06 Sep Tips for Traveling to Flåm, Norway
When researching Flåm, Norway, online, I had trouble finding information. Maybe there isn’t much information available because this little town is often just a quick stop while on a cruise or on a Norway in a Nutshell tour. Whatever the reason, if you like peace and quiet and being active in nature, Flåm is a great spot for more than a quick stop. I would have enjoyed staying for 3 or 4 nights instead of the one night that we had scheduled.
1. First and foremost, food is very expensive (as it is all over Norway), and we found the most economical way to eat was to buy food at the grocery store. There is one grocery store in Flåm and it is small, but they do have enough variety to make a meal even if you don’t have a kitchen. In the back of the grocery store, there is a little area with fresh baked goods. We spotted a few items that almost looked like pizza pockets or meat pockets–they consisted of a bread roll stuffed with various fillings, and they were going fast. We opted to purchase fresh rolls and deli meat so we could make our own sandwiches. With a side of chips and soda, our picnic meal cost us around 95 NOK (around $16). You could also buy a disposable grill and cook items like hot dogs or hamburgers for a meal.
2. Pretty much all of the restaurants are spendy, ranging from about 120 NOK (around $20) per person at the walk-up cafe which closes around 6 in the evening, to 345 NOK (around $56) per person at one of the hotel restaurants, Flamsbrygga. We didn’t want to spend this much on food, so we were excited when we checked out the menu at the Toget Cafe which is located inside of a railway car. We found that you could buy a 13 inch pizza for around 180 NOK (around $30); it wasn’t huge, but it was enough for us to share and be satisfied considering both our budget and appetite. There is also an ice cream/coffee shop in the walk-up cafe where you can get sweet treats. We tried a waffle like pastry with jam–it was delicious!
3. Food is actually pretty affordable on the trains between Oslo and Bergen, so consider this as a meal option when leaving Flåm by train. We can’t vouch for the quality because we didn’t get a chance to try it, but we were surprised to find many meals were cheaper on the train than they were in Flåm.
4. Stop in the tourist office and grab a map depicting the hiking trails. The map isn’t super detailed, but it is detailed enough where you should still be able to make your way just fine.
5. There is one bank in Flåm, the Aurland Sparebank. If you suddenly find yourself without cash like we did, you can withdraw money from the ATM even when the bank is closed. The bank looked like it was locked up, but thankfully, you can enter through the front doors to the ATM area.
6. Most of the stores and cafes close early and the town gets fairly quiet after the cruise ships leave for the day. We enjoyed the peacefulness, but if you like lots of nightlife, you won’t find it in Flåm.
7. If you want to book ferry tickets to cruise down the fjord, you need to purchase them from the tourist office. Pay attention to the hours of the tourist office because it might not be open in the morning if you are planning on taking an early morning fjord cruise.
8. When searching online, it appears as though you can’t book Flam Railway tickets in advance unless you are with a group. Although you don’t necessarily need to reserve a seat on the train in advance, if you are like me and like to plan ahead, you can relax because there is a way to book train tickets ahead of time. If you are taking a train from a connecting city, such as Oslo or Bergen, you can buy your ticket all the way through to Flåm. When I was searching these options, I found tickets available on the nsb.no and eurail.com websites, but booking directly through NSB (the Norwegian railway website) is typically the cheapest.
Also, if you are from the United States and looking to purchase train tickets through NSB, I will be sharing additional tips on how to do so.
9. If you don’t want to take the train into the valley of Flåm, you can also hike down the mountain from the Myrdal station. The pathway appeared to be fairly easygoing, and although it looks fun, be aware that it will probably take about 3 hours and is mainly downhill the entire time.
10. There are two main hotels in the town of Flåm, Fretheim Hotel and Flamsbrygga Hotel, both of which are very nice. There is also a pension, the Heimly Pensjonat, which just means it is like a hotel but has very few amenities. Other alternative options include the Flåm Marina and Apartments, the Flåm Camping and Youth Hostel, and various cabins for rent.
We stayed at the Heimly Pensjonat, and while it was very basic, we enjoyed our stay. Breakfast and wifi were included and we had a great view overlooking the fjord. I would definitely stay there again because of the price and great hospitality.
11. And last but not least, trolls. I know you were all wondering when I would bring up the nasty trolls that patrol the Norwegian mountains, and now is the time. We tried searching for these elusive creatures on our hike through the Flåm valley, but had no such luck. Apparently, these trolls hide far from civilization and turn to stone when directly hit with sunlight. We would like your help in searching for trolls, so if you find one, make sure to let us know with the hashtag #wheremytrollat on Twitter. Happy hunting!
Do you have any tips for traveling in Flam, Norway? Share in the comments below–we’d love to hear them!