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Idyllically located on the banks of the fjords, Gudvangen lies in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Area. The village is a popular tourist destination and is the perfect launching point from which to discover the Sogn region. As your cruise ship glides towards the village you will be surrounded by steep mountainous landscapes and still tranquil waters, creating a calming atmosphere which offers the promise of spectacular outdoor activities and great photo opportunities.
Gudvangen and the surrounding area is steeped in Nordic history, and offers plenty of cultural activities to enjoy. The town is currently building a re-creation Viking merchant town based upon archaeological evidence found around the area, and is being used as an experimental archaeology site. Once a year there is the opportunity to visit the annual Viking market and relive what the town would have been like hundreds of years ago. Here are just a few popular local attractions:
White Mountain caves
Located close to the town are the White Mountain caves. This labyrinth is a warren of tunnels with White Mountain walls, interspersed with small lakes and running water. Light settings are used to create different moods, and as you make your way through these spectacular caverns you will find a small green lake and seated areas lit by candle light. There is also a stone bar area which provides light refreshments, and you can sip your drink as you sit on benches covered with reindeer skins.
Voss Mountain Village
A short journey from the town is the Voss Mountain Village. This is an action-packed area which boasts a wealth of activities including white water rafting, tandem skydiving and paragliding, a high rope climb course for the summer months and an alpine ski resort during the winter. The area is also home to a wide variety of museums and galleries and some historical buildings for culture lovers. There is extensive hiking around the area including trails that will take you to the Bordalsgjelet Gorge and the spectacular 152 meter Tvindefossen Waterfall.
One of the best ways to truly appreciate the fjord that Gudvangen sits on is in a sea kayak. You can hire sea kayaks independently if you prefer to paddle at your own pace, but guided trip are always a good option. There are a number of trips available, with half day lake tours to full day fjord explorer tours and overnight camping expeditions.
There are two main gift shopping locations in Gudvangen. The first is located within the main building at Fjortell and the other is situated close to the ferry dock. Both outlets stock a wide variety of locally produced souvenirs and gifts, including some crafts that reflect the original Viking presence in the area. You are also able to purchase some animal skin and fur products here, made into clothing using traditional hunting and drapery methods. In the Voss Mountain Village, a larger shopping complex which houses 26 stores. Along with traditional souvenir items, visitors are able to purchase clothing products and jewellery, as well as visit local art galleries and museums with their own small gift shops and local works of art on sale.
Gudvangen provides a few dining venues for tourists to enjoy. The main restaurant is situated in the Fjordtel. It has a panoramic roof which allows diners to enjoy extensive views across the fjord. It serves simple and traditional meals and is furnished by local craftsmen using the pattern from the Urnes Stave Church. Over the summer months visitors can enjoy al fresco dining at the Langilden Grill House which is on the terrace. The speciality is goat meat which is prepared and cooked where diners are able to see the chefs at work. There is also a café which provides buffet style dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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