In the old days, the fjords served as important communication arteries linking the outer coast and the interior of Norway, as well as offering an easy means of transport between local farms and different parts of the same property.
From the head of the fjords, the means of transport shifted to paths, packhorse tracks and eventually roads, which conveyed travellers and goods eastwards across the mountains to the interior of the country. A number of small paths cross the mountains that separate every fjord. Nowadays, both these fjord districts are linked to roads that are not at the mercy of rock falls and avalanches, and which offer safe communication and good accessibility throughout the year.
The steep hillsides flanking Sunnylvsfjord, Geirangerfjord and Tafjord, with their constant risk of avalanches and rock falls, have no roads. The proposed World Heritage Area has one old-established, main road running right through the area and which comes down the valley from the south-east to Geiranger at the head of the fjord and then climbs up the mountainside to the south end of Eidsdalen, a valley which takes it out of the area towards the north. The present road was completed in 1889 and received a gold medal for outstanding engineering at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. It has since been improved, but follows the same route and is normally kept open in winter despite having a difference in height of 1038 m, a steep incline of 1:10 and exacting conditions in winter.