Bergen, Norway's gateway to the fjords, and Flåm, the lovely village at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, are 110 kilometers apart as the crow flies. The northeast of Bergen This community can be reached by car, train, ferry or cruise ship. The cruise ships have to cope with the furthest way to Flåm. You drive through the Sognefjord and the Aurlandsfjord. At the end of this estuary lies Flåm. By the way: At 204 kilometers, the Sognefjord is Europe's longest and deepest fjord.
Flåm - the idyllic village on the Aurlandsfjord
The location and stunning nature have made the village surrounded by high mountains thrive as one of Norway's most popular tourist destinations since the 19th century. Steep mountain faces, the Flåmselvi River, plentiful waterfalls and the starting point of a fantastic railway route attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
The origins of the village date back to the 17th century. The evidence for this is the Flåm Kirke. For centuries, the inhabitants of Flåm lived exclusively from agriculture and alpine farming. In the meantime, the place has achieved visible prosperity as a result of tourism.
Flam - hotels and holiday homes
Flåm - unforgettable activities
Tourists don't visit Flåm just for the beautiful scenery. They come to hike or to discover the region by bike. One of the highlights of a visit to Flåm is a ride on the world-famous Flåmsbana.
Tourists also book different fjord safaris in the Aurlandsfjord and in the UNESCO World Heritage Nærøyfjord. We give a few examples of the excursions on offer. The prices mentioned are valid in 2023.
|Nærøyfjord round trip by minibus and boat||NOK715 (EUR 61)|
|Fjord Safaris - Duration 2¼ hours||NOK970 (EUR 83)|
|Hike to the waterfall||NOK570 (EUR 49)|
|Visit to the Stegastein (650 meter high vantage point)||NOK380 (EUR 32)|
Flåm - Fjordsafari boat
The Flåmsbana - one of the most beautiful train routes in the world
Traveling on the Flåm Railway is one of Norway's major tourist attractions and Flåm is the starting point of the railway line. In 2015 alone, more than 781.000 people took a ride on the train, which runs all year round.
The Flåmsbana travels the world's steepest standard-gauge railway line. The stage, which is exactly 20,2 kilometers long, leads from Flåm to the final stop and the Myrdal railway junction. The trains start at two meters above sea level and end an hour later in sleepy Myrdal at 867 meters. There you can change to the Oslo-Bergen train. The train journey to Bergen takes about three hours; Oslo can be reached in seven and a half hours.
The Flåmsbana is a masterpiece of Norwegian engineering. It took 20 years of construction to complete the route. The trains manage gradients of up to 80 percent on 5,5 percent of the route. In the course of the journey, they pass 20 tunnels, one of which is designed as a turning tunnel. This tunnel loops in and out of the mountain on multiple levels. Train passengers are offered breathtaking views down into the valley throughout the journey.
Flåm - Galleries protect the trains from falling rocks
On the journey up to Myrdal, the trains travel at a maximum speed of 40 km/h. For safety reasons, trains travel at a maximum speed of 30 km/h on the descent. In the high season (May to October), eight to ten trains run daily. In the winter season, the railway company runs four trips.
Depending on the size of the cruise ships heading for Flåm, there are ticket bottlenecks in the availability of individual departures as a result of the priorities claimed by the shipping companies. However, individual travelers can rest assured that they can take the next train or the train after that to Myrdal and back on the same day.
In 2023, a return ticket per person will cost NOK 680 (equivalent to EUR 58). In 2009 the fare was NOK 165. Despite the significant price increase, the train journey is money well spent. – As expected, cruise lines offer the trip with the Flåmsbana at significantly higher rates. However, the train journeys offered by the shipping companies end in Vatnahalsen, one station before Myrdal. In the Vatnahalsen Hotel, the ship's guests are given a drink and a waffle for "refreshment". We doubt whether this additional performance justifies the significantly higher costs.
Kjosfossen waterfall stop - the natural phenomenon
At Kjosfossen Waterfall, four kilometers from Myrdal, trains make a 93-minute photo stop on the return journey. From a wide viewing platform, passengers marvel at the mighty waterfall, which is one of Norway's most visited cataracts. The drop is XNUMX meters.
As a bonus, the fellow travelers experience performances by the "Huldra" to mystical music in the summer months. In Scandinavian folklore, the huldra is a beautiful woodland fairy that has a cow's or fox's tail, depending on the region. She beguiles men with her singing and takes them astray. At Kjosfossen, students from the Norwegian ballet school perform Huldra.
Kjosfossen waterfall with the Huldra
Hike along the Flåmselvi river
The route of the Flåmsbana runs above the Flåmselvi river. In Håreina, the second station after Flåm, the train is already 48 meters above sea level. We recommend getting off at Håreina station on the return journey from Myrdal to Flåm and walking the remaining four kilometers through the valley of the Flåmselvi river.
Håreina in the valley of the Flåmselvi river
Attention: The trains stop at the stations on request. Exceptions are Kjosfossen and Myrdal. To get off at one of the intermediate stops, passengers should contact the conductors.
Below the train station is the dark brown Flåm Kirke; it is our first venue in the valley. The small wooden church was consecrated in 1670. The number of seats is given as 80. The interior walls are painted. The partly naive representations show trees, landscapes, plants and animals. The altarpiece, like the pulpit, dates from the second half of the 17th century. Only the organ is of recent origin. It was made in 1979. The wooden pews, on the other hand, look old.
All in all, Flåm Kirke corresponds to the ideas we have of a Norwegian village church. The unadorned, almost plain cemetery in front of the church is worth mentioning. It consists of a large lawn, tombstones of different sizes and floral decorations.
Flåm Kirke - the cemetery
The way to the ship leads us through the wide valley of the Flåmselvi river. We see green meadows dotted with wildflowers and clusters of stately homes in early summer. At Flåmselvi we stop at the Steinshølen Bridges, built more than 100 years ago. At that time, they were used primarily by English nobility when fishing for salmon, as easy and safe access to the river.
We save ourselves the detour to the Brekkefossen waterfall. A short time later we see it above us in all its beauty.
The buildings in the river valley are becoming denser, the houses and gardens appear more elaborate. It is unmistakable that we are approaching Flåm, the starting point of our excursion. On the last 500 meters the path seems boring to us. However, this does not detract from the almost dreamlike experience of the trip on the Flåmsbana and the subsequent hike through the river valley in bright sunshine.
Flåm – destination of cruise ships
In 2023 as a whole, Flåm expects 113 small and large cruise ships between February and October. The capacity of the ships is up to 240.000 passengers. A pier is available for day guests to comfortably disembark, which accommodates ships of more than 330 meters in length. If two ships call at Flåm on the same day, the larger ship is at the quay; the guests of the smaller ship are tendered.
Next to the quay, the visitor center, shops, a hotel, bike rental, the railway museum and the Flåmsbana train station are all within walking distance.
Update June 2023