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Stay in Flåm or Aurland without a car?

I've read a lot of the info here about the disadvantages of staying in Flåm and the advantages of staying in Aurland. However, we are just staying one night to break up our Oslo-Bergen NiN trip, and we're more of the sit in a cafe and soak it all in kind of tourists than the hike, bike, and zipline tourists (4 adults in our 50s/60s and a 17yo). We will want to see the Flåmsbana museum and probably eat at the Ægir brewpub. If we play the timing right, we might take the bus out to the Borgund Stave Church as well. I like the idea of staying in Aurland, but I'm worried that it will just add extra logistics during our short stay since we won't have a car. I know I need to book something asap as we're traveling in mid-August.

Should I stop "fretting" and grab two rooms at the Fretheim Hotel while they're still available? Or should I go off the beaten path to Aurland? Any other options to consider? Thank you!

Posted by
27435 posts

You should grab those two Fretheim rooms immediately (making sure they are cancellable) while you consider any other possibilities that come up.

Flam is a utilitarian sort of place. The Flamsbana Museum is interesting in a small-town-museum sort of way, and there were some attractive souvenirs for sale in its shop--as opposed to the really dreadful schlock offered in the large store nearby. It's not the sort of village where there's a lot of cafe-sitting going on.

I haven't been to Aurland but accept the accuracy of earlier comments to the effect that it's a more attractive place. Have you looked at the bus schedule? It's online somewhere. If the buses are frequent enough and you'd never need to depend on the last bus of the day, I don't see a real problem with staying in Aurland instead of Flam. I suppose cost might be a bit of an issue if you were planning to zip back and forth constantly. Rural buses can be fairly pricey in Norway.

As of summer 2022 there was one bus a day from Flam to the Borgund Stave Church. It allowed about an hour there before you had to catch the return bus. My outbound bus was 20 minutes late, so I had time to see the church but not the stave-church museum, which was disappointing. Check that bus schedule carefully against the departure times for the (not very frequent) Naeroyfjord ferries and the Gudvangen-Voss bus to be sure you'll have time to see the church and still make the necessary connections to get to Bergen that day.

I think you can take a flattish walk from fjord-side Flam to the old village center; that's something you could do if the trip to the church doesn't work out. I believe there are also tour buses from Flam (and maybe also Aurland) to the Stegastein viewpoint.

Posted by
6670 posts

The main advantage of staying in Aurland is that it is a village with a bigger selection of places to stay and eat. But if you have found available rooms in Flåm it is not a bad option for a stop on the way to Bergen.

Posted by
3 posts

I just booked one of the storehouse cabins at the Fretheim Hotel because we can all stay there for about $200 less than two rooms in the main hotel. I haven't been able to find many reviews for this specific option--if anyone has any insight, let me know! I can cancel if we decide to venture to Aurland instead, but at least I know we have something reserved!