Riding the The Flåm Railway in Norway

Slow Travel from Myrdal to Flåm

The highlight of my first trip to Scandinavia in the 1970s was riding the The Flåm Railway for an hour from the high mountain plateau at Myrdal down a steep valley to the Aurlandsfjord alongside the destination village of Flåm. It was the off season. The air had a chill to it. Tourists were few.

The cozy inn I chose to stay in completed an interesting introduction to rural life in Norway, despite the fact that a pot of tea cost just about the same as a night in a hotel in, say Spain.

In today's Industrial and globalized world the technology of trains might dazzle an engineer reading the specifications, but nobody would seek one out to take a special ride. The high-speed trains are all very similar; the same even. This sameness does not tickle the imagination. Not in the least.

But the Flåmsbana, that was something else. When I rode it, the train had more braking systems than it did passengers. It was a marvel of not only engineering, but of problem solving. The steepest climb was 55%. There were 18 hand-dug tunnels out of 20 total. The difference in elevation was 863.5 meters for a 20.2 kilometer ride. The railway was unique in all the world, the scenery gorgeous.

Over time the engines changed. Over time more people rode. When I took the journey, the ridership had stabilized at about 175,000 passengers.

Then the modern press took notice and the influx occured.

  • 2010 The Flåm Railway is chosen as one of the top 10 most beautiful train journeys in Europe by National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
  • 2011 The Society of International Railway Travelers proclaims The Flåm Railway to be one of the world's 25 most beautiful train journeys.
  • 2011 New passenger record: 618,557
  • 2012 New passenger record: 635,368
  • 2013 New passenger record: 718,195
  • 2015 New passenger record: 781,427

Today, this beautiful stretch of Scandinavian landscape plied by specialized and once unique machinery has been discovered, and that makes some tourists who've ridden the crowded trains quite sad.

For most though, the one hour train ride is still one of the most interesting in the world, even with the technical advances that take the romance out of thinking how hard it was to put it all together and how many people were involved. Today you can take the ride virtually.

It's better in person, of course. In the off season. The train runs all year.

Map Showing Flam and Myrdal

Discloser: Content in the following sections contains affiliate links, from which we receive a small sum that allows us to bring this free content to you.

Staying in Flam

As you can see if you zoom in the map to Flam, the small village is very close to the town and to the docks. The bargain place to stay is the Flåm Hostel just across the river from the Flåmsbana Museum and downtown Flam. Apartment seekers will gravitate to the new Flåm Ferdaminne. The highest rated hotel in Flam is the Flåmsbrygga Hotel. All are very near the train station.

Views Along the Journey

fiord picture
Aurlandsfjord View by sverrehjornevik.com/Flåm AS
train ride through norwegian valley
Fylke: Sogn og Fjordane by sverrehjornevik.com/Flåm AS

Scandinavia Itinerary Map

Explore a route through the heart of Scandinavia that includes Flam.


Norway Tours

From fjords to the northern lights in lapland, extend your knowledge of Norway.

Check out the tours

Copyright © 2017 - 2024 · All Rights Reserved · Mapping Europe.
Page modified: June 16 2022.