Surrounded by towering mountains the tiny village of Flåm, with some 500 inhabitants, nestles at the head of Aurlandsfjord, the innermost arm of the mighty Sognefjord. Its popularity as a tourist destination began in the late 19th century with the arrival of steamships carrying English and German passengers.
Sailing through Norway’s beautiful Sognefjord, the world’s longest and deepest fjord, is one of the most memorable cruise experiences. Overlooked by snow-capped peaks and surrounded by cascading waterfalls, this is a sensational approach to the tiny village of Flam, which nestles in the innermost part of Sognefjord.
Today’s visitors are drawn to Flåm for a chance to ride on one of the world’s steepest and most spectacular railways. A masterpiece of engineering, Flåm Railway twists and turns through the steep-sided Flåm Valley amidst some of Norway’s most breathtaking mountain scenery. It rises more than 2,845ft above sea level in just 12 miles and the views are just as dramatic as the journey.
There are a variety of other boat and road trips which promise more fantastic scenery along with visits to farms, mines, villages and isolated mountain lodges.
This could be a tender port if there are a few ships in. There isn’t a lot else in Flam besides the station and a few large outlet shops selling trolls, lace and knitwear.
A must do is the Flam railway from the station by the ship. The train stops half way up so that you could get out and see the ‘troll’
Book in advance as the trains have been known to be sold out on peak journeys which fit in with the ships sailing and leaving! A couple of tips for you firstly try to sit with your back to the engine and as the train is standing on the platform the right side of the train. On the way up and down the train will stop at the waterfall, everyone gets out on the way up so it is a bit of a scrum to get your photos, however the driver will give you plenty of time. But on the way down he stops again and normally only a very few people got off to take a photo.
With P&O this was £70pp (2017). This trip can be booked DIY, but take care if there is a lot of cruise ships in port it can be booked up. Another suggestion if booking DIY, take out cancellation insurance. Just in case. Web site for the Flam train…. https://www.visitflam.com/en/flamsbana/rutetider/
In case you are wondering. There are no toilets on the train but there are some half way up when you stop and also at the top. The journey takes an hour each way.
Now for those with Accessability issues. This is from the railway site: “We’ve got two wheelchair spots on every train on the Flam Railway, and ramps for wheelchair access to the train in Flam and Myrdal. What’s important is that you book a wheelchair spot/ticket when you book the tickets as to ensure that we’ve got room for the wheelchair (whether you book through the cruise or through us). The carriages on The Flam Railway are of quite old design, and as such there is no wheelchair access in most of the train, apart from the first carriage which has a larger door and attachable ramp, giving access to the two dedicated wheelchair spots.
The wheelchair spots, and the carriage they are located in, have the same facilities as the rest of the train, including the on-board audio guide system as well as large windows.
As we generally experience high demand during the summer season on the Flam Railway, especially when cruise ships are at port in Flam, and all standard seats allocated for individual travelers are taken on a “first come first serve” basis at the time of boarding, we advise you to pre-book the wheelchair spot in order to ensure that there are no complications when boarding. Tickets are sold for a specific departure time, and I’m afraid the time’s not flexible.
We don’t have a disabled discount, but we allow carers to travel for free (but they have to book a ticket). To be able to get this free ticket you have to book directly through us (you can use this email).” Their email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t want to do the railway trip walk along the road and down a small path following the river (the way the train passes) past some lovely little farm houses and a waterfall and onto a lovely church.
Try Norway in a Nutshell: Well worth the extra for so much more including a lovely lunch with drinks in a Hotel, you will visit Voss. Do another train journey and see more wonderful waterfalls and lakes, plus a great coach drive down a rather steep and winding old road. Really quite spectacular. £112pp – 2017
There is a trip via Undredal Stave Church, Kjosfossen Falls then on to Myrdal where you have a tasty lunch, then you board the Flam Railway passing beautiful scenery stopping for a few minutes to see the maidens of the mist who appeared beside a waterfall and on down to Flam.
By Peter Dagnall
See our holiday photos click here.