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Norway trip in June

Hello,
We are a family of 3 (1 teenager) traveling to Norway in June. Our itinerary:
Arrive in Oslo (from US) 15th June,
leave for Bergen via NIN on 17th
back to Oslo on 19th
Leave Oslo for Paris on 22nd
Please let me know your thoughts on this itinerary.
We will buy our own tickets for the NIN, to save money. However, I priced the Interail Norway Pass on Rick's site and it seems by far cheaper than buying the tickets ourselves. From what I can see, only the ferry ride won't be included in the pass. But, now, my head is spinning from all the pricing and I need some help, please! Has anyone used the Interrail Norway Pass and is it less expensive than booking ourselves? We won't be doing too many of the museums in Oslo so I don't want to count on those discounts as making the pass worth the price.
In addition, since we will be taking the train back to Oslo, apart from skipping the ferry, etc., is there a better, more interesting or more efficient way of getting back to Oslo? We would prefer not to fly. I looked into a car rental, but they charge a hefty fee to drop the car off in Oslo.
Thank you and I appreciate all comments!

Posted by
438 posts

Have you thought about flying from Bergen to Paris? Do you need to go back to Oslo for some reason? If not, that seems like a wasted travel day. My husband and I enjoyed Oslo and we visited a couple of museums, but two full days was plenty for us. Bergen's airport is small and easy to navigate. And it's easy enough to book flights into one city and out of another.

Posted by
39 posts

Hi kayla.p., thank you for your reply! I completely agree with you about the wasted travel day, except we have friends to see in Oslo on the 21st. So, this is why I'm trying to find the best way to get back to Oslo.

Posted by
438 posts

Ah, I see. Well, for what it's worth, the train trip between Oslo and Bergen is very scenic, so making it twice wouldn't be a drag.

Posted by
27352 posts

I don't know where to find an explanation of pass coverage in Norway, but passes never cover seat reservations. It appears you'll need three: Oslo-Myrdal, Voss-Bergen and Bergen-Oslo. RS says seat reservations in Norway cost $5 to $20 each.

Rick's rail pass page for Norway says you just get a 30% discount on the Flamsbana (Myrdal-Flam). I believe the one-way fare is Kr 450, so you'd still be on the hook for over Kr 300 (over US $35). I'm not sure how easy it is to pay that supplement in advance, and it's something I'd definitely want to do for a popular train like that. I wouldn't want to just show up in Oslo on June 15 and try to take care of it then.

It's highly doubtful the bus from Gudvangen to Voss is covered by the pass. The scenic bus (#950) costs Kr 92 (over US $10). I'm sure you're right that the Flam-Gudvangen ferry (Kr 570, or US $60) isn't included.

I highly recommend pricing the tickets you'd need for your travel dates on the VY website (https://www.vy.no/en) to be sure the pass will be a good deal for you. The fare estimates on Rick's map are considerably higher than what I see right now for a trip on June 17. You can buy a flexible (changeable but not refundable) ticket from Oslo to Flam, with seat reservation as far as Myrdal, for Kr 829, or about US $87. Rick's map prices that trip at $130. Perhaps that's what you might pay if you bought the tickets on June 17--but that would be a gutsy (or maybe foolish) thing to do, because the train you need to take might be sold out before then. I'm not a fan of locking myself in with a bunch of prepaid tickets, but I've bought my tickets for late June already, because I can't afford to get marooned somewhere in Norway ($$$).

Right now you can buy a flexible (changeable but not refundable) ticket for the 8:15 AM Bergen-Oslo train on June 19 for Kr 819 (US $86), which is much less than the $125 shown on Rick's map.

How do those real-world ticket prices compare to the cost of a rail pass by the time you add three seat-reservation fees? What I see is $173 for point-to-point tickets including the full cost of the Flamsbana and all available seat reservations vs. $184 for a 3-day rail pass that leaves you paying a $35 supplement for the Flamsbana and three seat-reservation fees.

I do understand the value of not having to commit to a specific travel date and time so far ahead, but June is a very popular time to travel in Norway. Most of the rooms in the NiN area are booked up. I'd be concerned about availability of seats on trains at the last minute. And I don't know how much of a hassle it will be to get those seat reservations and pay the Flamsbana supplement ahead of time. I can tell you that it's very easy to buy Norwegian rail tickets on the VY website--though I had to pay via PayPal because my US credit cards didn't work.

Incidentally: There were not tons of great seats left in the rail car VY allowed me to choose from, and I'm traveling a week later than you are.

I priced everything at the adult rate. There might be discounts for your teenager.

Posted by
39 posts

Hi acraven, thank you so much for your detailed response. I really appreciate you laying out the numbers for me, it was driving me a bit batty! I also very much appreciate the link. I'll have a look again and all the best for your travels to Norway! Best wishes, Jen.