This is journal entry 9, our eighth day of adventure in a tiny little mountain village. Here we explore nature and heritage in one of the world’s most tucked away and undiscovered places, Flam, Norway.
My six-year-old son and I have embarked upon a 14-day Eurail trip from Oslo, Norway to Bodo in the Arctic Circle. We started in Oslo for 2 days then to Stavanger where we had a city break and explored Vikings. Then we explored Haugesund, the homeland of the Viking Kings and then Bergen! Now we’re in Flam!
Follow us from the beginning by clicking this photo!
Our Favorite Norwegian Destination Flam Norway
If ever there was a place where the trolls once lived, it must be Flam. Built at the inner end of the Aurlands Fjord—a branch of the Sogne Fjord, this tiny little village wrapped in snow capped mountains and laced with teenie-weenie farmhouses is quite possibly one of the most magical places I’ve ever seen. And the journey to get there, just as magical.
Before I get to the lush greenery and the swooping mountains, I’m going to take you back to our journey. Now for your convenience I want to add in, there are a few ways to get to Flam however, I did not take these methods. We chose the more adventurous route which took us by train, bus, then a three hour cruise along the UNESCO World Heritage Site Naeroyfjord, the Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord, by FAR, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
The Logistics Deets
From Bergen we took the Norway in a Nutshell train to Voss which changed over to a bus ride that would leave us at Gudvangen to catch a cruise.
The train ride was beautiful. The ride by bus was about an hour and it landed us in Gudvangen, an ancient Viking village surrounded by snowcapped mountains and complete with an eatery and gift shop. According to Wikipedia:
The name Gudvangen (Old Norse: Guðvangir) comes from the old farm name. The first element is gud meaning a “heathen god”. The vang(en) word is still in use referring the open space in front of a place of worship like Aurlandsvangen and Vossevangen. In Gudvangen, there have been several places of worship since pre-Christian times.”
Here we had about a half hour until boarding a three hour cruise to our destination. If you don’t get to the bathroom here, there is PLENTY of time for it on the cruise.
Let’s Talk About the Cruise
This cruise merits a blog post on its own. Not only was it totally rad that we were embarking from an ancient Viking village, but the natural beauty is utterly indescribable. Be prepared to take lots of pics and b-roll footage if you’re taking this method.
TRAVEL TIP: The cruise ship is big. We found it most comfortable to stay at the bottom where we had plenty of opportunity to take amazing footage and pics. That said, there’s plenty of time to go to the upper deck where everyone is packed like a can of sardines. My advice, chill on the lower deck and pop up for refreshments.
The Approach to Land
Even in the bitter cold of Norway’s mid spring my heart was completely warmed at the sight of tiny scattered villages along the fjords. I mean picture taking the cutest little farm-like village house you can muster from a Pottery Barn catalog and plop 10-50 of them right at the base of the most breathtaking mountains you’ve ever seen. That’s what I’m talking about. The contrast of red, yellow and white family cottages seemed as though they were as meant to be there as the grass itself. I couldn’t help but imagine how peaceful living along these fjords must be. Snapping away, village by village, we made our way to Flam.
Where to Stay, the Fretheim Hotel
I’ll never, ever, ever forget my awe as I stepped off the Fjord Cruise. Nothing but complete beauty surrounded me. Towering snow-capped mountains as far as my eyes could see all pointed to the Fretheim Hotel, a little yet spectacular hotel in classic white. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on this little town that it was my favorite place in Norway. I was smitten. And after an epic journey by train, bus and cruise, I felt a bit like I had just taken some lifetime adventure to get there… and I liked it this way.
The Fretheim Hotel is charming, elegant, and appointed, fitting perfectly with its surroundings. Inside it was very much inviting and warm with a fireplace and portrait windows which you could sit and stare out of for hours. We enjoyed a room with a view and we loved every inch of it.
Our Afternoon with Fjord Safari
We weren’t there to spend the afternoon indoors, we were busting at the seams with excitement, ready to explore this perfect little slice of earth. There was much adventure to be had, starting with a snowshoeing trek to the top of 1000 meters for one of the most breathtaking view of Norway.
We met with Fjord Safari, an adventure tour company offering snowshoeing and speed boating and more. We got suited up in our warmest gear and head up the mountain for a 2 hour trek. The Little wasn’t even nervous! He was more excited to be in the snow than anything. When we made it to the top he was so proud of himself, he said
Mom, I’m a big boy now, I know karate and I’m six, and I can snowshoe a mountain in Norway”.
I couldn’t help but to take him aside and give him a big squeeze. My little man growing up so fast… there we were, the two of us just looking over this insanely beautiful mountain into a seemingly endless fjord. In that moment I felt so small, but so grateful for everything I have. This tiny village really changed me. It made me realize that I will never stop seeing this amazing world. I can only hope it did the same for the Little.
TRAVEL TIP: The best time of year to visit is May or September. This is before the schools break and after school starts. The spring has come and summer is ending. There are snow caps bit still greenery and blooms at the base of the mountains. You really get the best of all worlds in these months.
Keep Following Our Mom and Son Adventure!
Follow our second day in this beautiful village when we take a speed boat ride on the fjord, explore one of the quaint fjord villages up close, and explore shopping and dining!
For more information on visiting, check out their tourism site. For trip planning to Norway VisitNorway.com!
Special thanks to Visit Norway USA. While they and the local tourism offices are funding all air, hotels and meals, this in no way shapes my opinion of my journey through Norway. An additional thank you to Visit Flam for managing our itinerary.