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Flamsbana – see the best of Norway by train

Want to combine the best of Norway with a great railway journey? We got you covered! Flamsbana railway is one of the best train trips in Europe, or even in the world. This scenic train ride will give you memories for life. Read on for everything you need to know before taking the spectacular Flamsbana in Norway.

Travelling by train in Norway is easy and it is a great way to see the country. The Norwegian railway is comfortable, and Norway has several of the best train rides in the world. Flamsbana is the best of the best. 

Flamsbana
Happy travellers after a trip with the spectacular Flamsbana Railway

What is Flamsbana?

Flamsbana railway, also referred to as Flåm Railway or Flåmsbana, is a short train ride taking you from the Norwegian fjords to the high mountain plateau between Oslo and Bergen. It starts in the village of Flåm (Flam) located at the end of the beautiful Aurlandsfjord, and the end station is at Myrdal, a mountain railway station at 866.8 m. As you can understand, this is one of the steepest train lines in the world.

A journey with Flamsbana will create memories for a lifetime. The nature along the route is wild, spectacular and beautiful. Actually, it is really hard to describe it. You will drive through valleys, along rivers and over waterfalls. The train passes small settlements, lush forests and all along the route, you will have the most stunning views of Norwegian nature. The train is slow, giving you time to enjoy the scenery outside your window.

TIP: Visiting Norway in the summer? Read our post Puffins in Norway to plan a magical nature experience at the beautiful Runde Island

Flamsbana is, in reality, a short train journey, and is only 20,2 kilometres long. The route has twenty tunnels and one bridge. Construction started in 1924 and the line opened in 1940. Today, the Flamsbana railway serves mostly as a tourist train. Depending on the season, the whole journey takes around 45min – 1 hour. 

It is not only nature that is an experience when travelling with Flamsbana railway. Also, the train itself is worth the trip. The nostalgic wooden interior teas you back to another time and, with the symmetry, it almost feels like taking part in a movie by Was Anderson.

There’s only one travel class onboard. The train has restrooms and WiFi is available.

How to travel with Flamsbana

You start your journey with the Flåmsbana railway either in Flåm or at Myrdal station, and there are several possible combinations for this adventure. 

As you will notice when studying the timetable for Flamsbana, you will notice that there are fewer departures in the winter than in the high season. In the summer there are nine to ten daily departures compared to four departures in the winter. 

TIP: Read our post on the Harz Mountain Railway in Germany if you would like a nostalgic journey with a steam train

The train makes two stops along the route. The first stop is for a meeting train to pass, while the second stop is a 5-minute photo stop at Kjosfossen, a spectacular waterfall along the route.

Flamsbana Railway is one the most scenic train journeys in Europe
Flamsbana, or the Flåm Railway is a must when you travel in the Norwegian fjords

Which side is the best to sit on Flamsbana

To be clear, this is maybe the most scenic train route in the whole of Norway. No matter where you sit, you will have a great experience and stunning views of nature. 

Anyway, for the very best view on Flamsbana, sit on the right side of the car if going upwards from Flåm to Myrdal, and on the left side when going down from Myrdal to Flåm. Arrive at least 20-30 minutes before departure to secure the best seats – there is no seat assignment on your ticket.

Flamsbana makes a short photo stop at Kjosfossen
You can buy this delicious cinnamon roll at Flåm Bakeri next to the station in Flåm

Round trip with Flamsbana

If you have the time, you can book a return ticket with Flamsbana. If you are spending some days in Flam, or other places along the Aurlandsfjord, a return trip with the Flåm railway is a perfect day trip. It is also possible to bring a bike on the train. You can take the train to Myrdal, and then bike back to Flam.

One way trip with Flamsbana

This option is perfect to combine with Bergensbanen, the main train line between Bergen and Oslo. The Bergen-Oslo train corresponds with the Flam railway in both directions. You can take the train from dirt Oslo or Bergen, get off at Myrdal, and take the train down to Flåm. Or you can take Flamsbana from Flam up to Myrdal, and from there continue to either Oslo or Bergen.

Flamsbana or the Flåm Railway
Norwegian nature at its best on a trip with Flamsbana

Best time to travel with Flamsbana

The Flåmsbana railway runs all year long, and no matter which season you want to see Norway by train, this journey will be spectacular.

The spring and summer will take you through the lush green landscape, while in the autumn the hills will be bathing in red, yellow and orange autumn foliage. The snowy winter landscape will give you a totally different experience.

TIP: Read our post from our Trans Siberian Railway trip if you would like to plan another great railway journey 

The high season for tourism in Norway is during the summer between mid-June to mid-august with late July as the peak. This time most Norwegians have holidays, and also many international travellers will visit Norway. If you plan on travelling with the Norwegian railway in the summer, we highly recommend you book all tickets in advance, especially for the Flam railway. It is a very popular route and some departures can sell out.

The best way to avoid most tourists in high season is to take one of the two earliest departures, as more travellers are coming during the day. Lot’s of day-trippers come to Flåm with cruise ships, so it can get really crowded.

If you travel off-season, you will meet much fewer tourists and the whole journey is calmer.

How to book tickets with Flamsbana

For a return ticket with an immediate return, book your ticket here. If you are looking to book a one-way ticket or a combination ticket for Flamsbana and Bergensbanen, you need to purchase your ticket from the Norwegian railway company Vy’s website.

How much does Flamsbana cost?

Like most things in Norway, Flamsbana doesn’t come especially cheap, and the prices are much higher than other tickets offered by the national rail company.

As of 2022 one-way tickets starts at NOK 370 (approx €37/ $41). Return tickets in low season cost NOK 500 (approx €50/ $56), while in high season a return ticket will set you back NOK 650 (approx €65/ $73). 

The price for a combination ticket to Bergen or Oslo depends on the price for the other train. This varies depending on the season and time of booking. 

Interrail tickets are not valid on Flamsbana, but if you are travelling with one of those, you will get a 30% discount.

How to get to Flam (Flåm)

Flåm is located at the end of Aurlandsfjord, a 29-kilometre long branch of the main Sognefjorden, Norway’Norway’s longest fjord.

If you don’t arrive in Flåm via train, you can arrive by car or in the summer also by boat. Between May 16 and September 30 there’s a daily boat from Bergen to Flam. The journey takes around 5,5 hours through the majestic landscape of the longest fjord in Norway.

By following roads E18 and E16 you will arrive at Flåm from Oslo after approximately 5 hours. From Bergen, it takes 2,5 hours via roads E39 and E16.

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