Train journey at the top of Europe

Text: Anne Bloksgaard Nielsen Published 15.02.2021

Take a ride on the world's most beautiful railway and be transported through some of Norway's most spectacular scenery while relaxing in a comfortable train carriage. The journey with the Bergensbanen between Oslo and Bergen and includes magnificent mountain landscapes, deep gorges, waterfalls and Europe's highest railway station, Finse.

The journey takes in some of the country's most beautiful scenery and offers a wealth of varied impressions as the train passes mountains and valleys, rides alongside gushing rivers or mirror-clear lakes, passes through a total of 182 tunnels and follows the mountainsides on tracks that will take the breath away even the most seasoned traveller. There's plenty of opportunity to take great travel photos – or simply sit back and enjoy the view over a delicious cup of coffee.

If you do the whole trip in one stretch, it takes about seven hours. However, you can also choose to disembark along the way and experience some of the many sights and stunning natural areas that the route passes. (In addition, there are of course plenty of exciting experiences to be had at the railway's station, Bergen and Oslo.)

The Flåmsbanen: The world's best train journey

One of the most popular sights on the trip is the Flåmsbanen, which you can change to at the station in Myrdal. Lonely Planet travel magazine has named this railway the "World's Best Train Ride", and National Geographic Traveler Magazine has it on its Top 10 list of train rides in Europe. The 20 kilometre ride takes around an hour each way and offers an altitude difference of 865 metres from the high mountain station Myrdal to the lowest point of Flåm in the Auerlandsfjorden.

One of the world's steepest standard gauge railways, the railway is one of Norway's most popular attractions, offering unique panoramas of some of Norway's wildest and most magnificent fjord scenery. In fact, there are so many beautiful viewpoints on the tour that many end up taking it several times.

Impressive engineering

As you are transported through the beautiful and impressive landscape, take a moment to admire the enormous construction work behind the more than 100-year-old railway. Work began in 1875 and it took 34 years to complete. The workforce numbered about 15,000 men, who among other things, dug all the tunnels along the line by hand!

The history of the Bergen railway is visible today through "Rallarvegen"– literally "the railway workers' road"– which the railway workers used during their work. The road is now a popular cycling and walking route, offering plenty of spectacular natural experiences. Get off the Bergensbanen in Finse – Norway's highest station – and spend a day or two in the footsteps of the railway workers amidst the beautiful high mountain scenery before continuing your journey across Norway. Bicycles can be hired at the station.

Norway in a nutshell

The Bergensbanen trip can be taken as part of the so-called "Norway in a Nutshell" concept, where one ticket gives you access to train, bus and ferry transport in some of the most breathtaking areas of Norway. This allows you to combine your train journey with, for example, sailing trips on some of Norway's most beautiful fjords– and put together a trip with just the elements you want to experience. Hotels and access to attractions and activities en route can also be booked in the overall package.