10 Most Beautiful Fjords of the World

A fjord is a long, narrow arm of the sea with steep sides, carved by glacial activity. Many people consider fjords the very symbol of Norway. This country contains some of the longest, deepest, and most beautiful fjords in the world. In a survey conducted by National Geographic Traveler Magazine the famous fjords of Norway were selected as the number one unspoiled travel spot from a list of 115 destinations around the world. Interestingly, other fjord coasts in New Zealand and Chile also scored well.

10Howe Sound
Howe Soundflickr/Tim Gage

Howe Sound is North America’s southernmost fjord, situated immediately northwest of Vancouver. Surrounded by towering peaks that rise straight out of the sea, Howe Sound is Vancouver’s playground for sailing, fishing, diving, camping and a host of other recreational activities. The fjord incorporates many islands, three of which are large and mountainous in their own right.

See also: Canada Guide

9Kenai Fjords

Kenai Fjords is a 650,000-acre National Park on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska. The park’s dramatic landscape includes spectacular mountains with great glaciers flowing down between them to the sea, as well as mile-deep fjords that provide a habitat for thousands of nesting seabirds and smaller marine mammals such as sea otters, harbor seals, and sea lions.

See also: United States Guide


The Lysefjord is a popular tourist attraction in south-western Norway. As well as the extraordinary scenery of the fjord itself, two points along its length are popular. The Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) is a plateau located above a vertical drop of 604 meters offering magnificent views of Lysefjord and the surrounding mountain scenery.  At the end of the fjord lies the Kjerag mountain, a popular hiking destination with even more spectacular drops.

See also: Norway Guide

7Aisén Fjords

The landscape of the Aisén Region in southern Chile is marked by several glaciations that formed a lot of lakes, channels and beautiful fjords. The Laguna San Rafael National Park, reachable only by boat or plane, is one of its most popular tourist destinations in the area. The park comprises some of the higher mountains of Patagonia.

See also: Chile Guide

6Misty Fjords
Misty Fjordsflickr/adactio

Misty Fjords is a remote and wild National Monument on the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle. Large cruise ships can’t navigate through the narrow, steep-walled fjords but they offer excellent sea-kayaking opportunities, although the tides and frequent storms can make boating challenging.

See also: United States Guide

5Ilulissat Icefjord
Ilulissat Icefjordflickr/....Tim

The Ilulissat Icefjord is located close to Ilulissat town, on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle. The fjord runs 40 km (25 miles) from the Greenland ice sheet to Disko Bay. The area around the head of the icefjord is an amazing site, where icebergs from one of the world’s fastest moving glaciers (19 meters per day) create fantastic and dramatic scenery.

See also: Greenland Guide

4Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound is a very large fjord situated on the south-western corner of New Zealand’s South Island. Best known for its wilderness and wildlife, Doubtful Sound is the second largest of the 14 fjords in Fiordland National Park and it is 3 times longer and 10 times larger than the more famous and accessible Milford Sound.

See also: New Zealand Guide


The Nærøyfjord is considered to be the wildest and most beautiful branch of the Sognefjord, the largest fjord in Norway. The Nærøyfjord is 17 km long and the narrowest point is only 250 metres wide. The passage through Nærøyfjord is one of the most dramatic fjord trips in Europe.

See also: Norway Guide

2Milford Sound
Milford Soundflickr/lwtt93

Milford Sound is one of the most famous tourist destinations in New Zealand and claimed the number one spot for TripAdvisor’s 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards. Lying at the most northern and accessible end of Fiordland National Park, Milford sound offers some of the world’s most staggering coastal scenery with its dramatic peaks and dark blue waters. The area’s frequent downpours only enhance this South Island beauty, sending numerous waterfalls cascading down the cliffs.

See also: New Zealand Guide


Geiranger is the crown jewel of all the famous fjords of Norway. The snow-covered mountain peaks, the beautiful waterfalls, the lush green vegetation and the deep blue waters all add to the experience. The fjord can be explored by booking one of the 130 cruise ships that come here every year or taking the car ferry between Hellesylt and Geiranger, a small town that lies at the head of the Geiranger Fjord.

See also: Norway Guide

Map of Beautiful Fjords Of The World


  1. Xander Torres says

    If I can propose a different top 3, #1 of which isn’t even mentioned here:

    3: Geirangerfjord
    2: Milford Sound
    1: Sam Ford Fjord

    The latter has some of the most astonishing scenery on Earth.

  2. Polo Ross says

    Of all these beautiful places, I suppose Howe Sound was chosen because like most of the rest on the list, it was based on accessibility and not really on how unspoiled it is which is why the short Milford Sound finished ahead of Doubtful Sound. By choosing Howe Sound it’s evident that the average tourist doesn’t have the means or the knowledge in order to find and view the great inlets of British Columbia. To get things in perspective, Canada has by far the most coastline in the world ( the second place finisher has one half to one fourth depending on whose stats you reference. ) with British Columbia claiming 10% of it. There is something over 40,000 islands on the way up the coast , some with inlets ( fjords ) of their own. Most coastal communities are sparsely settled and can only be accessed by boat or floatplane. Alaskan cruises from Vancouver just sail right by them until they reach Alaska, so now you know why Howe Sound, which wouldn’t make the top ten in British Columbia is mentioned in this survey. If one also compares wildlife viewing in and out of the water to Norway, it’s not even close. I’ve seen over fifty grizzlies as well as numerous other black bears at one time in one place at Knight and Bute Inlets, not to mention the thousands of nesting bald eagles, seals, sea lions, orcas, etc. The amount varies with the season naturally. The generic Wikipedia states that:

    The great fjords of the British Columbia Coast rival those of Norway in length and depth but have even higher mountain scenery with a more alpine flavour. Many of the mountains offshore are much larger than those along the Norwegian coast, many large enough to have major fjords of their own, as well as their own mountain ranges. This is also of course even more true of the very large islands farther offshore, Vancouver Island and Graham and Moresby Islands in Haida Gwaii, which together form the Insular Mountains, distinct from the Coast Mountains of the mainland.

  3. Ken Black says

    Well said, but perhaps we should keep a few secrets for the people and places as yet undiscovered. It will not be long before Howe Sound becomes a dead zone. Besides most of what’s north of Knight Inlet is bleak and uninteresting .

  4. Polo Ross says

    The head of Knight Inlet is only 40 kilometers from the magnificent 4016 meter Mount Waddington and the areas massive glaciers yet the Klinaklini river and valley is anything but desolate with its pristine mountain lakes, forests, wetlands and meadows. It is easily one of the most biologically and ecologically diverse places in B.C. and I hope it stays that way though it isn’t all protected yet. Industry for the most part has no conscience so everything that they do that I object to in the province is no surprise. As you should know the logging industry has cut down the tallest trees in the world for decades. We might excuse this as being from a less enlightened past that had been rectified but over a year ago they downed another such a giant and are not obligated to preserve or report it. Thus I rather have thousands of tourists tramping through Klinaklini valley disturbing the grizzlies and possibly building a hotel or any other place in B.C. rather than keep it secret when the alternative is clear cut logging which is the same as nuking the site.

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