A Flam fjord cruise takes you right into the center of some of Norway’s most astounding scenery. Flam is located on Aurlandsfjord, which is a beautiful arm of the larger Sognefjord. It’s a small town, but has a bustling feel to it thanks to the Flam Railway, which takes passengers to scenic viewpoints as well as nearby towns and all the way to some of Norway’s largest cities.
In addition to the wondrous scenery, you’ll find shops and restaurants in Flam. Norway cruises to Flam typically sail in the summer months when the weather is warm and the days are long thanks to the sun still shining long into the night.
A journey you’ll be glad you didn’t miss out on while in Flam is the Flam Railway (also referred to locally as Flamsbana) that travels round-trip from Flam to Myrdal. The two-hour journey is considered to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. You’ll travel as high as 2,841 feet as you make your way up the mountain plateau to Myrdal and glide past valleys and waterfalls, including the magnificent Kjosfossen waterfall.
While in Flam, get up close and personal with the nearby fjords on a scenic cruise of the UNESCO World Heritage site, Nærøyfjor, one of Norway’s most picturesque fjords. Sailing along Nærøyfjor takes you past waterfall-laden cliffs, quaint waterside villages like Undredal, and mountains jutting 5,900 feet into the air.
In nearby Gudvangen (located about 12 miles from Flam), you’ll find a replication of an authentic Viking village that is sure to delight visitors of all ages. You’ll meet people dressed in character as Vikings who will help teach you more about the history of the Vikings in Norway and the civilization’s lifestyle and culture.
If the Flam railway fascinates you, head inside the Flam Railway Museum to learn more about the construction of the railway. It isn’t a large museum so won’t take up too much time.
Hiking through the incredible terrain of the Norwegian Fjords region is an awe-inspiring way to spend your day during a Flam cruise port of call. The Brekkefossen Waterfall hike is close to the town center and only takes two to three hours round trip for most people. Be aware, though, that it is quite steep in parts, so you’ll want good hiking shoes. The hard parts of the hike will be worth it, however, once you reach the gorgeous Brekkefossen waterfall.
A narrow road with twists and turns brings you to Stegastein viewpoint, where on a clear day you can enjoy one of the best views of the fjords in the whole area. It’s really nice to see, but note that Stegastein viewpoint is located about half an hour’s drive from Flam and requires a car (or a guided tour) to get there.
Flam’s restaurants and cafes are conveniently located within walking distance of the Flam cruise port. You’ll find that the cuisine of Flam is quite hearty. Traditional food to try in Flam includes Raspeball, a potato dumpling that is a popular side dish in Norway; cold mutton and pork that has been cured; fresh fish, particularly Herring and cod; freshly caught crab; and cheese made from local cow or goat milk. You meal will also typically be served with a serving of bread.
Local produce you can find during the Flam fjord cruise season includes rhubarb, blueberries, pears, rowanberries, plums, and mushrooms.
Flam’s small-town roots are centered in farming, though today most of the population (which hovers at just around 400 people) works in the tourism industry. Tourism has been a part of the area for a while, with the first travelers making the journey to Flam as far back as the late 1800s. These wealthy travelers were nicknamed “salmon lords” and would travel from England to Flam in order to fish the Flam River. Before long, hotels and other tourism infrastructure sprung up, helping to make Flam what it is today, which is one of the most popular travel destinations in Norway.
The railway line also made a big impact on Flam, which began construction in 1923 and started operating regularly in 1942.
Your Flam cruise ship will pull into Aurland Harbour. Fjord cruise passengers often love this port of call due to its ease of access to the town. The cruise ship terminal in Flam doesn’t have any services or amenities, but that’s not a problem since it’s only about a five-minute walk to all of the town’s sites, restaurants, and shops.
Flam is located off of the E16 highway, which also connects to the major cities of Oslo and Bergen. A car is the usual method to get around Flam and the surrounding region for those not taking the train for a journey. However, be aware that there is only one car rental office in Flam and it books up early. The local bus system has minimal routes, but you will find service to Aurland from Flam. Another fun way to get around town and the surrounding valley is by bike.
Traditional Norwegian souvenirs that you can find on a Flam fjord cruise port of call include Norwegian’s signature knitwear, troll figurines, and cheese utensils. Another souvenir to get that is unique to Flam is a pair of shoes from Aurlandskoen, a shop that sells loafer-style shoes made in nearby Aurland. If you take a ride on the train and want a souvenir to remember that trip by, stop in the shop at the Railway Museum.
You won’t find the Euro here since Norway is not part of the European Union like its neighbors Denmark and Sweden. Instead, you’ll use Norwegian krone. Flam fjord cruise passengers will find that many local businesses only accept cash, so it’s wise to exchange some money for Norwegian krone before leaving for your trip. If you find yourself needing more cash while in Flam, there’s an ATM only a minute’s walk from the ship at Aurland Sparebank.
When dining out, tipping is appreciated, though you’re not expected to tip as much as you may be used to in the U.S. Instead, the customary tip amount in Norway is 6% to 10% of your total bill.