Norway’s Stunning Rauma Scenic Train Ride
The Rauma scenic train ride in Norway is one of the most spectacular routes in Europe. Norway is known for its dramatic landscape of deep fjords and soaring mountains, as well as its northerly latitude which intensifies the seasons.
A Eurail Pass is valid for use on the Rauma Railway. The route begins in the village of Dombas, at 659 meters above sea level. It gradually makes its way down through the stunning Romsdalen valley to the town of Andalsnes, at sea level. Along the journey, the wide valley narrows, with enormous mountains and cliffs on each side, including Trollveggen, Europe’s highest vertical rock face. If you’re lucky, you’ll see BASE jumpers soaring from the top. If not, you’ll still see snow-capped peaks and green valleys that will keep your eyes fixed out the window the whole trip.
The railway also incorporates some fine engineering feats, including century-old tunnels and bridges. The vast difference between the track and the valley floor posed a great challenge to builders in the beginning of the 20th century. At one point the train completes a 180-degree turn inside the aptly-named Stavem Horseshoe Tunnel. Out the other end, the train descends along the beautiful Rauma River, making three stops along the way, including Bjorli, a winter sports resort. Many passengers get off here to enjoy downhill skiing in the winter. The Rauma Scenic Line runs year-round.
The staging point for the Rauma is at Dombas, which conveniently lies on the main Trondheim to Oslo rail line. With four trains per day to each destination most days of the week, you can reach Dombas during the daylight hours, which is important in the winter when it gets dark in the early afternoon. After all, the point of this journey is to see the scenery! Along the way, the train briefly pauses at the most scenic spots for passengers to take photos. Announcements are made in both Norwegian and English explaining the important points along the way.
It’s reasonable to make the trip to Andalsnes on a day trip, returning to Oslo in the evening. You could also stay in Andalsnes for the night or continue to Trondheim as I did. Occasionally the train picks up tourist groups and because of this, may fill up completely. So you may want to book ahead of time. However, a reservation isn’t necessary and the journey is only one and a half hours. If you find yourself on a full train carriage, there is plenty of room to stand in the vestibule.
Rauma scenic train ride: At Andalsnes
Inside the small train station in Andalsnes is the tourist information desk where you can get a map of the town and surrounding area and inquire about what to do there. Luggage storage lockers are also located inside the station.
I recommend staying in Andalsnes if you have the time. It is a small town in a spectacular location at the foot of Romsdals Fjord. Most of the activities in the area involve the outdoors: whether hiking up several of the nearby mountains for extraordinary views, taking a trip on the fjord, or canoeing on the Rauma River. Andalsnes is considered a seasonal town, so if you arrive in winter call ahead to make sure your accommodation is open and running. I visited in February and the weather was nice enough for me to take a short hike, but the town was so quiet that I’m glad I continued north to Trondheim. In summer, Andalsnes comes alive as a transport hub and plays host to a few festivals and welcomes cruise ships to its docks.
The ticket price at the window for the Rauma Line is a NOK 224 ($38 US) but the route is valid with your Eurail Pass at no extra charge. Trains leave Dombas at 12:09, 14:07, 18:33, and 20:11 during the week, but are reduced during the weekend. The train has free Wi-Fi, but the scenery is too good to keep your eyes on your phone! In addition to the Rauma, ride the Flam Railway for another classic railway route with magnificent scenery.
Inspired? Find out about train travel in Norway.