Norway in a NutshellAKA How to get to Flam via Train
The real reason for being in Oslo, Norway is that we are booked on the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour. This train tour starts in Oslo, and we ride to Myrdal, Norway where we switch to a train that will take us to Flam, Norway.
This train route covers 340 kilometers in approximately five hours, and the route is through some very spectacular portions of Norway.
A Norwegian friend of ours told us that this train ride would be an excellent way to get a more in depth look at Norway's geography and he was absolutely correct. We chose to take the route from Oslo, however, Bergen could be your origination point if so desired.
Waiting for the Flam train: We are excited about going down the hill to the fjord below. There were hikers who had ridden with us to Myrdal, and they started off hiking down the hill to Flam.
As the Flam train descended into the fjord valley, it went past some spectacular scenery. As you can see in these images, this water fall (Kjosfossen Waterfall) is absolutely blasting down that hill, spraying everyone on the viewing platform, as it descends down the mountain!
The train route to Flam is only 20 kilometers long, but the majority of the descent is very steep with some grades of 12 to 15 percent! The train stops at this particular water fall, to allow everyone to exit the train and take pics or videos. (there is a video of this waterfall at the bottom of this page)
This is a short video we took of the waterfall described above. I cannot begin to describe how powerful that spray was as it bounced off the rocks towards us on the viewing platform.
Upon arrival in Flam, we were surprised to see that there was a Cruise Ship in the harbor. But after doing some research, we found that Flam is accessible to the North Atlantic via the Sognefjorden Fjord, which is not only very wide, but also quite deep (4,291 feet at the deepest point).
Flam Harbor has direct Ocean access, even though the Ocean is over 400 kilometers distant. The Sognefjord (called the King of the fjords), is the largest and deepest fjord in Norway.
Flam Harbor receives around 160 cruise ships per year. In recent years, the cruise port's constant growth made it an year-round destination. In 2018, the port had scheduled 157 ship calls with an estimated 255,000 passengers.
This cruise ship had come into the Aurlandsfjord from the North Atlantic on the Sognefjord. Aurlandsfjord is a 29-kilometre (18 mi) long fjord branch off of the main Sognefjorden, Norway's longest fjord. The Aurlandsfjord is deep and narrow, reaching a depth of about 962 metres (3,156 ft) below sea level, and its width is generally less than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide.
There are a number of Cruise Companies that offer cruises that stop in Flam, including; Royal Caribbean, Viking, Cruise Norway, Princess Cruises, etc. This is not a complete list, but you get the idea use Google to read further.
We have departed Flam, and are now motoring along the Sognefjord to Gudvangen. We were actually scheduled to depart on a later boat, but there was room on this boat and we wanted to get to Bergen before midnight!
This is the catamaran ferry that we used to travel from Flam to Gudvangen. Once in Gudvangen, we then got a tour bus that would take us to the train station in Voss, Norway.
The ferry boat is still in the Sognefjord which eventually connects to the North Atlantic. Our ferry will take a left turn into the Nærøyfjord to reach Gudvangen. The Nærøyfjorden is one of the most narrow fjords in Europe and is included on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The village in the distance in Gudvangen, and this is what the view looks like as the ferry pulls in coming from Flam. The mountains the ferry boat passed as we motored through the Nærøyfjord are beautiful aren't they?
Our bus journey took us down the steep and spectacular hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva (the steepest road in Northern Europe). The road has 13 steep (up to 20%) turns. During the bus trip we enjoyed the wonderful views of the Stalheimsfossen and Sivlefossen waterfalls before the journey continued to Voss, where got onboard a train to Bergen.