At the end of the Sognefjord (the world’s longest fjord if you didn’t know), you’ll find a gem by the water, and my favourite hotel in my hometown. I grew up running around the hotel gardens, dining at their restaurant with my parents, and helping guests find their way to this magical place. There is no way to miss the charm of this place where you’ll find the best view in Norway. I’d also like to point out that Vangsgaarden has been family driven for decades. You could say I am slightly biased, but amongst all the hotels in the Sognefjord area – Vangsgaarden will always be my favourite.
Side note: whilst in Aurland, make sure to visit the Stegastein Viewpoint!
Now, let’s get the personal out of the way: I spent no less than 3 summers working behind the bar at Duehuset when I was younger – the restaurant and pub belonging to the hotel. Thus, you could say that I know how hard they work to keep the visitors fed, the rooms ready and the guests happy. All opinions are 100% genuine, and I dare you to visit and disagree with me.
Don’t miss my ebook/travel guide to Aurland, Flåm and the surrounding area! Find it here!
Where to stay in Flåm/Aurland, Norway
There are several great hotels by the Sognefjord, and plenty of things to do by the fjords (check out my guide to a weekend by the fjords if you are heading that way).
Vangsgaarden consists of several buildings. The pub and restaurant Duehuset, with its stellar reputation amongst locals and visitors alike, the main building where you’ll find the reception and most of the newly refurbished guest rooms, another building with guest rooms right through the garden, the 18th Century building Aabelheim (where breakfast is served in a historic atmosphere), in addition to 6 fjord cabins with stunning views. The cabins are incredibly popular and get booked months in advance. Make sure you’re early if you want to wake up with the fjord immediately outside your window.
During the recent renovations of many of their guest rooms, they have also added a deluxe cabin, named ‘The View’. Here you can enjoy superior views of the fjords, a little extra leg room, and of course, the serenity of life by the fjords.
Something worth noting about Aabelheim, the historic building where breakfast is served. It was the home of the County Parson in the 1800s; Ole Aabel, who left his name to the house (Aabel + heim means ‘the home of Aabel‘). Some say he left even more, and many a villager will tell you about the hauntings in his old home. Don’t worry, though, none of the guest rooms are situated in Aabelheim, but you may hear some footsteps in the attic during breakfast.
The rooms at Vangsgaarden are charming and neat and come with a fjord or garden view. The fjord view is, naturally, the most popular, so make sure you make a request early if you wish to snag one of those rooms. The cottages come with a main bedroom, a loft, a seating area and small kitchen – perfect if you’re staying for a while and wish to try some cooking on your own. However, you are more than welcome to add breakfast to your booking. The local grocery store is only a 2-minute walk away.
A historic hotel by the fjords
Vangsgaarden is full of history. Between the different buildings, guests are welcome to make use of the beautiful gardens. The current owners live in the main building and are always at your side if you are in need of any help.
If you’re curious about the history of the place and area, make sure to visit Duehuset pub on a Friday night. It’s only a couple of meters from your room, and you are sure to meet a local with something to share. The pub used to be the local bakery (run by none other than my great grandparents), and the bar has been built around the old bread oven! On the wall, you’ll find old phones and phone books, memories from when Duehuset served as a telegraph (fun fact: Aurland was one of the last villages in Norway to still have the old-fashioned telegraph centre).
The perfect location by the fjords
One of the reasons I know you’ll love Vangsgaarden as much as I do is their perfect location by the fjords, close to all the sights and activities you are visiting the fjords for. Within easy reach, you’ll find the famous Flåm Railway, plenty of beautiful hikes, kayak rentals and the panoramic viewpoint Stegastein, amongst other activities. The Stegastein Viewpoint, situated 650 metres above sea level will give you stunning views of the fjord and the scenery embracing it. Another thrilling activity popular amongst visitors is the FjordSafari, which will allow you to get as close to nature as possible. On this tour you’ll travel in a RIB-boat with a driver doubling as a guide, and you’ll get to discover the fjord and its wildlife in a way you’ll never forget!
While you are there, here are some great experiences to have in Aurland, Norway!
When should you visit the fjords?
The fjords are beautiful regardless of the time of year you visit. Summer is hugely popular, and when many will say the fjords are at their most beautiful, though all the seasons have their very own charm. As you may know, I am a huge advocate of visiting the fjords in the Winter and have even written a guide on the topic. My favourite season is Autumn when the colours are bright and the weather is crisp, and you can cosy up with a book by the fireplace, and enjoy the views of the clear fjords and colourful mountains. Many also favour Spring, with its green charms and stunning flowers. Regardless of the time of year, Vangsgaarden will give you a warm welcome.
As you can see, I have plenty of reasons to whole-heartedly recommend this hotel, and it makes me so happy to hear that guests are booking to stay there on my recommendation! I love seeing my readers visit my hometown, and if you are in the area, make sure to DM me on Instagram or leave a comment below so I can hear how your visit was!