It happens often when we travel: we are so preoccupied with planning what to do at our destination or so exhausted (or dreading the next day at work :-)) on the way back…that we miss the journey! Either this is the sunrise or an amazing sunset, a beautiful rocky coastline, a flight over Sporades, Grand Canyon or the Alps, a stunning view of Oia, spread along red volcanic cliff tops or a night-time view of a city..it is often worth almost as much as the trip itself.
And sometimes, the journey can be so rewarding, that the destination does not really matter anymore..and so easy..you just sit back, relax, listen to your music and enjoy amazing landscapes from a train seat or a ferry deck.
Such journeys are the so-called “Sognenfjord in a nutshell” and “Norway in a Nutshell” tours between Oslo and Bergen, two very interesting cities…but nothing compared to the stunning nature you see when traveling from one to the other.
I took the “Sognenfjord in a nutshell” in 2 days, which left me sufficient time to also explore Oslo and Bergen.
I arrived in Oslo late at night, after a full day in the British Museum and the streets of London and took the 08:25 next day train to Myrdal. This is the famous Bergen Railway, one of Europe’s most scenic train rides, through outstanding, varied landscapes up to a mountain plateau. My post on this route is available here.
By 13:00, we had arrived at Myrdal Station, at an altitude of 867m, to take the 13:30 train, which descends through 20 tunnels into the Flam valley, in a journey full of twists, sharp bends and outstanding views. This is the breathtaking Flam Railway, branching off the Bergen railway at Myrdal. My post on this route is available here.
The third part of the journey is a 5.5h ferry ride from the innermost of Aurlandsfjord in Flam, along Sognenfjord, Norway’s deepest and longest Fjord, towards Bergen. Waterfalls, snow-covered mountaintops, forests, villages and reflections make you ignore the cold and the wind and remain on the deck.
We arrived in Bergen at 20:30 and I strolled around its idyllic, colorful neighborhoods before taking the tiny tramway up to Floyjfell to enjoy the view and the sunset.
The day after I took again the 08:00 Bergen Railway to Oslo, to see the part from Bergen to Myrdal that I had skipped on my outgoing journey. It was dark and foggy, the perfect romantic touch to an unforgettable journey.
We reached Oslo before 15:00 and despite the rain, I spent the rest of the day exploring the city and enjoying tulips, great architecture and art, including a taste of the controversy and obsessions of Edvard Munch. I would see some more of him the following day in London and a few months later in Vienna 😉
Take this trip!! It is definitely worth it! Alternatively, you could do the 1-day “Norway in a Nutshell”: From Oslo to Myrdal with the Bergen Railway, from Myrdal to Flam with the Flam line, from Flam to Gudvangen with the boat (it does the Aurlandsfjord and the Naeoryfjord, a World Heritage site), then a bus trip to Voss, from where you continue on the Bergen Railway to Bergen. You could also do part of the route or spread it over 2 or more days to combine it with skiing, hiking or cycling.
In any case, try to book your tickets directly with the operating companies, as I found all the packages that agencies offer way more expensive. I booked my 3 train tickets through the NSB site for 38 Euros each and the boat trip directly with NORLED for 80-85 Euros. That is super cheap for Norway and super cheap for all the memories it gave me in return.