The Flåm Line, which connects tiny Myrdal with tiny Flåm, is the third most popular tourist site in Norway. Most tourists make the journey during the summer months when days are long and the valleys are green, but what’s it like in the middle of winter, when days are short and the valleys are thigh-deep in snow?
The day begins
My day began in Oslo with an 8 a.m. train. Sunrise, at this point, is still more than an hour away (I did this trip on January 5th, 2018, in case you are wondering).
We pass some nice scenery on the train. At least I think it is nice; it’s hard to tell when it’s so dark outside.
Sunrise is at 9:15 a.m.; although it didn’t start to lighten up until awhile after that, by which time the train was already climbing through the mountains.
If you are lucky with the weather then you should be feeling the sun’s rays by the time you reach the Hardangervidda plateau, where you’ll encounter snow-covered fields, snow-covered forests, and snow-covered huts.
You arrive at Myrdal station, where you have to change trains, at around 1 p.m.
The Flåm Line
Construction of the Flåm Line began in 1924 and took 16 years to complete.
The rail line is only 20 km in length, but it drops from 863 metres elevation to 2 m elevation over that distance. It is the steepest standard gauge railway in Europe.
The scenery at the commencement of the journey is, somewhat frustratingly, blocked by tunnels and snow shelters.
There’s a short stop at Kjosfossen Waterfall. The falls have water barrelling over them in summer, but in winter they’re all iced up.
Eventually you’ll emerge from the snow shelters and will have views down a long valley where the odd, colourful, farm building breaks up the white-on-white landscape.
Less than an hour after departing Myrdal you’ll arrive in Flåm (pronounced Flom), a town of 400 that mostly caters to tourists.
As you can tell from the photos, it is already getting dark by this time (approximately 2 p.m.) There is a connecting ferry that will whisk you away on a fjord tour, but this means you’ll be motoring along the fjord during the twilight.
Ami and I opted to spend the night in Flåm, which meant we could take the 10 a.m. ferry the following day.
Accommodation in Flåm isn’t cheap, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise as there isn’t much in Norway that is cheap.
A room with a view over the glassy still water of Aurlandsfjord is a pretty neat way to finish the day.
Practical Information on reaching the Flåm Line:
Myrdal station is 4.5 hours by train from Oslo on the Bergen Line. More transport info here.
Read more on the West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord in the UNESCO World Heritage listing.