Scenes from the Flåm Railway, Norway

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Flam Railway

Norway’s Flåm Railway, or Flamsbana, is often cited as one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys. Beginning in the sea-level fjord hamlet of Flåm and extending to the town of Myrdal, 863 meters above sea level, the train glides through grassy mountains with waterfalls spurting out from every direction.

Is it the most beautiful train journey? Well, I’ve been on lots of beautiful train rides. Geneva to Milan was gorgeous. So was Lucerne to Meiringen.

But the Flåm Railway is definitely up there as well. The weather was utterly spectacular (a contrast to the gray skies that rolled in on my fjord cruise a few hours later) and the September sunshine illuminated the mountains beautifully.

I experienced the Flåm Railway as part of the famed Norway in a Nutshell Tour from Bergen. One advantage on this railway is that you can actually open the windows and lean out with your camera. Because of that, you don’t have to worry about reflections or dirty windows and you can just capture the scenery. Take a look and see for yourself.

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The old-fashioned wooden train is like something out of black and white movie. I could picture Humphrey Bogart sitting in one of these seats, smoking a cigarette and reading a newspaper.

Then again, Humphrey Bogart probably never had a flatscreen map with GPS.

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Tip: get a seat on the left side with a window that rolls down.

Flam Railway Flam Railway

Twenty minutes past Myrdal, the train stops at spectacular Kjosfossen Waterfall. There’s a little platform built just for the train passengers.

Flam RailwayFlam RailwayFlam Railway

Suddenly mystical new age music began playing, the kind of music you’d associate with elves and fairies, and a woman in a red dress appeared, whirling in the mist. It was like a scene from another world.

And then it was back on the train for more views.

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After an hour, we arrived in the tiny waterfront village of Flåm with enough time to get lunch and stroll around before hopping on a cruise through the fjords.

Flam Norway

As far as train journeys go, the Flåm Railway was one of my favorites. If you’re a train junkie, make this trip a priority! And even if you’re not, if you’re spending time in Bergen, that’s a good enough reason as any to come on board.


See more from this trip:

Norway’s Fjords in Photos

Three Days in Bergen: The Perfect Introduction to Norway


 

Essential Info: You can experience the Flåm Railway in two ways — on its own or as part of the Norway in a Nutshell tour. The journey takes one hour in each direction.

You can book the Flåm Railway on its own through Visit Flåm. Round-trip tickets cost 400 NOK ($61 USD).

The Norway in a Nutshell tour includes a train ride on the Flåm Railway, a cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen through the Aurlandsfjord and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord, and a bus ride down 14 hairpin turns in the countryside, plus train transportation from your departure point.

The tour runs from Bergen, Voss, or Oslo, though it’s closest to Voss and Bergen and runs year-round from those cities. The tour costs 1145 NOK ($178 USD) from Bergen, 775 NOK ($120 USD) from Voss, 1550 NOK ($241) as a one-way trip from Oslo to Bergen or vice versa (keep in mind that you’ll need to carry your bags throughout), and 2100 NOK ($326) from Oslo.

I stayed at the Thon Hotel Bristol, where low-season rates start at about $170 USD. Find deals on hotels in Bergen here.

Don’t visit Norway without travel insurance. It could save you if you get ill, injured, or lose your luggage. I use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Norway.

Many thanks to Visit Norway for hosting me in Norway. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Where was your most beautiful train journey?

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30 thoughts on “Scenes from the Flåm Railway, Norway”

  1. Oh, I love train journeys! It looks like a beautiful one too. Though, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a train trip where the primary purpose isn’t getting from A to B. Is anyone on the train to get from one town to another, or is it all sightseers?

  2. So jealous of the weather you got! It was really overcast when I was there and my photos don’t do justice to the beauty of the area. Definitely one of my favorite train rides ever.

  3. Ahh I did this journey when I was in college and it was so pretty! So glad you got to experience it, and with gorgeous weather too – quite the rarity in Norway!

  4. hi kate. ive got a general question, not related to norway 🙂

    some travellers like to brag about how many countries they’ve been to. you know the sort, the type who’ll tell you their country count before they’ve even asked your name, wearing it like a badge of honour. this is generally seen as a douchey move and these people are generally branded as such.

    unfortunately it seems like the travel blogging community kinda does the same. on the home page bragging how many countries they’ve been to, how many unesco sites, how many days they’ve been away from home etc etc. it’s kinda lame but it seems to be EVERY blog.

    i guess the majority of your readers don’t travel as much because most long-term travellers i know are very anti-travel blogs because of this. they find the self-promotion…well…douchey. i understand the need for self promotion in your industry but my question is does hanging around these kind of people ever get old? you seem to attend a lot of these conferences and im sure there’s a lot of ego there too.

    i personally found the more obscure places i’ve traveled, say central asia/west africa, the less i enjoyed the company on the road because the douche factor goes through roof.

    are there any times when you step back from the blog and wonder how people who aren’t commenting view it? Or is it a cultural thing, i realise all travel blogs aren’t american but many are. many countries in europe or australia even would view a website dedicated to yourself and your travels as kind of arrogant.

    thoughts??

    1. Hi Andy I liked your comment and I wanted to give my insight on that, of course awaiting what Kate has to say in regard!
      I think bragging is everywhere, not only in the travel blog industry. It’s a human behaviour and I personally hate it.
      When it comes to blogs though, I don’t think displaying all the countries you have visited it’s something wrong, you are indeed running some kind of informational page and people who reads it supposedly want to read about destinations so dispalying them looks like something compulsory.
      Would you say a newspaper is bragging about their topic? The whole purpose of it is to talk about them.
      Of course this is personal, I think you would notice reading the articles if the person is being “douchey” and bragging about himself or writing useful articles.
      Also, as you say, I think the self promotion can be annoying but it’s part of the game. You have to be an arrogant mot******ker to stand out, as Kate herself said somewhere!
      Thta’s my insight 🙂

      1. Thank you, Pam. You’re right — displaying the countries you’ve visited helps show your audience that you indeed have been there and are able to talk about it! You can see my reply to Andy above, too.

    2. Hi, Andy —

      Thanks for sharing, and thanks also to Pam for sharing her thoughts.

      First of all, I think the problem is that you’re looking at the purpose of travel blogs from only one perspective — the “I’m doing this to brag about my travels” perspective. The second and far more important perspective is “I’m doing this to create a resource to help people.”

      People use travel blogs to help plan their trips. That’s how a lot of people find me. They Google travel questions, end up on my site, and thank me for helping them. My post today is about the best neighborhoods and accommodation for staying in Paris.

      Take a look at my media page for information about how this site helps people: https://adventurouskate.mystagingwebsite.com/work-with-kate/ The biggest statistic? In the past year, 88 people traveled to a destination because they read about on my site.

      Even if you look in the comments on this post, three people above you have commented that they plan on taking this same train journey in Norway.

      Now, to answer the rest of your questions:

      On people who tell you how many countries they’ve been to before introducing themselves: I know you’re exaggerating here, but I’m convinced that this is something that people THINK happens more often than it ACTUALLY happens. People rarely bring up their number of countries visited, but they do talk a lot about the places they’ve been. That’s just what travelers talk about — where they’ve been, where they’re going, how long they’ve been traveling. I don’t remember anyone ever saying their number of countries visited within the first few lines of conversation. If they did, it was well into the conversation and relevant to what we were talking about.

      Now, why travel bloggers, myself included, put their list of countries on the site is obvious: to help people navigate it! My “Destinations” and “Where I’ve Been” pages are there so people can find posts about the destinations they want to read about, usually as part of researching their own trips. If those pages weren’t there, I would get emails every day asking me to put a destinations page up so they could find their way around the site. They’re vital to travel blogs.

      The majority of my readers do travel quite a bit, in fact. I surveyed my readers back in the spring and found that most of them travel internationally multiple times per year. Do they travel as much as I do? Of course not — I’ve been traveling full-time for four years! But just because you don’t travel for four years straight, it doesn’t mean that you’re not a traveler.

      Does hanging around these kinds of people get old? That’s a bit rude, Andy.

      Do you honestly think ego is restricted to travel bloggers? Ego is EVERYWHERE. Every industry, every community, every family. Don’t even try me on that one.

      Do I wonder how people who don’t comment on my blog view it? Well, the vast majority of my readers are lurkers, not active commenters. That’s the same in any blogging niche. If they hated it, they wouldn’t be here (well, for the most part — I do understand the concept of hate reads). But I’ve got more than 100,000 people each month who choose to be here. If most people hated it, it wouldn’t be growing as much as it has.

      Again, I think you need to look at travel blogging as more than just a vehicle to brag about your travels. That attitude, I think, is at the crux of each of your comments above. Travel blogs are about creating content that helps other people plan their travels.

  5. My wife and I visited Norway in March 2011 and also did the Flam Railway. We spent several days in Bergen after taking a train from Oslo, went cross-country skiing in Voss, and experienced in the northern lights in Tromso. It was an incredible trip, though quite a bit snowier in March compared to the photos above. http://leenhome.blogspot.com

  6. Hi Kate,

    My friend and I visited Switzerland, October of last year and did the whole day Glacier Express Tour from St. Moritz to Zermatt. The route is very scenic. Passing through gargantuan mountains, 21 viaducts, mountain tunnels, seeing so much of snow, waterfalls cascading from high up the mountain, beautiful lakes with vineyards around it, seeing cows grazing in the meadows. It was awesome!

    Regards,
    Monina

  7. Wow, looks like an absolutely stunning ride! And I like the sound of the dancing elf woman. I am a huge fan of train journeys – one of my favourites was Belgrade to Sofia – the Bulgarian countryside is unbelievably beautiful.

  8. Hi, I’ll be travelling to Norway in a few weeks & doing a day trip to Flam from Bergen. If I’m only doing one journey on the Flam railway, should I travel up the railway or down?
    Many thanks in advance 🙂

  9. I’ve never been to Norway plan to go soon if all goes well in the coming year from the beginning, I found the incredible photos gave me more will still visit it.

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