One of the most famous ways to see the interior of Norway is the Norway in a Nutshell tour. In general, this is just a somewhat roundabout way of traveling from Oslo to Bergen (or in reverse)–you take the main railway(Oslo to Myrdal), transfer to a tourist train(Myrdal to Flam), then take a ferry through the fjords(Flam to Gundavangen), and finally end up on a bus(Gundavangen to Voss). You can buy prepackaged deals online which cover all of the below, or you can go and buy each leg of transit individually if you prefer (we bought each leg individually as we were not heading directly to Bergen).
See & Do
- Oslo to Myrdal: This leg is similar to most comfortable trains in Europe — you board at Oslo Central Station (our ticket was at the ungodly hour of 6:45am) and enjoy the views as you head over to Myrdal. There is one brief stop along the way to stretch out and take pictures. Once we hit a high enough elevation, the entire ground was covered in snow and lakes were mostly frozen (in August!), make sure you don’t just sleep past this part of the trip! if you book early enough then you can get the Minipris deal for cheaper tickets. From Oslo to Myrdal, and then Myrdal to Flam, we paid 869 NOK each (around $105 USD per person).
- Myrdal to Flam(Flamsbana): Tourist train to cover the 22km between Myrdal and Flam. It takes almost an hour to cover this distance — honestly though, I’d say to skip this and just rent a bike from Myrdal to Flam if you’re not carrying too much luggage, it doesn’t even take too much longer at a reasonable pace, the train (in August at least) was packed with families and screaming children.
- Kjosfossen Waterfall: There is one stop on the train from Myrdal to Flam where you can get off and take pictures of Kjosfossen waterfall. What’s amazing about it is that there’s a power station that powers the Flam railway from the falling water. In the summer there’s an actress who dances by the waterfall to some music during the stop.
- Flam to Gundvangen( NÆRØYFJORD REGULAR BOATSERVICE): We took a fjord cruise from Flam to Gundvangen which goes through the famous Sognefjord–the largest and most famous fjord in Norway. There’s nothing quite like being in the middle of the fjord to get the best views. The cruise takes about 2 hours and we kind of wished it was a bit shorter (i.e. an hour would have been perfect) as we were starting to get a bit tired out from all the traveling. If you check on a map, Flam and Gundvangen are actually not far from each other at all, only about a 20 minute drive, so you’re actually making a big loop on this cruise. 305 NOK for each ticket.
- Gundvangen to Voss: This was done by bus. I fell asleep, but apparently the views are gorgeous driving through the fjords. Note that the bus station is not by the ferry terminal, despite what the signs say. You must walk all the way down the street to the main road, and this is not obvious at all if you’re not on the official Norway in a Nutshell tour. You can buy tickets on the bus itself.
Eat & Drink
- Aegir Brewery: Viking inspired beer? Sign me up. We had a flight of beer (135 NOK) consisting of their Blonde Ale, Amber Ale, Witbier, IPA, and Porter(). Must be the water because all of these beers were incredibly crisp and refreshing. We decided to stay for a full meal and had the fish soup (230 NOK ) and chicken sandwich (185 NOK). Weird seating system where you need to talk to the bartender downstairs first before you can get a seat upstairs–even if the bartender is busy pouring beers, he has to stop what he’s doing and walk upstairs to check if there are seats available. Do they not trust us to talk to the wait staff ourselves for a seat? Or maybe the top floor can only hold so much weight at one time…
- Dinner at Fleischer’s Hotel: The main dining room was completely booked and we didn’t have any reservations, so we had to settle for a meal at the hotel bar (Voss is a tiny city, there aren’t too many dining options around and we were already too tired to wander out). This was probably the only truly bad meal we had during the entire trip — the lasagna was burned and the pasta was tasteless. My hope is that the main dining hall is up to a higher standard. At least they didn’t screw up the beer! 169NOK for Seafood Pasta, 149NOK for Vegetarian Lasagna and 91 NOK for a pint of Hansa
- Fleischer’s Hotel: The exterior of this hotel has a distinctly Bavarian look — Fleischer’s hotel is located in the sleepy city of Voss right by the bike lake and the main train station. This is a convenient resting point between Myrdal and Bergen. While it was a bit expensive, the rooms were comfortable and the location was great. 3580 NOK for two nights.