There’s no hiding that Norway is full of stunning landscapes and incredible natural beauty. Many tourists flock to this amazing country mainly for two reasons: visiting the gorgeous fjords and riding the world’s most beautiful train ride, the Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway). By visiting Flåm, you can do both of these things, so it is understandable that a lot of people are looking into how they can get from Bergen or Oslo to Flam and the fjords. Since I grew up in the area I thought I’d share exactly how!
Oslo, Norway’s capital, is the getaway into this gorgeous country and is home to the main international airport Gardermoen. There are high chances your flight will land in Oslo, and you will start your Norwegian escapades from this beautiful city. Flam is a pretty village located by two of the most remarkable fjords of Norway – the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord.
Both Oslo and Flam are amongst Norway’s top tourist destinations, attracting thousands of visitors every year. However, these two areas are a long way apart, and I am often asked – what’s the best way to get from Oslo to Flam? Well, I’m glad to say there are several options here, and below I have shared all the ways you can get between the two.
Alternatively, head this way to find out how to get from Bergen to Flåm!
I was born and raised in Aurland, a village just 5 minutes from Flam. I myself have journeyed from Oslo to Flam many times (I used to live in Oslo, actually!) and thought it is high time I write an article with details on how best you could cover this journey from Oslo to Flam.
Side note: I use Flåm and Flam interchangeably in this article, and on most posts here on Flam Travel Guide. The Norwegian (and correct) spelling is using the letter Å, but when I write (and when you read) in English, replacing it with an A makes sense. I use both to hopefully get you used to seeing Flåm with an Å, as it’s what you will see everywhere once you travel to Norway!
How to get from Oslo to Flam?
The distance from Oslo to Flam is around 310 kilometres and there are various transport options for anyone hoping to travel between the two. Some are quick and (more) expensive while others are cheaper and more long-haul; therefore, it is tricky for me to say exactly which option is best for you. However, I will do my best to lay them all out here, and then you can (hopefully) decide for yourself.
Many factors contribute when you plan your travel from Oslo to Flam. Do you prefer travelling independently or on a scheduled guided tour? Do you suffer from motion sickness on the zig-zag mountain roads of Norway? Do you like to journey comfortably on a train or bus or love driving yourself?
In this article, I have outlined 5 different ways to travel from Oslo to Flam (and back from Flåm to Oslo). What type of route you choose to get to Flam completely depends on how scenic you want your trip to be and the amount of time you have in hand! Each mode of transport is distinct and has its own pros and cons attached to it.
Please note that it is entirely possible to use these ways to travel in reverse as well (as in, from Flam to Oslo).
Travelling between Oslo and Flåm by Train
Total journey time: 6 to 6.5 hours
Though being time-consuming, the train journey from Oslo to Flam is the most scenic route to get there. A part of this train journey is on the famous Flåm Railway Line. Did I get your attention now? However, the first slight inconvenience in reaching Flåm by train is that there is no direct route from Oslo.
The first leg of the train journey from Oslo to Flam involves riding the Bergen Rail line from Oslo to Myrdal, a mountain station 867 meters above sea level. This journey takes about 5 to 5,5 hours and is quite beautiful. During the trip, you cross high mountain passes and get to see the unbelievable beauty of the Norwegian landscape. The Oslo-Bergen line is not as well known as the Flåm Railway, but it is up there when it comes to the most stunning rail journeys in Norway.
From Myrdal, you have to switch trains and hop on to the popular Flam Railway Line. The Flamsbana is the steepest and (some say) the most beautiful rail journey in the world. This train has comfortable seats with large glass windows, allowing you to take in the views of the Flåm Valley.
All you have to do is sit back, relax, and marvel at the passing scenery. It offers a stunning view of the valley, the snow-capped mountains in the distance, majestic waterfalls (such as the impressive Rjoandefossen), and the wooden houses that dot the green pastures. You won’t be able to leave the window even for a minute. And in a little less than 1 hour, you reach the fjords and Flam.
Reserving a train seat from Oslo to Flam is easy as there is only one website for all the train bookings in western Norway – Vy (formerly NSB). However, the route is very popular (especially from Myrdal to Flam), and the tickets sell out quickly. Hence, I really recommend that you book the journey well in advance.
Top tip: tickets on Vy are made available 90 days prior to the travel date. If you manage to book within the first few days of tickets becoming available, you’ll get the cheapest ticket.
Another tip for you. If you are travelling in the winter, I strongly recommend you book the morning train as the daylight time is shorter and you wouldn’t want to journey in darkness and miss out on the spectacular views. At least 3 trains run from Oslo to Flam daily with a switch in Myrdal. If you opt for a one-way journey on the train, I advise you to pick the Oslo to Flam route, as going downhill is much more adventurous and smoother than coming uphill.
Travelling from Oslo to Flam by Bus
Total journey time: 6,5 to 7,5 hours
As I mentioned before in my Bergen to Flam article, I love travelling by bus and prefer bus journeys over trains (friends tell me I’m weird). The buses in Norway are very comfortable, have reclining seats, obviously come with a seat belt (which is mandatory to wear in Norway), have big windows to look out at the passing landscapes, are equipped with good Wi-Fi, have toilets, are air-conditioned, and have electrical charging points in each row. What more do you need when travelling around Norway?
As with trains, no direct bus runs from Oslo to Flam. You will need to switch buses in either Lærdal (Håbakken) or Fagernes. Fagernes is about 2,5 hours from Flam, whilst Håbakken in Lærdal is just 30 minutes away (just on the other side of the Lærdal tunnel).
The bus ticket from Oslo to Flåm can be booked from the same website you use to book the trains (Vy). If booked with Vy, you will have to switch buses at Håbakken, and the wait time till the next bus is around 45 minutes, making the total journey time 7 to 7,5 hours.
Another company offering the route by bus is Nor-way Bussekspress. When booking with them, you have to switch buses at Fagernes. The wait time here is only 15 minutes and hence the total travel time is 6 to 6,5 hours. So, if you book with Nor-Way Bussekspress, you save an hour. Both companies have one departure a day. Nor-way is my favourite bus company for travelling in Norway, mainly because they specialise in bus travel. Vy, on the other hand, are primarily a train company.
Therefore, I recommend booking your bus journey to Flåm with Nor-way.
Oslo to Flam by Car
Total journey time: 5 hours
If you are planning on driving, it will take you around 5-6 hours to travel the 310 kilometres (193 miles) between Oslo and Flam. However, if you are anything like me, you will be enticed to stop every now and then to grasp and photograph the beauty of the Norwegian landscape, thus increasing the total journey time. If you love driving and are flexible with time, travelling by car is ideal.
If you aren’t travelling in your own car, you can rent one from Oslo airport or from within the city. Even electric or other rechargeable hybrid vehicles are available for rent in Oslo, with the airport (Gardermoen) having most car rental companies available.
Below are 3 different driving routes from Oslo to Flåm, with the two latter being the most scenic (and the middle one, via the Hemsedal mountain, being my main recommendation).
From Oslo, head northwest to join the E16 highway towards Bergen, with one option being to simply follow it the whole way. You can also take an alternative (and preferred) route by following Route 7 to Gol, crossing the Hemsedalsfjellet mountain along route 52. This is a scenic route across the mountain, where the chance of seeing reindeer herding in the mountainous terrain is high.
Alternatively, stay on route 7 when you get to Gol, and follow it to Hol. Here, take route 50 over Aurlandsfjellet, driving down the hairpin turns to Vassbygdi and Aurland. This is where you will find the beautiful Aurlandsdalen valley, one of the most popular hikes in Norway.
Both of these alternatives are very scenic and take you through mountain passages, lakes, rivers, and down to the fjord. Route 52 via Hemsedalsfjellet mountain also gives you an opportunity to drive on the Snow Road – Norway’s most scenic National Tourist Route from Lærdal to Aurland. This is an alternative to driving the Lærdal tunnel, and is only open in the summer months (they don’t call it the Snow Road for no reason). Towards the end of the mountain crossing you can stop at the spectacular Stegastein viewpoint to get a bird’s eye view of the Aurlandsfjord before heading to Flam.
Please note that driving over the mountain instead of through the Lærdal tunnel will add around 1 hour of driving time to your trip.
Norwegian roads are full of hairpin turns and bends, and can be very narrow. Some are even quite windy, such as the Hemsedalsfjellet mountain crossing. If you cross route 52 you’ll notice that there are signs on the mountain indicating how strong the winds are at any given moment. Definitely take note of these so you are prepared.
If you are not used to driving on mountainous roads, and you are not a very confident driver, you shouldn’t opt for a self-drive trip. It’s not an easy task, and can potentially be dangerous. So make sure you think it through before your trip (Norwegian roads are nothing like American highways).
Also, make sure to read up on the current driving rules in Norway before your drive and keep an eye on potential road closures. Usually the route between Oslo and the Aurlandsfjord is open, but weather and heavy snow in the winter can close the mountain passes between east and west. Stay up to date with current information on road closures by using the Norwegian Public Roads Administration website – Vegvesen.no.
The drive from Oslo to Flam is gorgeous, so time your journey so you arrive in Flam during the day (when it is light). Driving through the night is difficult, and you will need to be more alert. Additionally, looking out for moose or reindeer in the dark is exhausting (trust me).
Another thing to note is that hiring a car from Oslo is a very popular choice for road-tripping across Norway. The cars book up quickly, so don’t leave the bookings too close to the departure date or you might risk losing out on a competitive price.
Side note: Double check how the road tolls will be paid with your car rental company. The toll booths in Norway are all automatic, and most rental companies cover the toll charges. However, some send you an invoice afterwards, so it’s good to be aware of this in advance.
Oslo to Flåm by Plane + Car/Bus Ferry
Total journey time: 2,5 hours
Air travel is by far the fastest way to get from Oslo to the Sognefjord area. However, Flåm does not have an airport (being a tiny village and all). The closest airport is Sogndal Haukåsen. So, you will have to start by travelling by plane from Oslo to Sogndal and then by car or bus (including a ferry) to Flåm at the end of the Aurlandsfjord.
Widerøe is the main airline to offer direct departures to the town of Sogndal, and the flight time is around an hour. The flight can be booked through their website. On a clear day, you will get an incredible view of the fjords cutting through the mountain ranges from the plane window, but on a rough weather day the high mountains make it a little tricky for the pilots to land smoothly. Therefore, travelling to rural Norway by plane isn’t for those with a fear of flying.
Once in Sogndal, you will either have to rent a car or book a bus ticket to complete your journey to reach Flam. If you rent a car, drive to the Mannheller ferry point, where you will have to load your vehicle onto the Mannheller-Fodnes ferry. This ferry sails across the Sognefjord and takes you to the Fodnes ferry point at the other end in just 10-12 minutes. Definitely get out of the car to get some photos whilst on the ferry.
After reaching Fodnes ferry point, drive towards Lærdal to through the Lærdalstunnel – Norway’s longest road tunnel. The bus takes the same route as the car. Both Vy and Nor-Way Bussekspress offer routes between Sogndal and Flåm.
Note that Haukåsen airport is a 20-minute drive from Sogndal. So, to catch your bus you first have to get on the airport express (the bus is scheduled according to the flight schedule).
The drive from Sogndal to Flam takes 1,5 hours in total, including the ferry crossing.
Joining a guided tour
The final option for travelling to Flåm from Oslo is by joining a guided tour. If you feel like there is too much research involved in planning the entire trip by yourself, or if you think that independent planning is a lot of hassle, you can join a scheduled guided tour to the fjords. Though it can be a little more expensive, guided tours are the best if you want to have everything organised and for someone else to deal with the timings.
Scheduled tours are often accompanied by a guide who is knowledgeable about the area, thus, making it easier for you to understand and learn about Norway and the places you pass through on the tour. If you want to make the absolute most of your trip, consider a private guided tour from Oslo to Flåm. This one-day trip is perfect for those who want to see the fjords, but have limited time on their hands. It is also ideal if you want to make sure your family or group gets exclusive access to your guide – as it is a private tour, only your group will be going on it.
Check availability for your dates below.
What is the best way to travel from Oslo to Flam?
To summarise, there are several great ways to travel between the Norwegian capital and the fjords, and which is best entirely depends on you. But, here are a few takeaways:
- If you are a confident driver, flexible on time and want to create your own itinerary for the journey, opt to rent a car and drive yourself. If you do, check out my itineraries here to help you plan.
- If you want the most scenic route, and don’t mind paying a little extra, travel by train.
- If you want the most budget-friendly option, sit back and relax on a bus whilst the driver does all the work for you.
- If you want to get to the fjords in the quickest way possible, take a plane to Sogndal and then rent a car there.
- If you have some cash to spend, and want a truly VIP experience, opt for a private guided tour.