We’re big fans of train journeys – not just for getting from A to B, but for the enjoyment of the journey itself. And Bergen to Oslo is really one of the best. So here are five reasons why you should give it a go.
- Bergen is a real gem
Stockfish. Dried white fish – usually cod. That’s how Bergen developed as a major trading post. Ships from Denmark and Germany would arrive at the port and the stockfish bought. As it would last for up to a couple of years, it was an extremely useful commodity. The wooden harbour buildings where this trade took place are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, these days, mostly contain shops and cafes. But it doesn’t take much imagination to see traders and sailors engaging heartily and to smell the rows of drying fish.
A food market at the head of the harbour sells local specialities – king crab, wild smoked salmon and sausages made with minke whale meat.
But to really appreciate the city – and to spot the station from which you’ll start your journey – take the funicular to the top of Mount Floyen. The views are superb and are best taken in with a coffee and a cinnamon bun.
- Some of the best views of the fjords
Once you’ve left Bergen station, it doesn’t take long at all before the scenery starts to wow you. The track hugs the side of the fjords, whilst raspberry-coloured wooden cabins punctuate the shoreline and waterfalls on mountains opposite resemble strands of white wool. Every vista is worth a photo, as water, rock and air cut into each other. There are beautiful landscapes … and then there are the fjords.
- Stunning mountain scenery
After a couple of hours, the track rises, and it becomes apparent that you’ve moved up into the mountains. Trees thin out and then vanish. The remnants of the snow start appearing alongside the rails and semi-frozen lakes materialise. Ten degrees are wiped off the Bergen temperature and at stations, cross-country skis accompany the boarding passengers. The railway tops out at about 1,000m and it’s an absolute delight to be travelling across the mountain range, rather than simply seeing the snowy peaks in the distance.
- May is a great month
Our empty nester audience know the benefits of taking a trip in May. Lower prices, a good selection of destinations with decent weather and a couple of useful bank holidays. And although you’ll get a wonderful experience on the Bergen to Oslo line at any time of year, May gifts the perfect blend of the fullest waterfalls, greenest vegetation and generous pockets of snow.
- Oslo has some great sight-seeing
There’s loads to see when you get to Oslo. It’s a pretty compact city, with most attractions being within walking or a short tram ride distance. We were particularly taken with the Vigeland Sculpture Park, with its 212 nude figures depicting every human emotion. But whether you want to sip mojitos in the swanky bars of Tjuvholmen or marvel at Munch in the National Gallery, there’s more than enough for a couple of days.
If you’ve never taken a train trip for the journey rather than simply a means of transport, the Bergen to Oslo trip should be high on your list. Whilst the cities at either end are well worth a visit, the six or seven hours spent connecting them will be an absolute treat. We promise!