Has anyone here made this train trip? I see it is about 7 hours, obviously considerably longer than a flight, but I was wondering at how scenic a train ride it is? I will be leaving Bergen after the end of a RS Scandinavia tour in August, so I will have done the RS tour version of the Norway in a Nutshell trip. I have several extra days and wasn’t sure if I should spend them in Bergen or return to Oslo via this (hopefully) scenic route and spend some more time in Oslo. If there are other suggestions for Bergen area activities, I’d love to hear those too. Thanks.
Caveat: I've done a lot of research on Norway but haven't been there yet (because of COVID). The train trip between Oslo and Bergen is considered very scenic. I believe the most scenic part is between Oslo and Voss (as opposed to the western part of the route). Based on the itinerary I've seen posted online, I don't think your tour traverses that part of Norway. I'm betting you'd enjoy the scenery from the train, but you will have been exposed to quite a lot of Norwegian scenery at that point... If you do decide to take the train back to Oslo, you should consider hopping off and taking a round trip on the narrow-gauge train line running between Myrdal and Flam, a key part of the Nutshell route that I think your tour doesn't include (verify that with the RSE office).
The tour gives you two days in Oslo and one in Bergen. My research has convinced to spend more time in both places, but I'm a (retired) proponent of slow travel. If I had time to do so, I'd probably go for an extra day in Bergen, the train to Oslo (with detour to Flam) and an extra day in Oslo. (I'd also want extra time in Stockholm at the beginning of the trip; there's considerably more to see in Stockholm than in Oslo, I believe.)
Short answer: It is very scenic and it is worth taking the train just for the scenery.
If your options are the Bergen-Oslo train or flying, no question that the scenic train journey from Bergen across the Hardangervidda to Oslo is a more relaxing and scenic day. The train journey wlll a good respite after two weeks of chasing your RS guide across Scadanavia,
We did the Oslo to Bergen Nutshell with Bergen to Oslo return by train during Easter Week with the Hardangervidda still under snow covered condtions. Your RS Scandinavia tour takes you through the home of the giants (Jotunheimen). The vast Hardangervdda
will be a scenic contrast to to rugged giants.
Interesting historic background to imagine as the train crosses the Hardangervidda:
It's still too early to check train schedules for August. VY.no only shows trains 60 days out. But April schedules show a morning 8:15am departure that gets you to Oslo S by 3:05pm giving you 6 hours of daylight for exploring Oslo. The alternative 1:49pm deparutre arrives in Oslo at sunset but gives you the full morning in Bergen.
Thanks everyone for the helpful and detailed responses. I am now definitely going to take the train from Bergen to Oslo, rather than flying out of Bergen.
A question for Acraven - would you travel Bergen to Myrdal and then just take the round trip rail trip (Myrdal to/from Flåm) and continue on to Oslo same day, or would you spend the night in Flam? I am not a huge train buff, but the train museum seems worthwhile and the potential for taking a kayak tour in a fjord is intriguing. I think the RS tour is connecting with the fjord cruise in Flam, but I don’t think the tour spends any real time there.
Thanks again everybody, and any ‘not in the RS guidebook’ suggestions for Bergen would be appreciated.
I just dug out my four year old (but untouched until now) RS Scandinavia guidebook that I bought before Covid cancelled my planned May 2020 trip.
Edgar, thanks for the train link and info, but most importantly for the WWII raid background. I had heard (vaguely) about the Allies’ sabotage of the Nazi’s heavy water program, but I had no idea that it took place in this area. Thank God for Norwegians’ cross country skiing talents!
This is what I love about this forum. Such a comprehensive collection of people willing to share practical and esoteric knowledge.
The Bergen line trips require seat reservations which are included when you book. In the past, the discount (low fare) option price is cheapest the earlier you book and my sell out as you get close to day of travel.
In the past, paying with American credit cards could be a challenge (security issues) and may have required a call to Norway or using PayPal. I was in Norway three years ago and did not have problems using the ticket kiosk as the train station or at the staffed ticket counter. (No pin required with card present).
Mike, I don't know what I'd do about staying in Flam. It's not said to be a very attractive place, more one used for logistical reasons. However, the train schedules may dictate that staying there is the best/only way to include the train museum and the kayaking. Balestrand sounds like a more pleasant stopover, but it's way less convenient from the transportation standpoint. Norway's tough; I usually don't mind taking the slow way around, but hotels are really expensive in Norway, so I'm going to want to pay more attention to efficiency than I usually do.
I believe the Mrydal/Flam train can fill up. It seems to be a pretty common tour-group excursion, and entire carriages can be blocked off for groups. I believe Rick's book will tell you what you can do about getting those tickets ahead of time.
Adding the Flåmsbana makes for a looong day.
Using the Fjord Tours Norway in a Nutshell bookig service with a hypothetical August 23, 2022 departure:
8:29 TRAIN DEPARTURE BERGEN
9:44 ARRIVAL VOSS
10:10 BUS DEPARTURE VOSS
11:30 BUS ARRIVAL GUDVANGEN
12:00 BOAT DEPARTURE GUDVANGEN
14:00 BOAT ARRIVAL FLÅM
16:40 TRAIN (Flåm Railway) DEPARTURE FLÅM
17:35 TRAIN ARRIVAL MYRDAL
17:42 TRAIN (Bergen Line) DEPARTURE MYRDAL
22:27 TRAIN ARRIVAL OSLO
Alternative Flam Railroad using train only. A long day either way.
08:15 Depart Bergen stasjon
10:03 Arrive Myrdal stasjon
10:07 Dep Myrdal stasjon Flam Railroad
11:05 Ar. Flåm stasjon Flam Railroad
14:10 Flåm stasjon Flam Railroad
15:09 Ar Myrdal stasjon Flam Railroad
15:53 Dep Myrdal stasjon Bergen Line
21:02 Oslo S
Bergen to Flam:
Flam to Oslo S: