My first meeting with fjords: Norway in a nutshell

What is Norway in a nutshell?

A fjord cruise is something I've always been curious about. Actually, the only kind of cruise I would have done is something like that.
However, I was not that crazy about spending too many hours trapped on a boat, let someone else decide where to stop and for how long, missing whole days by sailing.

Eventually, the Norway trip arrived and I had the moral duty to make at least a fjord cruise 😆
Norway in a Nutshell suited perfectly!

After two beautiful days in Bergen, we had to get to Oslo somehow, then fly to the Lofoten Islands.
I've heard that the Bergen-Oslo railway is one of the most beautiful in the world and it gives you the chance, with a little deviation, to see Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord.
Norway in a Nutshell is just this: a cumulative ticket that allows you to catch trains, buses and boats and enjoy wonderful landscapes, small villages and a couple of fjords in one day, one of which is protected by UNESCO.

BINGO !!! 😍

Bergen Railway

On a lucky sunny day of October, we turned up at Bergen railway station and caught the 8.43 am train to Myrdal. The train took 1 hour and 10 minutes to get to Voss, where we made a change.

On our way, we passed through Osterøy, the largest "inland" island in North Europe. That means that it is located inside the country, not off the coast. Ostefjord is the fjord surrounding the island.

We passed through Dale, home of the Dale Fabrikker factory. Wool sweaters, cardigans and jackets are produced in this environmentally-friendly factory: all products are made of 100% natural wool and the factory itself is powered by hydroelectric power generated by the surrounding waterfalls!

Bolstadelva, then, is one of the rivers richest of salmon. The best Norwegian salmon has been caught here, beating the record with a 32kg catch! The area has clearly attracted many fishermen from all over the Country and also from abroad: in the past, the English "Lords of the salmon" came here every summer, with all their servants and chefs, and bought the fishing right on the entire river.

(Sorry, no photos: they all came up blurry!)

From Voss to Gudvangen

Once arrived at Voss we left the train and took a bus. Buses are parked right in front of the station exit, there are at least 3 of them with the sign "Gudvangen / Norway in a Nutshell".

The journey to Gudvangen lasts an hour and is very pleasant because it shows waterfalls, rivers, villages and lakes. It seems that in winter here they get -20 °C and the lake is covered with ice!! 😍

Gudvangen

As I mentioned before, the bus stopped at Gudvangen, a small village inhabited by 120 people only. This village is very popular because it's the starting point of the fjord cruise. It is surrounded by a breathtaking scenery! On the pier, we found a restaurant, bar and souvenir shop. We took a hot tea (it was freezing!) and a waffle, then we got on the boat: the mini cruise departs at 12 o'clock!

Nærøyfjord

On the boat, there's a mini bar selling hot and cold food and drinks, a luggage area, and plenty of space for everybody.

The weather was beautiful, the sun allowed to stay outside at all the time. Standing on the bow the sight was great!! Everything around reflected in the water, a water so calm to turn into a perfect mirror! We were very excited, taking pictures and recording silly videos (here's an example 😄).

Nærøyfjord is one of the tightest fjords across Europe and is included in UNESCO World Heritage List.

Steep mountains, snowy high peaks, waterfalls and small villages. It is 20 km long and only 250 meters wide at the narrowest point, the surrounding mountains reach 1660 meters.

If you're lucky enough you'll see dolphins and seals! There is, in fact, a population of 50-100 seals living at the entrance of the Nærøyfjord: you'll have to focus and stare at the water because their little heads could pop up at any moment 😄

Aurlandsfjord

Once out of Nærøyfjord, the boat turns east leading into Aurlandsfjord, one of the branches of Sognefjord, Norway's longest fjord.

Undredal, a tiny picturesque village inhabited by 100 people only, is visible on the right-hand side. Undredal is famous for its mini church (it seats 40 people only and seems to be the smallest church in Scandinavia) and for goat's milk, which is said to be the gold of Undredal because they can produce 1012 tonnes of goat's cheese per year!

Flåm

After two hours of unforgettable sailing, we arrived at Flåm, Arlandsfjord's innermost village. Only 400 people live here, there are restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, a post office, a couple of hotels and the Flåmsbana Museum (free entry).

Flåm is a tourist destination because it's the starting point for both the Flåm Railway (one of Norway's most popular tourist attractions) and the fjord cruises, and is therefore very popular during summer. In October we found it delightfully silent and quiet! 😊

Flåmsbana

We left Flåm at 4 pm by catching the Flåmsbana, a spectacular one-hour train trip to Myrdal station, considered one of the most beautiful train trips in the world!

The train has an old style charm, with red velvet sits and creaking wood.

We passed by rivers, villages made of colourful wooden houses, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, lakes and farms.The scenery was beautiful, the warm colours of sunset contrasted the snow all around! The atmosphere was golden and the photos taken from the window came out actually good! 😍

In Myrdal, we found nothing but a cafe, a souvenir shop and a waiting room.

Bergen Railway to Oslo

The final trip, from Myrdal to Oslo, lasts four hours and a half. It was dark and impossible to see anything out of the window, but I guess in summer the trip must be more enjoyable thanks to the long lasting light!
We arrived at Oslo at 10.30 pm, where we stayed at a hotel close to the station.

Our schedule

Here’s a recap!
One way trip from Bergen to Oslo:

  • 08.43 departure from Bergen by local train
  • 09.56 arrival at Voss
  • 10.10 departure from Voss by bus
  • 11.05 arrival at Gudvangen (short break)
  • 12.00 departure of the fjord cruise: Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord
  • 14.00 arrival at Flåm (lunch break)
  • 16.05 departure by train Flåmsbana
  • 17.03 arrival at Myrdal (short break)
  • 17.54 departure by train Bergen Railway
  • 22.35 arrival at Oslo.

This is the route we chose to make because it was convenient for us to arrive in Oslo in the evening, but there are other alternatives: from Myrdal you can go back to Bergen or stay in one of the villages, or even combine the tour with the Hardangerfjord in a Nutshell tour, so enjoy both the Sognefjord and the Hardangerfjord.

Tours are available all year round, check out the Norway in a Nutshell website for updated prices, schedules and tours!

Heartfelt thanks

Many many thanks to Fjord Tours and Visit Norway for the warm welcome and for letting me live this wonderful adventure!

Photos from Instagram

Una foto pubblicata da Flavia Iarlori (@in_giro_con_fluppa)

Una foto pubblicata da Flavia Iarlori (@in_giro_con_fluppa)

Una foto pubblicata da Flavia Iarlori (@in_giro_con_fluppa)

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