Explore the Arctic on the Arctic Express

Arctic Express Navigating Norways Coastal Railways

Trains are the perfect way to explore Scandinavia’s stunning fjords and mountains. But until now, direct connections between Arctic cities in different countries have been scarce.

Now, the year-round Stockholm-Lule-Narvik sleeper — affectionately called the Arctic Circle train — is offering front-row seats to epic nature. Up Norway, a curator of sustainable luxury travel experiences, is adding a northern extension to this journey with stops in Lofoten and Narvik.


As you glide down Norway’s fjord-studded coastline, towering mountains and dramatic waterfalls come into view. You may even witness a maelstrom of nature’s raw power—the world’s strongest whirlpool, Saltstraumen, is found in the deep waters of Andenesfjord.

A UNESCO-listed fjord landscape beckons, but a closer look at these natural wonders also reveals an intricately woven cultural and historical narrative. The fjords were sculpted by glaciers, and their deep blue color is a result of minerals leaching from the surrounding rock. They are also a refuge for wildlife, from grazing goats to the legendary sea monster, ttarr, said to have terrorized locals in Viking times.

Travel through the wild and remote landscape of the Ofot line, which stretches from the ice-blue fjord city of Narvik up into the mountains towards the Swedish border. As the train passes through the remote mountain areas of Nordland county, keep your eyes open for wildlife including reindeer and lynxes. You might also spot the iconic Trollveggen, a steep rock face that juts up from the fjord.

Then you reach Mosjoen, the geographic centre of Norway, where you can explore the town’s historic Sjogata area, with its well-preserved 19th century buildings and cosy shops. You can also disembark and take an optional coach excursion to the Lofoten Islands for a day of spectacular mountain scenery, islands, and the Arctic Circle.

The last stop on this epic journey is Bodo, a lively university town. Its street art and emerging restaurant scene are fun to discover. It’s also a jumping-off point for a day of island hopping by ferry in the archipelago, where you can stay in stilted fishermen’s cabins and experience life on the water.

Want to see Norway’s fjords and mountain landscapes for yourself? Take an 11-day self-guided adventure with UpNorway to Norway’s arctic coast and see the breathtaking mountain landscapes, stunning fjords, and impressive waterfalls that make this country so special. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the thousand-year-old history of Oslo and Trondheim, as well as a night sailing across the midnight sun. This is a trip of a lifetime.


The mountains of Norway are the backbone of the country, providing a dramatic backdrop to its spectacular fjords. They also serve as a natural way to connect with the nature of the region — something that’s at the heart of every Arctic adventure.

In the 19th century, the Norwegian government approved the plan to build a railway across the mountains from Oslo to Bergen. The project was a major undertaking, and the line would take travelers over the mighty Hardangervidda plateau at a height of 1,237m. The trip is often considered one of the most famous train journeys in the world, and it offers a view of the scenery that’s unlike any other.

It’s not surprising that the mountains are so renowned in Norway; they’re a natural draw for hikers and climbers from around the world. Fortunately, the country’s extensive rail network makes it easy to explore the rugged landscapes from a comfortable seat.

A classic example is the Flam Railway, which stretches from Myrdal in Aurland to the shore of the Flamsfjord. The steep track, known locally as Flamsbana, is among Europe’s most treacherous, requiring trains to be equipped with five separate brake systems to ensure passengers’ safety. Thankfully, modern diesel engines are designed to tackle such challenges.

One of the most awe-inspiring moments on this route is when the train halts for 10 minutes at a platform overlooking the mighty Kjorsfossen waterfall. As the train comes to a stop, the passengers step onto the platform and gaze at the majestic spectacle of nature’s raw power. The sounds of Grieg’s dramatic etude and traditional Norwegian folk music fill the air as the water thunders down, leaving no doubt that this is a truly special moment.

Travelling by train is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of flying or prefers to reduce their carbon footprint. Moreover, the country’s rail system is exceptionally safe and reliable, with spacious carriages that offer plenty of room for luggage. Several longer routes even have sleeper cars, making it easy to spend the night on your way to or from the Arctic. On a Quark Expeditions voyage, our experienced team of experts will help you make the most of these scenic train journeys and other ways to experience the Arctic.

Frozen Lakes

A frozen lake can be as captivating as a fjord or waterfall, and Norway is home to many. These glacial eddies are often ringed by icebergs that reflect the sun’s warm light or a dark, stormy sky. A crystalline landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see, you may want to stop and walk along a lakeshore or take a boat ride across a frozen lake to witness nature’s raw power up close.

While there are countless ways to experience Norway, train travel is one of the most sustainable and scenic options. On this epic rail journey, you’ll have front-row seats to a country that’s famous for its majestic mountains, pristine fjords and cascading waterfalls. Plus, the trains are as comfortable as they are spectacular, meaning you can sit back and relax.

The Oslo-Bergen route offers endless highlights, from the picture-perfect Romsdalen valley to Trollveggen rock face, and the unique Kylling bridge. But the best part is alighting at select spots to inspect nature at closer quarters – whether on foot, by boat or in a kayak. You can visit Finse for a mountain-top explorer-chic hotel and trekking cabin that serve as the start of astonishing hikes; or hop on a RIB-boat to witness one of the world’s strongest whirlpools at Saltstraumen.

For true train enthusiasts, this trip can be extended to include a stint on the legendary Ofoten railway line. Referred to as the “Arctic train,” this railway line slices through a rugged and untamed landscape from Trondheim to Narvik, and at the time of writing, plans for extending the line further north toward Bodo are in the works.

If you’re interested in exploring this epic Norwegian train route, contact us to get your hands on an itinerary that includes it. Our Expedition Leaders will be happy to recommend local transportation options to help you make the most of your time on our trips.


The Norwegian seas are a vital part of the country’s identity — they shape the land, they act as a route for travel and trade, and they provide a wealth of food. The crisp, cold waters are teeming with life – an important resource that is recognized and respected.

A growing consignment of cargo arrives at a variety of ports along Hurtigruten’s coastal route every day — from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the north. Along with a wide range of goods from across the nation, this includes some of Norway’s most distinctive foods and beverages.

Seafood has shaped the culture of many of Fjord Norway’s local communities throughout its history. For instance, Solund was founded in order to get as close as possible to the ocean’s bounty. The town’s proximity to the fishery has also helped it thrive over time.

It’s not hard to find delicious seafood on the menus of the restaurants along the Norwegian coast — especially during winter when the produce is at its best. But what makes a truly exceptional seafood experience is how the ingredients are sourced and prepared.

For example, on the tour that explores Cornelius Sjomatrestaurant (also known as simply Cornelius), a top seafood eatery in Bergen, you’ll enjoy fresh local shellfish and fish from nearby fjords paired with a unique cuisine that blends raw beauty inspired by the fjords with an elegant Nordic twist.

At a port in the far north, such as Kirkenes on the Arctic Circle, the menus feature reindeer meat and seasonally foraged cloudberries — dishes that would never appear on a menu in the south of Norway. This is because in the north, you’re closer to Finland and Russia than you are to Denmark or Sweden.

The Coastal Kitchen tour explores these and other dishes that highlight the region’s most distinguished ingredients. The local producers you meet also have a strong commitment to sustainability. The fisherman at a fishery in Sigerfjord, for instance, ensures his catch is harvested responsibly and meets rigorous health and safety standards. A cheesemaker in the picturesque Lofoten archipelago likewise goes out of his way to deliver his products to your plate, bringing a taste of the Norwegian countryside to your meal with Arctic char, goat’s cheese, and blackcurrant puree.

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