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One-week Scandinavia by train itinerary

One-week Scandinavia by train itinerary

Travelling from Copenhagen to Bergen through Stockholm, Oslo and Flåm, this Scandinavia by train itinerary gives you a taster of three different countries within one week. Think of it as a smörgåsbord of Scandinavian delights – from Michelin-starred dining and world-class museums in the region’s cities to fjord boat trips and scenic mountain railway journeys through Scandinavia’s stunning landscapes. This itinerary will show you which trains to take, how much they cost, how to book and what you can see and do along the way.

Read more: Five great one-week rail trip route ideas for Europe and Britain

One-week Scandinavia by train itinerary

One-week Scandinavia by train itinerary map

Scandinavia by train map

Day 1: Copenhagen

Start your Scandinavian rail trip with a full day in Copenhagen. Head to colourful Nyhavn and join the crowds on the waterfront for drinks on a sunny afternoon, or take a boat trip through the canals past the Christiansborg and Amalienborg Palaces and the (surprisingly small) Little Mermaid statue. Climb the spiral ramp to the top of the Rundetårn for views over the city. Or ride the rollercoasters at the Tivoli Gardens amusement park, lit up beautifully at night.

Copenhagen is famous for its restaurant scene and is a great place to splash out on a special meal, with 16 Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from, including three-star Geranium. Or you can shop for cool Scandi-style clothes and homewares in the mix of high-street and designer boutiques on Strøget – the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe.

Where to stay in Copenhagen: Located close to the train station in Vesterbro, the Absalon Hotel is one of Copenhagen’s oldest family-owned hotels. Its 161 rooms are decorated with pops of colour and luxurious fabrics, and there’s a cocktail bar and comfy communal lounge.

Read more: Visiting Copenhagen on a budget

Along the waterfront in Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Colourful Nyhavn

Day 2: Copenhagen > Stockholm

Next morning, take an early train for the 5 hour 30 minute journey to Stockholm, travelling along the Öresund Link – a huge bridge-turned-tunnel which straddles the border between Denmark and Sweden. Catch the 08.07 high-speed tilting train from Copenhagen Central (København Hovedbanegård), changing at Lund at 09.25 and arriving into Stockholm Central at 13.35.

Then spend the afternoon in the Swedish capital. Get lost in the winding cobblestone streets of medieval Gamla Stan. Stockholm’s old town was founded in 1252 and its gold-painted buildings are mixed in with churches, palaces, museums and squares. Spread across four islands, the area is also home to the Storkyrkan cathedral, Swedish Parliament and Royal Palace.

Waterfront Stockholm at dusk

Waterfront Stockholm

Go back in time with a journey through the history of Sweden at the Skansen Open Air Museum. Or learn more about Sweden’s biggest exports (other than IKEA) at the ABBA Museum and the Nobel Prize Museum. And don’t miss the metro – even if you’re not planning on travelling anywhere, the painted stations of this underground art gallery are still worth a visit.

Where to stay in Stockholm: For a quirky change from a hotel, why not stay on board a 1920s yacht once owned by a Woolworths heiress who was married to Cary Grant? The Mälardrottningen Yacht Hotel & Restaurant is anchored a short walk away from Gamla Stan. Cabins have either bunks or double beds, porthole windows and private bathrooms.

Rainbow painted walls in the Stockholm Metro, Sweden

Art in the Stockholm Metro

Day 3: Stockholm > Oslo

Finish your time in Stockholm by exploring the Stockholm Archipelago. Around 30,000 islands of all shapes and sizes – from tiny uninhabited rocky islets to whole island communities – lie in the waters of the Baltic Sea off the coast of Stockholm. You can take a sightseeing cruise around the archipelago’s waterways. Or catch one of the public ferries to Fjäderholmarna. It’s only 20 minutes from Stockholm and has artists’ studios to visit and forest and coast walks.

Then head back to Stockholm Central to catch an afternoon train across the border to Oslo in Norway. It’s a 6-hour journey so you might want to stock up on some kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns) to keep you going. Take the 15.28 direct Intercity train from Stockholm Central and you’ll arrive into Oslo Central station at 21.24, in time for a late dinner.

Where to stay in Oslo: A couple of minutes’ from the train station, Clarion Hotel The Hub is one of the biggest hotels in Oslo. As well as its 812 rooms there’s a good range of facilities including a pool, gym, sauna, urban garden and rooftop bar and restaurant with views across the city.

Island in the Stockholm archipelago off Stockholm

The Stockholm archipelago – photo credit Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

Day 4: Oslo

Today you have a full day to spend in Oslo. See Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream at the Norwegian National Gallery, or check out some of his other works at the new Munch Museum. Catch a performance at the modern Oslo Opera House – or just climb up onto its roof to check out the views of the Oslofjord at sunset. Or take a look around the 13th-century Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle built to protect Oslo from Swedish invaders.

Catch a ferry from Oslo’s harbour across the bay to the Bygdøy Peninsula, where you can learn more about Norway’s maritime history at the Viking Ship Museum, Norwegian Maritime Museum and museums dedicated to the Fram and Kon-Tiki ships. Then head to Aker Brygge, an old shipyard whose brick warehouses have been turned into waterfront restaurants.

Oslo Opera House

Oslo’s Opera House

Day 5: Oslo > Flåm

The following day, head west towards the coast on the 6-hour journey from Oslo to the fjords. Start by taking the Bergensbanen (Bergen Line) from Oslo to Myrdal, departing Oslo Central at 08.25 and arriving in Myrdal at 12.57. The line was built at the end of the 19th century and travels through gorgeous scenery, along river valleys, past waterside villages and mountain peaks, reaching its highest point at 1237 metres near Finse before descending to Myrdal.

From Myrdal, catch the scenic Flåmsbana mountain railway for the 50-minute journey to Flåm, on the edge of the fjords. The train departs from Myrdal at 13.27 and arrives into Flåm at 14.25 from April to October (if you’re travelling between November and March, it departs Myrdal at 13.05 and arrives into Flåm at 13.55 – you can find the full timetable online).

The Flåmsbana scenic train at Myrdal station on a trip through Scandinavia by train

The Flåmsbana train

The Flåmsbana was built in the 1920s, and its steep gradient meant that each of the 20 tunnels along the route had to be dug out by hand. Since then it’s become one of Norway’s top visitor attractions. Prepare to get dizzy from checking out the views from each side of the train as it zig-zags its way past lakes, waterfalls, rocky cliffs, green valleys and wooden churches.

The tiny village of Flåm lies on the banks of the Sognefjord – the longest fjord in Norway. Spend the afternoon taking a look around the village. Follow the pathway along the water’s edge to soak up the views, visit the Flåm Railway Museum to find out more about how the Flåmsbana was built, and try local craft beer paired with traditional dishes at the Ægir brewery.

Reflections of the fjords in Flam, Norway

Fjord reflections in Flåm

Where to stay in Flåm: The Fretheim Hotel’s been welcoming visitors to Flåm since the 19th century. And you can get a taste of those days in its Historic Wing, where rooms have antique furniture, china tea sets and clawfoot baths. The hotel’s a cosy mix of pine, tartan and log fires, with huge windows in the restaurant to make the most of the fjord and mountain views.

Read more: The Flam Railway: Norway’s most scenic train journey

The Ægir brewery in Flam, Norway

The Ægir brewery

Day 6: Flåm > Bergen

Start the day with a 2-hour boat trip along the fjords to Gudvangen. The trip takes you through two different branches of the Sognefjord – the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. Along the way the shoreline is dotted with colourful farming villages backed by steep rocky peaks, and keep your eyes out for seals and porpoises in the fjord’s green waters. If you take the 09.30 cruise then you can catch a shuttle bus back to Flåm from Gudvangen at 12.00, which takes 20 minutes.

Back in Flåm, retrace your steps back to Mydral on board the Flåmsbana, then change onto the Bergensbanen for the 2-hour journey to Bergen. Catch the train from Flåm at 13.35 then change in Myrdal onto the 14.36 train, which arrives into Bergen at 16.56 (or from November to March you depart Flåm at 14.40, change in Myrdal at 15.51 and arrive in Bergen at 17.56).

Sailing the Sognefjord: A Norwegian fjords boat trip from Flam

A boat trip through the Sognefjord

Then you have the evening in Bergen. Explore the colourful wooden houses in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Bryggen district, which were built for the merchants of the Hanseatic League. They now house shops and restaurants, including the Unicorn Fish Restaurant which specialises in local seafood – or you can pick some up from the Bergen Fish Market.

Where to stay in Bergen: Det Hanseatiske Hotel is right in the historic heart of Bryggen, located next door to the Hanseatic Museum. The building dates back to 1703 and is full of character, with original features, moody lighting, three restaurants and a library-style bar.

Read more: Sailing the Sognefjord: A Norwegian fjords boat trip from Flam

Wooden building in Bryggen, Bergen

Wooden buildings in Bryggen

Day 7: Bergen

Then spend the final morning of your Scandinavia by train trip seeing more of Bergen. You can take the Fløibanen funicular railway to the top of Mount Fløyen for views across the city and out into the fjords. Or get up even higher on board the Ulriken cable car, which runs to the top of Bergen’s highest mountain. Then if you’re flying back home, Airport Express buses connect the city centre with Bergen Airport, running every 10 minutes and taking 20 minutes.

The Fløibanen funicular railway in Bergen at the end of the trip through Scandinavia by train

The Fløibanen funicular railway

More time?

If you’ve got more time, you could extend your trip by heading north up through the fjords on board one of the Hurtigruten ferries. They’re a mix between a cruise and ferry, shuttling locals as well as tourists up the coast. The full journey from Bergen to Kirkenes – in the far north of Norway, close to the border with Russia – takes a week. But you could also stop off along the way. The cities of Ålesund and Trondheim are just a day or two from Bergen, or you can cross the Arctic Circle and spot the Northern Light in Bodø, Tromsø or the Lofoten Islands.

The Lofoten Islands in Norway

The Lofoten Islands

How much does it cost?

When you’re planning a European rail trip, you can either book individual tickets or get a railpass, which can be a better deal if you’re under 28, want more flexibility or are booking late. Here’s how the prices break down for the two different options on this route.

Individual tickets

Ticket prices vary depending on how early you book, with a limited number of cheap tickets available. So book as early as possible – on most routes you can book 3–4 months in advance – but beware these tickets are non-transferable so you’re tied to a specific train. Using the cheapest fares available, the total cost for trains on this route starts at €184 per person.

  • Copenhagen > Stockholm: from 336 SEK (€32)
  • Stockholm > Oslo: from 235 SEK (€22)
  • Oslo > Flåm: from 679 NOK (€61)
  • Flåm > Bergen: from 767 NOK (€69)
Grieg statue in Bergen

Edvard Grieg statue in Bergen

The railpass option

InterRail (for European residents) and Eurail (for non-European residents) have a range of rail passes, which cover individual countries or the whole region and are valid for different periods of time. The Scandinavia by train itinerary involves four travel days across three countries, so the best railpass option is the Global Pass for 4 travel days within 1 month. This costs €246 for adults, €185 for youths (aged 12–27) or €221 for seniors (aged 60+) in second class.

As well as the pass, you also need to pay an extra compulsory reservation fee in some countries and for certain trains – usually high-speed or sleeper services. Plus the Flåm Railway is a special tourist service so it isn’t covered by InterRail/Eurail passes, but passholders do get a discount of 30% off the cost of the full fare. So for this trip, the extra fees come to €45, broken down as below, meaning the overall railpass cost starts from €230.

  • Copenhagen > Stockholm: €6.60
  • Stockholm > Oslo: €3
  • Oslo > Myrdal: not required (€6 if you want to reserve a seat)
  • Flåm Railway: €35 (195 NOK each way after discount)
  • Myrdal > Bergen: not required (€6 if you want to reserve a seat)
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

The Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

How to book

There are a variety of websites where you can book European train journeys, but often the best deals are though the official railway company sites for each country. For this trip these are:

  • Copenhagen > Stockholm: SJ
  • Stockholm > Oslo: SJ
  • Oslo > Flåm: VY
  • Flåm > Bergen: VY

Or if you want an easier option you can book tickets for all journeys via Rail Europe – the advantage is that you don’t have to make multiple transactions, the site’s in English, you can use international credit cards and often print your own tickets, but there is a small booking fee and it doesn’t cover all trains so you may need to make some bookings with local sites.

Read more train travel posts

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Scandinavia by train: A one-week rail itinerary through Denmark, Sweden and Norway, travelling from Copenhagen to Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen and through the Norwegian fjords on the scenic Flam Railway. #interrail #europe #train #rail #scandinaviaOne-week Sandinavia by train itinerary from Copenhagen to Bergen, with Michelin-starred dining and world-class museums in the region’s cities to fjord boat trips and scenic mountain railway journeys through Scandinavia’s stunning landscapes. Here's what trains to take, how much they cost, how to book and what to see along the way. #interrail #europe #train #rail #scandinavia

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Meaghan
    May 15, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I’ve never been to Scandinavia but I can’t wait

  • Reply
    Elita Goldin
    June 6, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    I love Scandinavian countries, thanks for your train itinerary. It was very informative.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      June 17, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      You’re very welcome – such a beautiful part of the world!

  • Reply
    amanda
    July 23, 2020 at 3:34 am

    It is a fantastic itinerary and similar to one I have done myself over various years. Such a very special part of the world.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      July 23, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks – do love Scandinavia, so much more I’d still like to see!

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