As we all know by now, Norway overflows with beautiful scenery. So much so that it can be hard to take it all in while travelling through the well-known tourist spots of the country. Everyone who plans to visit Norway will be dazed by the onslaught of views and colours in the landscape of the nation, and one of the great things about all the stunning nature is that it’s always available; also when you are travelling from place to place (such as Oslo to Flam/Flåm, which this article covers).
Norway, known for its western fjords, is undisputedly the fjord capital of the world (I mean, we invented the word itself). These were created during the Ice Age by glaciation. Some of the Norwegian fjords are so magnificent that they are declared as UNESCO World Heritage sites (the Nærøyfjord and the Geirangerfjord, to be specific). If you want to visit the fjords from Oslo, this post is for you.
Side note: if you are heading to Bergen and want to find your way to Flåm, this is the post for you.
Flam (or Flåm, but I know most of you don’t have the Å on your keyboard), a small town around 315 kilometres away from the capital city Oslo, lies at the tributary of two of the most stunning fjords of Norway – the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord. Despite being a small town, Flam offers a lot of activities – right from cruising fjords, riding the scenic and popular Flam railway, walking through an authentic Viking village in Gudvangen, and hiking the Brekkefossen waterfall.
Oslo, one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities, houses the main international airport in Norway. Most travellers heading to Norway fly into Oslo airport. The ones who plan to visit the fjords often ask me how they can get from Oslo to Flam. Since I grew up in Aurland (very close to Flam), I will share with you all the modes of transportation that you can take to get from Oslo to Flam (just like I did with this post for those travelling from Bergen).
Before heading to Flam, I suggest you spare some time to explore Oslo. There are so many incredible things to do in Oslo, so make sure to set aside a day or two in the capital. Wondering where to stay in Oslo? Whether you are visiting Oslo on a budget, looking for a bit of luxury, or are looking for something in between, you’ll find a hotel in Oslo that suits your style and budget.
HOW TO GET FROM OSLO TO FLAM (AND FROM FLAM TO OSLO):
There are at least four different ways to get from Oslo to Flam. Isn’t that great? Although, the perfect mode of transportation could be different for different people. Do you prefer booking your own trip or travelling on a scheduled tour? Do you want your trip to be scenic? Well, who doesn’t! Do you suffer from mountain sickness? Would you prefer driving yourself or sit in the comfort of a train or a bus? You see, many factors chip in when you plan a trip from Oslo to Flam. This post will help you decide the best mode of transportation to get from Oslo to Flam.
In this article, I will focus on ways to get from Oslo to Flam by train, bus, car and plane. Nevertheless, it is entirely possible to travel from Flam to Oslo using the same modes.
Make it easy: get one of my Norway itineraries, taking you from Oslo to Bergen via Flåm (or the other way around)!
Are you excited for your trip to Norway? My Norway travel Guide will help you know and plan everything!
GETTING FROM OSLO TO FLAM BY TRAIN
Total Duration: 6 to 6.5 hours
Taking the rail route from Oslo to Flam, though being a longer journey, is probably the most scenic way to get there. The train track passes through the country and offers stunning scenery throughout the route. Above all, if you opt for taking the train, you will get a chance to ride on the world-famous Flam Railway, which is undoubtedly Europe’s most spectacular train journey.
First things first, there is no direct train from Oslo to Flam. From Oslo, you will have to make a westward journey on the Bergen railway line to Myrdal station. Myrdal can be reached in a 5-hour rail journey from Oslo. In Myrdal, you will have to make a transfer to the Flam Railway that will take you to the village of Flam in 1 hour.
Myrdal station is the highest point (863 metres from sea level) on the Flam Railway (Flåmsbana, in Norwegian). From here, the train takes a steep journey of 20 kilometres down to the fjords of Flam. The route runs through a snowy forest dotted with little wooden houses, passes through 20 tunnels, and briefly stops along the way to allow passengers to take photographs and see Kjosfossen waterfall.
The train from Oslo to Myrdal has different cabins, and you can book whichever suits you. The booking process is easy and on the Vy website you can reserve your ticket in advance (I strongly recommend you book in advance, as the cheapest tickets are grabbed up quickly). You can buy both one-way and return train tickets from Vy. If you plan to make a one-way train journey, I would advise you to pick the Oslo to Flam route instead of the Flam to Oslo route, as the downhill ride on the Flåm Railway is slightly smoother and more comfortable.
At least three trains run daily from Oslo to Flam with a switch in Myrdal. It’s advisable to take the morning train if you’re travelling in winter as the daylight spans lesser duration in those times, and you will not want to miss out on the captivating views. In summer, it doesn’t really matter which train time you choose, as it is light all day.
Top tip: The famous ‘Norway in a Nutshell tour’ (which I’ll talk about later and have covered extensively in this post) includes this journey/route. The Flåm Railway gets pretty jam-packed in peak season, and you should book the tour early to get a confirmed ticket in the train. If you are someone who loves travelling independently and with less crowds, look for dates when Norway in a Nutshell tour isn’t operating and book your train for those days. You can also check their timetable and avoid taking the trains they use.
GETTING FROM OSLO TO AURLAND AND FLAM BY BUS
Total Duration: 6.5 to 7.5 hours
As I mentioned in the Bergen to Flam article, I prefer travelling by bus over trains. The buses in Norway have free WiFi, electrical power outlets in each row to charge phones and laptops, toilets, air-conditioning, and comfortable reclining seats with seatbelts. The road between Oslo and Flam is indeed scenic, and it looks more remarkable from the big window of a bus. What more could one ask for?
However, no direct buses run from Oslo to Flam, which is disappointing. To get from Oslo to Flam by a bus, you need to switch buses at Lærdal (Habakken) or Fagernes. Håbakken is just a half hour from Flåm/Flam, so it’s not too much of a hassle.
If you book the bus from the Vy website, the same where you also book the train, you will have to make a switch in Håbakken/Lærdal. The waiting time will be approximately 1.5 hours. There is only one bus departure a day, and the total travel time adds up to 7.5 hours.
Whereas, if you book it from Nor-Way Bussekspress website, you will have to make the switch at Fagernes. The waiting time will be approximately 15 minutes. Again, there is only one bus departure a day, and total travel time adds up to 6.5 hours.
If you can, I recommend that you book your bus with Nor-Way Bussekspress, as it helps save an hour. Also; I prefer the company (you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories from time to time).
GETTING FROM OSLO TO FLAM BY CAR:
Total Duration: 5 hours
If you are flexible with time and wish to stop time and again on the way from Oslo to Flam to grasp the beauty of the Norwegian landscape, then travelling by car is an ideal option. The entire drive from Oslo to Flam is filled with breath-taking scenery. Car rentals are readily available from the Oslo airport as well as from within the city.
The drive from Oslo to Flam is a bit tedious and takes about 4.5 to 5 hours in total. From Gardermoen (the Oslo airport), follow the signs towards Lufthavnvegen. Then, simply take the E16 and follow it all the way to the fjords. On this way, you will also get a chance to take the world’s largest road tunnel, Lærdalstunnelen. Or, you can drive over the Snow Road (a National Tourist Route) and stop at the Stegastein Viewpoint while you drive down the mountain towards Aurland and Flåm. This viewpoint will give you an incredible view of the Aurlandsfjord, as you can see in the video below..
Read up my guide on driving in Norway before you decide to rent a car and ride the roads on your own. You should always calculate for extra time no matter where you are going in Norway. This is because the roads can be narrow, windy, and full of hairpin bends, and because lots of idiots drive too slow and won’t pull over to let you pass. I strongly advise that you slow down and pull over whenever you can to let the other cars pass you if you feel uncomfortable and/or want to take your time driving the Norwegian roads.
Side note: Always check with your rental company how you should be paying tolls. Most toll stations in Norway are automatic, and most rental companies cover the cost of these, but it’s good to have confirmed it (to avoid an unforeseen bill at the end of your trip).
Travelling in Norway by car is not an easy task. Due to frequent weather changes, there might be landslides, roadworks, or road-closures due to accidents, especially in the western region. Stay up-to-date with all this information by bookmarking your trip at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration website. You can even call 175 (from Norway) or +47 815 48 991 (from abroad) to get updated traffic information in English.
TRAVELLING BETWEEN FLAM AND OSLO BY PLANE + CAR/BUS FERRY:
Total Duration: 2.5 hours
Travelling by plane is the quickest way to get from Oslo to Flam. To take this route, you will have to take a flight to Sogndal first, and then drive down to Flam.
Fun fact: I went to high school in Sogndal! It’s 1,5 hour away from Aurland and Flåm, but it’s still the nearest high school to the villages. It is not uncommon to move out from home at 15/16 to go to high school when you grow up in rural Norway.
You could book your flight tickets to Sogndal from any of the online travel portals. Oslo to Sogndal is an hours’ journey via a flight. On a clear day, you can get wide-angle drone views of the stunning fjords cutting through the incredible mountain ranges. Once you reach Sogndal, you can either rent a car or take a bus to complete the remainder of your journey to Flam.
If you rent a car, drive to the Mannheller ferry point and load your vehicle into the ferry for a 15-minute sail to Fodnes ferry point. The ferry floats along the beautiful Sognefjord and gives you a panoramic view of the surroundings. You can get out of the car and stand outside in the ferry to click pictures and appreciate the views. After reaching Fodnes ferry point, drive straight to Lærdal where you will drive through the world’s longest road tunnel, Lærdalstunnelen.
If you opt for a bus, you can book the bus tickets from Sogndal to Flam from either Vy, Nor-Way Bussekspress or Kringom websites. All the buses are comfortable and would take about 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Flam from Sogndal, following the same route as stated above.
TRAVELLING BETWEEN OSLO AND FLAM BY JOINING A SCHEDULED TOUR FROM OSLO:
If you are a bit apprehensive of booking and planning the entire tour yourself, you can join a pre-defined tour package or get it customised as per your needs. Companies like FjordTours offer tour packages that take you from Oslo to Flam and make sure you see everything along the way.
The Norwegian tourism board highly promotes FjordTours’ ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ tour package. The tour gives you a glimpse of the best scenery using several modes of travel. Their tour from Oslo incorporates a train journey to Myrdal, followed by riding on the legendary Flam Railway. Once in Flam, they take you for a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord, followed by Nærøyfjord. The cruise finishes at Gudvangen, from where you are taken to Voss through the charming villages of Nærøydalen. From Voss, you continue your return train journey to Oslo. Personally; I recommend booking this yourself, and have written a complete guide to this here.
There’s a lot of customisation that can happen in this day tour. You can choose whether you want a one-way trip or a round-trip, add activities along the way, and can book an overnight stay.
However, remember that the scheduled tours are often more expensive than booking your own journey separately. Norway in a Nutshell, however, uses Vy trains and buses, and VisitFlam’s cruises, which you can book independently by yourself. If you plan to secure Norway in a Nutshell tour entirely on your own, head to my guide for this here.
Wondering where to stay once you get to Flam? Here is a complete list of all the hotels (and hostels) in Flam, Norway.
If you have made it till here, I’m sure you would have found this post helpful. If you still think anything is missing, just let me know and I can answer any questions you may have (and even add information into the post). Wishing you a safe journey from Oslo to Flam!