Fly into Oslo a few days early, and get yourself tickets on the Bergen railway – the Bergensbanen or Bergen Line. You won't need days to travel the route, but you may wish to spend time in Oslo before you depart. The train journey itself takes only six-and-a-half hours, but is worth every minute. This route takes you from Oslo to Bergen, letting you pass through beautiful scenery that you would not otherwise see, and can truly make your pre-cruise introduction to Norway the best it can be.
WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT A RAILWAY?
Lonely Planet calls the Bergen railway the best train journey in Europe. It passes through nearly impossible landscapes in the midst of white-out conditions if necessary, and passes right through mountains. This becomes even more impressive when you learn that the line was constructed between 1875 and 1909, during which time 182 tunnels were created and the line was built at elevations as high as 1,200 meters.
Aside from being a marvel of engineering, the Bergensbanen is full of natural beauty. You can see cities, of course, but as the train climbs, you see forests, valleys, rivers, mountains – all of the beautiful features you were likely to be thinking of when you decided to book a Norway cruise in the first place. You'll see places farther inland than your cruise will take you, which can be an interesting opportunity to get to know Norway a bit better on the side farther from the sea.
THE AMENITIES OF THE TRIP
If you're going to go on the Bergen railway, it's best to do it in style. Depending on the time you choose to take the voyage out, you can choose a night train with sleeping compartments. You can also purchase comfort class tickets, which will allow you to have power outlets and coffee and tea. If you're on the trip with children, you can take advantage of family compartments and children's play areas. What's more, there's WiFi on the train – not that you'll want it, as the views out the window are beautiful enough to keep you occupied for the duration of the trip.