Whilst a majority of the hamlets and villages within the World Heritage Park are modern communities with permanent residents, there are some hamlets and farms that have been deserted. Despite these places no longer having permanent residents, they have received a new lease of life through tourism and the popularity of an outdoors lifestyle.
The natural resources in this area have been utilised since the Stone Age through hunting and snaring, whilst the landscape has been shaped by where the farming community made their home, as well as the culturally influenced vegetation. As a result of this the landscape that surrounds the fjords is not simply the end product of natural processes, but is part of an ever-changing scenery due to the activities of the people that inhabit the area.
A community in constant development
Due to a lot of local efforts, there is a lot of investment in industry for the future, especially related to agriculture. The area also offers a wide variety of what could be termed as experience specific tourism. Within the World Heritage Park the focus of these experiences are placed mainly on the natural scenery through travel on the fjords on rowboats or kayaks, walks and hikes and bike rides accompanied by tour guides. More often than not getting to taste the local produce is also a part of these experiences.
In addition to the above you can experience a wide variety of festivals, events and experiences tailored to you. Local markets and festivals focus on local art, culture and the conveying of local natural and cultural values.
The World Heritage Park is based around three central areas, Vikøyri in the municipality of Vik, Lærdalsøyri in the municipality of Lærdal and Aurlandsvangen in the municipality of Aurland. Flåm, Undredal and Fresvik are three smaller, yet vibrant areas within the Park, the first two of which can be found in the municipality of Aurland, whilst Fresvik is in Vik. , There are several small hamlets within the park itself or close to its borders. Bakka, Gudvangen, Nærøy and Stalheim are all hamlets within the park itself, whilst Vassbygdi in the municipality of Aurland and Frønningen in Lærdal lie close to the park’s borders. As previously mentioned there are several farms and hamlets that no longer have permanent residents, but that see high levels of activity during the summer, these include the hamlet of Dyrdal and the farms of Styvi and Stigen along the Fjord and Sinjarheim in the valley of Aurlandsdalen.
The below links lead to information pages for the different areas located on the webpages of the County Archives, please note that most of the information is available in Norwegian only.