Norway

Seehof

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I have watching some of these wonderful cab rides of Norway on you tube. It has got me hooked and I want to go there hopefully next year. I would consider staying in Oslo and doing at least one out and back long distance such as Bergen or even to Trondheim or Bodo (!)
Has anybody been there for a railway holiday and got any tips or suggestions? I am 67 years old and have no FIP entitlement so any suggestions regarding fares/passes etc welcome also. Thank you.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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I have watching some of these wonderful cab rides of Norway on you tube. It has got me hooked and I want to go there hopefully next year. I would consider staying in Oslo and doing at least one out and back long distance such as Bergen or even to Trondheim or Bodo (!)
Has anybody been there for a railway holiday and got any tips or suggestions? I am 67 years old and have no FIP entitlement so any suggestions regarding fares/passes etc welcome also. Thank you.
67+ qualifies for 50% discount on NSB (Vy) services (on ordinary fares).
Available on demand or at ATMs, no card required (just show passport if asked).
Reduced fare tickets | Discount | Child and senior | vy.no
 

185

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Some years ago did south to north...

d1 Oslo-Dombas-Åndalsnes(very pretty line)-bus to Ålesund (overnight stay)
d2 Ålesund bus to Åndalsnes-Dombas-Trondheim (overnight stay)
d3 Trondheim-Bodø (overnight stay)
d4 Bodø bus to Narvik (2 night stay)
d5 Narvik-Kiruna-Narvik (Ofotenbanen, very pretty)
d6 Narvik bus to Tromsø (1 night stay)
d7 Tromsø bus to Alta (1 night & fly home)

7 nights, no overnight trains. Nor-way Bus Expresen were all coaches with several (included) boat crossings, very scenic, except the Alesund bus, which was still good & scenic.
 
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306024

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Norway is a superb country, but quite big and of course the trains aren’t that fast due to the geography. A lot depends on your budget too. Every main line is worth doing, as well as the branch lines to Flåm and Åndalsnes. The iron ore workings up in Narvik are fascinating too. The Hurtigruten coastal ships are another useful way of getting around if time and finance allow. A circular trip Oslo - Bergen - Trondheim (by ship) - Oslo could be planned to incorporate the Flåm and Åndalsnes branches too.

The only advice would be to pace yourself, you don’t want to nod off and miss the scenery!
 

yorkie

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I did a trip in Summer 2019:

Gothenurg - Kil - Oslo

Oslo - Trondheim

Trondheim - Hamar

Hamar - Oslo

Oslo - Myrdal

Myrdal - Flam

Flam - Myrdal

Myrdal - Bergen

It was very interesting but some of the trains were extremely busy.

Despite booking as a group, we were often split up.

On the Bergen line I spent most of the time in the buffet car because that was a more civilised travel experience and allowed me to sit with other members of our group.

The Bergen line is a mixture of locals doing short hops and tourists doing longer distance journeys; I got the strong impression Norweigians making the full journey would be far more likely to fly rather than take the train. So if you did this train outside the tourist season you may find it a lot less busy than we did!

My advice would be to book early as otherwise you may be split up from anyone else travelling with you.

We used Interail passes and this was reasonably good value.
 

30907

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I did most of the main lines plus Flåm and the bus from Narvik many years ago. I would do it again. Stavanger was the least interesting.
 

306024

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Stavanger reminded me of Aberdeen - influenced by the oil industry, and the line to Oslo isn’t particularly scenic by the standards of the other lines. If time us tight it’s the one line I’d not bother with, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
 

Seehof

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Thank you very very much for all your very helpful replies - definitely got some concrete ideas now! Thanks again
 

Gloster

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I have made several visits to Norway: Narvik, Trondheim and down to Oslo by the back route via Røros , along the south coast to Stavanger and several branch lines, some now closed. I intend as one of my last major trips to go up from Bergen to Kirkenes and back down to Bodø on the Hurtigrute (the proper coastal ferry service, not the touristy cruise one). Then down to Oslo, possibly taking in Åndalsnes; either before or after I will do Oslo-Bergen.

A personal opinion is that the best time to go is early spring. There is a reasonable amount of daylight and it isn’t too cold, but there is still plenty of snow about, which I think makes the country appear at its best.
 

joncombe

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I've done 3 trips. First was Oslo to Bergen including the Flam line and also a stop at Finse just between trains. This is the highest station on the line and in winter the village is only accessible by train, no roads. Even in June there was a lot of snow however the hotel there is closed in June, it's their low season between skiing and walking. I stayed at the hotel in Voss that is accessed directly from the station platform, Flesches I think it's called. Beautiful historic wooden building. I had a room facing the lake as this avoids noise from the trains. Loads of hotels in Bergen. I had no trouble with the trains, but do book especially for Flam as the trains fully sell out days in advance.

Trip two I did Oslo to Bodo stopping over in Andalsnes at hotel Belle Vue just up from the station. Onto Trondheim I stayed there though the hotel there was not great so I won't suggest anywhere there. It was wonderful with a lot of snow, crossing the Arctic circle by train too. I stayed at Clarion Hotel Gran about 10 mins walk from the station.

Last trip I did Oslo to Stavanger stopping over in Kristiansand. There is some wonderful beaches around there if you go in Summer. Onto Stavanger I enjoyed it, with a trip on the Fjords and a walk to the Kervaig boulder. Wonderful trip.

I have photos of all these I'll add links if of interest when I get home. The first two routes to Bergen and Bodo were the most scenic from a railway point of view, I'd agree with others that the route to Stavanger is less scenic, but still very nice.

The upgrade to Komfort class cost a flat fee of what worked out at about £10 last time I was there, regardless of journey length. Free unlimited drinks and more legroom was worth the extra for the longer legs, especially to Bodo.

I absolutely love Norway. I had two trips there cancelled last year due to Government restrictions. Can't wait to go back.

Worth noting most cities are connected by reasonably frequent flights which can be fairly cheap if you don't want to train both ways. Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim all used to have direct flights to London Gatwick too. Whether and when these come back is anyone's guess.
 

jamesontheroad

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There were some hints in the Swedish timetable applications that Vy (that’s the stupid new name for NSB) might run carriages through from Oslo to Stockholm and connect them to the Stockholm - Narvik night train, which they will operate from 2020-24.

Although this is some way off, it’s possible that by the time you do your trip you’ll be able to take advantage of a new direct route and make a circular trip with a bus joining the dots along the Norwegian coast.

You could, of course, change trains and spend some time in Stockholm but I’ve lived in Sweden for two years now and have found almost no reason to spend any time in Stockholm.:D
 

Gloster

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You could, of course, change trains and spend some time in Stockholm but I’ve lived in Sweden for two years now and have found almost no reason to spend any time in Stockholm.:D
I would tend to agree. Unless you are keen to visit the sort of attractions to be found in capitals; art galleries, Parliament (*), etc., a walk through Gamla Stan and along the waterside will tick it off.

* - Don’t go in: Swedish politicians drone on just as much as any other country’s.
 

tony6499

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The scenic rail journey programme last Friday made me want to do a Norwegian trip once it opens up , the Norway - Bergen journey seems a nice easy one to start with
 

jamesontheroad

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I would tend to agree. Unless you are keen to visit the sort of attractions to be found in capitals; art galleries, Parliament (*), etc., a walk through Gamla Stan and along the waterside will tick it off.

* - Don’t go in: Swedish politicians drone on just as much as any other country’s.

I was probably being unduly mean to Stockholm and Stockholmers. But @Gloster has a good point - and you can do all of the above in a 2 or 3 hour stopover between trains quite easily.
 

185

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Stavanger reminded me of Aberdeen - influenced by the oil industry, and the line to Oslo isn’t particularly scenic by the standards of the other lines. If time us tight it’s the one line I’d not bother with, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Stavanger used to be the end point of the former Flaggruten boat Bergen-Haugesund-Stavanger, a great - now gone link between the Bergen & Stavanger lines if doing the 'nutshell' tour on a budget. Now norled.no, the company that used to run the Flaggruten instead run a passenger express boat from Flåm Pier to Bergen, 4 hours (morning Berg-Fl, afternoon back Fl-Berg), excellent scenery and a fair price (for Norway) £80ish.
 
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306024

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Stavanger used to be the end point of the former Flaggruten boat Bergen-Haugesund-Stavanger, a great - now gone link between the Bergen & Stavanger lines if doing the 'nutshell' tour on a budget. Now norled.no, the company that used to run the Flaggruten instead run a passenger express boat from Flåm Pier to Bergen, 4 hours (morning Berg-Fl, afternoon back Fl-Berg), excellent scenery and a fair price (for Norway) £80ish.

That is worth knowing thanks. Did the Flaggruten a couple of times when Ryanair used to fly to Haugesund, and before my Ryanair boycott!

Not sure why Stockholm is getting a bad press, even though it isn’t in Norway. Always found enough to do there, although last time it was the ABBA museum to take me back to my childhood :)
 
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cle

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I've done a fair bit.

Oslo to Bergen <> a few times, plus a lot of Bergen-Voss, where I have family. Great little town and wonderful railway station.

Trondheim to Oppdal which is also a great place.

I would echo that Stockholm isn't so great to hang out, Goteborg much better. Ditto I prefer Bergen to Oslo, but they are small enough to check out and suss out for yourself.

Oslo does have quite an intensive suburban network and core with frequency (out to Asker or Drammen say, nothing towns but good rail activity) - plus of course watching every train, suburban EMU, long distance, country cow train come run through Nationaltheatret underground is an atmospheric hour or two in itself)
 

JonasB

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I think you are being a bit unfair to Stockholm, there are some really nice parts and all the water adds to the beauty. And the Vasa museum is truly special and not something you find in any European capital.
 

306024

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I think you are being a bit unfair to Stockholm, there are some really nice parts and all the water adds to the beauty. And the Vasa museum is truly special and not something you find in any European capital.

I’m on your side. Found the Vasa museum fascinating. Usually stay on a boat instead of a hotel, room is tiny of course as it is just a cabin but breakfast is superb.
 

takno

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I've only ever done the sleeper up to Narvik from Stockholm (which isn't perfect, but is a lot nicer than Copenhagen, and does indeed have a boat hostel with a good breakfast). That was nice enough but overall I'd say the bus from there up to Tromso was a nicer bit of the journey.

If you're going a long way up north I can recommend late September/early October - still reasonably warm, decent chance at the northern lights, and enough daytime to properly appreciate it. No doubt there's an appeal to seeing it covered in snow, but crossing Canada in January probably got me enough of that for a lifetime.

I'd love to go back and spend some time in the south, especially now that I know a little bit more of the language.
 

Volvictof

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I’m looking at doing this myself so I’m glad I came across this thread.
Any advice for someone who’s never planned a trip abroad before? I’m looking at a solo winter trip up to Bergen but I have no idea about pricing and booking etc. I assume Norway is an expensive place to visit?
 

Class45

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In 2013 I did a trip by train from Oslo to Bodo via Trondheim, then plane up to Narvik and then the train down to Stockholm. I really liked Stockholm ( including the Vasa museum mentioned above ) and I'd like to go back there some time. In Stockholm I stayed in the captains cabin on the Af Chapman which was an interesting experience, and not too expensive by Scandinavian standards.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I think you are being a bit unfair to Stockholm, there are some really nice parts and all the water adds to the beauty. And the Vasa museum is truly special and not something you find in any European capital.
Oslo has a rival in its Viking Ship Museum (a short ferry ride across the harbour) which I've been to, smaller than Vasa but very interesting.
There's also a Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde (Denmark).

Stockholm is also the base for a multitude of ferry trips, including through the archipelago and across to the Åland islands and Finland.
Stockholm-Mariehamn-Turku is one of the best (and cheapest) long-distance (11 hours) ferry trips you can make.
Both Stockholm and Oslo have impressive folk museums with restored farmhouses, wooden churches etc, with folk music/dance to match.
 

Gloster

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Although it is a while since I visited, I would be very surprised if Norway is not still horrendously expensive. A far as the Bergen line is concerned, the short days and limited timetable mean that it is difficult to do this scenic line in daylight in winter. It is also likely to be busy in the ski season: a rough way of working out when this is is to look at the timetable and see when the Bergen-Ål train (Friday p.m out, Sunday p.m. return) runs, as it is an extra for ski traffic. (But remember: if there’s snow, there’s a Norwegian skiing on it.)

Although the trains are operated by different operators, booking and ticketing should be common. The Bergen line is operated by Vy ( .vy.no ), formerly NSB.
 

thejuggler

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Norway is expensive to visit and unfortunately this includes food and drink.

Its about 8 years since we were last there. Prices we noticed. £16 a pint in Oslo, £30 for a 10 inch takeaway pizza, £60 each for a buffet lunch in a hotel. As long as you can afford it its well worth visiting.
 

Gloster

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Allow yourself time to buy food in supermarkets: they are expensive by UK standards, but not (relatively) as much as eating out. And, as mentioned above, alcohol is very expensive.
 

nanstallon

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In 2013, I travelled extensively on Norway's railways. By booking in advance I got very reasonable 'Mini-prix' fares, and you can benefit from distance tapering. You don't need to book each leg separately; Bergen to Bodo with changes at Oslo and Trondheim cost about £35 equivalent. The exchange rate seems to have improved; still expensive, but well worth it!
 

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