Snow more than six feet deep, icy lamp posts, frozen lakes and jagged rock faces. The Bergen railway takes you on a magical journey through a Narnia-esque winter wonderland, promising seven hours of views.
Travelling from Oslo to Bergen, we took the overnight sleeper train in the dead of night. Bunked up in our cabin, the outside world plunged into darkness, we couldn’t see the wonders that surrounded us. The train swayed and rocked along the track, occasionally slowing for a station, then rattling back up to full speed again.
Mid-way through the night we were awoken by the sound of the train bashing ice off the track ahead, unaware of the heights we had ascended to, the bridges we had crossed or the countryside travelled through.
After 4 days in Bergen, we returned to the Bergen railway, but this time to enjoy the ride in daylight. We paid an additional 90Kr to sit in comfort class, consisting of extra legroom, wifi and unlimited hot drinks. A comfortable way to travel for the 7-hour train ride.
The journey from Bergen to Oslo on the Bergen railway is considered by many to be one of the world’s most scenic train rides, and while I haven’t particularly been on many train rides myself, I can see how it gets its reputation.
We were fortunate enough to travel on a clear day. Blue skies, crystal white snow and fluffy white clouds were a common sight from the windows either side of the train.
Winding through picturesque nature and travelling across one of Europe’s highest mountain plateaus, Hardangervidda, the 308-mile railway passes through some of the country’s best natural attractions.
Setting off in the early morning from Bergen, the train ran alongside impressive fjords, with mountainous regions towering either side as the sun began to make its way up into the sky. The landscape is ever-changing with many breathless moments of awe and wonder.
Frozen lakes, rocky outcrops, narrow bridges and quaint villages surrounded by blankets of snow never seem to grow old as the train rattles along the track.
Reaching heights of 1,237m and with 182 tunnels carved out of the hard, gneiss rock, the building of the Bergen railway line in the very late 19th century must have been extremely difficult.
The sun shone brightly the day we travelled and the train whipped up loose powdered snow into the air, showering the sky with glitter.
On the Bergen railway, you pass through what feels like two or three seasons in one day. Bergen is on the maritime coast of Norway, with mild, damp weather conditions. Climbing to great heights, towards Myrdal, the climate changes astonishingly into a frozen wonderland, where people get around on skis as the roads are filled in with an abundance of deep snow.
At Myrdal, you can take a detour with the famous Flåm Railway; an adventure we’ll have to leave for another day.
Our journey finished up on a sunny afternoon in freezing Oslo, where we headed to The Thief hotel to settle in for the night.