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Introducing Geiranger

Scattered cliffside farms, most long abandoned, still cling to the towering, near-sheer walls of twisting, 20km-long emerald-green Geirangerfjord, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Waterfalls – the Seven Sisters, the Suitor, the Bridal Veil and more – sluice and tumble. The one-hour scenic ferry trip along its length between Geiranger and Hellesylt is as much minicruise as means of transport – take it even if you've no particular reason to get to the other end.

If you arrive from Hellesylt, Geiranger village, despite its fabulous location at the head of the fjord, comes as a shock to the system as you mingle with the hordes of visitors brought in by bus and ship. Every year Geiranger wilts under the presence of over 600,000 visitors and more than 150 cruise ships (two were moored offshore last time we visited, each polluting the pure air with dark fumes from its smokestack, while their bumboats belched diesel vapours at the jetty).

You'll gasp for another reason if you drop from the north down the Ørnevegen, the Eagle's Way, as the final, superspectacular 7km of the Rv63 from Åndalsnes is called. As it twists down the almost sheer slope in 11 hairpin bends, each one gives a yet more impressive glimpse along the narrow fjord.

And whichever way you're coming or going, once the last cruise ship and tour bus of the day has pulled out, serenity returns to this tiny port.