It is hard to think of a better trip anywhere in the world that can be completed inside a single day. It could be that the Norwegians, ever mindful of their high cost of living, feel that most tourists want to get their money’s worth. In just three days you can experience the spirit of Norway.
Several companies operate excursions that whisk you up mountain railways, along precipitous roads and then out to sea to experience Norway’s most famous feature, the iconic fjords.
The Bergen Railway
The typical journey starts with a ride on Northern Europe’s highest-altitude railway line, the Bergen Railway. Exposed to harsh Atlantic weather systems, it is a huge engineering feat just to keep the line open, but you will be glad they do.
The Flåm Railway
The mountain views are stunning as the engine hauls you up incredible steep inclines. From there the rollercoaster ride continues as you transfer to the Flåm Railway, a 20-km (12.5mi) journey from the hill station of Myrdal, which runs alongside magnificent mountain scenery and tumbling waterfalls.
Beautiful though this all is, you quickly realize that it was merely the hors d’oevre. From Flåm the next leg of the excursion us completed by boat. Although the fjords are so obviously a symbol of Norway, one cannot tire of seeing them. These deep-sea gullies, carved by ice, take the breath away and the towering rock faces in both sides make it sometimes hard to believe that you are in water.
The Spirit of Norway
Legendary labyrinthine and starkly beautiful, a journey through the fjords leaves you with images that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
The last leg of this most fabulous of days out takes you by coach, along amazingly winding mountain roads to your final destination of Stalheim. From there it is possible to transfer by train back to Bergen.
You can do the trip all year round but best during the light Norwegian summer, May to July.
Three days or 16 hours?
Total trip takes 16 hours, but we recommend you to choose to stop and use three days. If I should mention some highlights it should be the picturesque village of Flåm, the mountains around Sognefjord, the improbably narrow Naeroyfjord and the Folk museum at Stalheim, a celebration of traditional Nordic life.
Norway can be very expensive, so there’s no shame in taking your own lunch with you. In fact, that is precisely what most locals do.
Spirit of Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): From Flåm, photo: Visit Bergen