Norway in a Nutshell – Scenic Train Rides to Fantastic Fjords

Written By: The Planet D

Norway is famous for its fjords, there’s no doubt about it. But when you have limited time and funding, how do you choose where to go? 

The Norway in a Nutshell tour of the fjords offers a perfect way to sample the best of Norway’s magnificent fjords while getting to see the capital cities of Scandinavia.

We spent 14 glorious days traveling through Scandinavia by train, bus, and boat. I think the water portions of our Capitals and Fjords tour were my favorite.

Fjord Tour Norway

Norway in a nutshell
Norwegian Fjords

There is something calming and wonderful about floating through the fjords and channels while watching spectacular scenery from the deck of a ship.

While we will definitely go back to explore more of the Fjords of Norway, I can relax knowing that I was exposed to one of Norway’s most breathtaking fjords when we spent a day doing Norway in a Nutshell.

Norway in a Nutshell is probably the most popular tour in the country, which explores Sognefjord, the largest and best-known fjord of Norway.

About the Norwegian in a Nutshell

Stretching inland 205 km from the sea, it could take days to properly cruise and explore this spectacular fjord. We only had one day to see it, but our tour took us to the most beautiful portion of Sognefjord; the Nærøyfjord.

Sognefjord; the Nærøyfjord

Norway Fjords
Starburst Sun over the Norwegian Fjords

At only 20 km long, we cruised through this narrow arm of the Sognefjord surrounded by mountains reaching 1700 metres up to the sky.

Starting in Bergen, Norway in a Nutshell is just that. It gives you a taste of everything Norway has to offer, including stops in cities with views of mountains, lakes, a ride on historic and modern railways and of course a tour through Norway’s fjords.

Read: The Best of Bergen: What to do in Norway’s Most Beautiful City

Boarding an early morning train, we settled into a two-hour ride to Voss where we hopped on a bus taking us through a winding mountain road to the mouth of the fjord.

norway cruise
Views from the cruise

I wasn’t expecting such beauty, but the views from both the train and bus were magnificent.

The bus drive was approximately an hour. The driver paused regularly on hairpin turns allowing passengers to snap photos of waterfalls and deep valleys below.

Norway tours to the fjords

By the time we got to the ferry, we were excited for the scenes ahead. If this is what the valley looked like, imagine what the cruise would be like!

Norway Fjords
Our Ferry awaits at the mouth of the fjords.

The amount of time we spent in Gudvangen was far too short. We could have spent the morning hiking and taking photographs of the scene before our eyes.

However, there isn’t a lot of tourist infrastructure here yet and only has a welcome centre, restaurant and small hotel, so we only had enough time to snap a few photographs before boarding our ferry to Flam.

norway fjords tour
Everywhere you looked there were beautiful scenes like this.

We were near the end of the crowd and felt the anxiety rising as we saw more and more people board the boat before us. Would we be stuck with a middle seat inside?

It ended up that most people congregated on the back deck and didn’t venture toward the front.

Dave and I made our way quickly to the front of the boat where we settled into a front row view of the fjord cruise.

fjord cruise deb
Deb enjoys the view

I highly recommend staking your mark at the beginning of the trip and never moving.

Once the ferry took off, people looked at us with envy as we had the perfect position – looking straight down the fjord.

Fjords of Norway

fjord cruise
The walls seemed to tower above us.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Derek, our Go Ahead tour guide told us that he hadn’t seen it this clear on a tour in five years. We felt privileged to have such luck!

The cruise lasted for two hours weaving through the fjords as we slowly passed by small villages dotting the shores of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

fjords tour
Small villages dotted the landscape along cruise

We passed waterfalls and farms dating back to the Viking era where goats grazed in the long grassy fields.

The wind can be brisk and when the sun goes in or behind one of the tall mountains, it can cool down quickly so be sure to pack an extra sweater and wind jacket.

We felt completely comfortable, but we saw other passengers shivering.

waterfall at fjord of norway
It seemed like waterfalls were everywhere

The cruise finished at the picturesque village of Flam. We only had about an hour to look around, but if you are traveling on your own, I highly recommend staying overnight here.

This town is located in the heart of the fjord filled with restaurants, shops, hotels, and a museum. But the true star of the village is the scenery.

With fjords on one side and mountains on the other, it is the picture-perfect setting for a Norway getaway.

the flam railway
The flam railway

It is also here, from Flam, that we caught the Flam Railway to Myrdal. Starting at just 2 metres above sea level and rising to 866 metres in Myrdal, it is the steepest incline railway in Northern Europe.

It is also one of the most picturesque train trips on earth.

views from the flam railway
Views from the Flam Railway are impressive

A highlight of our journey was the very quick, yet exciting stop at the Kjosfossen Waterfall.

You have exactly five minutes to take photographs and the obligatory selfie before being herded back onto the train.

Derek warned us that it was short and suggested we run to the viewing platform. I am so glad we did. We managed to snap plenty of photographs before anyone else from the train arrived.

kjosfossen waterfall flam railway stop
The Kjosfossen Waterfall on our Norway

We took in the power and the beauty and were back on board feeling satisfied with our score. – Just another perk to having an experienced guide along for the ride.

The final leg of our Norway in a Nutshell tour ended with another rail journey back to Bergen where we caught the sun setting over lakes and mountains as we sat in comfort in the passenger compartment.

tour of Norwegian Fjords
Traveling in comfort and style on the Flam Railway

We were back in Bergen in time for dinner with visions of rolling mountains dancing in our heads.

see the Norwegian Fjords on the Norway in the Nutshell Tour

This post is in partnership with Go Ahead Tours who sponsored our trip to Scandinavia. As usual, all our opinions are our own. With more than 150 guided tours across all 7 continents, Go Ahead Tours has dedicated travel sites for both U.S. and Canadian travellers.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

80 thoughts on “Norway in a Nutshell – Scenic Train Rides to Fantastic Fjords”

  1. I loved the article, and especially the pictures used for making the article attractive, and the blog does the work pretty well.

  2. I really, Really, REally, REAlly, REAL, REALLY need to get on a train trip through Norway. Been watching the train channel on Pluto TV and am ADDICTED. Can you tell I am beside myself? LOL

  3. Fantastic pictures…
    I have heard that Norway is an alluring place where we can many colorful wooden houses and it’s the best place for fishing…
    thanks for posting this article…

  4. These photos are simply fantastic, I bet that riding a train through these mountains should be very tasty and fun.

  5. Be aware not all “Norway in a Nutshell” are guided. We had prebooked our tour which left from Bergen. Arrived at train station expecting a guide only to be told it is self guiding. After some confusion we found the right train to board as there was no indication of which train to board. Found some busses waiting for us to take us to the boat. After some confusion we found the right boat to board. Cruise was great. Arrived to board Flam train. And luckily, after asking a staff member discovered if we did not get on the next flam train we would be stuck there as it was the final one for the day. We were stuffed into the train only to be sitting on the wrong side as we could not see the gorge on our side. To add to it all an employee had sat on the scenic side, taking up a double seat, and promptly had fallen asleep!! Expensive tour, was disappointed and stressed. Had come from Australia to see this area specifically. So be aware of what you book.

  6. this is very beautfful, Hopefully I can take a trip to Norway soon and experience all these!i have no word for that
    i have no word for that…keep it up

  7. We drove from Bergen to Trondheim exploring numerous fjords and hiked Mt Saksa. Geiranger fjord was beautiful, and it was shoulder season, so not a lot of tourists around (and hard to find services, luckily we had accommodations all pre-booked).

  8. The world is beautiful. In a life you can not explore everything.
    But let’s do our best to enjoy it while we can.
    beautiful images

  9. I really enjoyed your post, Dave and Deb, as it brought back fond memories of my short visit to Norway a few years ago. We did the Norway in a Nutshell tour as independent travelers and opted to stay overnight in Flam. I’m really glad we did as it was nice to explore the village after all the day trippers had left! We enjoyed the ride on the Flam Railway, too.

    I can’t wait to go back and see more of Norway, in particular Geiranger Fjord. Your photos have me thinking it should be sooner rather than later 🙂

  10. Thank you for sharing! What a lovely trip and your pictures are sooooo beautiful! Hopefully I can take a trip to Norway soon and experience all these!

  11. I was debating whether to attempt Norway’s fjords on my upcoming trip to Scandinavia. You just inspired a trip. Thanks for tipping my scales.

  12. I am crazy to know Norway, even more after seeing these beautiful and lovely photos, I will program and next vacations I go to Norway with my fiancée.

  13. Hi Dave and Deb

    Guys, what a beautiful thing!

    I loved the post, I loved the blog!


    I’ll follow the tips!

  14. I’m getting married soon and have already scheduled my Honeymoon in Norway, this place should be really charming. Thank you for the beautiful photos.

  15. Stunning photos! We have very recently returned from our first trip to Norway and took the train between Oslo and Bergen – described as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. And my goodness, it was!!

    Highly recommend Norway to anyone – one of the most beautiful places I have been to.

  16. What a goldmine tourist idea in the Norway trip.Thanks for the idea and trip guide in the Norway Travellers.Your all picture are mindblowing and asome.Thanks For this.

  17. Hei all the Norway travellers that a great knows every thing to doing and important thing travel to nowray.Really amesing all the picture and nicely decorated by Travel lovers

    Thanks for a nicely introduce in Norway.

  18. Whoa ! Those photos are Amazing ! Now I want to go to Norway ! Maybe this will be our next destination when we will be back on Europe 🙂

  19. Thank you for sharing! What a lovely trip and your pictures are sooooo beautiful! Hopefully I can take a trip to Norway soon and experience all these!

  20. Hi Dave and Deb!

    I love your photos, so beautiful, so excited!. I planned visit Scandinavia with my friends from Nov, 25 to Dec, 10. Have any tips for the trip?

    Thank you!

  21. I am big fan for photography and this blog. You know photo that you capture it always amaze me and the way you share you experience, i have no word for that…keep it up