Flåm (or Flam, for those of you who do not have Å on your keyboard) is a small village in Western Norway located at the innermost arm of the Aurlandsfjord. Every year, millions of tourists visit the fjords and look for things to do in Flam to experience the dramatic landscapes the village offers.
Flam is probably the most visited fjord destination in Norway, and as I have grown up in the area – this was a guide I needed to write! The village is also a crucial point of the popular ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ tour.
Are you visiting Norway and looking for places to visit and things to do in Flam? I was born and raised in Aurland, Flåm’s immediate neighbourhood. Hence, Flam used to be like my second home while growing up (I have actually spend several summers and years working in the Visitor Center there). As a result, I’ve a pretty good idea of the interesting things to do in Flam.
Before I divulge into listing down all the great activities in Flam, you must know that Flam is quite a tiny village. Hence, this post will, in fact, include everything there is to do in Flam. As a result, you can treat this as a comprehensive travel guide to Flam.
Do note that I have not included things to do in the other fjord villages here. Of course, visiting the viking village of Njardarheimr or the Stegastein Viewpoint are not listed (as they are located respectively in Gudvangen and Aurland). This is because I have come across too many articles on Flåm that include mainly activities outside of the village.
For my complete travel guide to the fjord villages around the Aurlandsfjord, head this way!
Table of Contents
Things to do in Flam, Norway – By a local!
The list below is numbered, but note that this is in no way a ranking of all the sights and activities in the village. There are just so many great things to do, and so many reasons to visit Flåm (and the Aurlandsfjord). This is just a list of absolutely everything there is to get up to in Flåm – in no particular order (all though the first one is the most popular.
#1 Ride the scenic Flam Railway
The Flam Railway is the major reason why tourists from far and abroad visit Norway. It is the country’s #1 tourist attraction. The 12.6 miles (20 kilometres) long Flam Railway journey has been described as the most beautiful train journey in the world!
You can take the Flåm Railway by starting in Oslo or Bergen, or when you are already in Flåm. The train goes from Flåm, by the Aurlandsfjord, to Myrdal in the mountains. If you are already in Flåm, you can book your return tickets in the Visitor Center in the train station building (where I used to work!), or online.
If you are travelling to Flåm from Bergen or Oslo (or anywhere in between), you need to book the Bergen-Oslo Railway first, and stop in Myrdal, the mountain station. When you are travelling from the Norwegian cities, this is where your Flam Railway journey starts. You can book your entire train adventure here.
From Myrdal (867 metres above sea level), the iconic Flam train runs through several tunnels (20, to be exact), glides down through grassy mountains and green fields dotted with wooden houses, and makes a brief stop near the Kjosfossen waterfall before arriving at Flam (at sea level). The train stops for a few minutes at Kjosfossen, and I highly recommend you get out on the viewing platform to see this spectactular waterfall. In the summer season, there is also a little surprise for you..
During this 1-hour train ride, you will see rivers cutting deep ravines, snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, and plenty of magical landscapes. The Flåm valley is absolutely beautiful, and the engineering skills it took to build the Flåm Railway will also impress you.
Book your Flam Rail tickets well in advance to reserve a spot. They tend to sell out pretty quickly, and especially in the summer. I can’t even tell you how many times I had to tell disappointed travellers that the train was completely sold out when I used to work in the ticket office. You can book the tickets on your own or opt to join the ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ tour to experience this journey. Needless to say, riding the Flam Railway is probably the best thing to do in Flam if you ask fellow travellers.
#2 Flåm Zipline
If you crave an adrenaline rush, flying through the beautiful Flam valley by taking a zipline is amongst the best things to do in Flam. Flåm Zipline is the longest zipline in Scandinavia, with a total length of 1381 metres! The flight can last over 90 seconds if you are lucky, and it is such an incredible experience.
You can reach the starting point of Flåm Zipline; Vatnahalsen station, by train, either from Myrdal or from Flam. Vatnahalsen is the last stop before Myrdal when you are travelling from Flåm, so this is the perfect way to get to cross both the Flåm Railway and the Flåm Zipline off your list. From here, whizz down the valley at an intense speed of up to 60mph/100 kmh! The tour ends 305 metres down from the starting point at Kårdalen, located in the upper part of Flam valley.
Make sure to stop in Kårdalen for a traditional Norwegian “svele” with locally made goat’s cheese. A Svele is a fat, savoury pancake, and the perfect meal after your zipline adventure.
The perfect Flåm Valley itinerary
As mentioned, you can cross off experiencing both the Flam Railway and the Flam zipline in one trip. Once you reach Kårdal, you have to make your way back down to Flåm, and can do so either by foot or by renting a bicycle. Cycling or hiking the Flåm Valley is actually mentioned as one of the top activities in Flåm further down on this list! So, if you want to spend a day in Flåm that is the perfect mix of popular attractions, adrenaline and nature, here is my suggestion:
- Start in the morning by taking the Flåm Railway to Vatnahalsen (around 50 minutes).
- Soar through the valley on Flåm Zipline down to Kårdalen.
- Enjoy a light lunch in Kårdal, before grabbing your bicycle (or not; the walk is lovely too).
- Cycle back down to Flåm (45-60 minutes) or enjoy the (mainly downhill) walk at a leisurely pace (2-3 hours).
- Book some time to relax and unwind in the newly opened FjordSauna (mentioned next on the list).
In the video below I take you on the adventure mentioned above; the Flåm Railway and Flåm Zipline, followed by cycling back down to Flåm:
#3 Enjoy the steaming hot FjordSauna
FjordSauna is a floating sauna located in a quiet area on the Aurlandsfjord in Flam. It is just a short walk from the Flam Railway station, and an activity that I highly recommend in Flåm! It opened in 2021, and is run by two friends of mine – and it is so great to see people try new things and start new ventures by the fjords.
Here, you can enjoy a steaming hot sauna and then, if you wish, take a refreshing dip in the cold fjord. Did you know that jumping into cold water is believed to have some great health benefits? Regardless of whether you want to jump in or not, there is nothing as relaxing as sitting in your private sauna, sweating away, whilst looking out over the fjord. If you are looking for some relaxed time in the midst of the beautiful landscapes, then unwinding with the steaming hot sauna is the definitely something you need to do when visiting Flam.
The floating sauna is heated electrically at the quay and by burning wood when it is cruising the fjord. There are storage lockers, restrooms, shower areas, and changing rooms onboard the FjordSauna, so you will have everything you need. There is no toiled, but to be fair; the world’s largest one is just outside the door 😉
The sauna masters ensure that you are provided with the necessary warmth and comfort, so whether you opt for renting it out for a private sauna experience, or opt to join on a drop-in basis, you will love this experience. Book your FjordSauna here.
#4 Experience the Nærøyfjord on a Fjord Cruise to Gudvangen
Flam is known for many things, including the above-mentioned Flam Railway Line and verdant valleys. However, if you keep the train ride aside, one of the most popular attractions in Flam is cruising the fjords surrounding the charming town. I always say that you should never visit the area and not see the fjords properly.
The fjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen involves sailing through two of the best fjords of Norway (in my humble, local opinion) – the Aurlandsfjord and the UNESCO listed Naeroyfjord (Nærøyfjord). This fjord cruise is a part of the ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ tour; however, you can also book the cruise on your own, which is what I recommend. If you want to learn more about this, I have written a guide on how to travel the full Norway in a Nutshell tour on your own here.
The cruise sails from Flåm, through the Aurlandsfjord and stops at each of the the pretty villages of Aurland (where I am from) and Undredal. So it is completely possible to use the fjord cruise as your mode of transportation by the fjords (however, this would be slightly more expensive than going by car or bus). Instead, these stops can be utilised for you to click pictures of the stunning landscapes. Undredal, in particular, is absolutely stunning when seen from the fjord. If you are planning to get off in Undredal, head this way to read my guide!
The audio guide onboard narrates local stories about the fjords and legends from the area and brings you closer to the fjord wildlife like seals and porpoises. As the boat enters the narrow Nærøyfjord, you get an up-close view of the cascading waterfalls. The Nærøyfjord is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and is the world’s most narrow fjord. So you will get quite close to the mountains as you sail through.
Read more: The Best Things to do in Gudvangen
Sustainable travel on the fjords
Another thing I want to point out about the Fjord Cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen, is that the vessels used for this; Vision of the Fjords, Future of the Fjords and Legacy of the Fjords, are all fully electric vessels, with the exception of Vision, which is a hybrid vessel. Vision of the Fjords was actually the world’s first hybrid vessel made of carbon fiber, which is quite impressive!
The boats all look the same, and are build for maximum views of the fjords. So whether you are staying inside or standing on the roof of the boat (you can walk around the whole boat – AND it is wheelchair accessible!), you will have great views of the fjords.
Tickets for the fjord cruise can be booked in the Visitor Center in Flåm, or in advance here. The cruise takes you to Gudvangen in 1,5 hours, and from there you can book a bus return (20 minutes). If you have the time, I recommend spending a few hours in Gudvangen, as there are some great things to do there too!
There are several ways you can enjoy cruising the fjords in the area, and ensuring that you experience them in the best way. As mentioned above, the fjord cruise is a great option, and also one of the most popular ones.
However, I strongly recommend that you opt for a little less busy way to explore the fjords: by going on a FjordSafari!
This is a guided boat ride in a lightweight, open RIB boat that offers you an intimate experience of the fjord and the surrounding mountains. Their tagline is literally “closer to nature”, and there is nothing more true about that.
The driver and guide have complete control over these small vessels, and as they don’t run on a schedule, you can stop wherever there are interesting things to see, and get closer to the waterfalls and majestic mountains than you could on any larger boat. You will zoom through the Aurlandsfjord, past the beautiful villages and dramatic scenery, and get a proper experience of the fjords.
There are several options you can book here (especially in the high season), with the basic FjordSafari being 1,5 hours long (and the extended version being 2 hours and 15 minutes). I recommend the extended version, as it takes you a little further into the Nærøyfjord.
It is also possible to combine the experience with a visit to Undredal or Gudvangen, or perhaps even a hike to Leim (which I have mentioned in my Aurland guide).
#6 Hike to Brekkefossen Waterfall
Though you can easily view the majestic Brekkefossen waterfall from the Flam Railway, hiking the falls and seeing it up-close is an adventure in itself.
The good news is – the hike to Brekkefossen waterfall is short (around 20 minutes from the start of the trail), easy to moderate in difficulty level, and amongst the most fulfilling on this list of what to do in Flåm if you have an adventurous soul.
The hiking trail starts from the centre of Flam, where you first pass through some picturesque farms, before you slowly ascend Sherpa-made stairs, and gradually make way to the top on a dirt trail leaving the Flam valley stretching into the distance.
As you near the magnificent Brekkefossen waterfall, the sound is quite loud. The water drops from a height of 625 metres into a big pool. From the falls, you get a one-of-its-kind view of Flam village with Sognefjord as a backdrop. You can walk down to the base of the waterfall as well.
#7 Visit the Flåm Church
Built-in 1667, the local Flåm Church is a wooden church located in the old town, 1.9 miles from the center of Flam village.
Some part of the walk to the church runs parallel to the Flam Railway line, and it is possible to get there by train (all though it is quite a nice walk along the rail tracks and the river, so I do recommend visiting by foot). It is a well-preserved sub-parish church surrounded by the green pastures of the Flam Valley.
Set in a peaceful neighbourhood, Flam Church is still a functional church. The location of the church used to be the center of the village, actually.
Flam Church’s interiors are stunning with painted wall art and wooden pews. Information boards give you an interesting glimpse into the history of the church and its connection to the Flam village. You will also find a cemetery beside the church, which is well kept, and amongst the interesting graves here is the grave of a Captain from WWII.
His ship, the Begonia, fled into the Aurlandsfjord in 1940 after being attacked by German planes. To avoid any further airstrike attacks, and casualties in the village, the ship was purposely sunk. The Captain died in the initial attack on the boat and is buried in Flåm. If you are a diver, you’ll be excited to hear that you can visit the wreck near the beach in Flåm, as it is quite intact.
#8 Hike or cycle the Flåm Valley
What better way to explore Flam Valley than hiking or cycling through it? The road from Myrdal to Flam is a part of Norway’s most stunning (and popular) cycle route called the ‘Rallar Road’, “Rallarvegen”. You can either take an idyllic walk down the Flam valley from Myrdal or rent a bicycle and ride to Flam. Both are great ways to explore the valley, and it just depends on whether you prefer walking or cycling.
The route offers you incredible views of the surrounding waterfalls like Kjosfossen, Kårdalsfossen, Rjoandefossen and the above-mentioned Brekkefossen.
The hiking or cycling route down the Flam Valley is 12.5 miles long and will take around 5 hours to walk and 2-3 hours to cycle. The route starts off with a steep descent, and snakes down through the famous 21 hairpin bends called Myrdalsvingane (the Myrdal turns). If you start your day by taking the Flåm Zipline, you will soar high above the hairpin turns instead.
A note about Myrdalsvingane
The hairpin turns below Myrdal are quite scary to cycle down, and the road is bumpy and rocky. Next to the turns there is a steep drop, so if you are feeling a little uncertain, please get off your bike.
There is no shame in walking your bike down the turns, and I strongly recommend you do this if you do not feel 100% confident in the turns. I am not trying to scare you here, but there have been fatal accidents on this road. So please cycle within your limits here.
From there the road eases into a smoother sail all the way down to Flam. To me, cycling the Flam Valley is one of the best ways to experience the Flam area! It is the most picturesque valley surrounded by wild-flower meadows, rolling green fields, majestic waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains in the distance.
#9 Visit the Flåm Railway Museum
After an enticing visual treat of Norwegian landscapes while riding the Flam Railway, you can visit the Flam Railway Museum to learn more about the steepest railway in the world. Visiting the museum is a must after your journey, and the best part is: it’s free!
This museum will provide you with more in-depth information on the history of the Flam Railway and how it was built, as well as some insight on what life was like in the village of Flåm before, during and after completion of the railway. The pictures and the objects displayed in the museum offer you an insight into the day-to-day life of the engineers who designed this marvel and the workers who built it.
The Flam Railway Museum organises various exhibitions and video presentations that explain the technological developments of the Flam Railway to visitors. There is also an old locomotive on display that you can see up-close (this is a great place to visit for those who love trains in general).
If you have a train-enthusiast friend, then the souvenir shop in the Flam Railway Museum is a must-visit place for you to buy them some rail-related Norwegian artefacts. The Flåm Railway Museum (and their online store Memories from Norway), is actually the official retailer of Flåm Railway merchandise.
#10 Walk to Otternes Farm
The list is incomplete without mentioning Otternes Farm. The farmyard is located between Norway’s two most charming villages – Flam and Aurland. The farmyard consisted of four farms that were run in an old-fashioned way all the way up until 1996 when they were abandoned.
Today, the Otternes Farm runs as a rural museum where you can take a walk and enjoy the spectacular views of the Aurlandsfjord in the distance along with adjacent mountains.
The Otternes Farm houses several farm cottages that date as far back as the 1700s. A few of these are well preserved and restored, and visiting them will give you a feeling of what it was like in the old days.
Please note that the active museum has been closed for the last few years, but you can still visit and walk around Otternes on your own. Local forces are working hard to reopen Otternes for visitors, with tours and exhibitions – so do check back!
One of the more adventurous way to explore the fjords surrounding Flam is by joining a fjord kayaking experience with Njord. Njord is the local kayak rental, and specialises in offering kayak tours where a qualified guide accompanies you. Paddling through the fjord in a 3-4 hour kayak tour is a great way to experience the beauty of nature surrounding Flam.
You can opt to join one of their tours on the fjord (they even have a Family Kayak Adventure for families!) or rent a kayak to explore on your own. Read more and book your kayak adventure here.
#12 Try locally made beer at Ægir BrewPub
A few years ago, Ægir was built. This pub is built to resemble a stave church, and is more than just the local village pub. Ægir is a BrewPub, and through the years, the Ægir Brewery has made a name for itself all across Norway! Their beer is a favourite amongst Norwegians, and have won several awards. So, don’t visit Flåm without an evening (and a tasting) at Ægir!
Ægir is part of the Flåmsbrygga hotel complex, one of my recommended places to stay in Flåm!
#13 Visit the Fretheim Cultural Park
I recommend you visit the Fretheim Cultural Park just behind the Fretheim Hotel during your time in Flåm. These pathways in the hills behind the hotel include a series of art installations and unique sculptures. In addition to this, the paths lead to a wonderful glimpse of the fjord, waterfalls, and mountains around the village, without being a very strenuous activity. To be honest, you can walk around the Cultural Park for just 15 minutes to get a lovely view of Flåm, and some movement into your day.
#14 Day Trip: Borgund Stave Church
I know I said I wouldn’t include things that are outside of Flåm in this post, but since this day trip leaves from Flåm, and the Borgund Stave Church is one of the highlights to see in the area, I’m doing you a favor here.
Borgund Stave Church is the best-kept stave church in Norway (one of only 28 remaining), and one of the most famous ones as a result.
You are bound to have seen photos of this dark, wooden, Viking-like church when researching Norway, and it is actually possible to see it from Flåm (even though it is a one-hour drive away).
This tour takes you to the stave church, and the Stegastein viewpoint on the way back, making for a great half day trip from Flåm! It also includes entrance tickets to the Borgund Stave Church.
Map of things to do in Flam, Norway
In the map below I have highlighted each of the activities and attractions mentioned in this guide. As you can see, the Nærøyfjord pin is the furthest away from Flåm, but the fjord cruise starts in Flåm, so don’t worry. The fjord cruise starts at the pier in Flåm, right by the station building.
More things to do in Flam
If you are looking for what to do in Flam, the activities I have mentioned in this post should cover everything there is to do in the village. However, there’s still more to Flam than what’s listed so far.
You can go to the Flåm beach that looks out onto the fjords for a refreshing swim, for example. The beach is perfect for swimming and a great way to spend some time if you have several days in Flåm. Bear in mind the water is quite cold, though, as the Flåm River runs out into the fjord right next to it (the river is literally melted snow).
Of course, there are also some activities starting in Flåm, that require you to leave the village. As mentioned above, these aren’t listed (as they aren’t specifically in the village), but they are still popular activities worth adding to your list.
For example, from Flåm it is possible to visit the popular Stegastein viewpoint in Aurland. Stegastein is a viewing platform that extends out 650 metres right above Aurlandsfjord and offers you a marvellous view of the fjord and the surrounding mountains. There are daily bus tours running from Flåm to Stegastein, which can be booked here.
Where to eat in Flåm
Now that you have all your sights and activities in the village sorted, it’s time to find out where to eat! There are some great restaurants in the area, and these are some you shouldn’t miss:
- Flåm Bakeri: The local bakery is the perfect place to grab a treat to bring with you for the day, or to have lunch.
- Ægir BrewPub and Restaurant: Ægir, the local brewery mentioned above, also offer great dining in the evening, and several items on the menu actually includes beer in the recipe.
- Flåm Marina: This restaurant is located a short walk from the center of Flåm, just around the bay (and past the FjordSauna). They boast the best view in Flåm, and as you sit on their dock you can not only enjoy the view of the fjord, but also some great food.
- Arven Restaurant: The restaurant in Fretheim Hotel offers lovely views through their glass facade, and often serve a buffet focused on local and sustainable ingredients.
Where to stay in Flåm
There are many great places to stay in Flåm, and I have listed some of my recommendations below (to suit any budget). In addition to that, you can use the map to find available accommodation. Flåm is the village in the area with the most options, as it is the most popular destination for tourists.Booking.com
How to get to Flåm and the fjord
Flåm is easily reached from most areas of Norway, thanks to its location at the end of the Aurlandsfjord (meaning it can be reached by boat) and at the end of the Flåm Railway train line (meaning it can be reached by train). Most travellers who don’t arrive via cruise ship will reach Flåm by train, but it is also possible to drive or travel by bus.
I hope this comprehensive list have given you an idea of what you can do in Flåm, Norway. This list will help you in planning your Flam getaway, I am sure! If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below, and I’ll do my best to help. Have you been to Flam? What’s your favourite thing to do in the village? Let me know.
Flåm, Norway FAQ
Yes! Flåm is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Norway for a reason – mainly due to its closeness to the beautiful Nærøyfjord, and the fact that the Flåm Railway (another major attraction) ends there. It is easy to reach from both Oslo and Bergen, and the perfect place to start exploring the fjords.
Most travellers spend just one day in Flåm, but I recommend spending at least 2 nights (giving you a little more than one day). Whilst the main attractions (the Flåm Railway and the fjord cruise) can be done in a day, there are plenty of “secondary” attractions making their way to the top of people’s bucket lists, such as Flåm Zipline and the Stegastein Viewpoint.
Flåm is known for several things, but mostly for the Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana), and for being a major cruise port in Norway. Other well-known attractions in and around Flåm is the Nærøyfjord, the Stegastein Viewpoint, Flåm Zipline and the Njardarheimr Viking Village.
Whilst it is possible to travel through Flåm without staying overnight, it is highly recommended to spend at least one night in the village in order to make the most of your stay.
It is best to stay in Flåm if you want the beautiful scenery of the fjords.
The Flåm Railway takes around 55 minutes each way. If you are doing a return trip from Flåm, you will have to add a few minutes’ wait at Myrdal (the end station), and so the round-trip journey will take you around 2 hours.
Yes, you can swim in Flåm. There is a beach there (Flåm beach) and also a floating sauna called FjordSauna. The water is very cold, so be prepared.
Flåm has a very small village center, and the train station and the Flåm Railway is located right by the dock. If you arrive at the cruise port, the Flåm Railway is a 3-5-minute walk away. Those arriving by fjord cruise will find that the Flåm Railway is 1-2-minutes away.