Icelandic Rail Adventure – A Nordic Exploration by Train and Ferry

Discover Scandinavia on an epic rail-centric tour by train and ferry. From majestic mountains to heavenly fjords, and UNESCO World Heritage sites to vibrant cities, this itinerary has it all.

Experience Norway’s fjord region by train like a local and visit iconic natural attractions such as Trollveggen (Troll Wall). Also venture on Ofotbanen – the Arctic Train – to Narvik, crossing the Arctic Circle along the way!

Flam Railway

A visit to Norway’s fjord landscapes wouldn’t be complete without a ride on the Flam Railway (Flamsbana). The 20-kilometer line, which takes you up and over Myrdalfjord, is one of the steepest standard-gauge railway lines in the world and provides a breathtaking panorama of some of the country’s most spectacular natural scenery.

The train’s carriages are smartly painted in dark green and boast a vintage feel, although they have some mod-cons too, such as a screen at the end of each carriage that tells you what you’re seeing on your journey. The most scenic views are on the left-hand side if you’re travelling from Myrdal and the right-hand side if you’re traveling to Flam, but it’s worth sitting on both sides if you’re doing a return trip so you can experience the views in each direction.

As you sit back in your seat and let the train gently chug along, it’s possible to see snow-capped mountains, pristine fjords, storybook cottages, and roaring waterfalls. The train makes a few stops on the way to allow passengers to take photos and also to stretch their legs. The highlight is a five-minute stop at Kjosfossen Waterfall, where you can walk out onto a platform and snap some pictures of the cascading waterfall.

You can easily book tickets online for the Flam Railway, but it’s a good idea to lock in your time slot as soon as you know when you’ll be visiting because it can sell out during high season. You can also buy tickets at the train station in Flam, but you’ll have to wait until your next train departs to board.

The train departs from Flam up to eight times a day during the summer and once daily in winter. Many travelers take the train as part of a larger tour of Norway that includes other major attractions, such as the Bergen Line and a fjord cruise or RIB-boat excursion on the Naeroyfjord—which itself is considered one of the most beautiful in the country, earning its UNESCO World Heritage Site listing in 2005.

Bergen Railway

The Bergen Railway (Bergensbanen) is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. This 496-kilometer route, completed in 1909, takes you from Oslo’s suburbs to Bergen’s city center and showcases Norway’s spectacular landscape, from fjords to glaciers. Along the way, you’ll see small wooden houses, alpine trails and picturesque train stations. This is a must-see experience, especially when traveling in full daylight.

The train begins its journey in the low lands, passing forests and lakes before it starts climbing up towards the mountains. When you reach the Hardangervidda plateau, which is Europe’s highest mountain plateau, the views are breathtaking. The awe-inspiring peaks of the Hallingskarvet and Jotunheimen mountain ranges are also on display. There are numerous waterfalls as well, such as the iconic Kjosfossen waterfall near Myrdal, which drops 93 meters.

Throughout the trip, there are many restaurants and cafes where you can grab food and drinks. The train has a family coach as well, which is perfect for families with kids. The train is comfortable and has wifi, although it can be unstable thanks to the many tunnels along the route.

Buses also travel between Oslo and Bergen, though they take longer and have fewer stops. Taking the train is a great option for people who want to save time and still enjoy the scenery. If you are planning to ride this train during peak season, make sure to book your tickets in advance on the Entur website. The price for a one-way ticket starts at 404 NOK.

There are various rail passes that cover multiple countries or the whole region, including InterRail and Eurail. If you choose to use a pass, be sure to reserve your seat and luggage in advance. This will help ensure you can board the train and avoid any delays. If you are travelling with a large group, it’s best to book a private cabin for your party. These cabins can accommodate up to 12 people and are equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. In addition, they include a dedicated host. The hosts will be happy to assist you with any additional requests or inquiries you may have during your trip.

Geirangerfjord Boat Cruise

Experience the otherworldly beauty of Iceland’s fjords surrounded by glacier-fed waterfalls and moss-covered cliffs. Discover the history and culture of small villages tucked away in pristine landscapes. Whether it’s a tour of a bubbling mud pool or a cruise past iconic glacier lagoons, immerse yourself in the natural wonders and otherworldly landscapes that make Iceland such an incredible destination.

Embark on the Geirangerfjord Boat Cruise alongside the steep sides of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. As your ship glides along the fjord, you’ll see waterfalls cascading down mountainsides and mountain farms clinging dizzily to the hills. You’ll also have the opportunity to take in the vista from the Geiranger Skywalk.

This platform gives the impression of being suspended between sky and fjord, offering unobstructed views of the glistening waters beneath you and the snowy mountaintops above. If you’re not feeling adventurous enough for the Skywalk, don’t worry — the fjord is equally jaw-dropping from any of the other overlooks. One of our favorites is Ornevegen, or Eagle Road. This zigzag trail stretches up the mountainside and features 11 hair-raising switchbacks.

Geiranger’s tiny village is another highlight of your trip. Stroll its quaint main street and see how locals live in this spectacular setting. In summer, residents embrace the outdoors with hiking and cycling excursions. Come winter, a sense of koselig — coziness — pervades the town with blazing fires and warm drinks.

Before or after your cruise, explore a different part of Norway with an excursion by train on the Raumabanen Railway from Dombas to Andalsnes. The scenic journey is a great way to take in the fjord scenery and a chance to spot wildlife, including the powerful musk oxen that roam this region.


A trip to Iceland would not be complete without a stop in the capital city of Reykjavik. While it lacks the old-world charm of other Nordic capitals and is somewhat newer than its peers, Reykjavik has an energy all its own. It also happens to be the cultural hub of the country and is home to many iconic landmarks.

One of the best ways to see the capital is on a walking tour. Start at Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church, a towering grey structure that’s to Reykjavik what Big Ben is to London or the Colosseum is to Rome. It’s the perfect spot to take in the views of the city and the surrounding landscape, especially at sunset or sunrise.

The renowned Viking Line is another option for seeing the region’s landscapes by train. The 6.5-hour Oslo to Bergen route features views of rivers cutting through deep ravines, waterfalls cascading down the sides of snow-capped mountains, and mountain farms clinging dizzily to sheer slopes. Big panoramic windows let you enjoy every moment of this stunning journey, and you can choose to step off in Myrdal or Flam.

You can also drive along the Ring Road, which takes you past sights such as a black sand beach and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, to reach Reykjavik. However, it’s best to book a Reykjavik sightseeing tour that includes both transport and accommodation. This allows you to see the most popular attractions at your own pace and focus on relaxing during your Nordic adventure.

There are several companies that offer Reykjavik train tours, including Omio* and The Trainline*. Both offer bookings in euros, pounds, and dollars, accept international credit cards, and allow you to book on mobile devices. Both companies also offer flexible bookings, meaning you can change your travel dates on the fly.

There are some things you should keep in mind when booking Reykjavik train tickets, such as whether or not a seat reservation is included. Usually, if you want a guaranteed window seat, you’ll have to pay for this in advance. This can be expensive, but it’s worth it for a more comfortable journey.

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