I recently took the famous train ride from Oslo to Bergen, Norway and can honestly say it is the most beautiful, scenic train ride I’ve ever experienced. Whether you’re interested in Bergen (which is one of my new favorite cities – another story for another day) or just want to take the ride for the scenes, DO IT. And now that I’ve convinced you, here’s what you need to know about it.
You can take the train either way, from Oslo to Bergen, or Bergen to Oslo. We caught it going Oslo to Bergen, so adjust these tips a bit if you’re doing it the opposite direction.
Booking Your Tickets for the Oslo to Bergen Train
I had previously purchased a Eurail pass that covered any 15 days during a pre-determined 2-month period. My friend traveling with me was using a Eurail pass for 5 days within a set range of dates as well. We both just brought our Eurail passes and a pen, grabbed our seats, and filled in the information for our train ride (departure, destination, time, date, and method of travel). When the conductor came by, he did a quick check and gave us a stamp, and then we were off on our journey.
You can of course buy individual tickets for the railway, too. I recommend buying them in advance, but when we traveled in late May, we just walked on without a reservation and it all worked out fine. Most carriages were pretty full after a few stops, though, and I believe that later in the summer it’s more of a necessity to book ahead. There are typically 3-4 trains running from Oslo to Bergen each day to choose from. If you’re interested in taking the overnight train, that’s an option, though I think you’d be missing out on lots of views that way.
If you’re not using a Eurail pass, here’s a few options for buying tickets:
- Rail Ninja – you can purchase individual tickets here.
- Norwegian State Railways (NSB) – purchase your tickets here.
- Rail CC – purchase your tickets here.
- Purchase tickets at the train station. You’ll find ticketing centers around the station, which accept credit card and cash in most cases. (Norwegian currency is the Kroner, which is currently about 0.12 USD per 1 NOK.) A quick search brought up prices between $439-$939 NOK which is between $53 and $114 USD. Last minute tickets are more expensive.
I caught a sale on the Eurail passes for 15 days that was around $637 USD, so if I spent each of those days traveling back and forth between Bergen & Oslo, I’d save hundreds by getting the pass. There are also discounts for seniors and children, so check for those when booking your tickets!
Catching the train from Oslo to Bergen:
Catch the train from the Oslo S station. Do note that ride is about 7 hours in length. You’ll want to catch one of the earlier departing trains if you plan on spending the night in Bergen so you have time to find your accommodations in daylight. If you’re visiting Norway in the summer months this won’t be much of an issue. There is hardly an hour in the day where the sun is completely down, so even if you arrive late at night, you should be able to navigate without being in complete darkness. However, in the winter months when daylight is limited, arriving at your final destination with a bit of sun-time left might be desirable.
Our train was scheduled to leave at 8:25 in the morning and left promptly so. Don’t be late – it won’t wait for you and almost every stop along the way was accurate within a few minutes of the projected times. There were about 14 stops along the way from Oslo S station to Bergen, with a major one being Myrdal. While you can get on and off at any stop, I recommend taking the train the entire way for the full experience. The views are quiet varied throughout so you’ll miss some great views if you only go halfway!
Tips for the best Oslo to Bergen train ride:
Grab a seat on the left side of the train for the best views. I was seated on the right, and most of the time found myself looking left for the prettiest scenes. (Reverse this if you’re going Bergen to Oslo). If you can’t score a left-side seat, don’t panic! You can see plenty on either side and can always get up and walk around if you want better views.
Reserve seats. Even in low season. Just to be safe! We didn’t reserve seats and at one point had to move for a couple who had reserved the seats we’d chosen. This wasn’t a big deal at all but I was admittedly anxious for a while that more people would be boarding at further stops with reservations and we’d find ourselves with no place to sit.
Bring your electronic chargers and converters – there are working outlets on the train which are great to recharge your phone for navigation upon arrival, your camera batteries after all your photography, or whatever other device you might want to use while you’re passing the time. (That is, when you’re not taking in the views, of course). If you’re like me, you’ll want to bring music so you can wistfully look out the window and pretend you’re in a movie while mouthing the lyrics to your favorite songs playing on repeat for hours.
Be on time. Yes, I said it twice for the people who skimmed the first paragraph because I do NOT want you to miss this ride. Trains depart promptly from the main stations, and within minutes of projected times at stops along the way. Some of the stops budgeted only 2-4 minutes for passengers to disembark or hop on and find their seat.
Snacks, food, and drinks available for purchase on the train but bring your own if you are on a budget. There were a variety of chips, candies, salads, wraps, etc. but the pickings got slimmer toward the end of the ride. They prices weren’t unexpectedly outrageous but they certainly aren’t cheap, and I just really wanted to spend my money on yummier food than pre-packaged meals.
They do offer alcohol too, which must be consumed in the cafe carriage, and I noted that they even have a special beer served only on the train line. (Or at least that’s what the lady working the register said!) If they give you a paper slip to put under your beverage, use it. Otherwise your beer is subject to slide off the table at a sudden wobble of the train.
In late May, there is still a lot of snow about halfway to Bergen, where the elevation is much higher. I’d imagine that a month or so later and everything would be more green along the way, but a bit earlier in the year and you’ll see more snowfall.
Traveling with children? There’s a play area for children in the family carriage that has toys, things to climb on, and a tv playing kids shows. It’s located in the family carriage, and seemed like a terrific idea for families on this long ride.
And finally, the million dollar question – what about WiFi?! Don’t despair. There IS free WiFi on the train so you can immediately post your amazing pictures and insta-videos as you zip through the Norweigian countryside.
I hope you’ve found this helpful and are now considering this beautiful train-ride! If there’s anything I missed, I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for making the most of this scenic journey. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly mode of transportation through Norway or just wanting to see the Norwegian countryside, I’m sure you’ll find this a perfect fit. Happy travels!
THANKS FOR READING OSLO TO BERGEN!
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