So you want to go to Norway and see some of the country while travelling? Choose trains! The Norwegian state rail company NSB is not the fastest, but probably the most comfortable way of travelling across the beautiful landscapes of Norway. Majestic fjords, steep cliffs, forests and mountain views – the combination of trains and hostels is a great way to experience some of the very best things Norway has to offer on a budget.
When to travel?
The landscapes in Norway change a lot (a lot!!) between summer and winter, so if you are up for green colour – choose May-August, and if you are more a white person- choose January-March. Train tickets may be cheaper in the winter, when there are fewer travellers.
Where to travel by train?
If you get into Oslo, you have several great options to travel by train:
- For the beach & sea-lovers: take the Southern Norwegian rail to Kristiansand and Stavanger
The Southern Norwegian rail – Sørlandsbanen – will take you from Oslo and down to the south of Norway. The train goes mostly through the woods, but stops in places like Kongsberg, Bø and Kristiansand before ending its journey in magnificent Stavanger. The total journey time is 8 hours. From Stavanger, there is easy access to the Pulpit Rock and Kjerag, some of the most popular tourist attractions in Norway (not open in the winter, though).
For accomodation along the way, we suggest Kongsberg Hostel and Froland Hostel – once in Stavanger, stay at Stavanger St.Svithun.
2. The obligatory tour: Take the «Bergensbanen» across the mountains to Bergen, Voss and Flåm
To take the Bergensbanen for the first time is simply a lot of fun. You start in Oslo, head south-east and then climb the mountains of Mid-Norway on your way to the west coast. Soon there are barely houses, only wild nature – and the train. And you. Many choose to exit the train in Myrdal, and take the spectacular Flåmsbana down to the Flåm valley. Some people even bike down!
When you are on your way, take a stop-over and do some hiking at Geilo Hostel. You can also stay in the Flåm Valley at Flåm Hostel, continue to Voss Hostel and when in Bergen, obviously spend your nights in Bergen Montana Hostel – a great starting point for hikes.
3. Combination of mountain plateaus and fjords: Take the «Raumabanen» to beautiful Åndalsnes and the fjords
Raumabanen goes between Dombås and Åndalsnes, so you have to start by jumping on the regional train in direction Trondheim. From Dombås, the trip to Åndalsnes takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. The train goes through the beautiful Romsdalsvalley where you can also see Trollveggen, «the Troll Wall».
Why not take a break and go hiking at Dombås Hostel and then continue to cozy Åndalsnes Hostel?
4. For the patient: Take the Northern Norwegian rail to Bodø!
Are you ready for a long adventure? Take the train from Oslo, change in Trondheim and continue up to Bodø in the north of Norway. The whole trip takes around 18 hours, but you are guaranteed amazing scenery on the way. Many train travellers get to see musk oxes at the Dovrefjell plateau, and are excited about crossing the Arctic Circle on the way. Once you have arrived in Bodø, spend a few days and continue by high-speed boat to the famous Lofoten Islands.
If you need a stopover (you might!), take an overnight at Hjerkinn Hostel before you continue to Bodø and Bodø Hostel – located at the train station in the city. You can’t be closer than that…
Which tickets should I get?
You can either travel with an Interrail pass (see more informaion on www.interrail.eu) or buy separate tickets. Look out for the «Minipris» tickets that can be a lot cheaper if you choose to travel long distances, for instance 249 NOK from Oslo to Trondheim or Stavanger.
How are Norwegian trains?
Norwegian trains are clean and generally quite spacious. Unlike the trains in Denmark, there is always a cafe/bistro on the regional trains (which is great!). There are also night trains where you can choose between a bed or just a regular seat. In the regular seats you are provided with a blow-up pillow, a blanket, eye blinds and ear plugs.
Have a fantastic train & hostel trip!!
article written by Ragna Skøien