Gastbeitrag von Jan Gabriel - hier ist das deutsche Original
As I'm on the road myself this week, I'm supported by the dear Jan who loves Norway as much as I do - if not more! Jan is working as a train conductor in Germany and can't even let go of trains while on vacation. Thus he's taking over the blog today to tell you all about what it's like to explore Norway with Interrail and what you need to keep in mind when doing so!
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What is Interrail?
Interrail is a train ticket for all of Europe ("Global Pass") or one single country („One Country Pass“) with which you can travel as much as you'd like during a certain time frame. Thus, it's perfect if you'd like to explore the landscapes of Norway without renting a car or paying for expensive plane tickets. You can find all prices and ticket types on the website of Interrail.
The Norwegian Train Network
The train network of Norway isn't as dense as you might know it from Central Europe but it still offers plenty of options to discover the landscapes of the country. The centre of the network is Oslo and from there, you can take the following trains to the rest of the country:
Bergen and Flåm Railway
The Bergen Railway goes from Oslo to Norway's second biggest city, Bergen. From Oslo it takes you past Norwegian farmland up to the high plain of Hardangervidda with the highest train station being Finse at 1222m above sea level.
It was here that the scenes of the polar desert in "Stars Wars Episode V - The empire strikes back" were filmed and the rough landscape is used by many polar explorers as training area. Even in summer, you can often still find plenty of snow. In winter, the journey is a pure adventure for those of us who aren't used to much snow as the snow masses fly past the window while the train shoves them out of its way.
What follows afterwards are narrow valleys, ravines with whitewater rivers right next to the tracks, and the picturesque fjord landscape before you make your way into Bergen. You can do this journey during day and nighttime.
In Myrdal, die Flåm railway branches off from the main treck and leads down the high plain on a steep path to the little village of Flåm at the Aurland Fjord. The train stops at Kjosfossen, a stunning waterfall, and leads past several more waterfalls on the way - the views are gorgeous.
In Flåm, there's a small railway museum that provides information on the building of the railway network. You also have the option to travel further up the Aurland Fjord from there.
Note: The Flåm Railway itself isn't included in the interrail pass but there's a discount available.
Dovre and Rauma railway
The Dovre Railway connects Oslo with Trondheim. It leads past Oslo Gardermoen Airport, Hamar where the Norwegian Railway Museum is situated, Lillehammer where the Olympic Games 1994 took place, and finally crosses the Dovre high plain to Norway's third biggest city Trondheim.
The dovre high plain is where you can find musk oxen which have been re-introduced to the area in the 1970s. Here you can find lots of lakes, forests and mountains, next to smaller towns and villages. You can choose between day and night connections.
In Dombås, the Rauma Railway that goes to Åndalsnes at the Icefjord, branches away. From there, you can take a bus to Ålesund.
This railway leads from Oslo to Stavanger (Snow in Tromso's new home base!) via Kristiansand. There's day and night connections.
The Nordland Railway is the only one that crosses the Arctic Circle in Norway. It connects Trondheim with Bodø and ends in Fauske, where you can take a bus to Narvik to get the connection to the Ofot Railway in Swedish Lapland.
NOTE: There's no train connection to Tromsø or the Lofoten Islands!
The Ofot Railway is the Norwegian part of the famous iron ore railway that leads to Kiruna in Swedish Lapland. This railway is managed from Sweden so to travel here, you need to have a train ticket that is valid for Sweden also.
The railway line is mostly used to transport iron ore from Kiruna to the harbour in Narvik that is free of ice year-round. There's a night train to Kiruna/Narvik from Stockholm.
You can take the train from Oslo to Gothenburg and Stockholm. Both lines offer stunning views of Scandinavian landscapes and from Gothenburg and Stockholm, you can take a connection to Copenhagen, which then again has a connection to Hamburg.
You can also take the train from Trondheim to the border to Sweden, where you have to change trains to travel further.
Advantages and disadvantages of a train journey to Norway
- you can't spontaneously halt the journey
- the railway network isn't as dense as in Central Europe
- not all parts of the country can't be reached by train
- there's only quite a few lines
+ stunning views of the landscapes
+ it's a laid-back, cosy and easy way of travelling
+ the railway network is easy to navigate
+ you don't need to use any other means of transportation
+ there are cheap youth tickets
A train journey to Norway requires thorough planning. There aren't as many connections and options as there are in Central Europe. Also, if you spontaneously fall in love with a place and want to stay longer, you'd often have to wait for several hours, if not a day, for the next train going your direction.
However if you plan your journey thoroughly beforehand, it's a very pleasant way of travelling.
Jan has travelled the Bergen, Flåm and Dovre Railway and is headed for the Rauma, Nordland and Ofot Railway next year so if you'd like to see more of his pictures or ask him any questions about the journey, you can follow him on Instagram here.
Would you like to explore Norway by train?
Leave a comment below!
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PS: For more info about visiting Norway, head over to my FAQ page.
More about visting Norway:
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