People have been cruising to Andalsnes for more than 120 years because of its stunning location. For, an Alpine town as well as a cruise port, Andalsnes nestles where the towering Romsdal Alps meet the northern end of the sparkling Romsdalfjord.
A small, friendly town with shops and markets, Andalsnes is also close to the famous Trollstigen road. This leads through pretty villages, past scenic fjords and majestic mountain peaks and across the stone bridge over the cascading Stigfossen waterfall to the Trollvegen (Troll Wall) which – at nearly 6,000 feet – is the highest vertical drop in northern Europe.
Lies at the mouth of the river Rauma by the Romsdalsfjord, surrounded by mountains up to 1800m, with Trolltindene, Vengetindene and Romsdalshorn as the most prominent. Åndalsnes has a lot of tourist traffic and the cruise port has about 40 calls a year. The Norwegian Mountain Festival is held every year in July, and Rauma Rock offers a lot of concerts in August.
The local tourist office will give out maps. But for those on a Northern Light cruise, it is shut in winter
One way to see the Troll Wall and even more dramatic Alpine scenery besides is to take the Rauma Railway steam train which leaves from a station right by the cruise port.
Rauma Railway goes between Åndalsnes and Dombås Oslo and Trondheim. The train is modern and comfortable with air conditioning, toilet facilities, a wheelchair elevator and a NSB MENY Automat (vending machine) service. Once on board the train, all you need to do is sit back, gaze through the large windows and enjoy your journey through a landscape of wild magnificence full of contrasts. This was £69pp (2017) and got mixed reviews. However, if here in winter unlike summer when the cruise lines run special trains, it is a public railway with booked seats,
The train will run especially slowly through the most spectacular scenery. You will see views ranging from precipitous crags plunging vertically to the valley floor among majestic, jagged alpine peaks to lush, curving hillsides climbing towards great rounded mountain plateaus that extend into unspoiled national parks.
During the summer season an electronic guiding system will provide information about the sights along the route. Big panoramic windows will make sure that you can enjoy the splendid view.
With Saga there is a coach trip almost covering the same as above. A lot of the journey is the same as the train and you stop at a hotel for coffee and cake, not available on the train. The train do transfer from train to coach for the return journey.
By Peter Dagnall
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