This beautiful country is simply stunning, I visited in February 2013 to discover the last wilderness of Europe. Taking in Bergen, Oslo and the Svalbard archipelago, I was so excited to visit a place often depicted as the country “powered by nature”.
Firstly let me start by saying Norway is far from cheap, however the rewards of visiting greatly outweigh the monetary aspect. I had researched quite a lot online beforehand, this taught me that I needed to bring some snack type foods with me, however make sure you try out some of the local cuisine too.
Travelling by train in winter!
So what possessed me to visit a cold country in winter?
I’m originally from Northern England, which is usually relatively cold in winter, sometimes it snows, but nothing prepared me for the Arctic and how much it would snow in Norway. I was amazed when my flight from Oslo to Tromso, in the far north, took off in a blizzard!
I believe Norway should be seen in its true natural beauty, this is between November – March. This is the perfect opportunity as it’s not peak tourist season. This means you can find special offers and deals can be done.
Oslo to Bergen
Unfortunately I didn’t have time on this trip to explore Oslo, however I can’t wait to revisit Norway, so far it’s one of my favourite countries and is incredibly easy to get around.
Beware though, taking the train can be a long but rewarding journey. You can fly anywhere in the world, but where else would you see magnificent fjords or beautiful mountains with almost no people?
Taking the train from Oslo to Bergen takes approximately six and a half hours, it’s the perfect opportunity to relax and soak up the stunning Norwegian scenery. In winter it’s perfect as the train is warm whilst outside it could be -20!!
Along the route the train stops at several stations providing the quick opportunity to jump out and take some photos. For me it was amazing to see people living in the wilderness, houses almost disappeared from the amount of snow covering them.
When you get closer to Bergen be prepared for the many tunnels, you might not see much. Once in Bergen though you’ll find an exciting mix of old and new with an amazing port and historic Bryggen.
At just over 20km long, the journey is relatively short. However Lonely Planet listed it as the best train journey in the world in 2014 (Source: Lonely Planet). Flamsbana (as the journey is referred to) is unique due to 80% of the journey being at a gradient of 5.5%.
Obviously in summer you have the wonderful lush green valleys which are incredible, however in winter the train is certainly more memorable. I often wondered if the train would make it, but thankfully it did and was absolutely incredible.
Along the short route you’ll reach Finse, the highest station in Norway. At 1,222m above sea level, for me, this was an incredible experience as houses were completely covered in snow and either side of the railway tracks were packed so high with snow that you couldn’t see out of the window.
You can easily catch a train from Bergen to Myrdal and then catch the Flåm line. Once you arrive in Flåm it’s the perfect opportunity to do a fjord tour, although in winter make sure you take your hat, gloves, scarf and thermals, otherwise you’ll freeze your bits off!
To check out prices and more information about Flåm visit the website here.
If you’d like to discover more photographs and information from this trip or any others please feel free to ask me any questions. You can visit my Facebook page and please don’t forget to ‘Like’ Travel Geek UK.