Exploring Norway by train offers a unique experience that's becoming increasingly popular across Europe. The continent is witnessing a resurgence in train travel, and Norway is at the forefront of this trend. With new investments in high-speed rail infrastructure and a revival of luxurious train journeys, travelers are flocking to explore the country's stunning landscapes and vibrant cities by rail.

Norway boasts an extensive network of domestic airports and 18 Scenic Routes, making even the most remote parts of the country easily accessible. However, one of the most compelling reasons to choose train travel in Norway is its significantly lower carbon footprint compared to flying. In fact, emissions from trains are ten to thirty times lower, making them a much more environmentally friendly option for travelers looking to reduce their impact on the planet.

For rail enthusiasts and trainspotters alike, Norway offers a wealth of opportunities to indulge in their passion. Whether you're tired of the stress of airports or simply seeking a more leisurely way to travel, hopping on a train in Norway promises a journey filled with stunning scenery and moments of contemplation. Embrace the slower pace of train travel and immerse yourself in the beauty of Norway – you won't regret it.

Scenic Railway Journey

Norway boasts three breathtaking scenic railway routes that are must-adds to any traveler's bucket list. Let's dive into these awe-inspiring journeys:

Flam Railway

The Flåm Railway, often hailed as "the world's most beautiful train journey," spans 20 kilometers, linking the elevated Myrdal station on the Bergen railway with the village of Flåm, situated by the Aurlandsfjord, which in turn connects to the UNESCO heritage site Nærøyfjord. This remarkable ride treats passengers to breathtaking views of steep mountainsides, lush valleys, and cascading waterfalls.

Along the way, passengers can marvel at engineering marvels such as tunnels, bridges, and dramatic hairpin bends, offering panoramic vistas at every turn. For a more tranquil Flåm Railway experience and a less crowded Flåm village, it's advisable to travel between September and May. Adventurous travelers can enhance their trip with a bike ride from Finse station to Flåm on the "Rallarvegen," the old railway construction road, or an exhilarating zipline experience from Vatnahalsen station.

Rauma Railway

The Rauma Railway, also known as The Golden Train, embarks on a captivating 114-kilometer journey northwest from Dombås on the Dovre line, connecting the mountaineering town of Åndalsnes to Dombås. This scenic route traverses the picturesque Romsdalen valley, offering views of the emerald waters of the Rauma River framed by striking peaks like the iconic Troll Wall (Trollveggen) and crossing the remarkable cantilevered Kylling Bridge.

The Rauma Railway serves as a gateway to some of Norway's most incredible hiking trails and outdoor adventures, as well as a selection of the region's finest boutique hotels in the Møre fjord and alpine area.

Insider Tip: For an immersive experience, watch the Norwegian film "The Gold Run" (Gulltransporten) released in 2022, based on the true story of Fredrik Haslund, who was tasked with transporting the entire Norwegian gold reserve away from the Germans during the invasion of Norway in 1940. Parts of this movie were filmed on the Rauma Railway.

Good to know as of November 2023: Due to flood damage on a bridge along the Dovre line, there is a temporary bus service for train transfers between Lillehammer and Dombås.

Oftonen Line

The Ofoten Line, also known as the Arctic Train, offers a remarkable journey northward, connecting the Norwegian town of Narvik to the Swedish iron ore mines of Kiruna. This extraordinary route cuts through the stark Arctic wilderness, where snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear lakes create an otherworldly atmosphere. Additionally, it provides insight into Second World War history. During the winter months, the northern lights often adorn the skies, adding to the already breathtaking experience. The Ofoten Line is a paradise for photographers, offering numerous opportunities to capture stunning images of nature's most remarkable displays.

Norway Luxury Trains

As for luxury trains in Norway, it's a common question we receive. While you may not find a full Belmond-style Orient Express experience, Norway does offer a luxurious sensation of traveling slowly, sustainably, and stress-free through breathtaking landscapes in modern, comfortable carriages. On Norway's trains, the journey itself is as enjoyable as the destination. Some stretches offer porter service, and Premium tickets include hot drinks and light refreshments. Longer journeys feature trains with cafe service, offering everything from Norwegian chocolate and freshly baked goods to traditional Norwegian 'kjøttkaker' (meatballs) and local beer.

Norway Train Travel

Train travel in Norway comes with some essential information to keep in mind:

  • Railway Operators: Norway's railways are operated by three main companies: Vy (formerly Norwegian State Railways), SJ (a Norwegian subsidiary of Swedish Railways), and Go-Ahead Nordic. These operators cover routes from the southern regions to as far north as Bodø, and westward from Narvik toward Sweden.
  • Northern Norway Railway Line: A new report in September 2023 discussed the potential construction of a railway line in Northern Norway, estimating a cost of NOK 200 billion. However, the report deemed it "too expensive" to proceed with the project.
  • Ticket Prices: Ticket prices in Norway can vary significantly. While some areas offer fixed rates, prices on popular routes like the Bergen railway can range from NOK 199 to NOK 1099. It's advisable to book early with a flex ticket and opt for the 'Plus' option for more space and comfort, along with complimentary coffee and tea. Reserving your seat ensures you face the direction you prefer.
  • Night Trains: Norway does offer sleeper trains between several destinations, including Oslo – Bergen, Oslo – Trondheim, and Trondheim – Bodø. However, the current standard of these night trains is relatively low, with journeys often being bumpy and uncomfortable.
  • Booking Tickets: Tickets for Norwegian routes (and Scandinavia as a whole) can be purchased from Vy, as well as Flytoget for the airport train. When booking an Up Norway journey, tickets are typically included in the overall price and can be found in your digital itinerary.
  • Fun Fact: Ordering food in the train's cafeteria and dining in the dining compartment incurs a 25% VAT charge. However, if you take your meal back to your seat, the VAT is reduced by 15%, as it's considered takeaway.

Top Attractions

The top attractions that you can reach from train are -

High Life Finse

Situated at 1222 meters above sea level, Finse is the highest point on the Oslo-Bergen railway and can only be accessed by train. This remote location holds significance in Norwegian history, attracting figures like figure skater Sonia Henie and polar explorers Fritjof Nansen and Ernest Shackleton for training purposes due to its stable snow and ice conditions. Notably, scenes for the planet Hoth in the Star Wars movie "The Empire Strikes Back" were filmed here. Finse offers opportunities for astonishing hikes, including the Rallarvegen bike ride to Flåm and ski trips from mountain to fjord.

The area is home to the Rallar Museum, housed in a locomotive shed, showcasing the construction of the Bergen Railway from 1894 to 1909. Finse remains a testament to the ongoing battle against snow and elements to keep the railway operational, making its history as relevant today as it was over a century ago.

Crossing The Line: Rail Across Artic

Embark on a three-hour train journey from Bodø to the village of Mo i Rana for a unique perspective of Norway's landscape. The route passes through Saltfjellet – Svartisen National Park, characterized by steep mountains descending into fjords, flowing rivers, and lush valleys adorned with mountain birch.

The park's centerpiece, the Svartisen ice cap, covers a significant portion of the area, while its chalky bedrock supports a diverse flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for the symbolic monument marking the crossing of the Arctic Circle. This scenic train journey offers travelers a new outlook and perspective, reflecting the essence of exploration and discovery that defines travel.

2025 Luxury Arriving Soon

While Norway may not have a luxury train akin to the Orient Express, the Norient Express is poised to make its debut in early 2025, spearheaded by Up Norway associate Øivind Lindbøe. This groundbreaking concept will whisk travelers on a 6-day journey from Bergen to Trondheim aboard electric trains featuring high-end interiors, a gym, observation deck, and a commitment to sustainable and comfortable travel.

Crafted with natural, Norwegian materials, the Norient Express will offer passengers an authentic and eco-friendly experience. As of October 2023, the project awaits approval from the Norwegian Railway Authority, but anticipation is building for this transformative endeavor that promises to redefine luxury train travel in Norway.

In Norway, the only true high-speed train is the airport train (Flytoget), which shuttles between Oslo Airport (OSL) and the city center in just 19 minutes. Additionally, a high-speed train service connects Stockholm to Oslo in approximately five hours. While the Up Norway team strives to elevate the quality of rail travel within Norway, efforts are also underway to enhance high-speed connections between Oslo and the rest of Europe.

Northern Nights, led by Up Norway associate Trygve Sunde Kolderup, aims to establish seamless night travel options by train from Oslo to Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Berlin. Recognizing that around 75 percent of the tourism industry's climate emissions stem from transport between destinations, Northern Nights champions a comfortable, eco-friendly journey linking Norway with the global community.