There are giants in any business. And there are smaller players. The port of Florø is not one of the main Norwegian cruise ports. One could rather say the opposite is true. The geographic location of this Norwegian David is interesting, though. To the south is Bergen; to the north is Ålesund – two Goliaths among Norwegian cruise ports. Can David compare, one might wonder. And does he have to?
A definite plus for our David is his personality. In a world where character counts, the fact that this small town has been recognised as the most charming in Norway must no doubt be considered a big plus. Florø’s 8,500 inhabitants clearly endeavour having a pleasant climate between each other, when not working in the fish industry, building ships or looking after equipment for the offshore oil industry (Norway is one of the world’s major producers of oil and natural gas).
There’s also another side to this destination – a side that some would say makes it stand out positively in comparison with larger destinations: authenticity. While the larger ports will rightly argue that they are in no lack of genuineness, if you look in the right places, it is a fact that making landfall in Florø means travelling off the beaten path. There are no doubt cruisers who will consider such a factor a very positive one.
Founded in 1860, the town of Florø saw the light of day because of the hectic activities that herring fishing resulted in at the middle of the 19th century. As a consequence, Florø was founded – but not without opposition from Bergen. The second-largest city in Norway was the one to lose out on trade when a new town was founded.
So, is it a question of déjà vu as David – the smaller destination – now looks at attracting cruise guests? Do larger destinations stand to lose out? Perhaps not. Cruisers visiting ports like bustling Bergen can no doubt also find Florø fascinating – and vice versa.
Cruise ships dock some 0.45 miles/700 meters from the town centre. Maps of the town are available on disembarkation.
- Just off Florø is Kinn Island. With only 11 permanent residents, the island is known for its natural environment. Stunning sea views and carpets of wild flowers are only a couple of examples of what can be experienced on Kinn. The Kinn Church, built around the year 1000, is one of the main sights on the island. It is one of the oldest churches in Norway. The Kinnaklova mountain cleft is another highlight.
- South-west of Kinn, the island communities Værlandet and Bulandet feature a unique landscape with a combination of marshland, lakes and crags.
- Kystmuseet (The Coastal Museum) consists of three buildings plus an area of 18 hectares open for the public. A wide range of artefacts with local connection are on display: everything from different types of boats to images of Florø’s development as a town and an exhibition on the Snorre oil platform 104 miles/167 kilometers west of Florø (at sea, that is).
- Sunnfjord is the fjord closest to Florø. Not one of Norway’s longest fjords, Sunnfjord nonetheless offers visitors views that are second to none.
- One of the best preserved fishing villages in Western Norway, Kalvåg is worth experiencing. Not least because of the local galleries that can be found here.
- Not far from Kalvåg, you will find the Black Friday Museum, also known as the Luftkampmuseet. Situated in Naustdal, this museum chronicles the major dogfight that took place in the skies over Florø during World War II. Ten allied and five German planes were shot down on February 9, 1945.
- During the Second World War, German forces used Florø as a base from which occupied territories were defended. Traces of WWII are still visible in the town, in the form of tunnels, bunkers and guns.
- Travel farther back in time at Sunnfjord Geo Center, where visitors are able to experience the region’s past and present through the history of geology. The also has a role to play in the development of the Norwegian oil industry.
- Florø and the surrounding area is ideal for fishing in various forms. Go ocean fishing or experience quieter trout fishing in nearby lakes or streams.
Various shore excursions can be available in Florø and the surrounding region. Examples include:
- Coach tours of Florø and the town’s immediate surroundings, including the Brandsøyåsen viewpoint (a popular recreational area for local inhabitants). These tours can be followed by drives to nearby attractions, such as Naustdal, with the Black Friday Museum (see above) and the scenic Førdefjord.
- The island of Kinn, with the legendary Kinn Church, is a popular shore excursion from Florø (see above under Do Not Miss).
- Experience three of the most westerly lighthouses in Norway on a lighthouse safari.
Oslo, Norway’s capital, is 320 miles/515 kilometers away. The nearest big city is Bergen, 145 miles/234 kilometers from Florø.