Most people who visit Norway dream of seeing it all. They want to spend some time in the Norwegian cities, such as Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger. They also want to see the Northern lights, and dream of trips up north learning about the Sami culture and meeting reindeer. But most of all, they want to see the fjords. One questions I am often asked by people planning their trips to Norway is how they can get from Oslo or Bergen to Flam. And who can blame them? Flam (or Flåm, if you have a fancy Norwegian keyboard like me) is the gateway to one of the most beautiful areas in the world, and a great starting point if you want to see the UNESCO World Heritage Nærøyfjord. So, since I live in Bergen, but was born and raised near Flåm, I’m about to share with you all the ways you can get from Bergen to Flam.
Spending a short amount of time in Bergen, but want to make the most of it? Here are some of my favourite tours of Bergen!
One thing you should know is that there are several ways to get from Bergen to Flam, each with their own pros and cons. Whether you prefer booking your own trips or travelling with a scheduled tour, and depending on how scenic you want the trip to be, you’ll find your perfect mode of transportation in this post! Once you have made it from Bergen airport to the city centre, it’s time to start your trip!
Planning a trip from Bergen to Flåm and want some help? Check out my custom-made Norway itineraries to make your planning process a lot easier! I also have Bergen city itineraries covering just 1 or 2 days in the city!
How to get from Bergen to Flam (and from Flam to Bergen)
You’ll be surprised when I tell you that there are at least 5 different ways to get from Bergen to Flam. Considering that they are only around 170
Regardless of how you decide to travel, please take note of the websites I share with you in this post. They are the official websites for whatever mode of transport I mention, and they are the ones you should check before you set off on your trip. In western Norway, not only are the roads tricky, but we also have rather frequent land slides that can lead to road closures, and also train cancellations.
Also, please take careful note of which website and tour operator you have booked through (if booking a tour). They will be the ones responsible for you if anything goes wrong. Not that you should expect things to go wrong all the time, but if you have booked a Norway in a Nutshell tour through FjordTours, and the train (which is run by NSB) isn’t running for some reason, it is FjordTours (and not NSB) you should be focusing your efforts on contacting. But more on this in each section below.
Side note: since you are visiting Flåm, you’ll want to get your hands on my guidebook to the area! Click the button below to learn more and buy it!
Want to book the Norway in a Nutshell tour completely on your own? Here’s my guide on how to do it!
Also, all these options are also valid for travelling from Flam to Bergen, with the exception of the tours (unless they are round trip). However, each tour company probably offers returns as well, but please double check this when you book. I have mainly focused on ways to get from Bergen to Flam in this post, and so this is what I am sharing information on. Of course, by car, train, bus and boat it is completely possible to travel from Flam to Bergen as well.
Another great route from Bergen takes you to Hardanger and the beautiful Hardangerfjord. Along the way, I recommend stopping and seeing Ulvik, which is absolutely stunning.
Excited for your trip to Norway? This post is my complete travel guide to visiting, and has everything you need in order to plan your trip!
Getting from Bergen to Flam by
IMPORTANT 2019 UPDATE: NSB and Nettbuss have announced that they are rebranding and will become one company under a new name; Vy (meaning ‘view’ in Norwegian). Their end goal is that both bus and train tickets in Norway can be booked on the same website (www.vy.no). Once their new brand is up and running, you can trust that I will update this post. This is just a heads up, in case you hear the name Vy being thrown around when researching your trip to Norway. In short; Vy is a merger between NSB (train) and Nettbuss (bus).
Now, with there only being one company in Norway operating the trains, there is only one website you need to know about, and it’s this one right here. That’s the NSB website, and it is the only official website for booking NSB tickets in Norway.
Now, remember how I said that
In most cases, having to switch trains for a trip that only takes around 3 hours in total is a hassle, but in this case, you should be ecstatic. The train from Bergen will take you a few stops (Voss included) to Myrdal, a mountain station which doesn’t seem too impressive. But, this is where you switch trains and get on the famous Flam Railway in order to travel all the way down the mountain to the fjords.
Basically, the Flam Railway is one of the major reasons people visit Flam, and it is one of Norway’s #1 tourist attractions. By taking the train from Bergen to Flam, you get to cross it off your list by the time you have arrived in the little village (usually the Flam Railway tickets are only sold as return tickets to visitors already in Flam).
Travel Hack: Getting Flam Railway Tickets
So, as mentioned, the Flam Railway tickets are usually sold as return tickets, starting in Flam and returning from Myrdal (the end station) with the same train. These return tickets are sold on the Visit Flåm website, and sell out quite quickly. That’s why I always advise anyone hoping to buy tickets for the Flam Railway to get them in advance (as early as possible) and to include the cancellation protection so that you can change and cancel the tickets free of charge.
But, there is another way to get the Flam Railway tickets, and to experience this scenic journey. You have probably guessed it by now, and that is to travel by train from Flam to Bergen (or vice versa). What many people don’t know is that the Flam Railway (one way) ticket is automatically included as part of your trip between Bergen and Flam, as it is the only train operating between the Myrdal and Flam stations!
The NSB has a certain amount of one-way tickets on the Flam Railway available on their website for those
Wondering where to stay once you get there? Here is a complete list of all the hotels (and hostels) in Flam, Norway!
Getting from Bergen to Flam by bus
I’ve got a confession to make. I prefer travelling by bus over trains. I know, I know, it’s quite surprising, as most people would always rather travel by train. But the buses in Norway are amazing, trust me. There are outlets to charge your phone and laptop, comfortable seats and seatbelts (they are mandatory in Norway, so please wear them), and wifi that actually works (which is more than you can say about NSB, so please don’t expect to get any work done on the Bergen to Flam train).
Travelling by bus between Bergen and Flam is also a rather scenic way to see Norway, in addition to it being quite comfortable. Bus drivers in Norway are also notoriously friendly, so please give them a great smile when you board.
The journey takes around 3 hours, and there are no bus switches involved. So you can just sit back, relax and make sure to get off at the right stop. You’ll be going through over 30 tunnels along the way, so if you’re one of those people that are fascinated by them, you’re in for a treat.
All of these tunnels are some of many things you’ll only understand if you grew up in Norway. Find out all of them here.
There are two companies (that I know of) that operate between Flam and Bergen. One of them (Nor-Way Bussekspress) has one departure a day, which can be booked here.
The other one, which used to be my favourite, is NettBuss. As mentioned above, in the summer of 2019 they merged with NSB to become Vy, and in a genious move they have stopped operating buses between Bergen and Voss.
This means that when you book your “bus” ticket with Vy, you’ll actually be travelling by train from Bergen to Voss, and then changing to a bus there to travel onwards to Flåm. I am not very happy about his, as I travel between Bergen and Flåm quite often. So, if you can, I recommend that you book with Nor-Way if you want to travel by bus. Hopefully, if they have enough travellers they’ll be able to put in more routes.
Visiting Norway in the winter and unsure of what to bring? Here’s the ultimate Norway winter packing guide!
Travelling between Bergen and Flam by car
Accessing the fjords from Bergen is also completely doable if you decide to rent a car. There are car rentals available at Bergen airport, as well as in the city centre. By renting a car in Norway, you have the freedom to stop along the way as needed, take your time along the windy roads, and arrive in Flåm when you decide to.
Please note that using the emergency lights in Norway is not considered appropriate if you are only stopping to take a photo. Also, stopping along the road is not okay, and can cause accidents. Make sure to read up on driving in Norway before your trip, to avoid pissing off the locals.
Driving from Bergen to Flåm is quite simple, and takes about 2,5-3 hours. From Flesland (Bergen airport) or the city itself, follow the signs towards Åsane or Arna. Your goal is to get on the E16, and follow it all the way to the fjords! Once you start seeing signs to Voss, you can follow these too. Voss is about an hour from Flåm.
If you are travelling Norway by car, please make sure to stay up to date with any road works or accidents along the way. Western Norway and the fjords are prone to land slides that could block the way, and we have also had some tunnel fires that have closed the roads for weeks. Luckily, there is one single website where you can find all this information, and you should bookmark it before your trip, and check it daily on the days when you are driving. It is the Norwegian Road Directory website, and you can find it here.
Please note that the link to the map view of any incidents and closures is in Norwegian only. It is still quite helpful, though, as you can use the map to see what kind of incidents are along the road, and then use Google Translate to get an idea of what happened. Then, you can call 175 (from Norway) or +47 815 48 991 (from abroad) to get updated traffic information in English.
That’s also where you’ll find information about any tunnel works resulting in closed roads (often they will let convoys of cars through at specific times, so do check in advance), and also if there is a risk of the mountain crossings closing (not that there are any mountains to cross between Flåm and Bergen, but it’s good to know).
Getting from Bergen to Flåm by boat
I’m sure you were excited about this one. What better way to travel to the fjords than by travelling ON the fjords?
In the summer, it is possible to travel between Bergen and Flåm by boat. It takes a lot longer than travelling by boat, train or bus, as you have to head out to the coast of Norway in order to get back into the Sognefjord (if that makes sense). But, it is definitely worth it if you have the time!
The Express Boat travels between Bergen and Flåm (starting in Bergen in the morning and returning from Flåm in the afternoon) once a day from April 1st to the 30th of September. Here is the 2019 schedule, you will want to click the link for ‘Bergen – Sogn – Flåm – Bergen’. The journey takes 5,5 hours, and the tickets can be booked here.
Finally; joining a tour from Bergen
I’ll keep this one short, as there are several options to see the fjords from Bergen by joining a tour from the city. Companies such as GoFjords and FjordTours will take you safely from the Norwegian city to Flåm, and make sure you see everything you can along the way. These tours are a great way to see the fjords if you are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of booking and planning everything yourself. Find the famous Norway in a Nutshell tour here, and some other (newer) tours here.
If you ask me (and I am assuming you are), I would strongly recommend booking your journey to the fjords yourself. The tours are often a little more expensive than booking separately, and Norway in a Nutshell isn’t actually running with their own transportation (not many people know this). They use the NSB train to Myrdal, the Flåm Railway down to Flåm, the fjord cruise run by this company, and then the bus back to Bergen.
I hope you have found this post helpful, and that if you feel as if anything is missing you’ll let me know! I love sharing information and tips on travelling to Norway, and want to help you make the most of your trip. Welcome to the fjords!