Norway/Bergen/Fjord Tour

Hello, I am soon embarking on a very quick Norway trip. I am thinking seriously about doing Rick's crazy 24-hour fjord visit, and I wanted to know if anyone has experience with that. I would go from Oslo to Myrdal, take the Flåm Railway to Flåm, do the Flåm-Gudvangen fjord cruise, take the bus to Voss, then the train from Voss to Bergen for a few hours, then an overnight train to Oslo. My questions: 1. Is it possible to connect from the main train to the Flåm railway in Myrdal in seven minutes? 2. Does the aforementioned cruise run in November, and is it easy to find and book on the spot? 3. If you do this itinerary, what time do you arrive in Bergen? 4. Is it really enough to have just an evening in Bergen before taking the overnight train? It would mean missing the fish market, is that okay?
5. I am traveling with a rail pass, is there a secret way to reserve seats on the trains without paying on the website? Does it need to be done at all in November? I think that's all, thank you!!!!

Posted by Peter
New Bern
3 posts

We have travelled the Norway in a Nutshell trip going from Bergen to Oslo so I can give you some feedback about the trip. I would go to www.norwaynutshell.com to get additional information. We had no problem making the various connections..train..to bus...to ship...to Flam railroad up to Myrdal to train to Oslo, so I would not think you would have a problem going from Oslo to Bergen. Flam railroad and fjord cruise are very scenic. If you have time, I would definitely spend an entire day in Bergen. There is Bryggen, the old trading section of Bergen when Bergen was a more important city than Oslo. The funicular, an inclined railroad that takes you up the side of a mountain where you get an incredible view of the city of Bergen.....weather permitting. The fish market is interesting...but it is a fish market. There are numerous other sites including various museums, history and art and, believe it or not, a leprosy museum which we found of interest. If you have not been to Norway before, be prepared for sticker shock, everything and I mean everything is very expensive. Also make sure you have coins with you. A number of the public bathrooms we utilized were coin operated. We have made three trips to Norway, two of which were by car which gave you a very scenic view of the country. If you are constrained to "mass" transit and you want to get a flavor of the scenic part of Norway...then Norway in a Nutshell is the way to go. Have fun enjoying the beautiful scenery. Peter
New Bern, NC

Posted by Nicholas
Seattle, Washington, United States
282 posts

1. Yes. The tracks are right beside each other and the Myrdal train doesn't leave until the main train gets there. 2. Good question, but I believe the answer is yes. Check here: https://booking.fjord1.no/TravelDetails.aspx I see departure at 15:10 and arrival at Gudvangen at 17:20. I don't know which bus you would need to get from there, but the boat part looks OK. It is about an hour to Voss from there. That means that realistically you could catch a train about 7pm. On the other hand, you may want to look into a direct bus route. 3. Not sure, and I have to get going. The routes that I'm seeing get in about 10:30pm, but there has to be a better connection somewhere 4. Personally, I like Bergen and would want at least a morning/afternoon there. An hour wouldn't be enough.
5. I don't use rail passes (cheaper for me to buy single tickets), so I can't say. :P Usual disclaimers apply: This is what I think is right (but it could be wrong). Be sure to double check.

Posted by Nicholas
Seattle, Washington, United States
282 posts

I took an extra moment to look at transit in the area and found better connections. Based on a midweek trip, here's a valid itinerary from what I can see. Oslo -> Flåm (via Myrdal): 8:11 -> 13:51 (nsb.no) Flåm -> Gudvangen: 15:10 -> 17:20 (booking.fjord1.no) Gudvangen -> Voss: Bus 950 to Voss. 17:25 -> 18:20 (http://www.skyss.no/Global/Bussruter/H%C3%B8struter%202012/Engelske%20webfiler/950_Voss-Gudvangen.pdf)
Voss -> Bergen: Train: 19:20 -> 20:34 (nsb.no. Note! Local train. Cannot pre-purchase tickets on nsb) Bergen -> Oslo: 22:58 -> 6:26+1 (nsb.no) There you have it. In three hours, be sure to check out Bryggen and Floibanan. I can't say how much is going to be open after 8:30pm Again, usual disclaimers apply.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

If you don't already have it, you should immediately buy a copy of Rick Steves Scandinavia (or Rick Steves Snapshot Norway if you're not going elsewhere in the region). It answers most of your questions, and has all the phone numbers and websites that you need (to get schedules, make reservations with railpass, etc). For Norway In A Nutshell, all the connections are timed to work out. Don't worry about making connections or getting lost - almost everyone is making the same connections, so you just follow the crowd. I agree with the others that Bergen is a really nice place, and that for me, a few hours wouldn't be enough. I also agree that the fish market, while interesting, isn't the highlight. I enjoyed just walking around some of the areas near the center, which were amazingly charming and pretty. The funicular was also very nice, but I took at in early July, and it was just getting dark at 11:45 PM when I descended (last ride down was midnight and I didn't want to chance it). However, as I said, I was there in warm, dry weather with long days, and I actually had no rain during my 2 and a half days there. I don't know what the town will be like in winter, with only a few hours of daylight and (probably) lots of rain. I should also add that the walking tour of the Bryggen, which Rick touts very highly, was for me a lowlight. I got as my tourguide the only person in Norway who didn't speak good English, and I'm sure that was part of the problem, but I just didn't find it that interesting. Despite this, it's one of two places from my 2003 trip to Finland, Sweden and Norway that I really want to go back to (Stockholm was the other). And yes, do prepare for sticker shock at Norwegian prices. Read the RS books, and remember that he's found some of the bargains; imagine what the other places charge.

Posted by Sophie
Amherst, MA, USA
3 posts

Thank you all! It definitely sounds like that won't leave me any time in Bergen. Unfortunately, I only have three days in Norway, so if I do that and a day in Bergen, I only have one day in Oslo! I suppose it is worth it though.