Landscape, climate and culture makes this a distinct region in Norway. The landscape is dominated by numerous deep fjords cutting into the compact mountain landscape. But the countless islands on the coast, the wild valleys in the inland, and the alpine peaks, glaciers and waterfalls around these valleys are also notable features. Climate is mild and humid, making it a very green and fertile region. Generous precipitation also maintains numerous glaciers, including mainland Europe's largest, the mighty Jostedalsbreen. Western Norway in many way resembles Canada's pacific coast and New Zealand's south island.

Western fjords region borders to the Eastern valleys along the watershed (water divide) in the central mountain region. Going over a east-west mountain pass  implies a notable change in climate as well as culture. Westerners are clearly identified by a different dialect, the east-west watershed is also a notable dialect divide. Foreignes may note a difference in the "melody" of spoken Norwegian, as well as the very powerful "r": North of Bergen the "r" is clearly "rolling" (alveolar trill, as in Spanish), whereas in Bergen and further south the "r" is guttural (in Bergen strongly so) - as in France. 

Surprisingly perhaps, but the Western region is the most industrialized.  Abundance of hydro power, petroleum extraction on the continental shelf, metal plants, rich fisheries, and extensive fish farming makes this region the most export intensive in Norway. Luckily the famous landscapes and nature of this region is only marginally affected and most visitors will hardly notice.

Official tourist information.

Major fjords/fjord systems include (from south to north):

Main cities:

  • Bergen - main arrival for many tourists, although onshore transport north-south from Bergen is complex 
  • Stavanger - nice city on the northern end of the Jæren flatlands, Bergen's little brother
  • Ålesund - nice city on string of islands pointing into the Atlantic, great alpine mountains to the east
  • Molde - small town with a great panorama on fjords and mountains