Flåm Railway: A Complete Guide to Riding Norway’s Flåmsbana

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Embark on a scenic journey from the towering mountains to the idyllic fjords with one of Norway's most enchanting tourist attractions, the Flåm Railway.

Widely acclaimed as one of the most stunning train rides on the planet, the Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana) serves as the vital link connecting the fjordside village of Flåm with Norway's main rail artery from Oslo to Bergen.

Norway by Rail

In a span of less than an hour, the train whisks you from altitudes exceeding 850 metres above sea level to the tranquil shores of the Aurlandsfjord.

It takes passengers through a spectacular valley along a stony trail frequented by enthusiastic cyclists and hikers, painting a vivid picture of the Norwegian wilderness. The beautiful, blue river is visible outside the train windows for long periods, as are small farms in surprising locations.

Additionally, it is a gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord. Connecting ferries allow travellers to discover the mesmerising landscapes of the west Norwegian fjords.

A popular tourist attraction

As such, pairing a rail journey on these two trains with a fjord cruise and perhaps a stay in the charming towns of Flåm, Aurland, or Gudvangen has become a celebrated travel itinerary, drawing both Norwegians and international visitors in great numbers.

View of the river and houses from the Flåm railway.
Scenery on the Flåm railway.

Travel packages are conveniently available for booking from Oslo or Bergen, although the more adventurous travellers might choose to tailor their own unique itinerary.

Buying a ticket on the Flåm railway

Flåmsbana is in operation all year round, although the number of departures and departure times depends on the season.

Fares during the high season (May-September) are NOK 680 for the roundtrip, or NOK 470 for a one-way ticket. Children under 18 pay significantly less. You can expect to pay either NOK 590 or NOK 500 for a roundtrip ticket out of high season.

Flåm Railway from Oslo: Book a self-guided package deal from Oslo to Bergen that includes Norway's two most famous railways. This full day trip is a fantastic way to travel between Oslo and Bergen.

As long as there is availability, tickets can be booked on the day at the ticket office. But given the popularity of Flåm in summer months, reserving a place in advance is recommended. You can do this online here.

Flåm railway for cruise ship passengers

These days, Flåm is one of the busiest cruise ports in Norway. Many cruise lines offer their passengers an excursion on the railway, but there's rarely a need to pay the high prices.

Cruise ships in Flåm, Norway.
Cruise ship passengers will be offered excursions on the Flåm railway.

Passengers on an organised excursion will have specific carriages reserved, but if the excursion is full, the carriages will be too. In contrast, the regular carriages are often much quieter.

The lower station of the railway is just a few minutes stroll from the cruise ship port. So, you can simply walk up and buy your own ticket! Just be sure to check the timetables in advance if this is your plan.

What to expect on the train journey

The Flåm Railway is one of the world's steepest standard-gauge railway lines. To grasp the breathtaking views you'll experience on this journey, you can preview this journey through online videos from the comfort of your home.


Passengers are treated to a visual feast of towering mountainsides, roaring waterfalls, verdant vegetation, and intricate tunnels (20 in total), topped with a passage over a stunning bridge.

Although promoted as a tourist service, it is also used by the occasional local passenger and hiker. As such, there are a few stations along the route. Some of these also serve as marvellous photo opportunities.

Kjosfossen waterfall

One such highlight is the powerful Kjosfossen waterfall, a spectacle of nature's raw power. The train halts here momentarily, allowing passengers to marvel at the waterfall's grandeur up close.

During the summer season, an actress garbed as a huldra (a mythical seductress from Norse folklore) performs a captivating dance by the waterfall, adding a touch of mysticism to the experience.

Kjosfossen waterfall on the Flåm railway.
Trains on the Flåm railway stop for a few minutes at Kjosfossen waterfall.

Quoting the experience of travel enthusiast, Chris Butler, “The Flåmsbana is such a revered and beautiful journey that there is a real buzz as we board the train. People rush to get window seats, and as we start our journey, they jostle for a good view but will also move aside to let others enjoy it. Perhaps this level of natural beauty brings out the best in people?”

Explore Flåm village

Should your itinerary permit, the village of Flåm is well-worth an extended stay, perhaps even an overnight stop. While the village bustles with visitors when a cruise ship docks, the evening restores its tranquillity and paints an entirely different, more serene picture.

With an array of intriguing eateries, a supermarket for essentials, and a selection of cozy accommodations, Flåm can be a pleasantly surprising place to spend the night. Try to navigate your departure before the influx of tourists to make the most of your serene experience.

If time permits, a visit to the Flåm Railway Museum, located near the train station, offers a peek into the railway's historical roots. Exhibits include an authentic EL-9 locomotive and numerous monochrome photographs narrating the intriguing tale of the railway's construction in the pre-computer era.

The inception of the railway line dates back to 1916 when it received Parliament's approval. However, actual construction was not initiated until the 1920s, and regular operation commenced only in November 1944.

A view from Flåm from the Aurlandsfjord.
A view from Flåm from the Aurlandsfjord.

Flåm is also a hiker's paradise, with numerous trails leading through the beautiful Norwegian countryside. The nearby Flåm Church (Flåm kyrkje), a beautiful 17th-century church, is an easy 3km walk next to the railway line.

The primary reason for staying in Flåm, however, remains the opportunity to embark on a sightseeing ferry to the Nærøyfjord. Electric-powered passenger ferries carry camera-wielding tourists along this incredible waterway throughout the day.

Travellers have the option of returning via the ferry, hopping on a bus, or settling in the quaint village of Gudvangen to continue their exploration.

Flåm Railway from Oslo: Book a self-guided package deal from Oslo to Bergen that includes Norway's two most famous railways. This full day trip is a fantastic way to travel between Oslo and Bergen.

Does the prospect of traversing the captivating Norwegian landscape in such a unique way excite you? Learn more about how best to see Norway by train in our comprehensive guide.

Whether you're a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or a fan of train travel, the Flåm Railway offers an experience that is both refreshing and fascinating. This unforgettable journey from fjell to fjord is sure to etch memories that will last a lifetime.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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2 thoughts on “Flåm Railway: A Complete Guide to Riding Norway’s Flåmsbana”

    • No, the names are not related. Flå is on the Bergen line though, but it’s a village in eastern Norway, while Flåm is on the west coast.


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