Approaching the cruise terminal, Mr O’T and I waited patiently to exit. Our plan to be one of the first to disembark the P&O Britannia had worked. It was 8am on a Wednesday morning and we’d just docked in Flam. The majority of passengers were still snoozing, a privilege if you’d booked onto one of many tours that weren’t departing for another hour or two. We had no such privilege. As we’d opted to go off-piste, we needed to be up and out pronto to secure tickets for the Flam Railway, one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys.
If you’ve been on a cruise before then you’ll know that cruise liners actively encourage passengers to purchase tours through them. This has it’s benefits of course, the main one being that you can pay, show up and leave the organisation to the pros. The one disadvantage however, is the mark-up in price, which can vary significantly depending on the tour. As you can probably guess, we opted to book our own tours. This meant we had additional spends to use wisely onboard The Glasshouse Champagne Bar on P&O 😁🥂!
After queuing for all of three minutes, we made the 8:15am train and secured those all important window seats. If Lonely Planet found it breathtaking enough to dub the Flam Railway as ‘the world’s most beautiful train journey’ in 2014, then I for one wanted to savour every single minute.
I won’t lie, I’ve been a little spoilt when it comes to epic train journeys. So this did leave me pondering if the Flam Railway could really compete with the likes of the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada and the Glacier Express in Switzerland.
But every train journey is different and from the moment we departed Flam, to the moment we arrived in Myrdal, every single passenger was glued to their window sill.
With steep mountains, spectacular waterfalls and scenic valleys, the Flam Railway is one of the best train rides you’ll experience in Europe.
The train ride up to Myrdal takes around an hour and other than a little cafe, there isn’t much to do when you reach the top. You are given around 15 minutes to have mosey around and take snaps before jumping back on the train down to Flam.
If you’re quite active and you like a bit of adventure, then take the Flam Railway up to Myrdal and hike or bike your way back down. Mr O’T and I opted for the latter and hired bikes from the local cafe in Myrdal to bike the beautiful 20km path back to Flam. It took us three hours to bike down in total. The first 30 minutes were the most strenuous but after that, the paths were flat and the views speak for themselves. Hand on heart, this is the most beautiful bike ride I have ever done.
I left Flam with a happy heart and if you’re ever considering visiting the Norwegian Fjords then don’t hesitate twice. Flam needs to make it to the top of your Norwegian bucket list!
Have you ever visited Flam before and experienced the Flam Railway?
If you’re not booked onto a tour with your cruise liner then you can purchase your Flam Railway tickets in one of two ways. Firstly by downloading the Norwegian Rail app on your phone and buying tickets that way. Secondly, purchase your tickets on arrival at the Flam Visitors centre.
If you choose to buy your tickets on arrival, then disembark the boat as early as possible because the later trains are generally fully booked with tour groups.
You can save approximately 30% by buying your train tickets directly on the app or at the ticket desk.
Take waterproof clothing with you especially if you plan on hiking or biking back to Flam. The weather can turn at any moment so be prepared.
Don’t forget your camera!