Slow travel is back in fashion. We're inviting you to take your seat on an epic rail journey through tranquil landscapes peppered with majestic mountains, fjords and waterfalls. Alight at select spots to inspect nature at closer quarters – on foot, by boat or even in a kayak. See the best cultural highlights, eat local food, and cross the Arctic Circle to enjoy neverending summer nights under the midnight sun!
Season: The 24-hour midnight sun can be seen between June to mid-July, but the train journey can also be taken in winter with a range of winter experiences available, and the chance to observe the Northern Lights.
Highlights: Norway's two remotest train journeys: The Flåm Railway and Raumabanen; fjord cruise on UNESCO World Heritage Nærøyfjorden; iconic Hurtigruten cruise to Ålesund; Romsdalseggen hike in Åndalsnes; kayaking in the archipelago of UNESCO island Vega; crossing the Arctic Circle on the Nordland Railway; experiencing Saltstraumen – the world's strongest whirpool – in a RIB.
Price: per person from: NOK 23,700 (Approximately €2440 / $3000) based on two people sharing one room
Includes: Train tickets Oslo – Bodø; Bus and ferry transfers; 11 nights double accommodation with breakfast. 3-/5-course dinners at Vatnahalsen Mountain Lodge, Aak Hotel & Vega Havhotell; Nærøyfjorden Fjord Cruise, Hurtigruten voyage Bergen - Ålesund; Entry to Norwegian Mountaineering Museum; Self-guided Romsdalseggen hike; Rental car day 7-9; Kayaking experience in Vega and RIB tour in Saltstraumen; Up Norway Personalized Itinerary and Digital Travel Guide. *Does not include domestic flight Bodø - Oslo.
DAY 1: Oslo & the bergen railway
Your Arctic Circle/Midnight Sun-bound rail adventure gets underway in Oslo; one of the world's Top 10 cities to visit in 2018 according to Lonely Planet (and us, of course!).
The Bergen Railway to Myrdal has the distinction of being the highest major rail route in Northern Europe. You will pass through desolate mountain terrain and see snow-covered peaks even in midsummer.
Your first night will be spent in a mountain resort only accessible by train or on foot. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy a solid home cooked meal based on local produce.
DAY 2: flåm railway and hurtigruten
Step on The Flåm Railway right outside the entrance to the lodge. This is Europe’s steepest railway line, dropping 862 metres (2831 ft) down to the fjord below. Lonely Planet Traveller has awarded the railway journey from Myrdal to Flåm one of the "Best train journeys in the world" , and it won't take long to see why.
Following by the 55 minute railway journey from Myrdal to Flåm is a cruise on the UNESCO World Heritage status Nærøyfjorden. Cruise silently on the fjord onboard a hydroelectric boat, and continue the last stretch to Bergen by bus.
From Bergen, the journey continues late in the evening aboard the Hurtigruten, often described as the world's most beautiful sea voyage. Sleep through the night in your cabin, while the ferry slips north at a comfortable pace. Arrival in Ålesund the next morning.
DAY 3: Ålesund - åndalsnes
Start your day with the most amazing view as you wake up on board the iconic Hurtigruten. Enjoy breakfast before arriving at the quay in Ålesund. Spend a little time wandering around this charming coastal town.
The two-hour bus ride through stunning mountain and fjord landscapes will take you to Åndalsnes – Norway's mountain capital. A visit to the brand new Norwegian Mountainering Museum will give you an insight into Norway's climbing and mountaineering history, and prepare you for tomorrow's challenge. Dinner is in town before getting picked up and taken to your home for the next two nights, Hotel Aak.
DAY 4: Romsdalseggen Ridge
The Romsdalseggen ridge leaves nothing to the imagination. This all-day hike (5–10 hours) is 10 km long and involves a climb of 970 metres. Choose one of three paths to the top – the family trail, normal path or the very challenging route (they are all well marked). In clear weather, this might be one of those 'days you'll never forget', the king or queen of all you survey as you look out across endless vistas of peaks and fjords.
Return to the Hotel Aak, where good food and wonderful hospitality await you.
DAY 5: Raumabanen railway
The Rauma Railway from Åndalsnes to Dombås is known as one of Norway’s wildest and most beautiful train rides. Shoot through the beautiful Romsdalen with iconic natural attractions such as 'Trollveggen' (the Troll Wall), Europe's tallest vertical cliff. Cross the old granite 'Kyllingbru' (Chicken Bridge), Norway's most photographed bridge and an architectural gem. It took ten years to build it using granite quarried from the nearby mountains. The whole trip lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Switch trains in Dombås and continue on another two hours to the pilgrims' city of Trondheim.
DAY 6: pilgrims' city: Trondheim
Start the day with a stroll in the picturesque old town with its colourful wooden houses, cafes and small shops. While in the city, don't miss the chance to visit the largest medieval cathedral in the North, Nidarosdomen, which has been a pilgrimage site for nearly 1000 years.
Surrounded by countless large- and small-scale food producers, Trondheim is the city in Norway with the strongest focus on local food. The city is scattered with high quality restaurants, and we'll be sure to give you our top recommendations.
DAY 7: Nordland railway & Vega
The Nordland Railway is known as "The Polar Express", as it crosses the Arctic Circle on its 729 km run to Bodø. Over ten hours, you will hurtle through stunning landscapes, passing more than 40 stations, crossing 290 bridges and plunging into 150 tunnels.
Today you will travel the first stretch of Nordland Railway from Trondheim to Grong. The, change your mode of transportation to a rental car, and continue to Brønnøysund on four wheels, then by ferry to World Heritage island Vega. At Vega Havhotell, hosts Anna and Jon Aga serves a true taste of Vega - a five-course meal featuring produce from local farmers, hunters and fishermen. Here, there are no TV screens - instead, let your eyes rest on the rich tapestry of bird life.
DAY 8: Kayaking in Vega
A coastal paradise needs to be enjoyed from water level. The Vega archipelago is shaped by winter storms, leaving shallow beaches with crystal clear water and green deciduous forests. Prepare for a half-day guided kayak tour (or introductory course, depending on your previous experience). Enjoy a typical Norwegian picnic before a lazy afternoon with a book or further exploration of the UNESCO island group. The islands bear testimony to a distinctive frugal way of life based on fishing and the harvesting of eider duck-down.
DAY 09: Torghatten
Enjoy a fantastic breakfast served by Anna and Jon before heading back towards the mainland. The ferry will take you and the car to the costal city Brønnøysund, where you will stay for the night.
Head out to Torghatten before darkness settles and enjoy watching the sunset from the mountain. You might feel overwhelmed, as you walk through the 160-meter long, 15-20 meter wide and 35-meter tall tunnel, naturally formed by powerful natural forces. A 30-minute walk along a well-marked path will lead the way up.
DAY 10: arriving in the arctic
After breakfast you take the bus further north to the train station and jump on the last stretch to Bodø on Nordlandsbanen. Crossing the Arctic Circle is a highlight. Enter the Arctic zone in sustainable fashion, and recharge with Nordic energy from the 24-hour sun.
Step off the train for the last time for now. Check in to a charming guesthouse in the city centre, and discover Bodø's street art and upcoming restaurant scene. Be brave – try the local specialty, dryfish. Bodø is one of the fastest growing cities in Norway, and is rising in popularity as a hub for exploring the northern coast and Saltfjellet mountain range.
DAY 11: Saltstraumen rib TOUR
Bodø is home to the world’s strongest whirlpool, Saltstraumen. Spend the afternoon exploring cultural sights in Bodø or go for a walk in the surrounding mountains. In the afternoon, venture out to sea to experience the extraordinary current up close. The RIB is a large inflatable speedboat which will take you safely into the vortex to let you feel its enormous power and get a true adrenaline rush.
DAY 12: departure day
Continue to explore northern Norway, or take a domestic/international flight departure from here. Bodø Airport is an international airport, and it's one and a half hours to Oslo Gardermoen Airport.