Oslo Sentralstasjon, or Oslo S, is probably not the fanciest train station in Scandinavia – but it can definitely take you places. The Norwegian capital’s main rail station (the busiest one in the country) has 19 tracks with trains that can take you anywhere: from the airport, to the suburbs and cities around Oslo, to picturesque destinations in Norway and beyond the border. Interested in the latter? We thought so. Keep reading – you have a train to catch.
Destination: Bergen; duration: seven hours
This one is probably the most obvious (and gorgeous) choice. Not only is Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, as cute as a postcard, the journey there is so picturesque you won’t even notice the hours flying by. If travelling past mountain plateaus, spectacular vistas and lush nature is not your thing, you can choose the night train with the sleeping compartments, and wake up in Bergen. There, you can marvel at the old Hanseatic wharf, visit the city’s many museums or go up Mount Floyen if the weather’s good.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Destination: Finse; duration: four hours, 20 minutes
At first glance, it looks as if Finse is in the middle of nowhere, and a frozen nowhere at that. But if you take a chance and descend here on your way to Bergen (it’s the same train), you won’t regret it. Finse appeared in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back as the ice planet Hoth, a fact that is celebrated by the owners of the Finse 1222 hotel every year with special Star Wars events. But even if the idea of staying in the hotel that Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher once stayed in doesn’t appeal to you, Finse will still keep you occupied: you can go snowkiting, sleigh riding or listen to music played on ice instruments.
Destination: Kongsberg; duration: one hour, 15 minutes
This is such a short trip, but you will feel as if you’ve been travelling for many years – travelling back in time, that is. Kongsberg, to the west of Norway on the way to Drammen, is so epic it could star in a Tolkien novel. Its name means ‘the mountain of the King’, and it is home to the silver mines where all the silver was mined to produce coins for the whole country. You can even visit the mines, and have your own dwarves of Moria moment. If you’re more into contemporary activities, there’s a lot of skiing (and swimming, in the summer), an impressive jazz festival and a couple of micro-breweries that Gimli would certainly approve of.
Destination: Fredrikstad; duration: one hour, eight minutes
This is another short trip with great potential. Sunny Fredrikstad is one of the most beautiful towns in Norway, and its fortress is the only one in the country that’s been preserved exactly how it was – between that and the charming Old Town, you’re in for a treat. Stroll on the cobbled alleyways, hunt for souvenirs from the traditional shops or relax in one of the city’s many green spaces.
Destination: Kristiansand; duration: four hours, 38 minutes
On the way to Stavanger, Kristiansand is another option for when you crave a little sun. With its beautiful Blue Flag beach, its many theme parks and a magnificent zoo that will make your inner child squeal with glee, its picturesque Old Town and a 1800s manor where you can play Downton Abbey, Kristiansand has all the makings of a dreamy holiday. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, it’s only a ferry ride away from Denmark.
Destination: Tønsberg; duration: one hour, 11 minutes
Did you know that Tønsberg is the oldest city in Norway? Founded during the Viking Age, this is where the famous Viking ship you get to admire at the Viking Ships Museum in Oslo was actually unearthed, and you can see a full-scale copy of the ship at the city’s harbour. You can also visit Scandinavia’s largest ruin site at Mount Slottsfjell (literally, ‘castle hill’), where a music festival takes place, or visit Tjøme and Nøtterøy, two small, charming islands nearby. You know what they say: old is the new new.
Destination: Stockholm; duration: five hours, 12 minutes
Don’t tell Norwegians we said this, but there are a couple of exciting trips you can take from Oslo S that will take you beyond Norway’s borders, over to Sweden. The trains to Sweden are operated by a different company, Sj, but depart from Oslo S tracks like all the others. The five-hour trip to Stockholm is a breathtaking one, through forests with tall trees and beautiful lakes – and Stockholm is not that bad, either. There are more museums per person than anywhere in the world, there’s the Old Town (Gamla Stan) that was founded back in 1252, one of the most beautiful libraries in Scandinavia and beautiful and impeccably dressed people all around.
Destination: Karlstad; duration: two hours, 36 minutes
If you do want to venture beyond the border, but can’t commit to a long trip that will require accommodation in another city, Karlstad is the perfect solution. A small, picturesque town that has a certain Parisian allure (and the outdoor cafés to prove it), Karlstad is right in the middle of the route between Oslo and Stockholm, and it was actually the place where the agreement to dissolve the union between Norway and Sweden was signed back in 1905. If you ask the Swedes, they will tell you that the sun always shines in Karlstad, and although that’s not technically true, it is one of the sunniest places in the country. Whatever the weather, a walk along the Klarälven River will make you forget everything else.
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