Train travel is the best way to experience a country. It’s cheap, eco-friendly, and you can meet locals and fellow travellers alike. With a modern train system and good connections, Norway is one of the best countries in Europe to explore by train. Here are our favourite journeys:
The rail road connecting the Norwegian capital Oslo with the second city of Bergen, is a legendary journey for train lovers. Regularly praised for being the most beautiful rail trips in the world, a trip on the Bergensbanen shows you the best Norwegian landscapes in all their variety: From the forested hills near Oslo, to the highest mountain peaks, the Arctic tundra and glaciers of Hardangervidda, and the magnificent fjords of the West Coast.
On several of the most scenic spots on the road, we have HI hostels that you can use as base for further exploring the area. HI Geilo lies halfway between Oslo and Bergen. It is a perfect place for mountain hikes and bicycle tours across the Hardangervidda and Hallingskarvet Mountain Plateaus. In winter, Geilo is a good place for Alpine and cross-country skiing, as it has good snow conditions and numerous trails and slopes around town.
The town of Voss lies closer to Bergen, and is known as the “Adventure Capital” of Norway. Surrounded by mountains, lakes and fjords, there is all-year outdoor fun to be had. Our hostel lies in walking distance from the train station, at the shores of the Vangsvatnet lake.
In Myrdal, you can hop off the Bergensbanen and take a detour on the popular Flåmsbanen. This train takes you all the way down to the fjord town of Flåm, from where you can catch a boat and explore the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. In Flåm, we also have a hostel that’s regularly been called one of the best HI hostels in the world.
Who hasn’t heard the call from the Far North? That land of the midnight sun, the northern lights, far above the Arctic circle, which has a magnetic attraction on travellers from around the world? A trip on the Nordland Railway, is the perfect way to explore the North.
If you start in Oslo, you’ll first have to take the Dovre Railway to Trondheim. This in itself is a beautiful journey, as the train passes through the interior valleys and highlands of Norway. Read our article about the Dovrebanen here. From Trondheim, you can take the Nordland Railway two times a day (early in the morning or late at night).
As the train follows its way among the coast, you can see how the landscapes will get more and more barren and empty. The forests slowly disappear, until only small birches remain. It takes about ten hours to get to the end destination: the town of Bodø. Here, you can stay at our HI Bodø hostel, situated in the train station and open all-year round. Bodø is a perfect place to catch a ferry and go explore the Lofoten Islands, the most beautiful islands in Scandinavia.
Though maybe a little less known than the Flåm Railway, the Rauma Railway is also a beautiful line that takes you right to the heart of the fjords. For this line, you’ll need to take the Dovre Line to Dombås first. From Dombås, the line takes you down to Åndalsnes, a small village by the Romsdalsfjorden. Here, you can stay at our Åndalsnes hostel, and explore the beautiful mountainous area. Nearby attractions include the Trollstigen Road, or you can travel further towards Molde, and the Atlantic Road.
Book your stay at www.hihostels.no
photo top: Konstantin Malanchev
text: Robin Van de Walle