Taking the Train to Bergen
If you begin your journey in Bergen, travel the ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ tour to Oslo
This fantastic tour of Norway allows you to explore the exciting cities of Bergen and Oslo. As you take a breathtaking journey between the two major cities, you will witness some of Norway’s most exciting highlights. If you take the ‘Norway in a nutshell’ tour, you will cruise though some of the nicest fjords in Norway traveling on the renowned Flåm Railway, allowing you to see an incredible scenery. Along the Stalheimskleiva, which is considered most abrupt stretch of road in Northern Europe, you will enjoy astounding panoramic views of the lush valley below. Look out for the local farms at the sides of the precipitous magnificent mountains and dramatic waterfalls that compose such beautiful landscape.
Watch Norway glide by outside the train window. Sit back and enjoy the passing scenery of neat, red-painted cottages, fields, towns and mountain peaks. Take time for a break in the exciting city of Bergen.
With an InterRail pass you can enjoy unlimited travel by train in Norway. You can buy a 22-day pass valid for travel in Norway, Sweden and Finland only, or a card valid for one month for travel in 2 or more zones in Europe.
The Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana)
Landscapes comprising twisting tunnels winding in and out of the mountains proof of the most challenging and skillful engineering works in the history of the Norwegian railway. The Flåm Railway between Flåm and Myrdal is one of the world’s steepest railway lines. The ‘Norway in a nutshell’ ticket will take you from Bergen via train to Voss, by bus to Gudvangen, on the boat to Flam, next on the Flåmsbana train up to Myrdal, and finally via express back to Bergen.
When the Bergen Railway Line (Bergensbanen) between Oslo and Bergen was opened in 1909, a branch line to the Sognefjord was lacking to connect a transport route to the fjord. Work started on the Flåm Railway in 1923 and it took 20 years to complete it. According to Gar Warner, the Chicago Tribune’s travel journalist, the Bergensbanen Train is is the best in the world. It connects Oslo and the coastal town of Bergen.
The initial passenger estimation for Flåmsbana was 22 000 travellers annually (1915). Today more than 500 000 passengers enjoy this railway line between mountains and fjords.
The fjord village of Flåm has witnessed a dramatic development in the last 20 years. The venerable Fretheim Hotel has been expanded, and further accommodation options are now available in Flåm, after the appearance of new bed & breakfasts, apartments and camping facilities. Naturally, there is also a selection of restaurants and cafés. The sightseeing boat on the famous Nærøyfjord to Gudvangen runs year round, while there are express boats to Bergen from May to September. In 1999 a new cruise terminal was opened, which can receive all types of vessels, from express boats to the large cruise ships. In 2007, 128 cruise vessels called at Flåm.
“Norway in a nutshell” is one of the most popular round trips in Norway. It travels across some of the most beautiful scenery in Norway, taking you through the Nærøyfjord (the narrowest part of the Sognefjord), the Aurlandsfjord and the steep Stalheimskleivane hairpin bends.
The Bergen Railway Line
The Flåm Railway has much to offer: wild and beautiful mountain scenery with snow-clad peaks, fertile pastures and historical traditions reaching back to pre-Christian times.
When railway icon Gary Warner presented the top 10 railway lines in the world in Chicago Tribune, the Bergen Line came up on the top of the list. This train line is unique and the it crosses the Hardangervidda plateau located at 1237 meters above sea level, making it the highest train line in Northern Europe.
The first part of the Bergen Railway Line was started in 1875 and it was not completed until 1909. Its construction required skilled people as it had to be laid quite a distance high from the sea level, making the building of the railway line incredibly challenging and in a region with no roads and with a difficult climate with metres of snow covering the land in the winter and very low temperatures. When the railway was built, huge tunnels and big cuttings were excavated through solid rocks mainly comprising gneiss. The construction of the tunnel at Gravhals was the one that to the longest to be built, taking six years to be finished and being constructed by hand.
Bergen Railway Line is today a popular tourist attraction, as well as a busy intercity route. It has become very popular among cyclists and hikers and provides an essential link to areas such as the Hardangervidda. The Bergensbanen line runs 493 kilometres in length and comprises 182 tunnels (covering approximately 73 kilometres). The longest tunnel on the Bergen line is more than 13 kilometres long and it is located at Finse. The railway line crosses a total of 300 bridges spanning numerous water bodies (rivers and streams). The highest train station on the line (and the highest mainline station in Europe) is at Finse, located 1222.2 meters above sea level.
Bergen Railway Station
The old railway workers’ road, known as the Rallarvegen, runs alongside the railway line and many people use this as a cycling route that can be done in a day. Bicycles can be rented at Finse from depots and several points along the railway line, which are provided by the Norwegian State Railway. There is a 20 kilometre route at Myrdal, considered one of the most spectacular that leads down to Flåm.
Finse Railway Station
Watch the 7 and a half hours train ride between Bergen and Oslo! On Friday November 27th 2011, over 1,2 million Norwegians watched parts of “Bergensbanen” on Norwegian National TV. The longest documentary ever? At least the longest we have made, almost 7 and a half hours, showing every minute of the scenic train ride between Bergen on the Norwegian west coast, crossing the mountains to the capital of Oslo.