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Cheap tickets and best routes: A guide to travelling by train in Norway

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4 Oct, 2022 Updated Tue 4 Oct 2022 16:11 CEST
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The journey to Flam in Norway. Photo by Abbilyn Zavgorodniaia on Unsplash

Norway is filled with fantastic scenic routes and natural attractions meaning traveling by train can be a great and rewarding experience. This is our guide on how to find cheaper tickets, which sites to check, and not miss amazing routes.

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​Norway's railway system has been in operation for over 150 years, and a highly developed railway network connects the country through a number of dependable lines. It stretches over more than 3,000 kilometres and counts around 330 train stations.

It is not by chance that Norwegian train trips end up at the top of lists of the most recommended scenic train journeys worldwide year after year – train travellers in Norway have the chance to see incredible glaciers, pristine fjords, hidden villages, and many other unique natural attractions along the country's train line.

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There are certainly faster alternatives to train travel, but the jaw-dropping beauty of the landscape in itself is often enough to justify the extra time.

Without further ado, here's what you need to know when it comes to taking the train in Norway.

The rail network and key lines

Norway has a modern and well-developed railway network that covers its extremes – from the popular summer destination of Kristiansand in the south of the country to Bodø (the European Capital of Culture for 2024!) in the north.

As an added bonus, most Norwegian lines go through Oslo (Oslo Central Station functions as the country's main railway hub), which can be very useful for visitors landing at the capital, and there are numerous train connections to other countries in the neighbourhood.

When it comes to tickets, there are several train companies operating in Norway, including VY (regional lines, as well as local trains in Oslo), SJ NORD (regional lines, as well as local trains in Nordland and Trøndelag), Flytoget (connecting the Oslo area and the Oslo International Airport), and Go Ahead Nordic (connecting areas from Oslo to Stavanger).

The key long-distance lines, according to VisitNorway – the official travel guide to Norway – include:

  • The Sørlandsbanen/Jæren Line: Oslo – Stavanger, the trip takes around 8 hours. 
  • The Bergen Line: Oslo – Bergen, the trip takes about 7 hours.
  • The Dovre Line: Oslo – Trondheim, the journey takes around 7 hours.
  • The Nordland Line: Trondheim – Bodø, the trip takes a whopping 10 hours.
  • The Rauma Line: Dombås – Åndalsnes, a shorter 1 hour and 40 minutes trip. 
  • The Røros Line: Hamar – Trondheim, the journey takes around 5 hours. 
  • The Ofoten Line: Narvik – Kiruna, the trip takes 3 hours and 20 minutes. 

You can see the main long-distance lines on the map below, based on the most recent available line map from Bane Nor:

Finding and booking affordable tickets

You can buy train tickets in Norway at all main train stations; however, try to book tickets online and in advance to get better deals (cheap tickets tend to sell out quite fast – especially if it's high season).

  • VY tickets can be booked here (remember to look for low-fare tickets).
  • SJ NORD's tickets can be booked here (the standard tickets are the most affordable option). 
  • GoAhead Nordic's tickets can be found here (if possible, get low-fare tickets).
  • If you're taking the Oslo Airport Express Train, you can book your ticket here.
  • You can also book your train trip through the Entur app or on Entur's website here (Entur is a government-owned transportation company that offers railway tickets and serves as a travel planner for public transport throughout the country).

Don't forget to ask for discount policies, as many train operators in Norway offer some sort of discount (for example, to students and children). 

If you intend to take multiple train journeys, keep an eye open for discounted "minipris" tickets, which are sold as a limited offer and at highly discounted prices. 

They can be purchased well in advance but have a cancelation option that is valid for only four hours from the time of purchase. 

After the cancellation window expires, they become non-refundable – so make sure you're willing to take the risk. If you need a more flexible ticket option, consider a (pricier) flex ticket.

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A selection of three unforgettable train trips

If you're strapped for time and looking for a scenic trip, we recommend some of the following train journeys.

1. The Flåm Line

The Flåm railway is an internationally famous railway, despite the fact that the train trip from Myrdal station to Flåm village takes roughly 1 hour. 

This line is a record-contender - it is one of the steepest standard-gauge railways in the world.

If Lady Luck blesses you with nice weather, you will be able to enjoy stunning views of meandering rivers and waterfalls.

The antique trains on the Flåm Line are something to admire in themselves, but visitors to Flåm can enjoy numerous activities year-round, such as visiting the Flåm Railway Museum or taking up waterfall hikes. 

Fjord-aficionados can also enjoy Aurlandsfjord sightseeing trips (if you plan to rent a car, don't miss the Stegastein viewpoint, just a 30-minute drive from Flåm). 

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2. The Bergen Line

The Bergen Line – voted as one of the world's top scenic train journeys by Lonely Planet – is a must for any true lover of scenic train trips.

The train on the line passes through incredible mountain scenery on its journey from Oslo to Bergen, passing through the stunning landscapes of Gol, Voss, the Hallingdal valley, and the Hardangerjøkulen glacier on its way. 

Left wanting more? You can also transfer at the Myrdal station and hop on the Flåm Line for a truly unforgettable two-in-one experience.

3. The Røros Line

Going back all the way to 1877, the Røros Line is Norway's oldest main railway line. While not as exciting as its more famous "siblings" – the Flåm and the Bergen lines – this line is characterized by views of deep and untamed forests. 

The trip from Hamar to Trondheim takes around 5 hours. Before arriving at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Røros in Trøndelag, the train passes through the wild landscapes and forests of Østerdalen. 

Fun fact: Norwegian master architect Georg Andreas Bull designed the train stations between Hamar and Grundset, and Trondheim and Støre.

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2022/10/04 16:11

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