Olden Cruise Port Guide – what to do from a cruise ship

The charming village of Olden is the gateway to some of Norway’s most spectacular scenery. Discover some of things to do in Olden and the surrounding area in this guide to Olden cruise port.

Standing in the shadows of steep mountains, sparkling lakes and blue glaciers, Olden, Norway is one of the most scenic cruise destinations in the world.

So, it’s no surprise it is a very popular port on Norwegian Fjords cruises.

The tiny village is located at the end of The Nordfjord, which is the sixth-longest fjord in Norway. It extends 105 kilometres (66 miles) inland from the sea. Olden sits at the southern end of one of the branches of the fjord. 

The sail in (or out) to Olden is not to be missed and many cruise lines will advertise a ‘cruise by’ as part of their Norwegian Fjords cruise itineraries. This will also include Innvikfjorden, which is a small arm of the Nordfjord as you approach the port of Olden.

Norway is full of beauty and as you wind your way along the Nordfjord you’ll pass memorising scenery. From mountains and rolling countryside to small villages dotted along the fjord coastline, it is an incredibly picturesque journey. 

One that is well worth getting up early for. I was up at 4am just as we entered the fjord and don’t regret it!

Narrow body of water with mountains either side

At a Glance: Things to do in Olden (and the surrounding area)

If you like outdoor activities you will be spoilt for choice in Olden. Things to do include

  • Getting up close to a glacier – the Birdsdal Glacier is one of the popular ones to visit
  • Enjoying spectacular scenic views
  • Getting an aerial view of the fjords from the Loen Skylift
  • Kayaking or taking a rib ride along the fjords
  • Exploring the village and surrounding area

Or just relaxing and enjoying the incredible scenery.

A little bit about Olden port

Olden is a tender port, so depending on your cruise line you may dock at the small cruise area alongside the village or anchor here and have to take a boat to the shore.

The cruise port area is situated one kilometre from the centre of the village. It takes around 10-12 minutes to walk into the village.

With Olden being such a small (and picturesque) place there is no cruise terminal as such. Once you disembark your ship you are pretty much shore side and good to go.

At the port, there are souvenir shops and a pub/cafe. There is also a ticket office for a local tour operator, Olden Adventures. If you prefer to DIY your excursions or your cruise line have sold out then these local operators offer transport and tours around the area.

Cruise lines that often have cruises to Olden on their itineraries include Azamara, Celebrity Cruises, Fred Olsen, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Ponant, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Silversea.

Small village at end of fjord water surrounded by snow capped mountains

Popular shore excursions from Olden cruise port

If you are wondering what to do in Olden from a cruise ship, wonder no more. Whether you like sparkling glaciers, magnificent mountains, picturesque lakes or spectacular views, you’ll find something to visit in this beautiful area.

Some of the most popular Olden shore excursions include

  • Briksdal Glacier
  • Loen Skylift
  • Kjenndalen Glacier
  • Lovanet Lake
  • Sightseeing on Olden’s hop on hop off bus

Shore excursions to many of these attractions and natural landmarks will be offered by your cruise line and local tour operators. 

It is advisable to book in advance if there is something you really want to do. The popular excursions, such as the ‘Troll cars’ tours at Briksdal Glacier, sell out quickly.

However, if you prefer to wait and see how you feel on the day or see what the weather is like then you should be able to book with the local tour operators at the port.

Trips local operators run include a bus from Olden to the Loen Skylift, a shuttle bus to Briksdal Glacier, a guided ‘troll car’ tour and an open top glacier sightseeing bus tour.

Briksdal Glacier

The Briksdal Glacier is part of the largest glacier in mainland Europe, the Jostedal Glacier. It is one of the most accessible arms of the glacier making it a popular shore excursion.

I did this on my first visit to Olden and really enjoyed my morning walking to the glacier.

To get there you have an incredibly scenic drive through the Oldedalen Valley, usually with a few stops for photos along the way.

Once you reach the Mountain Lodge in the Jostedalsbreen National Park, you can either hike or take a ‘Troll car’ along the trail to the glacier and lake.

The glacier has retreated significantly in recent years so it’s not as spectacular as it once was but it is still a pretty amazing sight to see.

The Briksdal Glacier hike was of the things I enjoyed most on my visit, I felt it was as much of an attraction as the glacier itself. The walk wasn’t too strenuous and the scenery was just incredible.

Related post | Find out more about visiting the Briksdal Glacier from Olden on a shore excursion.

If you prefer to do things independently, a local company offers a shuttle bus to and from the glacier. So you can explore without being tied to the time set by your cruise line. Just remember it is your responsibility to get back to the ship on time – they won’t wait for you.  

Loen Skylift

The Loen Skylift offers some incredible panoramic views over Lovatnet Lake, the Jostedalsbreen National Park, Olden and the Nordfjord. 

Cable Car descending snow capped mountain

It is one of the steepest cable cars in the world and takes you to the top of Mount Hoven in just seven minutes. 

If you hit the weather jackpot and get a clear day the view is simply breathtaking. It really shows how majestic the Norwegian Fjords are.

I was lucky and had a sunny and clear day when I visited. It was one of the highlights of my Norwegian Fjords cruise and one of the reasons I have booked a return trip.

Getting to the Loen Skylift from a cruise ship is pretty straightforward. You will be able to book a ship run excursion or take a ticket and transport option from Olden Adventures.

Related post | Find out more about taking a shore excursion to the Loen Skylift

Kjenndalen Glacier

The Kjenndalen Glacier is another arm of the Jostedal Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe.

A visit here is often combined with another activity. For example, a boat cruise along Lovanet Lake or a trip on the Loen Skylift. 

Lovanet Lake

Lovanet Lake is an incredibly picturesque lake known for its stunning turquoise water. 

A stop at one of the viewpoints around the lake is often included in excursions or tours around the area. It was part of a trip I took to the Loen Skylift so make sure you trek the itinerary of any excursion you book.

You can also take boat trips or kayak along the lake. 

Oldevatnet Lake

Oldevatnet Lake is another beautiful lake just outside Olden. 

Snow capped mountains reflected in lake

A stop here may be included in excursions to the Briksdal Glacier.

Sightseeing bus around Olden

If you fancy doing a bit of Olden sightseeing but don’t want to do a full excursion or wander round, a local company operate a open top-bus tour around the main sights. The scenic drive takes around an hour and takes you to various viewpoints and attractions in Olden.

You’ll also get to view the Briksdal Glacier from a distance. Note, this bus does not take you to the starting point of the walk to the glacier.

Tips for visiting Olden

Get up early for the sail-in

I know the thought of getting up at 4am is not appealing but trust me it is worth it. The journey along the fjords as the day breaks is magical.

You will most likely have a lot of the best viewing spots on your cruise ship to yourself (and maybe a few others). From my experience not many people get up too early. Most prefer the sail out in the early evening. This is just as stunning, but the ship will feel a lot more crowded.

It is well worth the effort to get up super early and enjoy the incredible scenery.

Pack layers

You never know quite what you are going to get weather wise on a Norwegian Fjords cruise. It can be very unpredictable. One week it’s warm and sunny, then next cloudy and rainy.

If you are heading up to the top of the mountains, hiking to the glacier or getting up early for the sail-in, it may be chilly even in summer. So, pack your layers and some waterproof clothing just in case.

Related post | What to pack for a Norwegian Fjords cruise

Do your research

Have a think what you’d like to visit in advance. Olden offers many different outdoor activities so it’s worth doing a bit of research before you cruise so you can make the most of your time in this gorgeous village and surrounds.

Shore excursions can get booked up quickly here so if there is a trip you really want to do, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Don’t forget there are also local tour operators that offer excursions too. They can offer better value than booking with your cruise ship but remember it’s your responsibility to get back to the ship time. It won’t wait for you.

Be considerate to the locals

Olden village is very small. So when a cruise ship is in, things can get crowded very quickly. Keep this is mind when wandering around, remember this is people’s home and we are guests for the day.

Don’t miss the sail away

Make sure you are on the side of the ship that over looks the port and cafe/pub when you depart. I won’t give it away but trust me, you don’t want to miss the send-off from the locals. 

The Last Word

Cruising into Olden is one of the best experiences you can have on a Norwegian Fjords cruise. If that wasn’t enough, once you arrive there you have yet more amazing experiences at your feet.

The scenery, which seems to change from dramatic to tranquil in a few seconds is simply breathtaking. That word can sometimes be overused when trying to describe a view but in Olden’s case it is totally justified.

I loved my day there so much I’ve booked another cruise so I can visit again.

If you have a stop here on your itinerary, I hope I have given you some ideas of what you can do in Olden from a cruise ship. Whatever you do, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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4 thoughts on “Olden Cruise Port Guide – what to do from a cruise ship

  1. Emma says:

    Hi Emma, myself and partner want to try a cold swim/dip in one of the lakes. Which would you suggest ? We would only really need a bus to stop there rather than booking a full excursion. Is this possible? X

    • emmaonline says:

      Hi Emma, I’m not a swimmer so a bit hard for me to say. Perhaps contact one of the local tour operators, they should be able to advise. Enjoy your cruise. Emma

    • emmaonline says:

      Hi Denise, sorry for the delay replying. Olden is pretty flat from what I remember however there is no public transport as such. The centre of the village is around 700 meters away so that might be bit of a trek. If you are keen to do some excursions, the Loen Skylift is accessible and provides fabulous views if it is a clear day. It might be worth having a chat to the excursions team with the cruise line you are travelling with as they should have some recommendations. Enjoy your cruise.

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