It is hard to think of a better trip anywhere in the world that can be completed inside a single day. It could be that the Norwegians, ever mindful of their high cost of living, feel that most tourists want to get their money’s worth. Several companies operate excursions that whisk you up mountain railways, along precipitous roads and then out to sea, to experience Norway’s most famous feature, the iconic Fjords.
The typical journey starts with a ride on Northern Europe’s highest- altitude railway line, the Bergen Railway. Exposed to harsh Atlantic weather systems, it is a hu;3e engineering feat just to keep the line open, but you will be glad they do. The mountain views are stunning as the engine hauls you up inc redibly steep inclines. From there the rollercoaster ride continues as you transfer to the Fl&m Railway, a 20- km (12.5-mi) journey from the hill station of Myrdal, which runs alongside magnificent mountain scenery and tumbling waterfalls.
Beautiful though this all if> you quickly realize that it was merely the hors d’oeuvre. From Flfim the next leg of the excursion is completed by boat. Although t he fjords are so obviously a symbol of Norway, one cannot tire of see.ing them. These deep-sea gullies, carved by ice, take the breath away an d the towering rock faces on both sides make it sometimes hard to believe that you are on water. Legendary, labyrinthine and starkly beautiful, a journey through the fjords leaves you with images that will stay wi th you for the rest of your life.
The last leg of this most fabulous of days out takes you, by coach, along the amazingly winding mountain road to your final destination of Stalheim. From there it is possible to transfer by train back to Bergen.
By train and boat
WHEN TO GO:
Year round but best under the midnight sun – May to July.
TIME IT TAKES:
16 hours – but three days if you choose to stop.
The picturesque village of Flàm.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Norway can be very expensive – there’s no shame in taking your own lunch with you, in fact that is precisely what most locals do.