September 17, 2019

Norway in miniature – independently

In fact, Norway in miniature is a route to the Sognefjord, which includes a combination of public transport trips and stops in 2 villages of the Sognefjord. The route can be started and/or terminated at Bergen, Oslo or Voss. The route can be made circular, or start in one city, and end in another. The duration of the route is from one day to a couple of weeks. This route is probably the most popular tourist route in Norway, as it allows those who travel without a car to see the beauty of the fjords – Norway in miniature)

What is included in the route

The main interest on the route is 2 villages on the fjord – Flåm, and Gudwangen, the Flåm Railway and a cruise on the fjord.

Flom

Flom village is the most “tourist” on the Sognefjord. There is no choice of accommodation, a couple of restaurants and a dozen cafes. In the day route, the stop in the village is an hour and a half, depending on the direction of travel. During this time you can walk along the embankment, have a snack in one of the cafes and, in fact, everything. In the village, it makes sense to stop for a couple of days, if you do not want to look at the fjords, but to truly experience this unique region – climb the mountains above the fjord, go to the nearby tiny village of Uhredal and eat brown goat cheese, ride along the fjord for high-speed rubber boat, hang out in the evening at a local bar and watch the sunrise / sunset on the fjords.

Gudwangen

The village of Gudwangen is located on the Neroufjord (narrow fjord), which is often called the most picturesque section of the Sognefjord. In the day route, there are practically no stops in the village – you just make a transfer from the bus to the ferry or vice versa. In Gudvangen, few people stop, there is practically no infrastructure here. But, on the other hand, Gudwangen will be interesting for those who want to, for example, visit a Viking village, rent a kayak or join a kayak-tour in order to walk along the Neroufjord in a kayak, climb mountains above the fjord and fly a steam plane. If you want to make a stop in Gudwangen, book your accommodation in advance (preferably several months before the trip)

Cruise on Neroufjord

Flum and Gudwangen lie on two adjacent sleeves of the Sognefjord – Aurlandsfjord, and Neroufjord, respectively. These two villages are interconnected by ferry. The length of Neroufjord is about 17 km, at the narrowest point the width of the fjord is only 250 meters, the mountains here rise to 1,760 meters above sea level, creating dramatic landscapes. By the way, there is an opinion that it was Neroufjord who became the prototype of the fairy-tale country Erendell in the Disney cartoon “The Cold Heart”.

The length of the cruise is about two hours. Ships stop at Urendal and Aurland, as well as stops on-demand in small villages on the fjord. On the route, ordinary small ships and large, modern “premium” boxes run. Tickets can be bought online or on the spot. In high season there may be a problem with tickets. For the current schedule and cost of ferry cruises

Flåm Railway

The Flåm Railway was opened in 1940, it took about 16 years to build. The result of such a protracted construction exceeded all expectations – the Flåm Railway was one of the steep, in the literal sense of the word, railway lines in the world. The road connects Flom with the village of Myrdal, at the railway station of which the intercity train Bergen – Oslo stops.

Along the way, the train opens magical landscapes on the valley of Flom. Moreover, the train stops at the observation deck next to the large Kjosfossen waterfall. The length of the railway is about 20 km, the trains run every hour. Tickets can be purchased on-site, at the railway ticket office (according to the train principle) or in advance on the NSB website (Norway Railway).

Additional stops on the route

The town of Voss and the village of Myrdal are essentially the starting and ending points of the fjord part of the route. Moreover, the route can go in both directions, both through Voss and through Myrdal.

Voss

This small mountain town is located on the shores of a picturesque mountain lake, 100 km from Bergen. The ski capital of the region in the summer turns into a center of active tourism. It is worth planning an additional stop here for rafting, trekking into the mountains, extreme entertainment such as descending a waterfall, skydiving or extreme kayaking.

Voss connects with Gudvangen serpentine road, which in itself is already a landmark.

Mirdal

Myrdal is a very tiny village, which in more cases tourists and travelers simply pass on the way from/to Flåm. Only lovers of untouched nature and adventure stop here – walk alone along endless mountain trails, go mountain biking, ride a zip line, live in a traditional provincial Nordic-hotel and eat waffles or home-made cakes at a local cafe.

Route logistics

Via Voss

The route through Voss begins either to Bergen or Oslo. How to get to Voss from Oslo or Bergen.

Further to the Sognefjord region:

  • from Voss to Gudwagen – by bus
  • from Gudwagen to Flåm on a cruise ferry
  • from Flåm to Mirdal by train on the Flåm Railway

From Myrdal by train Bergen – Oslo, you can go in any of the directions

Through Myrdal

You can also get to Mirdal by train from Oslo or from Bergen. Schedule and tickets.

Further to the Sognefjord region:

  • from Mirdal to Flåm by train on the Flåm Railway
  • from Flom to Goodwagen on a cruise ferry
  • from Gudwagen to Voss by bus

How to get from Voss to Oslo or Bergen.

Go alone or buy a tour

Tours Norway in miniature is a set of tickets and a schedule for all transport on the route. You can buy a tour on the website fjord tours,  and pick up tickets upon arrival in Oslo or Bergen. When booking, you can specify a stop along the route with the desired dates. It should be noted that the cost of such a tour will cost significantly more than a package of tickets purchased on their own, but will probably relieve a headache.

If you still decide to go on your own, see the ready routes:

  • Route: From Oslo to Bergen via the Sognefjord
  • Route: From Bergen to Oslo via Sognefjord
  • 3 days on the fjords from Bergen or Oslo

The approximate cost of transport on the route, if you go by yourself and buy train tickets in advance: 1200 – 1400 NOK (125 € – 147 €)

How to organize a trip yourself

  1. Decide on the direction. Decide how you want to start the journey – through Voss or through Myrdal. We would advise starting the journey through Mirdal if you are traveling from Oslo to Bergen or from Bergen and returning to Bergen and want to include the Flom Railway on the route anyway.
  2. Book your Oslo-Bergen train tickets (see the booking link above). NSB trains can be booked for a period of 90 days in advance. Booking in advance, you can significantly save and choose the right time. If you do not plan to make a stop in Mirdal, you can buy a ticket immediately to Flom. Depart Oslo from either the central station in the central part of the city or from the airport (if you do not plan to stop at Oslo).
  3. Book a ferry (see above). Or do not book and take tickets on the spot. You can always get from Flom to Gudwagen by shuttle or taxi.
  4. Download the Skyss app to buy tickets for the section from Bergen – Voss – Gudwagen.

How to save

Significantly save in several ways.

First, you can remove the Flom Railway from the route and start the journey from Voss. Bus Voss – Gudvagen costs about 60 NOK, in contrast to 400 NOK by train. This option is especially relevant for those planning a trip to the fjords from Bergen since Voss is connected to Bergen by public transport, in contrast to Mirdal, to which it is two orders of magnitude more expensive.

Secondly, you can remove from the route cruise on the fjord. We know that it sounds almost seditious for those who have never been to the fjords, but a cruise can be replaced by trekking along the fjord. In addition, there are alternative options for how to see the fjord from the water – for example, rent a boat or kayak. From Flåm to Gudvangen or back you can get there by local bus, which costs about 60 NOK. This option is especially relevant for those who plan to spend several days on the fjord. Just wait for a little with the purchase of a cruise and orient yourself on the spot, whether you want a cruise or not.

By removing both options you can put tickets in the 600-800 NOK.

How to diversify

Select the villages of Uredredal or Aurland as an alternative stop on the fjord (see the villages on the Sognefjord page for details ). Both villages are connected by bus and ferry services to Flåm. In addition, direct buses from Voss and Bergen run to Aurland.

Add Balestrand to the route (see the Sognefjord page for details ). High-speed boats ply to Balestrand from Flåm and Aurland. From  Balestrand, you can return to Bergen by ferry or by bus.

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