The Fairytale Traveler

Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Fjord Cruise to flam feature

Flam Norway Guide – Getting There, Where to Stay, Things to Do

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!


Follow us through Norway the Fairytale Traveler


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.


norway in a nutshell
Nothing like a heck of a train view! On our Norway in a Nutshell ride to Voss where we will catch the bus to Gudvangen for our cruise to Flåm Norway.


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.


Flam by Norway in a Nutshell
This is what you’ll see from your Norway in a Nutshell ride…no complaints here!


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.


Gudvangen Norway Flam by Fjord Cruise
Couldn’t help ourselves…


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.”


Gudvangen Norway
A Viking ship in Gudvangen.


Gudvangen Norway 2
A pretty bridge for photo ops. Everyone seems to crowd onto this… wait a few minutes they die down.


Gudvangen Norway 3
What you will see at Gudvangen. Gift shop, restrooms that sort of thing…


Viking at Gudvangen Norway
This Viking statue mans the door to the gift shop at Gudvangen.


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.


Gudvangen Norway 4
LOL, I have a thing for Viking things…in Gudvangen waiting for our cruise.


Gudvangen Norway Flam by Fjord Cruise
Statue carved from wood at Gudvangen.


Gudvangen Norway 5
Carved from wood, this statue stands at the point of Gudvangen where you catch your cruise to Flam.


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.


Cruise to Flam Norway from Gudvangen
Just so you have an idea… this is the cruise ship. See how small it looks next to these towering mountains? Trust me, the cruise ship was NOT small ha!


TRAVEL TIP: The cruise ship is big. We found it most comfortable to stay at the bottom where we had plenty of opportunities 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.


Fjord cruise to Flam 2
Norwegian folklore tells of the Fjords being created by the claws of trolls. If that’s the case, thank you trolls!


Fjord Cruise to Flam 3
The view is just as nice from the ship’s hallway! LOL. A good spot to dip in and warm up.


Fjord Cruise to Flam 4
There’s no shortage of beauty in Norway. Especially on this cruise.


Fjord cruise to flam 5
A special moment for us on the cruise. Just loving life and appreciating this amazing world.


Fjord cruise to flam 6
There’s so much to explore here. As you can see the Little is eager to scout wildlife.


Fjord cruise to flam 7
A small village on the Fjord which we saw while taking our cruise to Flam.


Fjord Cruise to Flam 7
It’s hard to not imagine trolls in a place like this! Just one of the many beautiful landscapes on the journey to Flam.


Fjord cruise to Flam 8
There’s no shortage of charm here. What a peaceful retreat, for many a home.


Fjord Cruise to Flam 11
Little villages peek out from majestic mountains all along the Fjord. Most only reachable by boat.


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, imagine 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 Flåm Norway.


Flam Norway 2
This is what an approach to Flam looks like via a Fjord Cruise.


For info on visiting Flåm Norway


Flam Norway 1 Fretheim Hotel
Our charming and very cozy mountain chalet hotel. 2 thumbs up!


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.


Flam Norway Fretheim Hotel
No complaints about this view! We are on the ground here but our room was right above!


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.


Fjord Safari Snowshoeing the Fairytale Traveler
Getting geared up for big snow!


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 views of Norway.


Fjord Safari Snowshoeing The Little 2
A pre-Easter treat from Fjord Safari, oranges (traditional Norwegian Easter snack) hot current (spiced juice), and chocolate (a fav Norwegian everyday snack). The Little with our awesome guide Maritha.


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. At 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.


The Fairytale Traveler
At this moment, not only was I the proudest mom, but I knew beyond any doubt that I would never abandon my promise to show him this incredible world.


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 snowcaps but still greenery and blooms at the base of the mountains. You really get the best of all worlds in these months. 


Pin it! Global Kids arrow

The Best Places in Norway


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!


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 Flåm Norway for managing our itinerary.


flom-logo-L-inv VisitNorwayUSA-logo eurail_logo.236171931_std




Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

3 thoughts on “Flam Norway Guide – Getting There, Where to Stay, Things to Do

  1. Geez, Christa. I am tearing up reading this post. 🙂 Your relationship with your son is so beautiful and touching–you’re the model of a kind, loving, and supportive mom. I hope to be as close to my (future, hopefully!) kids one day. Love this blog, it’s truly one of a kind!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top