The name means light fjord, and is said to be derived from the lightly coloured granite rocks along its sides.
The fjord was carved by the action of glaciers in the ice ages and was flooded by the sea when the later glaciers retreated. End to end, it measures 42 km (26 mi) with rocky walls falling nearly vertically over 1000 m (3,000 ft) into the water. Because of the inhospitable terrain, the fjord is only lightly populated and only has two villages on its length - Forsand and Lysebotn, located at opposite ends of the fjord. The few people who live or lived along the fjord are only able to leave their homes by boat, as the slopes are too steep for roads.