Norway; Norway in a Nutshell; Flamsbana; Fjord; Flam Railway

Norway in a Day

Sognefjord, Norway

When Fjord Norway , said I can see Norway in a day, I basically said, no way! (Sorry, can’t resist!) Although you don’t actually see the whole country, you’ll get to experience the best of the country, thus reason why the tour is called Norway in a Nutshell. This is not your typical tour where you will be in one bus the whole day and follow a guide. This is a completely customizable self-guided tour, with route either one way or round-trip starting from Oslo or Bergen, usually done in one long day but an overnight stay can be added. You’ll be riding trains, a bus and a ferry passing by picturesque towns, snowy mountains, beautiful waterfalls and gorgeous fjords along the way.

I usually like trip planning and can say I’m pretty good at it, but seriously if I have to plan this trip on my own, it can be pretty overwhelming. Booking through Fjord Tours made the trip so much easier. They will give options every step of the way, from routes, time preferences, hotels (if you want to stay longer in a town) and presenting it to you in one full package. Our version of Norway in a Nutshell is a roundtrip tour starting in Bergen, arriving to Myrdal then to Flåm where we board a ferry that goes to Gudvangen then arriving in Voss and back to Bergen. 

Our day started early at 7:57 am departing Bergen Central Station then going to Myrdal. Because we arrived late the night before and because it was at the height of winter when the sun doesn’t rise until about 9 am, it was extra hard to get up. The first hour of the ride was the good time to dose off. As we get to the second hour, the sun began to rise and we got to see more and more snow in the mountains. By the time we got to Myrdal, it was like a winter wonderland. Cold, windy and snowy, the place looked like winter wonderland. 

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There were only two platforms when we arrived and the famous Flåm Railway was already there waiting for us. This 45-minute leg of the tour is said to be one of the most beautiful journeys in the world. The 20 kilometer long track was build over 20 years. It passes through twenty tunnels with an altitude difference of 867 meters. 

Beautiful scenery was everywhere with during the whole train ride with new waterfall to be seen every minute. There are commentaries on the TV screens inside the each car. When in the train going on our route from Myrdal to Flåm, I suggest staying on the left side of the train to get better views. The train also had a short stop at Kjosfossen waterfall, which was still a sight to see even when it was frozen.

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Flåm was where we got to spend more time to stretch out our legs and walk around. It was such a quaint little village with small shops in every little corner. Just right next to the train station is a big red structure labeled Mall of Norway, where the Tourist Information center, public toilets and some souvenir shops are located. There was also the Flåmsbana Museum where you can learn more about the Flåm Railway and some history of Flåm village. Because it was winter, most of the restaurants and bars were closed. However, you can’t miss the freshly-baked pastry smell coming from Flåm Bakery. 

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After a couple of hours we were excited to board a nice, large beautiful ferry. I heard that it can get really pack in the summer but since it was early February, the ferry wasn’t even full. Big, large windows were all around but the decks were also open for passengers. This is probably my favorite part of the trip because we got to finally see the beautiful fjords of Norway. Our trip sailed through two arms of Sognefjord, which extends 200 kilometers, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway.

Aurlandsfjord is the first of two arms and starts in Flåm. High mountains surround the fjord, which runs up to 17-kilometers. It ends at Beitelen mountain, where the famous Nærøyfjord begins. The Nærøyfjord is the narrowest arm of Sognefjord, but is is also the most beautiful. Waterfalls, valleys, snow-covered mountains can be found here, making it part of UNESCO World Heritage List. During this Fjord tour, we stayed mostly indoors because of the cold winter wind left us freezing, but by the time we got to this part, we couldn’t help ourselves but go outside to the decks and admire the scenic natural landscape. 

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It wasn’t long after when we reached our next stop, the port of Gudvangen. It was already dark at 5:00 pm, and we can barely see anything but our cameras captured beautiful lights of some houses and the winter white snow-capped mountains. From here we took the bus to Voss then the train back to Bergen. 

It was a long day, and we reached Bergen train station exactly 12 hours after we departed in the morning. We were tired, sleep-deprived and jet-lagged but were glad and thankful to have experienced this journey. I think it is the best way to see the country if you’re pressed for time, or to start your Norway trip as it’ll show you the natural beauty of this gorgeous country. 

Special thanks to Fjord Norway, Fjord Tours, and Visit Sognefjord for showing us around their country by sponsoring our Norway in a Nutshell tour. As always, all photos were taken by me and and all opinions are my own.

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About Sarah

A perpetual dreamer, an eternal nomad and a Francophile at heart.

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