Lonely Planet called it “the most beautiful train journey in the world.” Rick Steves calls it “simply the most spectacular train ride in northern Europe.”
It is part of what is called “Norway in a Nutshell” that travels across the mountains from Oslo to Bergen. We are taking a detour mid-way down to the fjords (Part II), where we have a little cottage waiting for us.
We have been to lots of places, so while I was sure it would be lovely, I wasn’t sure it would be “the most beautiful train in the world.” That’s a lot to live up to! But I have to say – we were blown away.
Part I was on the Norwegian version of Amtrak – the regular commuter train from Oslo to Bergen. It was nice and clean with assigned seating and a café car and space to store luggage (of which we had a lot –remember all that wine?).
The scenery started off fairly routine with pretty towns along the way.
But then the fun began. We started climbing and soon were seeing snow-capped mountains and lakes.
Then climbing higher and getting above the treeline.
Then even higher into the snow. Breathtaking.
The train climbs to a an altitude of 4,266 feet, travels under 18 miles of snow sheds, and through 200 tunnels through the mountains. It is the longest high-mountain stretch of train in Europe.
Soon, we were at Myrdal – our stop at the top of the mountain. The big train would head on to Bergen.
We will board the small Flamsbana train to dip down into the valley to our cottage by the fjord – a ride that is equally as breathtaking.
Stay tuned for Part II!