A spectacular journey on the Flåm Railway and a Fjord Cruise, Norway
Norway, without a doubt, one of the most picturesque countries in the world which is why the Flåm Railway is considered to be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world!
Breathtaking lakes, cascading waterfalls, deep fjords, the people… you name it, Norway is close to perfect. If you haven’t been to Norway, and to be clear, you definitely need to add it on to your bucket list!
About the tour
We booked through Norway in a nutshell, the tour is called Fjord Cruise and Flåm Railway.
This spectacular tour takes you through a UNESCO protected fjord as well as an incredible journey on one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.
The whole tour includes a scenic ride on the Bergen Railway, the breathtaking Flåm Railway, the Aurlandsfjord, the narrow and dramatic UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord and the steep hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva (depending on the time of year… it is worth seeing if you can!!)
We opted for the full day tour which began in Bergen, but you can also start the tour in Oslo, Voss or Flåm. The benefit of booking with these guys is everything is done in one transaction, one ticket – so simple!!
Basically, the journey is Bergen Railway to Voss, bus from Voss to Gudvangen, fjord cruise through Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord to Flåm, Flåm Railway to Myrdal with a stop along the way to see Kjosfossen Waterfall, then Bergen Railway back to Bergen.
Bergen Railway to Voss
We started nice and early in Bergen, collected our tickets from the ticket office and jumped on the train. If you’re in a group I would definitely recommend getting there a bit early as it is quite popular, particularly in summer and on weekends.
The first leg of the Bergen Railway runs from Bergen to Voss (which by the way is not where Voss water is from!) The journey was exactly what I was hoping for, I wasn’t sure what to expect as the Flåm Railway is quite a bit later in the day, but from the moment we departed Bergen, everything was incredible. I remember building myself up, wondering how good the Flåm Railway was going to be if this was just outside Bergen!
Arriving in Voss, we went straight down to the buses that were waiting for us for the next leg of the adventure.
Voss to Gudvangen – by bus
This part of the journey is by bus. You walk down past the Voss station where there are plenty of busses, each with a separate itinerary and final destination so avoids guessing and simply show your ticket to someone, who will be more than happy to point you in the right direction!
The busses were all jam packed, but that is to be expected in the peak of summer!
The closer you got to Gudvangen, the more spectacular the scenery became. It felt good to be out, away from the city and villages and experience the true Norway.
During our bus ride, we approached the Stalheimskleiva hairpin bends. This particular stretch of road was built between 1842-1846 and runs for 1.5km and winds its way along the mountainside and two cascading waterfalls between the Nærøydalen valley and the top at Stalheim. It is one of Northern Europe’s steepest roads.
What’s fascinating about this journey is that the sharpest gradient is 20% with an average gradient of 5.9%, which is why it is one of the steepest roads in Northern Europe. If the gradient isn’t enough, it also has 13 sharp hairpin bends which is quite an interesting ride, particularly when you’re in a bus when everyone is moving from side to side to see the next bend and one of the cascading waterfalls!
Gudvangen to Flåm – by ferry
The buses pull up and you stare out towards the massive fjord, it was amazing. I couldn’t wait to get on the boat!
There is one word that I would use to describe the boat trip and that is breathtaking. Words can’t describe how stunning the views are, it felt like I was on a boat and the scenery was painted around me.
There is plenty of space on the vessel and heaps of viewing areas to capture beautiful photos. Even though it was summer, it was quite cool cruising along the Fjord and heaps of people were sitting inside to escape the cool air!
You are travelling through the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. The Nærøyfjord is the narrowest fjord which is only 20km long, only 250m wide at its narrowest and only 12m deep at its shallowest! It is truly breathtaking to look at the surrounding mountains which reach heights of 1660m.
Here are some beautiful pictures of our Fjord Cruise.
Flåm to Myrdal – by Flåm railway
Flåm is such a small village, it is adorable! Located in the Aurlandfjord, also a World Heritage area, not only is it surrounded by beautiful fjords, but you have the perfect setting of the rugged mountains with the famous Flåm train in the forefront. There are a few shops around and a small museum about the Flåm train you can take a look at.
The train itself is just gorgeous, beautifully maintained with timber interiors – and of course an even more gorgeous backdrop!
If you’re hungry, you can grab a bite to eat at the food stalls that are set up. We picked up some fish and chips and jumped on the train to eat it.
The Flåm Railway is one of the steepest train journeys in the world, running for approximately 20km’s and the journey time is about 1 hour. When you’re sitting on the train, it makes you feel like you’re stuck back in time. The train is made from wood and has that ‘back in the day’ sort of feeling.
From Flåm, the train takes you to Myrdal and although we travelled during summer, there was still snow on the ground because you are making your way up the mountain (around 865m above sea level!), the temperatures are getting colder!
The scenery along the way is gorgeous, plenty of waterfalls and rugged mountains.
There are a few tunnels (20 to be precise!) throughout the journey and they twist and spiral throughout the mountain which just showcases the skilled engineering in Norwegian railway history! A few kilometres outside of Myrdal, the train started to slow down and an announcement was made over the speaker letting us know we could get off to take a look at the spectacular Kjosfossen waterfall.
The waterfall is around 225m tall, which explains why the sound of the water is like listening to thunder roar! It also happens to be one of the most visited waterfalls and tourist attractions in Norway. Shortly after disembarking off the train, we heard a woman starting to sing – it made for a really spectacular stop!
The stop was for only around 10 minutes, short enough and long enough at the same time to make the most of the sheer power of the waterfall.
Myrdal to Bergen – by rail
We switched trains at Myrdal to head back to Bergen. It was great to sit back, enjoy the journey back to the city while talking about your favourite parts of the day!
It was a seriously fantastic day. I would love to visit again some day!
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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust