Some train journeys are memorable for the people, the activity, the engine, the atmosphere. Some just to say you did them, but some are memorable because of the view, the location, and one of Scandinavia’s best journeys is memorable for just that.
From Norway’s capital, Oslo, travelling westwards to the coastal town of Bergen (a great city to visit by the way, stunningly beautiful and full of history). I had a Scandinavian Rail Pass at the time which proved great value – better value for money than Eurail. So if you’re heading to Scandinavia, well, I’d look into it!
Between Olso and Bergen, both port cities, is the mountain plateau of Hardangervidda – the highest of its kind in Europe. The train stops at Finse, midway between the two cities, which are 496 metres apart by rail as the train rises to over 1000 metres high. Here, in the peak of Summer (August) there is still snow. The train stopped (when I was on it) for a long enough period for people to disembark and take photos of the snow plateau before slowly descending to Bergen.
Bergen was a great little place too surrounded by hills and woods, with an interesting history surrounding World War Two. The hostel there was a makeshift summer hostel with many mattresses on the floor of a big old hall on the first floor, and I remember the reception staff were watching Aussie crime dramas in the evening on TV which was not something I was expecting!
On the way back, I took the overnight train but was extremely glad that I took the day train one way. If you are looking for an incredibly scenic rail journey in Europe, this has to be one of the very best.
A couple of useful links –
Sadly I can’t find any information on the rail pass I used which encompassed Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. It seems today the passes are just for the individual countries unless you want to go the big Eurail pass that basically covers ALL of Europe. I’m sure these all still represent good value for money though!
Thanks for reading today! In a couple of days my journey in 1999 continues on the blog with more from Egypt! Until then – may the journey never end.