Monday, July 30, 2012

Flåm and Flåmsbana railway

As I am back in Norway for holidays I thought I could do a few posts about some tourist destinations from my own country. In case you missed it and would like to have a look, I talked about the beautiful fjord of Geiranger the last time. And while I’m at it with the fjords, I thought I’d add another beautiful fjord destination, FLÅM

Just like Gerianger it’s a tiny little town with just a couple hundred inhabitants, but it receives about 450 000 visitors during the tourist season. It is also a busy cruice ship port like Geiranger.

Flåm is located at the end of Aurlandsfjord, an arm of the 204 km long and 1308m deep Sognefjord, the longest and deepest one.

The main reason Flåm is so popular, is the FLÅM RAILWAY, a 20 km long railway line between Flåm and Myrdal. The construction of the railway allowed a connection from Flåm to the Bergen Railway Line (Oslo-Bergen) when it opened in 1940.

What’s spectacular about it, apart from the stunning views, is what a great construction it is, considering it’s all built by hand (with an exception of two of the twenty tunnels), and also the fact that it has an elevation difference of 863 meters in just 20 km. This leaves the elevation rate at 1 meter per 18 meters, and it is the steepest standard gauge railway in Europe. 

More info and picture from
  • Contruction started in 1924 and the railway opened in 1940
  • Hand construction was done by drilling up to 4 meters through the rock, and then filling the holes with dynamite and blasting.
  • On average, making the tunnels took between 116 and 180 man-hours per meter
  • One forth of the line runs through tunnels
  • Because of its steep gradient and picturesque nature, the Flåm Line is now almost exclusively a tourist service and has become the third-most visited tourist attraction in Norway
  • The line has 10 stations along the way 

Apart from beautiful scenery all the way, the biggest attratcion is the Kjosfossen station where the train takes a five minutes break so you can go out and admire the powerful waterfall, Kjosfossen, a big and beautiful waterfall with a total free fall of about 225 meters. 

In the summer season there is a Hulder singing and dancing in the waterfall! A Hulder is a seductive forest creature in Norwegian mythology, and the powerfulness of the waterfall and the dancing Hulder makes it absolutely enchanting! (Even for me, although I am Norwegian!)

Found a little video with the Hulder on youtube if you're interested:

Anyone been to, or heard about Flåm? 


  1. That waterfall is divine. I can see why mythology was built around this place--it is a little bit of everyday magic.

  2. Oh wow! This is BEAUTIFUL! I hope I will be able to travel to Norway as soon as possible! I need to tell my Dad about the railway, he is a huge fan of all kinds of railways all over the world and I am sure he wants to travel with this train!

    1. Do tell Dad! If he's a big railway-fan I'm sure he'd appreciate this one :)

  3. It's so beatiful. please post more norwegian places to go!

  4. That is beautiful. I may have to add some more places from Norway to my Wanderlust Wishlist (which currently includes from there the Hardangerfjord, and pulpit rock in Ryfylke).

    1. I would be honored if you were to add some things to your Norway list because of my posts :) For me, these places are worth a visit, there is quite a lot of natural beauty all over there in the western Norway so I don't think one would be dissapointed!