Bergensbanen is the Norwegian name for the famous train from Oslo to Bergen, a scenic railway nearly 500 km long, connecting Norway’s two largest cities.
Bergensbanen is considered to be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. The railway crosses breathtaking landscapes, rising from the Bergen Fjord to 1237 meters above sea level of the Hardangervidda, the mountain plateau located in the middle of central southern Norway, between Oslo and Bergen. For this reason Bergensbanen is the highest mainline railway line in Northern Europe.
From Finse station, in the heart of the mountain plateau, which is particularly popular in winter for skiing and in summer for hiking, the train gradually descends towards Oslo, offering a wonderful view of the fjord. You could make stops on your journey from Oslo to Bergen, perhaps stopping at one of the beautiful mountain villages around Finse. Or you could take a detour from Myrdal, where you can take the famous Flåmsbanen (Flam Railway) scenic train, one of Southern Norway’s top attractions.
If you are planning your trip to southern Norway you shouldn’t miss traveling on the train from Oslo to Bergen. This scenic train ride will allow you to enjoy breathtaking views of pristine valleys, emerald lakes and towering mountains. Furthermore this is also the easiest and fastest way to travel between the two cities.
What you will find in this travel guide on the Bergensbanen Train from Oslo to Bergen:
- Bergensbanen: What to Expect
- Train from Oslo to Bergen: Practical Info and Timetables
- A step-by-step guide to travel on the Train from Oslo to Bergen
- Discover the Flåmsbana (Flam Railway)
- Train from Oslo to Bergen Tickets and Passes (Interrail and Eurail)
Bergensbanen: What to Expect
Bergensbanen (also called Bergensbana) was originally the railway line from Bergen to Hønefoss, built in the late 1800s across the dramatic plateau of Southern Central Norway. The Oslo to Bergen railway was built between 1875 and 1909. The first section, the Voss Line, a narrow gauge railway from Bergen to Voss, was opened in 1883. Later the line was connected with the Bergen Line, which was eventually extended to Oslo.
Today Bergensbanen is simply called the Oslo to Bergen train (or Bergen to Oslo train), and is one of the main connections between Norway’s two major cities. Built shortly after Norway gained independence, the Bergensbanen was one of the most challenging works of the time. Construction was not easy due to the harsh climate and mountainous terrain.
The full line was inaugurated in 1909 and began to operate with steam locomotives. The line was gradually electrified at the turn of the century, and in the 1960s it was shortened with the construction of the Ulriken Tunnel, just over 7.6 km long.
Today the Oslo to Bergen railway operates with modern, fast and comfortable trains, which travel silently through landscapes of indescribable beauty. The entire journey from Oslo to Bergen takes approximately 7 hours.
The train runs all year round and offers very different views in each season. In winter you can enjoy the view of a fairytale landscape, covered with abundant and very white snow. In the fall the forests are a picturesque palette of shades of red, yellow and orange, while in the spring and summer the green valleys, lakes, rivers and villages glow with bright and vibrant colors, the fields are in bloom and the scent of hay hovers in the air at the stops.
Train from Oslo to Bergen: Practical Info and Timetables
Bergensbanen is one of Norway’s main railways, regularly operated by Vy (the Norwegian Railway Company). For this you can travel on the scenic train from Oslo to Bergen (or Bergen to Oslo) with a regular ticket, purchased online or at the ticket offices of Oslo or Bergen Station, or at major stations along the line.
Every day there are 4 to 6 trains from Oslo and 4 to 6 trains from Bergen. The train makes 14 stops and takes 7 hours to cover the entire line. The last train is a night train, so it is not recommended for tourists who want to enjoy the view. It does have sleeper compartments though, which makes it a good choice for those just needing to travel from Oslo to Bergen or vice versa.
The departure times of the train from Oslo to Bergen are: 8.25, 10.25, 16.25, 23.03 (night train).
The departure times of the train from Bergen to Oslo are: 8.15, 13.49, 15.44, 23.18 (night train).
Timetables are subject to change, so it is advisable to check them on the vy.no website before traveling.
The trains are modern, spacious and comfortable. They are also usually quiet, clean and safe. There is also a bar, a small restaurant and (not so stable) free wifi connection on board. In the peak season (in August and during the Christmas holidays) it is advisable to buy the ticket online well in advance.
A step-by-step guide to travel on the Train from Oslo to Bergen
The Bergensbanen connects Bergen to Oslo by passing through a breathtaking mountainous landscape, crossing over 200 tunnels and 300 bridges. This offers a wide range of opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities.
From Finse to Haugastøl runs one of the most famous hiking trails in Norway, the Rallarvegen (not to be confused with the Ofotbanen hiking trail of the same name, located near Narvik), which can be traveled on foot or by mountain bike.
Built as an access road for the railway construction works, it offers scenic views and from Finse you can continue to Myrdal (the whole route is about 80 km long). From Myrdal you can continue along the scenic route that skirts the Flåm Railway to the village of Flåm on the beautiful Sognefjord. Over 20,000 cyclists a year travel this road, which is recognized as one of Norway’s most popular cycle paths.
Along the Bergensbanen are also some of Norway’s most popular ski resorts, such as Gol, Geilo and Voss. Furthermore, the Finse plateau is a truly wonderful place, both for ski lovers (especially cross-country skiers) and for those who simply want to enjoy its magical mountain atmosphere.
Finse was used in the past as training grounds for Antarctic expeditions by the most famous polar explorers, because its climatic conditions in winter can be quite rough. In the summer it is a perfect spot for fishing for delicious trout.
The journey on the train from Oslo to Bergen starts from Oslo Central Station, located right in the heart of the city. The railway runs alongside the Drammensfjord, then starts following the Drammenselva River, famous for its wild salmon fishing, to Hønefoss.
Near Vikersund station you will be able to see Tyrifjorden, one of the largest and deepest lakes in Norway, and after crossing Hardangervidda, the highest mountain plateau in Europe, you will arrive at Finse, the highest station in Bergensbanen.
Finse is a good starting point for exploring Hardangervidda National Park, which is home to Norway’s largest wild reindeer population. From here, you can see some of Norway’s most impressive glaciers and explore hundreds of miles of hiking trails.
The train continues to Bergen through a series of tunnels to the Krøderen Valley, passing the beautiful Langevannet and Breidvanne lakes and the small villages of Flå and Nesbyen.
Continuing the journey you will arrive at one of the best known stations, Myrdal, from where the scenic historic railway called Flåmsbana departs, leading to the village of Flåm. Continuing along the Bergensbanen you will still encounter fabulous valleys, forests, lakes and waterfalls, before reaching the beautiful West Fjords and the picturesque town of Bergen.
VOSS, GOL AND GEILO
The small town of Voss sits along a beautiful mountain lake, and is a great starting point for exploring the area. There are some good hotels here too, like Scandic Voss and the fabulous Store Ringheim Hotel.
The area around Gol and Geilo is also very beautiful, an excellent starting point for hiking and cycling in the summer, and for winter activities. Easily reachable, a few steps from the station, there are the Solstad Hotel & Motel and the Hesla Farm Apartments. The latter offers nice and characteristic accommodations on a mountain farm.
In Geilo, which is one of the most popular ski resorts in the region, you could stay at the Ustedalen Resort Leiligheter, or the Dr. Holms Hotel or the Highland Lodge. They all offer modern, comfortable and stylish accommodation, with indoor pools and world-class spas.
Discover the Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway)
One of Norway’s most famous scenic trains, the Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway), departs from Myrdal station, located about 5 hours by train from Oslo and just 2 hours from Bergen.
This railway was built between 1923 and 1940 and is 20 km long. It passes through a scenic canyon and joins the mountain village of Myrdal with the village of Flåm, overlooking a beautiful branch of the Sognefjord, one of the most beautiful fjords in Southern Norway.
The Flåmsbana is a masterpiece of railway engineering: the railway passes through a steeply sloping mountainous landscape, makes a turn of almost 180 degrees inside a tunnel carved into the mountain and offers a breathtaking view of waterfalls, lakes, streams and tiny villages.
Once it was mainly used to transport goods, today it has become one of the main attractions of the region. Over 600,000 tourists a year come here to ride the famous old-fashioned green carriages of Flåmsbana.
Many visit the Flåm Railway on a day trip from Bergen that also includes a cruise on the beautiful Sognefjord, one of Southern Norway’s most beautiful attractions.
Train from Oslo to Bergen Tickets and Passes (Interrail and Eurail)
The Oslo Bergen train operates a regular service, operated by the Norwegian Railways (Vy – Vygruppen AS). You can get your ticket at all major stations along the line, including Oslo Central Station and Bergen Station. In both there are also ticket machines, as well as at the ticket office. Otherwise you can buy your ticket on the Vy website. Ticket sales open 90 days prior to departure.
The Oslo Bergen train is a very popular route, so tickets are often in high demand. For this reason it is advisable to buy tickets online well in advance. Ticket prices vary greatly from season to season. Generally they range from NOK 300-400 up to over NOK 1000 in peak periods.
The Oslo Bergen train is definitely one of the must-dos on an Interrail in Norway or Scandinavia. The Interrail pass (for EU residents) or the Eurail pass (for non-EU residents) allows you to travel without limits and without additional costs on the Bergensbanen.
EU residents can choose between 2 convenient passes: Interrail Norway Pass (to travel all over Norway by train) and Interrail Global Pass (to travel all over Europe by train, including Scandinavia and over 30 other countries).
Non-EU residents can choose from 3 different options: Eurail Norway Pass (to explore Norway by train), Eurail Scandinavia Pass (to explore Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark by train, the once in a lifetime journey!) and the Eurail Global Pass (to travel all over Europe by train, with an unbeatable value for money).