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Norway in a Nutshell reversed, with benefits?

I will be traveling alone from Bergen to Oslo and want to make the best of it! After 3 nights in Bergen, I plan to spend 2 nights in Flam and 2 nights in Balestrand (or Balestrand first and then Flam), then on to Oslo!

I can't figure out/decide what the plusses and minuses are of either taking train/bus to Flam (or Gudvangen), then ferry from one to the other, stay in Flam 2 nights, then ferry to Balestrand for 2 nights and then back to Flam (or Gudvangen) and continue from there to Oslo. Or ferry from Bergen to Balestrand, stay 2 nights and then ferry to Flam (or Gudvangen)...

I don't want to miss the most scenic of the ferry, bus and train routes but can't tell which route will work best!


Posted by
277 posts

I'm not really sure you'll want to spend 2 nights in Flam - one day should be more than enough. It's very small. But it is a beautiful area and the entire route is awesome. Hopefully while going to (or leaving) Flam you'll be able to take the railway - it's a spectacular ride! You will love Norway

Posted by
1835 posts

I did train from Oslo to Myrdal, followed by Flåmsbana to Flåm , then ferry to Balestrand. Two nights in Balestrand, and then ferry to Bergen.

I have to say that the ferry from Balestrand to Bergen was the least scenic portion of the trip. I love riding on boats, though, so I still enjoyed it immensely. But if I had it to do again, I'd want to take a boat ride through Nærøyfjord, so I'd stay a night in Flåm and do that.

If you stay two nights in Balestrand, I highly recommend renting a car and doing a scenic drive. I also highly recommend getting a fjord-view room at the Balestrand Hotell.

Posted by
27416 posts

I haven't been to Norway yet; it was supposed to happen last year. I suspect the Flam railway would be more dramatic going downhill, but that is just my guess.

Posted by
1455 posts

We travelled Bergen-Balestrand-Solvorn-Balestrand-Flam-Oslo. The smaller fjords are the most dramatic. So if you take the ferry from Bergen to Balestrand or Flam, the scenery won't really wow you until you get closer to Balestrand and Flam. The biggest benefit of staying in either Balestrand or Flam is taking a rigid inflatable boat trip on the Naeroyfjord. We also took the Flamsbana from Flam to Myrdal and the train to Oslo. I think the Flamsbana is likely to be impressive in either direction. We certainly enjoyed it. The early part of the train from Myrdal to Oslo was the most interesting.

Posted by
5837 posts

The Gudvangen to/from Flam boat ride is a must experience as is the Flam/Myrdal train ride. The Hardangervidda is better experienced starting in Oslo in that the ascent to Myrdal seems to get better with the ascent.

What are you planning to do in Flam that requries two nights?

Posted by
7 posts

thanks for the suggestions! looks like I'll take the train from Bergen to Voss, the bus from Voss to Gudvangen, then the ferry from Gudvangen to Flam. I was going to spend the next day and night around Flam, but a couple of you asked why spend 2 nights in Flam? In either case, I would take the ferry from Flam to Balestrand and spend 2 nights there, then back to Flam (or Gudvangen?) and proceed to Myrdal and then Oslo.

  1. Aren't there other things to do in or from Flam to warrant another night there? Should I spend that 2nd night somewhere else?
  2. Any recommendations in Balestrand for 2 days (besides renting a car for a day)?
  3. Is there something I'm missing by not taking ground transportation between Gudvangen and Flam instead of returning to Flam twice?
  4. Any recommendations for which ferries to take, and which trains, if there are more than one?

Thanks for helping me sort this out! It looks like it is much cheaper, with my senior discount, to buy these separately instead of in a package, right?

Posted by
6659 posts

Is there something I'm missing by not taking ground transportation
between Gudvangen and Flam instead of returning to Flam twice?

No. Apart from a short part in the middle of about 800 m, the road is in a tunnel the entire way between Gudvangen and Flåm.

Any recommendations for which ferries to take, and which trains, if
there are more than one?

If not buying a tour package, buy the train tickets at and in advance for the best price. There are a couple of trains every day but the frequency is not that great. There is only one line from Bergen to Oslo, with a short branch line from Myrdal to Flåm.

Posted by
2512 posts

I did the route you described in your more recent post. I stayed one night in Flam, but did not go to Balestrand. We stayed at Flam Marina and Apartments - nice to have a small kitchen and great views! Flam is extremely small - I see no point in staying two nights unless you plan some other activity that takes you out of town. The best part of staying overnight in Flam is getting on the earliest train up to Myrdal - it is not as crowded as later times in day when the ferries/cruise ships arrive. From my notes on the trip, I followed this advice about maximizing views:

  • Train Bergen to Voss - sit on left side of train
  • Skyss bus Voss to Gudavagen - sit on right side of bus
  • Flam train (up to Myrdal) - sit on right side of train
Posted by
3357 posts

You absolutely should stay in Flam! Take the Flamsbana train from Flam up through the valley to Myrdal. Rent a bike at the train station and coast your way back downhill ( on bike paths, only saw one car) to Flam. Without a doubt, the most spectacular scenery I have experienced.