord: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? Depends…

View of Hellesylt town centre with waterfall and cruise pier
Hellesylt is quite small – this is the town! Cruise Pier is 5 minutes walk away.

Wondering whether you can do a DIY excursion from Hellesylt cruise port to Geirangerfjord? Well, it depends on how you want to enjoy Geirangerfjord:

  • See Geirangerfjord at sea level? Then organising a DIY excursion is ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž easy peasy!
    • Short Walk to Ferry Pier: The ferry pier is about 5 minutes walk from the cruise pier, on flat ground, with waterfall views along the way. Jumping onto a ferry or catamaran for a cruise to Geirangerfjord on your own is super simple!
    • RIB boats galore: If you fancy the thrill, there’s multiple RIB boat operators at Hellesylt. It’s easy to grab a ticket on the day, if you haven’t booked one through your cruise line.
  • Visit Geiranger & See Geirangerfjord from famous viewpoints at Geiranger? Then organising a DIY excursion is ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž do-able but needs a bit of pre-planning!
    • Know your ferry schedule: Multiple ferry operators make an independent excursion do-able, regardless of your ship’s arrival and departure times. If you pick your ferries well, you’ll have about 3 hours in Geiranger to enjoy yourself – plenty of time to explore, hike or catch a shuttle bus to local viewpoints.
    • Pre-book Geiranger shuttles: If you don’t fancy a hike to the viewpoints, then you’ll definitely need to pre-plan and book the Panorama shuttle.

If you’re not keen for the trip to Geirangerfjord, jump straight to my list of stuff to do in Hellelyst – unfortunately it’s not that long!

Hellesylt Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need to Know

  • Hellesylt Cruise Port Address: 6218 Hellesylt, Norway
  • Currency: Norwegian Kroner (NOK), June 2024: US $1 = 10.50 NOK, GBP ยฃ1 = 13 NOK, CAD $1 = ~8 NOK, AUD $1 = ~7 NOK
  • ๐Ÿ’ถ Cash or ๐Ÿ’ณ Card: Norway is mostly cashless! Many shops donโ€™t accept cash and if they do, they may not have change to give back to you. So save yourself the hassle and forget about withdrawing NOK at an ATM. Itโ€™s perfectly acceptable to pay by card, even for a cup of coffee! Visa/Mastercard cards, with Amex rarely accepted.
  • Language: Norwegian, with English widely spoken in almost all businesses who works with tourists
  • Official Websites:
  • Recommended Transport App: Use Google Maps to navigate around town and for walking directions
  • eSIM for roaming in Norway: For a great data connection without the huge roaming fees, use an eSim data pack from Airalo. I always recommend having a smartphone with a valid plan when youโ€™re at port touring independently. Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo when you useย ROXANN1666ย when you sign up or apply it at checkout

Hellesylt Cruise Port Map

  • My Hellesylt / Geiranger Cruise Port Map: ๐Ÿ‘‡ If the map is not loading correctly, click here to see it directly on Google Maps.
    • On Desktop? Use buttons on bottom left to zoom in/out. Click on the upper right hand corner to see a bigger version.
    • On Tablet | Mobile? Pinch your screen to zoom in/out and use two fingers to move map around. If you have Google Maps installed on your tablet/mobile, my map will open in your Google Maps app if you click on the upper right hand corner.

Hellesylt Cruise Port to Geiranger & Geirangerfjord: Your Options

You can easily book a group excursion through your cruise line from Hellesylt Cruise Port to Geirangerfjord. This usually involves a boat ride to Geiranger and then a bus ride to one of the viewpoints to look down onto Geirangerfjord. If the excursion is sold out on your cruise, you can book one directly with the local provider, which will tailor the pick up and drop off to cruise ship departure and arrival times.

If you’d like the flexibility of seeing Geirangerfjord yourself, here’s your options:

1. Hellesylt to Geiranger by Ferry

Ferry Geirangerfjorden - The Fjords
Photo courtesy of The Fjords

This is the most popular and arguably the most scenic way to experience Geirangerfjord. There are two companies operating car ferries between Hellesylt and Geiranger. Both ferries take foot passengers. Whether you’d like to pre-book your preferred ferry is up to you. I did see some of my fellow cruisers buying a walk-up ticket.

Both ferries do the same route – you’ll pass iconic landmarks such as the Seven Sisters waterfall, the Suitor waterfall (which seems to be chasing the Seven Sisters) and the Bridal Veil waterfall. The ferries will dock in Geiranger Ferry Pier – see it marked on my Hellesylt / Geiranger cruise port map above ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ‘†. Jump to my section on what there is to see & do in Geiranger.

  • Fjordx: See the ferry schedule here – during peak summer season, take the 9:30am ferry from Hellesylt will get you to Geiranger by 10:45am. The best return ferry is 2:20pm, returning to Hellesylt by 3:35pm. This gives you around 3 hours in Geiranger to explore.
    • Journey Time: Around 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on how many cars are being loaded onto the car ferry
    • Tickets: Return tickets are 525 NOK adults, 263 NOK for students and free for kids under 14.
  • The Fjords: See the ferry schedule here – this ferry schedule gives you less time in Geiranger. During peak summer season, the 10am ferry will get you to Geiranger by around 11:15am. The best return ferry is 1:20pm, returning to Hellesylt by 2:25pm
    • Journey Time: Around 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes
    • Tickets: Return tickets are 550 NOK, 275 NOK for kids aged 4-15, free for kids under 4

When I was at the cruise pier, I noticed a third company (Cruise Service), running return trips from Hellesylt to Geiranger for roughly the same price on a smaller catamaran tourist boat. The schedule may suit you, if your ship is docking early, allowing you to make the 8:50am departure.

Note: On my P&O Iona cruise, when all aboard time was 4pm, we were specifically told not to take the 3pm return ferry with either company, as both will get back to Hellesylt after 4pm.

Once you get to Geiranger ferry terminal, here’s a list of things to do in Geiranger.

2. Geirangerfjord Cruise from Hellesylt Ferry Pier

Seven Sisters waterfall in Geirangerfjord, Norway
Image courtesy of Fjord Norway. Photo by Lars Korvald

If you’re only interested in seeing Geirangerfjord from sea level, then a Geirangerfjord roundtrip cruise from Hellesylt ferry pier is a good choice. The cruise boat does not stop in Geiranger itself. There will be photo stops at the three big waterfalls – Seven Sisters, the Suitor and the Bridal Veil waterfall.

FjordGuiding cruise check-in booth at Hellesylt ferry pier
  • Cruise Departure Point: Hellesylt Ferry Pier – not Hellesylt Camping. Look for the canopy ๐Ÿ‘† called “FjordGuiding” where you can check-in up to 30 minutes before your cruise starting time. The catamaran, docks next to the ferries.
  • Cruise Length: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Tickets: 600 NOK adults, 400 NOK for kids. Pre-book online here.

3. RIB Boat Tour to Geirangerfjord

RIB stands for Rigid Inflatable Boat. They are high-speed inflatable crafts with a solid hull and inflatable tubes around the sides. They are high-speed inflatable crafts with a solid hull and inflatable tubes around the sides. This design makes them incredibly stable, maneuverable, and able to handle rougher waters. RIB boats are smaller than traditional tour boats, allowing them to access narrower passages and get closer to the fjord walls and waterfalls. There’s typically only 12 – 18 seats on each RIB boat.

Thatโ€™s why thereโ€™s RIB boat rides in all of Norwayโ€™s fjord ports โ€“ Stavanger, Olden, HaugesundSo why do one in Hellesylt for Geirangerfjord? Geirangerfjord is probably the most iconic and famous of all the fjords in Norway. It’s truly magical! It’s UNESCO heritage listed for its exceptional beauty for a reason!

But note that RIB boat “run” is relatively short and most tour operators from Hellesylt will have you back at the pier in about an hour. (Unlike Stavanger for example, where the high speed “run” is much longer to Lysefjord.) If you’re doing it just for the thrill of it, then Stavanger’s RIB ride is longer and more fun.

There are at least three RIB boat operators at Hellesylt, all of which have a ticket booth close to the cruise pier. If you haven’t booked it through your cruise line, then one of them will surely give you a seat on the day.

What to See & Do at Geiranger

Geiranger town centre, with cruise ship docked in the pier, Geiranger, Norway
Image courtesy of Visitalesund – ร˜yvind Kรฅre Sunde

Once you get to Geiranger, there’s a few options for you to spend your time:

(a) Visit the Norwegian Fjord Centre (Norsk Fjordsenter)

The Fjord Centre has a permanent exhibition about the history of the fjord, its geology and the unique ecosystems that thrive in its waters and on its shores. There’s a cafe and viewpoint.

  • How to Get There: It’s about a 15 minute walk from Geiranger Ferry Pier – it’s uphill with 327 steps! But you’ll get good views.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 7pm during summer season
  • Tickets: 150 NOK adults and 80 NOK kids

(b) Hike Up to Flydalsjuvet Viewpoint

Flydalsjuvet is probably the most famous viewpoint at Geiranger. If you’ve seen the favourite Geiranger shot with a cruise ship in it, like my featured photo at the top of my blog post, it’s usually taken from Flydalsjuvet!

You can hike up there in about an hour – don’t forget to grab a hiking map at the tourist information centre near the ferry pier before starting off. You can see a PDF version here.

(c) Catch the Panorama Bus to Flydalsjuvet & Eagle Bend

View of Geirangerfjord on the way to Dalsbibba, Geiranger, Norway with two cyclists climbing up the hill
On the way to Dalsnibba, Geiranger – courtesy of Matthias Fredriksson / www.fjordnorway.com

Don’t fancy a hike? Then the Panorama Bus is your best bet! The coach will drive from Geiranger to Flydalsjuvet, stop for a photo stop and then also at Eagle Bend. You’ll need to pre-book though – there’s usually a 11:15am departure to coincide with ferry arrival times. If you don’t see it, it’s likely already booked out. Note that this does not stop at Dalsnibba Skywalk.

(d) Visit Dalsnibba Skywalk

View of Dalsnibba Skywalk, Geiranger
Image courtesy of Visitalesund – ร˜yvind Kรฅre Sunde

The Dalsnibba Skywalk is an extraordinary viewpoint located at the top of Mount Dalsnibba, offering unparalleled panoramic views of Geirangerfjord and the surrounding mountains. It’s the highest fjord view accessible by road in Europe, reaching an elevation of 1,500 meters (~5,000 feet).

From Geiranger, it’s about a 30-minute drive up to Dalsnibba. The drive itself is an experience in itself! If you’d like to visit the Dalsnibba Skywalk, I’d recommend trying to book a tour directly with your cruise line.

The tours from Geiranger are very popular and while there are multiple departures, many of those would be sold out weeks in advance. If your cruise line has sold out of this excursion, you can try booking it directly with the local operator but it depends on your luck whether the 11:30am departure is sold out or not. This operator also caters to those cruisers whose ship is docking at Geiranger cruise pier itself. Also try the Geiranger Skywalk bus, leaving at 11:45am.

Hellesylt: What to See Around The Cruise Pier

1. Hellesylt Waterfall

Waterfall in town centre of Hellesylt, Norway

Right in the heart of the village, you’ll be greeted by the Hellesyltfossen, a stunning waterfall that cascades down the mountainside and plunges into the fjord. It’s an easy, 5-minute walk from the cruise pier to reach the base of the falls, where you can feel the mist on your face and marvel at the raw power of nature. There’s a bridge offering a great vantage point for photos as well as a small road up the hill – note this is steep!

2. Sunnylven Church

Follow the winding road, from behind the Co-op supermarket across from the cruise pier (before you get to the waterfall) – see this marked on my map above ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ‘† and you’ll eventually get to Sunnylven Church. It’s a great vantage point to view Hellesylt.

3. Twizy Electric Car Tour

Several parked Renault Twizy Electric cars outside a rental shop in Hellesylt, Norway

You will definitely notice this line of Renault Twizy electric cars on your walk from the cruise pier down to the waterfall. You can book these for a guided tour to fjord viewpoints in Hellesylt and the nearby town, Ljรธen. Two passengers will fit in one car, in tandem. 899 NOK for one car (2 people). Note that you’re driving this with a guide, as part of a tour. E-bikes are also available for rental but I thought it was pretty pricy at 499 NOK for 2 hours.

Tip: The same shop serves coffee inside and there’s a room in the back with an excellent view of the waterfall. If it’s a chilly day, you can enjoy the views (and sounds) of the waterfall from here instead.

4. Kayaking

You’ll see tour operator booths selling kayaking tours and I remember that my cruise line (P&O) also offered kayaking as an excursion here in Hellesylt. If you’re not an experienced kayaker, I would recommend that you do kayaking in Olden instead.

Manoeuvring around the waterfall, as an inexperienced kayaker is difficult. I didn’t do kayaking in Hellesylt myself but I saw the kayakers being taken close to the waterfall. In Olden, where I did my kayaking adventure, we were taken to “open” fjord waters. While the weather that day made the waters quite choppy, it was still okay for inexperienced kayakers.

Featured Image courtesy of Fjord Norway, photo by Per Ottar Walderhaug

So there you have it, intrepid cruisers! Hellesylt and Geirangerfjord await, ready to fill your port day with awe-inspiring beauty and unforgettable adventures. Whether you choose the classic ferry route, an adrenaline-pumping RIB boat tour, or a leisurely stroll through the village, I hope your port day at Hellesylt will be one of the highlights of your Norwegian fjords cruise!

And if you’ve found this guide helpful, I would really appreciate you sharing this in your roll call groups! After all, the best journeys are meant to be shared! Safe travels and happy cruising!

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