Published On: Sun, Mar 10th, 2024

The beautiful 340-mile train ride between two pretty European cities | Travel News | Travel

Norway‘s Bergen Line crosses Europe’s highest mountain plateau between the country’s two largest cities.

Built in 1909, this marvel of engineering links Oslo with Bergen and is the highest railway line on the continent.

Finse train station is Europe‘s highest, positioned a staggering 1,222 metres above sea level.

Known as a mini Antarctica, the area was used as a training ground by explorers Roald Amundsen, Ernest Shackleton and Fridtjof Nansen because of the extreme conditions found there.

There are between four and six departures per day with journey times ranging from six hours 32 minutes and seven hours 23 minutes, depending on the time of day.

Powered by electricity, the total length of the line is just over 292 miles (471km). The journey passes through an impressive 182 tunnels, the longest of which is 6.4 miles (10.3km).

Railway worker Jørgen Johansen told the BBC on a recent trip on the line: “I love watching people’s faces when they travel this route for the first time.

“I never get tired of the view, but it’s the look of wonder on people’s faces that I enjoy the most.”

The vast mountain plateau Hardangervidda covers nearly 6,500 sq km and has an average elevation of more than 1km above sea level.

One of the oldest geological formations in northern Europe, Hardangervidda’s valleys were shaped over millennia by glaciers moving towards the sea.

Along the route, passengers might spot Arctic foxes and snowy owls, and may even catch a glimpse of a wild reindeer herd.

The journey also takes in Norway’s fifth largest lake, Tyrifjorden, Vikersund Hill (the world’s largest ski jump), Flå Bear Park, Geilo and as mentioned, Hardangervidda.

Just after Finse the line enters the Finse tunnel with the Bergen Line’s highest point inside the tunnel.

Scenes from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back were filmed in the area.

The train also takes in Hardangerjøkulen – Norway’s sixth largest glacier – and the country’s skiing centre, Voss before reaching Bergen, Norway’s former capital.

A range of ticket options are available, including singles, season and lowfare tickets, though these last are said to be popular choices, meaning early booking is recommended.

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