Trains and Tunnels: Norway’s Most Scenic Adventure

October 15, 2015 Shelley Seale

Norway is a spectacularly gorgeous country filled with the type of natural beauty that takes your breath away. From deep fjords to imposing mountains, its Nordic scenery never fails to impress.

One of the best ways to experience this is through train and ferry travel, in a world-famous journey through Flåm, Bergen and Oslo that takes you through some of Norway's most stunning fjords.

Flåm Railway

Often called the world’s most beautiful train journey, the Flåmsbana takes visitors from the valley town of Flåm to the high reaches of Myrdal at 866m (2841 ft) above sea level, or vice versa (passengers can take a round-trip journey or a one-way trip in either direction). The 20 km (12 mi) trip takes one hour each way, and is one of the world’s steepest railway lines on normal gauge (the gauge is the space between the rails). The railway took 20 years to build and began service in 1940. The journey winds around mountain passes and through 20 tunnels, 18 of which were built by hand.

The tunnels are fascinating, providing teasing glimpses of the scenery through small portals in the wood covering. In between the tunnels you ride past dramatic vistas, waterfalls and picturesque valley villages. After going through the hairpin tunnel, in which the train makes a 180-degree turn inside the mountain, a stop is made at the Kjosfossen waterfall where passengers can disembark.

The trip takes one hour each way, and is one of the world’s steepest railway lines.

Sognefjord Cruise

At Flåm you board a comfortable ferry for the five-hour cruise to Bergen along the dramatic Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The inner end of the Sognefjord is covered by the Jostedal Glacier, the largest glacier in continental Europe. Several stops are made along the way for passengers to embark and disembark at various ports, offering perfect photographic opportunities.

One of the many gorgeous views from the Sognefjord cruise.

One of the many gorgeous views from the Sognefjord cruise.

At the end of the journey, as the ferry begins to make its way into the coastal city of Bergen, the fjord narrows and more towns appear, with bridges spanning the two sides. Arriving in Bergen by water is an incredible introduction, as the ferry slowly moves into port with the colourful wooden buildings coming into view behind all the boats along the piers, and eventually surrounding the docking port on three sides.

Bergen Railway

One of the highest railways in the world, the train journey from Bergen to Oslo takes approximately seven hours and affords some of the most spectacular scenery in Scandinavia. About 100km (62 mi) of the trip runs through wild mountain terrain, crossing the Langfjellene Mountains and the Hardangervidda mountain plateau.

Watch view after view unfold on this stretch of railway.

Watch view after view unfold on this stretch of railway.

The tracks wind around deep blue glacial lakes, ski towns, fishing cabins and straight through mountains. The highest point on the line is Finse, Europe's highest mountainous plateau at 1,221m (4,009 ft) above sea level. The Bergensbanen celebrated its centenary in 2009, and for more than its hundred years has remained one of the most popular ways not only to get around Norway, but to experience the beauty and magic that the country has to offer.

Getting There

Hop aboard the Arctic Circle and Fjords by Rail to see amazing landscapes for yourself. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.

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