The FlamsbanaOn September 29, 2014 by Emil
Hi All! Here’s a catchup post about a day trip I took from Oslo. I combined a ride on the Flamsbana (Flåm railway) and a ride on the ferry between the towns of Flåm and Gudvangen, which let’s you see the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. There are “Norway in a Nutshell” tours that can provide these trips, plus others, into a journey around Norway. I decided to save some money and follow the itinerary myself. It’s actually pretty easy (at least for these segments) to arrange. Just go to the train station in Norway and the NSB reservations person can book the required trains, ferry and even bus connection for you. I’ll cover the initial part through to Flam here, and then the ferry ride later.
Your day starts early with a train ride from Oslo to Myrdal, departing around 6:43 AM and taking about 5 hours and 20 minutes. It’s main highlight is climbing up to one of the highest elevations in the area, Finse (1,222.2 meters above sea level). This turned out to be a pretty cool ride, IMO possibly better than the Flamsbana ride itself. Why? Well, mainly I loved the scenery along the way… and unlike the Flamsbana it was easier to get a good view out the train windows.
The scenery (in September) was quite varied – many different colors of vegetation, and rocks, and even water. Not sure if that holds true all year round (and in winter I gather much of it will be covered in snow). Here are some examples:
Also along the way were several little towns, and lots of small houses or buildings scattered along the way.
After a couple of hours, we reached Myrdal and transfered to the Flamsbana. It was about 12:15 PM and the ride is about 1 hour. The Flamsbana is an older-style train, but nicely maintained:
Anyway, the Flamsbana winds its way down into a valley, headed for the town of Flam, where the ferry awaits. Along the way there is great scenery like this:
Partway along, the train stops for a few minutes at Kjosfossen waterfall, so everyone can hop out to take a look:
Great views, but as I mentioned for some reason not as interesting than the first ride (again IMO). For one thing, most of the good stuff is on the left side of the train (as the train heads from Myrdal to Flam). I screwed up and thought the train was headed the other way so sat on the ‘wrong’ side. There’s still cool views on that side, but still. And also, being an older style carriage, the windows weren’t as big as on the first train. So my advice here would be twofold: try and avoid peak tourist season so the train won’t be packed and make sure to sit on the ‘better’ side. Optionally, also look for a window that opens, which will make for better pictures than shooting through glass.
The Flamsbana is advertised as one of the best train rides in the world. Possibly! I can’t really say as I haven’t ridden any of the other candidates. But it is quite a journey and offers some amazing views. And as I mentioned, don’t forget the scenery along the way from Oslo to Myrdal. What is now on my list is to return to the area along the route and get off for some hiking or even camping. Lots of people were doing just that, such as this group that got off at Finse:
So my recommendation: definitely worth doing! I also think the general Norway in a Nutshell itineraries sound good, especially when you add stopovers / nights along the way. For example, some people spend a night in Flam and then continue on via the ferry. After all, you have already traveled about 6.5 hours from Oslo so trying to get back to Oslo the same day makes for a looong day. To be continued…
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.