It’s a little hard to talk about Norway, without talking about Flåm.
Nestled between steep mountains, meandering waterfalls & dotted with tiny villages, this spectacular setting is home to Aurlandsfjord. It’s also home to Flamsbana Railway, named by Lonely Planet as the “world’s most incredible train journey”. My love for Flåm is because it’s gateway to the magnificent Unesco-heritage Nærøyfjord.
There’s just one teeny tiny prob…. see, the word’s out. So Flåm is notoriously PACKED with visitors from all over the world.
You’ll see tourists perching precariously, while taking photos of fire hydrants. Selfie stick knockouts are a looming hazard. You might also catch yourself in a crossfire, between people frantically waving to friends (who don’t like to be photographed) to GET IN THE PICTURE ALREADY, JEN!! In this tourist terrorism, it’s easy to lose sight of all that Mojo.
Here are 10 hilarious things you’ll encounter & a game plan to find Mojo.
1. On the Flamsbana Railway….You’ll See papparazzi..err, people, pour from one side of the train to the other, with audible “oohs” & “aahs”.
What You Can Do: Book a round-trip online! Most folks leave at Myrdal. By doing the round trip, you can see views on both sides of the train. Definitely step out to see the super cheesy “fairy” dance to Euro-pop music by the Kjosfossen waterfall! #sobaditsgood
2. On the Nærøyfjord cruise…You’ll See Tourists getting super excited about this ….. feeding the seagulls.
What You Can Do: Shift to the upper/lower deck or even boat interior & get a load of this.
3. On the Nærøyfjord cruise… You’ll See folks break out into songs in exotic foreign languages, because they are so moved. And hear loud arguments on politics, because those folks are moved too, but by somethin’ else — I heard heated debates on Brexit & American politics. Teens will be playing Justin Bieber on speaker phones; others face-timing with relatives, “Guess where I’m calling from?”
What you can do: Reply, “Yo, I’m calling from NæRøYFJORD! Love you but Buh-bye!!” & go speechless over this.
4. On the Nærøyfjord cruise… You’ll See angry & impatient banging on toilet doors. I don’t have picture or video evidence, I was too busy giggling!!
What you can do: Enjoy this view when you have the place to yourself. And This Reading Material.
I need this view from my Home Loo…
Instruction Manual on how to use a toilet IN CASE YOU GET CONFUSED
5. On the Nærøyfjord cruise…You’ll See a stampede out of the boat. And hear this background music in your head…
What you can do: Get a round-trip ticket! Many only do the cruise one-way, from Flåm to Gudvangen. I strongly recommend the round-trip, the way back was super serene & I even made friends with the staff!
6. In Gudvangen… You’ll See everyone run towards the souvenir store as if the horsemen of the apocalypse are chasing them & it’s the only place left to hide. (The shop in Flåm is bigger & better.)
What you can do: Grab a snack from the Viking themed cafe & chill. No creepy horsemen here, just ex-Vikings.
7. Biking By the Rallarvegen…If you love to bike, the downhill ride from Finse to Flåm is excellent! There will be a ton of drivers & walkers, not heeding attention.
What You Can Do: You’ll see so many elated faces & in turn, be one of them. One of my favorite memories is of a stranger who was ecstatic & looked jolted with happiness. I believe true happiness is infectious! #word
8. Hiking in Peaceful Aurland… Many break a sweat on the beautiful hike from Flåm to Aurland or get super nervous about the drive on hair-pin bends. At Stegastein Point, everyone freaks out over the edge of a bridge, daring themselves to peer over the depths below.
What You Can Do: Totally be one of them.
9. Kayaking on Nærøyfjord… You’ll See a lot of waves from incoming boats & cruise ships.
What You Can Do: Fjord Kayaking is super safe, the water just bobs from one corner to the other. Go in a 2 person kayak (total relationship test!) or take a guided trip. 2 places I recommend are Flåm Marina or Gudvangen Fjordtell for rentals. If speed is what you crave, I recommend a Fjord Safari, aka Speedboat tours.
10. Across town…You’ll See tourists stoked over Farm visits & Brown Cheese…
What You Can Do: Oh the hype is real. Reserve a farm lunch & tour (Otternes farm is a popular choice) or head into nearby villages, like Undredal. Norwegian brown cheese is DIVINE — salty, sweet, caramelly perfection. My only regret is not carrying Nutella with me to dunk it in. #sweetheaven I am drooling.
On the drive from Flåm to Undredal…hello, heaven! (& car dashboard…)