With a length of 179 km (111 mi), the Hardangerfjord in the county of Hordaland in Norway is the third largest fjord in the World and the second largest in Norway. The surrounding district is called Hardanger.
The Hardangerfjord starts at the Atlantic Ocean just south of Bergen (SW Norway). Here the fjord penetrates in a north easterly direction until it meets the grand mountain plateau of Hardangervidda. The longest branch of the Hardangerfjord is Sørfjorden which cuts south about 50 km from the main fjord. Its maximum depth is more than 800 m (2,624 ft) just outside Norheimsund in the middle of the fjord.
About 10,000 years ago the Scandinavian land mass started to rise up as enormous glacial ice started to melt. The lower parts of the valleys became flooded, and so created what we today know as the Hardangerfjord. The valley was originally not only made through glacial erosion but by the high pressure melting water which pushed its way beneath the ice.
On the Folgefonn peninsula which belongs to the Hardangerfjord, the third largest glacier in Norway is found. With its three parts, the Folgefonn glacier covers an area of 220 km2 (85 sq mi), and is an area which in 2005 became protected as a national park.