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What to do with a full plus half (arrival) day in Flam and environs?

We will have 1.5 days in Flam at the end of June (coming from Bergen and on to Oslo) and appreciate recommendations on how to make the most of our time.

The half day is our arrival day -- coming off the Gudvangen ferry -- and our full day is a Sunday, if that matters. We will not have a car, so will be relying on public transportation. We are also hikers, if there suggestions for scenic areas to see by foot. We will have been in more urban areas so are looking forward to seeing some natural scenery.

It appears there is a bus from Flam to the Borgund Stave Church, but that would be a half day commitment on our full day. (Currently, looks like bus departs Flam ~noon and Borgund area ~6 pm; ~ 1 hour plus 1 mile walk each way). Is it worth the time commitment, and/or are there other sites worth prioritizing instead? And, if we did go, do the bus tickets needs to be purchased in advance?

To add: we are 90% certain we are staying in Flam (yes, we have reservations), but we also have an Aurland option if that makes more sense for our base. The more town-like description of Aurland has appeal, but with the better public transportation options (and because we will be taking the train from Flam to Oslo) Flam seemed better suited to us... we need to make a final decision about our base. Any recommendations about what to do during our stay may influence the decision.

Thank you (again)!

Posted by
11 posts

Public bus goes between Aurland and Flam:

Norled ferry ( will take you 1 way from Flam to Aurland at 15:30 (we're doing that after arriving on the Flamsbana train; we're staying in Aurland for 2 nights before taking the ferry to Balestrand). Even though Skyss trip planner shows Norled ferry as an option from Aurland to Flam, the Norled trip planner page states there are no ferries scheduled to take passengers from Aurland to Flam. I also found the timetable for Norled and it states the ferry, when traveling from Bergen to Flam, stops at Aurland ONLY to drop off passengers. So you'd need to take the bus back to Flam if you ferry over to Aurland and stay in Aurland for the night.

I looked at possibly using the public bus (Skyss) to Borgund stave church difficult - it doesn't seem to allow much time to walk from the bus stop to the church, see the church, and make it back to the bus stop. There may be a tour bus to the church.

There are suggestions for kayaking and hiking in Flam on this website:

Posted by
64 posts

Thanks so much, Travel More! The hiking information is much appreciated. I see several suggest taking the Flam train to local stops Vatnahalsen, Blomheller, Håreina) and hiking from there. Does anyone know if you can book those trains upon arrival? I know the Flam railway can book up -- we have our tickets already from Flam to Oslo on departure, but can you easily get tickets same day for these short trips?

Biking and kayaking are also great ideas. If anyone has experience doing either in the Flam environs we would love to hear about your advice and experience, including need to pre-book (for end of June/early July).

We love the Rick Steves community!

Posted by
27353 posts

The bus schedule you're seeing now for Borgund is the off-season schedule. In 2022, that involved a change of buses and a healthy walk. I don't remember the timing, but I'm sure the return was a lot earlier than 6 PM. Of course, the schedule may have changed since then. I'd be a bit concerned about weather unless there's a bus shelter at the transfer point (which there may well be).

The good news is that there will probably be a direct bus from Flam to the church in the summer. I would guess it will be running by the time you get to Flam. For me, the schedule was set up to allow an hour at the church and the nearby church museum (in the same building where you buy your ticket for the church). That would have meant a bit of a quick trip through the museum, but it would be doable. Unfortunately the outbound bus from Flam was 20 minutes late, so my time to see the museum pretty much evaporated. But I did see the church. I think the return bus departed Borgund around 2 PM, so the whole trip took roughly 3 hours.

Posted by
59 posts

The Viking Center at Gudvangen was a hit with our teenage son. We stayed in Aurland at Vangsgaarden and LOVED it. Convenient to Flam. Drive up to the Stegastein. The view is amazing. The Naeroyfjord cruise was magical and worth every penny—it was a morning well spent. Norway is a slow experience and has depth other countries don’t have. Slow down and take it in. The natural beauty is unrivaled and lives in my memories like no other place I’ve ever seen. And drink the pear cider!