FLÅM RAILWAY – FROM MOUNTAINS TO FJORD ON RAILS

Just coming up with the idea of building a railway line through the narrow and wild Flåmsdalen valley is completely absurd. But it was built, and today the Flåm Railway is one of Norway’s biggest tourist attractions.

The Flåm Railway runs between Myrdal Station at 867 meters above sea level and Flåm, which lies down by the Aurlandsfjord. Myrdal station is part of the Bergen Line.

Visit Sognefjord

Visit Sognefjord is the official destination company for the Sognefjord area.

Hotels and accommodation in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Overview of hotels and other places where you can spend the night in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.

The fjord village of Flåm is located in the heart of the Aurlandsfjord, which is a fjord arm of the Sognefjord.
The fjord village of Flåm is located in the heart of the Aurlandsfjord, which is a fjord arm of the Sognefjord.

Flåm Railway – One of the world’s most beautiful train journeys

The Flåm Railway is a masterpiece of engineering where it winds through the narrow Flåmsdalen valley and high up in the steep valley and mountain sides.
The Flåm Railway is a masterpiece of engineering where it winds through the narrow Flåmsdalen valley and high up in the steep valley and mountain sides.

Flåm Railway has been named one of the ten most beautiful railways in the world. This is the train journey from the mountains to the fjord, and many people take the trip both ways.

The Norwegian Parliament decided on 10 June 1909 that the Flåm Railway should be built. The construction work began in 1923 and was completed in 1940. The Flåm Railway was electrified in 1945.

The Flåm Railway runs between Flåm, which lies deep inside the Aurlandsfjord, and Myrdal Station (867 m above sea level), which is part of the Bergen Line. With its 20 tunnels and a gradient of 1 to 18 on almost 80% of the stretch, the Flåm Railway is one of Norway’s most spectacular railway stretches.

The Flåm Railway runs through beautiful and wild nature.
The Flåm Railway runs through beautiful and wild nature.

The 20 kilometer long Flåm Railway runs through five levels where one of the tunnels is a turning tunnel, this to avoid the climb being too steep. Vatnahalsen turning tunnel is 888 meters long. Nåli tunnel is 1341.5 meters long, it is also the longest tunnel on the Flåm Railway. The shortest tunnel is the Melhusgjelet tunnel at 11.1 metres.

There are 11 stations and stops along the Flåm Railway, including the end stations. Kjosfossen station is probably the station that is the highlight among tourists. At Kjosfossen station, passengers can experience and take pictures of the wild and beautiful Kjosfossen waterfall before the train continues on to the end stations, which is Myrdal in the high mountains or Flåm down by the fjord.

Flåm Railway has the following stations, direction from Flåm to Myrdal: Flåm, Lunden, Håreina, Dalsbotn, Berekvam, Blomheller, Kårdal, Kjosfossen, Reinunga, Vatnahalsen and Myrdal station. Dalsbotn and Kårdal station are closed.

The Flåm Railway runs through spectacular scenery with steep mountains, rivers, rapids and waterfalls.
The Flåm Railway runs through spectacular scenery with steep mountains, rivers, rapids and waterfalls.

A construction road was built in connection with the construction of the Flåm Railway. The 17 hairpin bends in the steep climb between Kårdal and Myrdal are part of this construction road and are today used by bikers and hikers. The cycle road Rallarvegen runs between Haugastøl via Finse to Myrdal. Those who continue biking from Myrdal to Flåm do this via the steep and winding road between Myrdal and Kårdal before continuing along the Flåmsdalen valley to Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord.

The pictures below are from an autumn trip where I walked along the Flåmsdalen valley, from Myrdal station to Flåm. It was a great experience to walk the 21 kilometer long road along the Flåmsdalen valley and to experience the beautiful valley in “slow motion”. I spent the whole day and got to experience the wild and beautiful nature in fantastic autumn colours. Several times along the way I also could see the train on the Flåm Railway, it gave an extra dimension to the walk to see the train winding away far up the steep mountain sides.

Below you can see a video with scenes from the Bergen Line and the Flåm Railway where you finally see the boat leaves Flåm and sails out on a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord. This was filmed in winter, during the blue hour in January.

Flåm Railway – Tickets: You can buy tickets for the Flåm Railway on Norway’s Best_’s website.

Flåm Railway – Season: All year. The trip with the Flåm Railway between Flåm and Myrdal takes just under an hour each way. The number of departures and the departure times vary, this depends on what time of the year it is.

Flåm Railway in Winter

The Flåm Railway is also a fantastic experience in winter. It is strongly recommended to experience this train ride when the snow has covered the mountains and the valley and when the waterfalls have frozen into ice.

In winter, the days are shorter and it is worth remembering that it can be dark when the earliest and latest departures on the Flåm Railway depart.

The beautiful and wild Flåmsdalen valley

The road along the Flåmsdalen valley is narrow and winding.
The road along the Flåmsdalen valley is narrow and winding.

Flåmsdalen is a beautiful small adventure. The valley between Myrdal (867 masl) and Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord is 21 kilometers long. The valley is narrow and the mountains are steep, and there are waterfalls and rivers wherever you turn around.

Flåm Valley is a great place for hiking and biking. Flåm Zipline sends you off at over 100 kilometers per hour, you are just hanging in a thin steel wire high above the valley. Rallarvegen ends in the upper part of Flåmsdalen, and you can take the train up and down Flåmsdalen with Flåm Railway. Brekkefossen Waterfall is a popular hiking goal close to Flåm.

NOTE – The upper part of the road in Flåmsdalen is closed during winter. Many of the activities and attractions in Flåm and Flåmsdalen are open only in summer and are closed in winter. Look at the websites of the different activities for more information about the season and opening times. Flåm Railway and Fjord Cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord are open all year.

NOTE – About 1.5 kilometers north of Rallarrosa Stølsysteri (where the Flåm Zipline ends) you have to go through a tunnel which is about 100 meters long. This tunnel is narrow, be aware that there may come cars and cyclists in the tunnel when you go through it. Try to avoid walking in the tunnel at the same time as cars and bikes are in the tunnel.

Below you can see a short video from when I was cycling along Flåmsdalen Valley in the summer of 2010.

The waterfalls in the Flåmsdalen Valley

Rjoandefossen waterfall in Flåmsdalen, about 5.5 kilometers south of Flåm.
Rjoandefossen waterfall in Flåmsdalen, about 5.5 kilometers south of Flåm.

Flåmsdalen Valley runs between Myrdal (867 masl) and Flåm down by the Aurlandsfjord. Along the valley there are waterfalls, rivers and rapids everywhere you turn. Here you will find information about a few of the waterfalls in Flåmsdalen.

Rjoandefossen is a striking waterfall in Flåmsdalen. The waterfall plunges down the valley on the opposite side of the Flåm Railway, you can see Rjoandefossen from the railway on the southern side of the 424 meter long Furuberget tunnel. Rjoandefossen has a total drop of over 300 meters with the highest vertical drop of 147 meters.

Flåm Railway is one of Norway’s most spectacular railways with its 20 tunnels and a gradient of 1 to 18 on almost 80% of the line. The train stops at Kjosfossen Waterfall where passengers can experience and take pictures of the wild and beautiful waterfall before the train continues on to the end stations which is Myrdal in the high mountains or Flåm down by the fjord. From the train on the Flåm railway there is a great view of the steep mountain sides and the many waterfalls that plunge into the valley.

Waterfall at Dalsbotnelvi below Høgabru in Flåmsdalen.
Waterfall at Dalsbotnelvi below Høgabru in Flåmsdalen.

Just below Rallarrosa Stølsysteri, where Flåm Zipline tour ends, you will find Kårdalsfossen, one of the striking waterfalls in Flåmsdalen. You can walk or cycle across the bridge that crosses Flåmselvi river at the top of Kårdalsfossen. After cycling down the hill, you can see Kårdalsfossen again, this time from below.

Brekkefossen Waterfall, not far from Flåm, is a popular hiking goal. A nice trail has been made up to the viewpoint under Brekkefossen. The first part of the trail is a gravel road, then there are 578 steps of stone that go up to the viewpoint Raokjen. FjordSafari organizes guided tours from Flåm to the viewpoint below Brekkefossen. The first part of the hike is about two kilometers long and goes on the road along the Flåmselvi river from Flåm to Brekkevegen, then the rest of the hike goes along the trail up to Raokjen. The trail is 1.3 kilometers long with an ascent of 170 metres. From Raokjen there is a great view down to Flåm and to the inner part of the Aurlandsfjord.

From Oslo to Flåm

Fjord Cruise - The boat leaves the Aurlandsfjord and enters the Nærøyfjord.
Fjord Cruise – The boat leaves the Aurlandsfjord and enters the Nærøyfjord.

Many who visit Flåm come to see and experience some of the most beautiful fjords in the world; the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. A fjord Cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord can be experienced starting from Flåm and can be combined with a train journey on the Bergen Line and Flåm Railway.

Here you will experience the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord (UNESCO World Heritage) with a fjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen. You can return to Flåm by bus from Gudvangen or by the same boat from Gudvangen and back to Flåm.

Fjord Cruise - The boat leaves the Nærøyfjord and enters the Aurlandsfjord.
Fjord Cruise – The boat leaves the Nærøyfjord and enters the Aurlandsfjord.

The boats from The Fjords run on batteries that are charged with electricity from short-distance hydropower. The boat trips are both sustainable, climate-friendly and silent, which makes the trips on the fjord an even better experience.

Numerous wild and beautiful waterfalls and rivers characterize the landscape, crossing the rugged mountains and deciduous and coniferous forests on their way down to the fjords.

Beautiful villages with a sustained cultivated landscape with remainders of old farms and mountain pastures and unique cultural monuments gives an extra dimension to the dramatic natural landscape.

Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord

Otternes Farmyard by the Aurlandsfjord. Flåm in the background.
Otternes Farmyard by the Aurlandsfjord. Flåm in the background.

Flåm is one of several fjord villages located by the Aurlandsfjord. Flåm is a fantastic starting point for many great adventures in beautiful and wild nature.

Where the Aurlandsfjord ends, the Flåmsdalen Valley starts. If the Aurlandsfjord is an adventure, the Flåmsdalen Valley is an even more beautiful adventure, and both should be experienced.

It is easy to travel to Flåm. “All roads” leads to Flåm, and you can also get there by train via the Bergen Line and Flåm Railway. If you take the Flåm Railway down to Flåm, you will experience the beautiful Flåmsdalen Valley at the same time.

You can experience and do a lot with Flåm as a starting point. A fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord or a trip on the fjord with Fjord Safari is a must. So is a visit to Flåm Bakery, located on the quay near where the fjord cruise starts.

You can see and do a lot with Flåm as a starting point. In Flåm there are many places to eat and sleep. It is also a short distance to other beautiful fjords where you can visit idyllic fjord villages and experience beautiful and dramatic nature.

Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord – What to See and Do

FJORDS NORWAY - Nærøyfjord, part of UNESCO World Heritage.
Nærøyfjord.

Flåm, Aurland and Gudvangen are perfect starting points for experiences in and around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, two of the world’s most beautiful and dramatic fjords. On 14 July 2005, the Nærøyfjord together with the Geirangerfjord became part of our common UNESCO’s world heritage.

From Flåm you can take part in a fjord safari or a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. You can take this fjord cruise as a round trip (both ways) or one way combined with bus between Flåm and Gudvangen. See the great view from Stegastein viewpoint, 650 meters above Aurland. Taste the local goat’s cheese in Undredal or in Skjerdal, two villages by the Aurlandsfjord.

Flåm Railway is the train journey from mountain to fjord, perhaps the most beautiful railway in the world. You can combine this train journey with cycling along Rallarvegen which goes from the high mountains via Flåmsdalen Valley to Flåm. Aurlandsdalen Valley is one of Norway’s most popular hikes. The lower part of Aurlandsdalen, which is also the most popular, starts from Østerbø and ends at Vassbygdi in Aurland.

The Flåm Valley is a beautiful adventure. The valley between Myrdal (866.8 masl) and Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord is 18 kilometer long. The valley is narrow and the mountains are steep, and there are waterfalls and rivers wherever you turn around. Flåm Valley is a great place for hiking and biking. Flåm Zipline sends you off at over 100 kilometers per hour, you are just hanging in a thin steel wire high above the valley.

By the Nærøyfjord, we have the small villages of Gudvangen, Bakka, Styvi and Dyrdal. Styvi is the only place without permanent inhabitants during the winter, and is together with Dyrdal without road connection. Gudvangen is one of two ports where the iconic ferry trip along the inner part of the Sognefjord departs and arrives. Visit the Viking village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen and experience the history and culture of the Viking Age.

The Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord are both part of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord which is located in the northern part of the county of Vestland, in the middle of Western Norway.

Hotels and accommodation in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Overview of hotels and other places where you can spend the night in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.

Sakte – Stay and Explore the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord 



“Sakte” is a collaboration between companies that provide adventures, accommodation, dining and short-travelled food- and products. “Sakte” are located in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord and is an offer for those who want to contribute to a sustainable society in the world heritage area.

Reis Sakte – Hiking towards Skjerdal and the Aurlandsfjord
Reis Sakte – Hiking towards Skjerdal and the Aurlandsfjord

How to travel to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Many roads lead to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area.
Many roads lead to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area.

It is easy to travel to Flåm and Aurland, the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord. Almost “all roads” go to Flåm and Aurland, and you can also travel there by train, bus and boat. It is only a short distance between the two neighboring villages of Flåm and Aurland.

You can start this fjord adventure by train from Oslo or Bergen to Myrdal station. Then you get to experience the Bergen Railway between Oslo and Bergen and Flåm Railway, one of Norway’s most spectacular railway lines, from Myrdal station to Flåm, which is located down by the Aurlandsfjord. If you take Flåm Railway, you get to experience the beautiful Flåmsdalen valley at the same time.

There are several daily bus departures between Oslo/Bergen and Flåm.

The nearest airport is Sogndal Airport at Haukåsen near Kaupanger. Most flights that go to and from Sogndal Airport come from and go to Oslo and Bergen. From the airport to Flåm, it is 70 kilometers by road, including a wonderful crossing of the Sognefjord by ferry.

References

Wikipedia and Norway´s Best_

 

HOTELS - LINKS - FAQ

Here you will find an overview of recommended HOTELS in addition to SPA & BATH HOTELS and OTHER ACCOMMODATION PLACES in Western Norway. The combination of beautiful nature, activities that you can do in all four seasons and a stay at a great accommodation is unique. A stay in one of these places will do you good, both for body and mind.

There are ten restaurants that have awarded Michelin stars and Michelin awards in Western Norway. Eight of the Michelin restaurants are in Stavanger and two in Bergen. Here you will find FJORDS MICHELIN, where you will also find a list of recommended hotels in Western Norway, recommended by Michelin.

USEFUL LINKS is a list of websites with great information on Norway and the Fjords. FAQ is an overview of articles that answer the most common questions you have when planning to visit the fjords in Western Norway.

Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord – Map Overview