Norway in a Nutshell (NIN) is an iconic trip that takes you between Oslo and Bergen with train, ferry and bus. This is often the journey of choice for many first-time travelers to Norway, with highlights like its stunning train rides, and a scenic fjord cruise.
On the Fjord Tours website, you can by a pre-packaged NIN ticket. This ticket includes all the transportation needed for going between Oslo and Bergen. However, In this article I’ll guide you through step-by-step how to save money by organizing The Norway in a Nutshell trip yourself, instead of bying it as a package tour.
You might also like: Driving from Oslo to Bergen
This article was updated March 2023. However, the timetables change on a regular basis.
Norway in a Nutshell – What it includes
Depending on your preference, the Norway in a Nutshell trip can start in Oslo and end in Bergen or the other way round. The trip can happen over a single day, or spaced out over multiple days. There are daily departures, and each year more than 70.000 travelers choose to take this route.
The full journey includes:
Oslo-Myrdal train (Bergen Line)
Myrdal-Flåm train (Flåmsbana)
Fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjorden & UNESCO Nærøyfjorden
Bus ride through the Nærøy Valley (Nærøydalen)
Train ride between Voss and Bergen
Book yourself – how much can you save?
I wanted to compare the price of a prepackaged NIN tour sold through The Fjords, versus, booking all the individual parts of the journey myself. While it takes a little more work to do the latter, I’m telling you that it’s not that hard and the savings can be significant.
Checking with today’s prices, a prepackaged tour would cost me $270 US
Booking all the separate components of the trip myself (ferry, bus and train rides) totaled to $180 US. That is 90 bucks in savings! For a family of five, those savings could be put to use towards an unforgettable seafood dinner in Bergen!
Ultimately, to each their own! If you don’t mind paying extra and prefer the convenience of a prepackaged tour, I do recommend you to visit the Fjord Tours website and buy your tour there.
How to book the tickets
Booking the tickets yourself means you’ll book each leg individually. You’ll book the train rides, fjord cruise and bus on each vendors website/app. Some age groups gets a reduced fare on the trains. Find more info here.
The itinerary below is a “standard” Norway in a Nutshell journey from Oslo to Bergen. The departure times are suggestions, if you’d like to make this whole trip in a single day. I have broken up the journey into 4 parts, described below.
Leg 1: The Trains from Oslo to Flåm (Oslo-Myrdal-Flåm)
The Bergen Line and the Flåm Line are operated by the a company named VY. Tickets can be bought up to 3 months before departure on their website or in the VY app.
Ticket prices will be progressively more expensive the closer you get to the date, and they can also sell out in the summer, so I’d recommend you to book early. You can expect the train tickets will be available 120 days prior to your departure date.
Getting from Oslo to Flåm
Your journey will start at Oslo Central Station (Oslo S) and arrive in Flåm (Flåm stasjon). When booking this leg, your ticket will automatically include a train change. That means, on the same ticket, you will get off at the station Myrdal (a tiny station up in the mountains). From there, you will transfer to a second train that takes you onwards to Flåm.
Time your departure from Oslo (depending on how much time you want in Flåm between leg 1 and leg 2)
6:25am – 12:54 (arrival Flåm), for the early bird. This leaves you with a couple of hours to explore in Flåm, while waiting for the 15:20 fjord cruise.
8:25am – 14:11 (arrival Flåm), this is the standard departure time and corresponds well with the 15:00 fjord cruise. The ferry dock is just next to the train station.
Note! If you take any train after the 8:25am departure from Oslo, you won’t make the connecting fjord cruise that same day. But, there is a ferry leaving at 9:30am or 11:30am the next morning. This can be an opportunity to spend a night or more in the fjord region and explore the surroundings.
Hotel recommendations in Flåm:
Leg 2: The fjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen
Vision & Future of the Fjords are two environmentally friendly vessels operated by the company Norway’s Best. Depending on the season they can have up till four departures from Flåm every day at 09:30am, 11:30am, 15:00 and 16:35.
The ferry ride takes about 2 hours. You can book the ticket on their website. Choose one-way Flåm-Gudvangen
A second company Lustrabaatane also operates ferries between Flåm and Gudvangen. They are usually the cheapest option (450 NOK, but the ferries are a bit more old fashioned. They can be far less crowded though, and might be a good option. They don’t run all year, so I suggest contacting them in advance for info about prices and timetable.
Leg 3: The Bus from Gudvangen to Voss
When you arrive in Gudvangen it’s time to get on the 950 bus and ride it to Voss. For the fjord cruise arriving at 17:00 there is a bus at 17:25. There will be other buses corresponding with the other ferry arrivals. The bus will always wait for the ferry, and the bus stop is just a few meters from where the ferry docks.
You don’t have to buy this ticket in advance, since you can buy it with credit/debit card onboard the bus (they even accept cash 2023).
However, if you’re the type who likes to have all tickets lined up, download the SKYSS Billett app on Google Play or Apple Store, and buy it there.
In the app choose: Gudvangen kai to Voss stasjon.
Leg 4: The train from Voss to Bergen
The bus will drop you off by the train station in Voss approximately at 18:20. Use this website or the VY app to book a train ticket for 19:13. Choose: Voss stasjon to Bergen stasjon.
Voss city center is just a stroll away from the station, so if you want to stretch your legs and you’re not dragging too much luggage, you can go for a little walk around town while waiting for the train. The train won’t depart ahead of schedule, but it also won’t wait for you to come back from your walk, so don’t wander too far!
Note! Arrival to Bergen Station with the train is at 20:40. The Bergen train station is located downtown, and many hotels are reachable on foot. There are also taxis waiting outside.
Hotel recommendations in Bergen
- Citybox Hotel (budget)
- Hotel Norge (mid-range)
- Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (mid-range)
- Hotel Opus 16 (high-end)
I hope this article was of help to you, and that hopefully you are able to save some money on the Norway in a Nutshell itinerary. If you have questions check out the FAQ below, and please share this article with friends and family who plan to travel to Norway. Thank you, tusen takk!
You might also like: TOP Six things to do in Bergen
FAQ – Norway in a Nutshell
- Can I do this trip in reverse (Bergen-Oslo)?
Yes you can! Book the tickets for the other way around.
08:29 Bergen to Voss (train)
10:10 Voss to Gudvangen (bus)
12:00 Gudvangen to Flåm (ferry)
16:40 Flåm to Oslo (trains)
- Can I start in Bergen and end in Bergen same day?
8:29 Bergen to Flåm (train)
15:00 Flåm to Gudvangen (ferry)
17:25 Gudvangen to Voss (bus)
19:33 Voss to Bergen (train)
- Can I start in Oslo and end in Oslo same day?
6:25 or 8:25 Oslo to Flåm (trains)
15:00 Flåm to Gudvangen (ferry)
17:25 Gudvangen to Voss (buss)
00:28 Voss to Oslo(night train)
Note! The train back to Oslo is the night train, so you’ll have to wait in Voss for quite a while. I would not recommend this option.
- What if I’m staying in Bergen and just want to do the fjord cruise?
The bus company NOR-WAY (https://www.nor-way.no/en) has a direct bus going from Bergen to Flåm in the morning.
Depart Bergen 09:10, arrive to Flåm 11:55.
15:20 Flåm to Gudvangen (ferry)
17:40 Gudvangen to Voss (bus)
19:33 Voss to Bergen (train)
- Can I go from Bergen to Flåm and then get a bus back to Bergen. Is this possible? I am not interested in doing the cruise.
Yes, this is possible. Book a train ticket on www.vy.no from Bergen – Flåm (change train in Myrdal). Then from flåm look for a bus ticket back to Bergen. Check out the public transport portal www.entur.no or go straight to www.nor-way.no.
- Does the ferry have comfortable indoor seating and room for luggage?
Yes, the ferry is designed for passengers bringing luggage. There’s plenty of nice indoor seating with good views.
- Where to store luggage on the bus?
The bus has a luggage compartment underneath. Smaller items can be brought onboard.
- I don’t want to bring my luggage. Can it be transported between Oslo and Bergen?
Yes, check out www.porterservice.com
- Any nice places to stop and spend one or several night along the way?
For alpine skiing you could stop in Geilo where you find ski resorts.
For biking you could get off at Haugastøl and rent mountain bikes.
For a mountain hiking experience I’d stop in Finse.
For a nice fjord village you could spend a night in Aurlandsvangen or in Flåm (more touristy).
For a Viking Experience you could stop in Gudvangen and experience the Viking Village.
Do you have more questions? Please add them to the comment field below, and I might put them up in the FAQ as well
I would like to go from Bergen to Flam and then get a bus back to Bergen. Is this possible? I am not interested in doing the cruise. Also I will be doing this in August. Do you recommend I pre-book. Thanks love this article.
Hei Lynne, yes that is possible!
Book a train ticket on http://www.vy.no from Bergen – Flåm (change train in Myrdal). Then from flåm look for a bus ticket back to Bergen. Check out the public transport portal http://www.entur.no or go straight to http://www.nor-way.no. Most likely it wont sell out in August, but I would still recommend booking ahead to be 100% sure. Take care, Pål
Best article ever. This is the information I was looking for and no one is clear giving it.
You welcome! I’m glad you can find it helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Pål
Wonderful, clear information.
I have a few questions:
Does one need to book the ferry in advance?
Are they comparable in terms of space for luggage, comfortable indoor seating?
Does the bus have a luggage compartment underneath or must one carry it onto the bus and put it on overhead shelf?
Hei Mary, thanks for checking out my article!
Ferry does not need to be booked in advance, but I would advice to do so in the high season Jun-Aug.
The ferry has a lot of comfortable indoor seating, and there is space for luggage. It’s designed to take passengers carrying luggage.
The bus has a luggage compartment underneath.
I hope this helped 🙂
Greeting from Indonesia,
Is it possible to do NIN in winter? I plan to go in January. Also, my route is with Tromso before or after NIN route, to see northern lights, do you have recommendation on the best route I should take?
Hei Rosvita, thanks for your message. Yes it is possible. Just bring very warm clothes. I’d recommend a thick down jacket.
As you know, Tromsø is quite far up north and most people who go there take a flight (depending on your time of course). You’ll find direct flights to Tromsø from both Bergen and Oslo. So it depends a bit where you fly in and out. If you come in to Oslo you could do NIN Oslo-Bergen. Fly Bergen-Tromsø and then fly Tromsø-Oslo.
I hope this helps and I hope you’ll have a nice trip.
All the best, ha det bra
Thank you so much for this post. We are planning to travel from Bergen to Oslo in August 2023. I see that I can book the ferry already. When will bus and train tickets be available? VP’s website suggested 120 days but wanted to check if they are posted earlier. Same question for buses.
Hi Liz, I answered your email but I’ll also reply here. You can assume 120 days before the journey. The bus tickets you can basically just buy the same day through the SKYSS app. It’s nothing that needs to be bought in advance. Have a nice trip!
My wife and I recently decided to make Norway our first international trip together which led me to your YouTube and your blog which I’m thankful for as this plan hits all of the major sites we wanted to see! Thank you for your informative content and concise information, its really helpful. Tusen Takk!
Hei Ryan! I”m really glad to know it could be of help to you. Have a nice trip to Norway!
Thanks for all the tips. I’ve booked most of the legs on my own (Bergin to Flåm overnight then cruise and back to Bergin) but my only question left is the bus from Gudvangen to Voss. I haven’t decided if I want to tour the Viking village or not (travelling Feb 2023) and would hate to prebook my train from Voss to Bergin and then decide that day I would like to spend an hour or so at the Viking village. Do I risk or lose anything by not booking those last legs back to bergin in advance?
Hei Anita, you don’t have to prebook the train from Voss to Bergen. There will be room onboard! Same for the bus.
I’m wanting to just book the tour, my cards aren’t working from the us. Have you heard that or seen any tips? I’m trying to purchase on fjordtours.com.
Hi Amy, I’m sorry but I really can’t help you with that. Best thing would be to contact your bank and/or fjordtours. Good luck!
Is it possible to send luggage all the way through from Bergen to Oslo? The official NiN tours offer this option, but I wonder if it’s possible not to carry luggage with us when booking ourselves?
Hi Elena, you can check out this company: https://www.porterservice.no/
Have a nice trip!
This is very helpful – we would like to do the journey from Oslo to Bergen over a few days, where would you recommend to stay – have heard Gudvangen is nice, so we could do train to Flam + ferry trip then stop Gudvangen & carry on with bus the next day. Or could stop & overnight in Flam if that is better? Anywhere else earlier on that is a good stop? Like Geilo?
Hi there! Thanks for your comment. I think my personal favorite would be to stop at Finse and spend a night there. Then you are up in the middle of the mountains, and find a great terrain for doing some hiking. There’s a big mountain lake where you can take a swim and you’ll have views of a nearby glacier.
Flåm is OK, but it is also a tourist hub. I think Aurlandsvangen is a better option as it feels more like a real village. In Gudvangen there is not much, except for a Viking village which could be a nice experience: https://www.vikingvalley.no/
So for hiking choose Finse. A fjord village Aurlandsvangen. For a Viking experience choose Gudvangen. Btw. Geilo is also nice, but Finse is way better I think.
I hope this was of some help. Have a nice journey!