Last updated on July 4th, 2023
If you are after one-of-a-kind locations and hidden gems, then you will love a trip to Modalen municipality with its cute lesser-known village Mo and Mostraumen fjord!
Just like Ulvik, this is exactly the type of destination that many people miss when visiting southern Norway. The reason for that is the fact that Modalen doesn’t get as much visibility or promotion in travel guides or tourist brochures as other nearby places. And because it is located off the main tourist route, most travelers never make a detour to check it out. But that’s a pity.
Because Modalen is a secret oasis in the heart of the country that’s just waiting to be discovered. It is a stunning place that is easy to experience on a day trip from Bergen or on a southern Norway road trip.
I paid it a visit purely by chance when traveling to Norway in July. And that experience made me fall in love with this place from the first minute thanks to its idyllic landscapes and tranquility. And this is why I am sharing more about Modalen today in this article!
Quick Bergen Insider Tips for a Last-Minute Trip
Are you in a rush to plan your Bergen getaway? Here are my top tips that will help you plan a perfect trip!
Top Private Transfer in Bergen
- Meet & greet private transfer from Bergen airport to the city
- Best Bergen Car Hire – for day trips out of Bergen with the lowest prices
Best Places (Locations) to Stay in Bergen
- Thon Hotel Orion – budget hotel by the Harbor with beautiful views
- Hotel Park Bergen – for mid-budget in the heart of the city near Bryggen Wharf & the Fish Market
- Hotel Hordaheimen – historic hotel more than 100 old for an authentic Bergen experience
- Bergen Bors Hotel – pure luxury in a boutique hotel in a former stock exchange building from the 1800s
Top Tours in & from Bergen
- Introduction to Bergen – historic walking tour with a guide
- Food Tasting & Culture Tour – small group walking tour
Nærøyfjord & Flåm Railway Tour – full-day trip to the fjord on a UNESCO list
- From Bergen to Hardangenfjord – tour to the third-longest fjord in the world (!) with waterfall chasing
- Bergen to Mostraumen Fjord – with a quick visit to the Modalen region
Quick Intro to Modalen on Mostraumen Fjord & Why It is Special
Modalen is a region alongside the Mostraumen fjord with the village of Mo, which is the administrative center and the largest settlement in the area. Although the size of Mo is very small and the population is less than 100 people, the entire area is very unique due to its beautiful scenery which offers a different look into Norwegian nature.
There is a spectacular waterfall Kvernhusfossen right in Mo, which drops 100 meters down a cliff and is visible from the village (you can see it below in my photos).
The waterfall is particularly impressive during the spring thaw when the snow melts and the water flows with greater force. However, there is also a Bergsaa waterfall in the southern part of the community (which you can’t get to close) and more beautiful waterfalls along scenic Road 569.
Thanks to its location and natural beauty, Modalen is also a popular destination for hiking and outdoor activities, with several marked trails in the area. The surroundings are home to a variety of wildlife, including eagles, otters, and deer.
You’ll find there also an old church Mo Kyrkje and several small businesses, including a grocery store and a couple of cafes that provide a glimpse into the daily life of the village.
And on top of it all, Mo village also has a cultural heritage where its history dates back to the Viking era. Several ancient burial mounds and stone circles in the area are believed to be from that time.
How to Visit Modalen
One of the most popular ways to visit Modalen is by taking a cruise from Bergen to the Mostraumen fjord. However, most cruises do not include stops at any points of interest as they are usually short between 3-3.5 hours which is not enough time to stop and walk around.
Unless you go on a private tour from Bergen to Modalen which includes approximately 1-2 hours of time in the Mo village, there is no other way with public cruises to explore this settlement and perhaps even grab a bite to eat. With most public tours, you usually get to see it only from the water (which is still a good option).
Another way to visit the village of Mo is on a road trip where you either go there on a separate drive from Bergen to Modalen municipality or on a drive from Bergen to Alesund.
Mark and I visited Modalen and Mostraumen fjord by car twice when staying in Bergen for almost a month. The first time we happened to get in there purely by chance when just driving around without any concrete knowledge of where to go. But after this accidental visit, we loved the village so much that we returned later to hike in the area and explore it by car.
Why Visit Modalen & the Surrounding Area
There are many small towns and villages in Norway located on fjords and all of them give a unique glimpse into the Norwegian scenery.
However, Mo is very different from the rest of the villages as it is located in a very steep and narrow valley of the fjord which is rather unique and hard to find elsewhere. It provides visitors with a sense of intimacy with the surrounding mountains and fjords.
This location away from big roads and Mo’s small size contribute to a sense of peace and tranquility and make it one of the lesser-visited villages in Norway.
Visiting It on a Cruise from Bergen to Mostraumen Fjord
By coming here by boat from Bergen, you have a chance to see the Mostraumen fjord close from the water with its powerful waterfalls and simply relax and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the area.
As you depart from Bergen, you will sail through the picturesque Osterfjorden. The fjord is facing the towering mountains that rise up from the water, creating a dramatic landscape. Along the way, there are several waterfalls cascading down the steep cliffs, including the famous Osterfossen waterfall which drops over 150 meters (500 feet) into the fjord.
The more you continue sailing towards Mostraumen fjord, the more scenery changes by becoming even more magnificent. At some point, the boat starts to navigate through a treacherously narrow and meandering channel with a width of a mere 150 meters (490 feet).
This is when an awe-inspiring sight and the sheer scale and magnificence of the cliffs can leave you feeling dwarfed and humbled in the immense presence of vertical rock walls that soar majestically on both sides.
After entering the Mostraumen, the serene and peaceful waters of the fjord greet you with greenery and tranquil currents, creating a serene landscape.
VISIT MODALEN WITH: Bergen to Mostraumen Fjord Cruise
Coming to Modalen on a Drive From Bergen to Mostraumen
When coming by car, there is a unique opportunity to catch site of some of the most breathtaking scenery in Norway. Thanks to a few roads, you can take a leisurely drive and enjoy majestic views of the surrounding fjords and valleys.
Read my tips on car rental in Norway before you pick up a vehicle and start a drive.
One of the roads we particularly loved was this historic road to Vaksdal. It was once used by postal carriers through lush forests and past several historic buildings and farms.
Another road 569 here goes directly by the fjord and has steep switchbacks and hairpin turns. With them, you’ll have spectacular views of the fjord and surrounding mountains. And then if you go further to Osterfjorden, you’ll witness even more dramatic views.
All roads offer several pullouts and viewpoints to stop and enjoy the scenery.
VISIT MODALEN WITH: A rental car from Bergen
Things to Do in Modalen On a Trip From Bergen
If you are visiting independently, the best activities to have in the area are hiking, biking, kayaking, and swimming (in July and August) if you are okay with the cold water.
For biking, there is a bike shop near the Modalen commune government office which is very convenient if you arrive by boat and want to maximize your time. Opt for a serene ride along the smooth roads or a more adventurous journey through the rugged paths and steep terrain in the wilderness.
If you enjoy swimming and don’t mind cold water (around 16 degrees in the second half of summer near the shore), then the idyllic sandy beach in Mo is going to be a perfect spot for a summer swim. There is also a bowling center Bryggjeslottet nearby which has a sauna, gym, sports area, and bowling alley for all members and outside guests alike.
Modalen also serves as an excellent base for mountain hiking as it offers a diverse range of hikes to choose from. One of the most popular hikes is the hike to a 200-meter-tall Slottet rock that looms over the Mofjorden. Locals call it Pulpit Rock’s miniature version with dramatic views.
Stop at Modalen Kommune Center to get brochures about the area and about more hikes in the vicinity of Mo and Mostraumen Fjord.
More Hidden Gem Places in Europe
This is it about the Modalen and Mostraumen Fjord from Bergen. But if you love secret spots and hidden gem places as much as I do then you will also enjoy the following articles about other parts of Europe:
- Nyon in Switzerland – a small treasure town on Lake Geneva
- Liptovsky Mikulas in Slovakia – a little-known wonder town by the Low Tatras
- Bergama in Turkey – not so famous ancient city in Turkey that should be on everyone’s travel radar
- Hidden Gems in Malaga, Spain – Andalusia’s second-largest city secret spots
- Montenegro gems & treasures – best places in the Balkans
- Lesser-known towns in Tenerife – Canary Islands bucket list