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Bergen to Flam ferry and train options - what to leave out?

We (2 adults) have 1 ½ days to get from Bergen to Flam and back again before flying north this summer. This is a small part of our Norway adventure. We will not have a car for this part of our visit. We are staying in Gudvangen as that was where we could find lodging at this late date.

We are a little overwhelmed by the best way to combine the things we want to see and do. We want to take the train at least in one direction between Bergen and Flam, and take a ferry for at least a segment. We’d also like to get to Stegastein lookout and the viking village (unless you convince me this is a waste of time). Is that narrow part of the ferry ride from Flam to Gudvangen that the Bergen misses a "must see"?

I see our options as these, but open to other suggestions as well as what you think of these.

A. Take the ferry from Bergan to Flam (drop luggage) bus to Stegastein lookout, and ferry to Gudvangen to catch the narrowest part of the fjord, if that's important. No real time in Flam. The next day, we would visit the viking village (max 2 hours), bus to Flam, have 45 minutes or 2 hours in Flam (depending on which bus we take), and train to Bergen.

B. Take the train from Bergen to Flam (drop luggage), bus to the Stegastein lookout, have a couple of hours in Flam, take the Ferry to Gudvangen for the night. The next day, after visiting the village (max 2 hours), take the bus to Flam and train back to Bergen.

The bus/train option from Gudvangen to Bergen (via Voss) is not an option based on the times, nor is taking the ferry from Flam to Bergen.

Posted by
27360 posts

The Flam to Gudvangen ferry is a very key component of the classic Nutshell route. Flam is a workaday town where you don't have any must-see sights. You need time there to make the Stegastein trip work, and I don't know anything about that schedule.

I'm surprised you're not seeing a way with Option B to get from Gudvangen to Voss by bus and on to Bergen by train. I started my second day in the area in Flam (having spent the night there), took the Naeroyfjord ferry to Gudvangen, caught the bus up to Voss (a scenic ride) and then the train to Bergen. I'm sure that spending a couple of hours sightseeing in Gudvangen will not create an insurmountable challenge for you. Returning from Gudvangen to Flam before heading to Bergen will add the cost of repeating the Flamsbana trip (lovely though it is), which is unnecessary.

At least some of the Gudvangen-Voss buses are listed on the vy.no website. The 950 route is the most scenic. I think it's run by Skyss. I just paid the driver of the bus.

Posted by
14 posts

Acraven, thank you. Do you think the Naeroyfjord ferry is "worth it" if we have already taken the ferry from Bergen to Flam? It doesn't look like you have done that route, but was that narrow part (the half closest to Gudvangen) extra special compared to the half closest to Flam? Based on your info about Skyss (which shows more times than VY shows). I found a way we could bus and train from Gudvangen to Voss to Bergen. But that leaves out the train to Myrdal portion which I also hear is quite special. So, something has to go!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are suggesting option B (skipping the Bergen-Flam ferry), and shifting the return to the Gudvangen-Voss-Bergen bus/train option. Is that right?

Posted by
2550 posts

Do you think the Naeroyfjord ferry is "worth it" if we have already taken the ferry from Bergen to Flam?

Yes, more narrow and steeper slopes. It is not a World Heritage Site for nothing.

Posted by
27360 posts

I haven't taken the express boat from Bergen to Flam. All I've read suggests that, as Mark wrote, the Naeroyfjord scenery is better.

Without having looked up all the schedules, this is what I am suggesting you do:

  • Train Bergen to Flam via Myrdal. Buy a through ticket from vy.no. This will include the Flamsbana. Find a place to leave your luggage in Flam. (I didn't need to do that, so I am clueless; Google may be productive, or maybe you've already figured this out.)

  • Take the Stegastein bus trip. (I don't know anything about arranging or pre-arranging that.)

  • If there's time before departure of the Naeroyfjord ferry you want to take to Gudvangen, check out the little museum about building the Flamsbana rail line. Alternatively, if you have considerable time, you could instead walk to or toward the old village of Flam and then back to Flam. I think this takes you along or near the Flamsbana line, but I'm not sure. I have no idea how long that would take.

  • Take the Naeroyfjord ferry to Gudvangen. Buy that ticket ahead of time from NorwaysBest.com) unless you want to take the other ferry line, in which case I think you buy the ticket from its website.

  • Spend the night in Gudvangen.

  • The next morning, see the village.

  • Take the 950 bus from near the Gudvangen dock up to Voss. You should be able to pay the driver; your hotel will know.

  • Take the train from Voss to Bergen. Unlike the train from Myrdal to Oslo (which you are not taking), I think the Voss-Bergen train is sort of a milk run. I don't think you need to buy that ticket way ahead of time. You can compare the train departure times to the anticipated arrival time of the bus to be sure you won't be pressed for time if you need to buy the Voss-Bergen ticket after your arrive in Voss. I don't remember what I did.

Posted by
9780 posts

Do you think the Naeroyfjord ferry is "worth it" if we have already taken the ferry from Bergen to Flam?

Yes.

I have done both, and the two trips are not much alike. The Naerøyfjord is, as Mark sais, not a UNESCO site for nothing - dramatic and gorgeous. The view from the fast boat between Flam and Bergen isn't bad on the eyes or anything - it's very pleasant - but it comes nowhere close to the experience of the Naerøyfjord.

I don't really understand how you are going to do all you hope to do in 1 1/2 days though. You really have to work around the transportation schedules there.