DFDS Seaways ferry "Queen of Scandinavia"  Photo courtesy of DFDS.

R I P... The DFDS ferry to Norway was sadly withdrawn for good in September 2008, ending over 120 years of direct ferry links between the UK & Norway... Photo courtesy of DFDS

   
 

UK to Norway without flying...

Although the last ferry between the UK & Norway (DFDS from Newcastle to Bergen) was sadly withdrawn in September 2008, there's no need to fly to Norway.  It's easy to travel from London to Norway by train, taking Eurostar and comfortable onward trains to Hamburg, staying there overnight, taking an onward train to Copenhagen next morning then the luxurious overnight cruise ferry to Oslo.  Departures are daily.  The Hamburg to Copenhagen trains go onto a train ferry for the 50-minute crossing between Puttgarten and Rødby, one of the few places in the world where trains go onto ships, a fascinating experience.

Train times, fares & tickets...

On this page you'll find a step-by-step guide to planning, booking & making a journey from the UK to Norway by train, with train times, approximate fares, and the best way to buy tickets.

  London to Oslo by train via Hamburg & Copenhagen

  London to Oslo by train to Kiel, then Color Line cruise ferry

  London to Kristiansand & Stavanger by train via Hirtshals.

  Onward trains within Norway:  Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim...

  How to buy Norwegian train tickets

  Hurtigruten: Bergen-Trondheim-Bodo-Kirkenes by coastal steamer

  Trains & ferries from Norway to other European cities

  Trains & ferries to Oslo from other European cities

  Useful country information - dialling code, currency, time zone

  Hotels & accommodation in Oslo, Bergen & Norway

  General European train travel information

  Luggage   Taking a bike   Taking a dog

Interactive map:  London to Oslo, Norway & Scandinavia by train & ferry...

...click on a route for train & ferry times from the UK, and how to buy tickets.

Train travel in Norway Copenhagen-Oslo train or ferry Key - Finland via ferry from Germany Key - via Harwich-Hoek Key - via Eurostar Via the Harwich-Hoek ferry Train travel in Sweden Train travel in Finland Travemunde to Helsinki by ferry Helsinki-St Petersburg by train Ferries to Tallinn Stockholm-Riga by ferry Stockholm-Helsinki by ferry London-Norway via Hirtshals London-Copenhagen by train

Useful country information

Train operator in Norway:

NSB (Norges Statsbaner) www.nsb.no.

   

Ferries to Norway:

www.dfds.co.uk (Copenhagen-Oslo; ferry from UK withdrawn September 2008)

Norwegian coastal steamers:

Hurtigruten Line sails along the Norwegian coast to the far North.

Railpasses:

Beginner's guide to European railpasses  Buy a rail pass online

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

+47

Currency:

£1 = approx 8.8 Krone.   Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.visitnorway.com     Recommended guidebooks

Hotels in Norway:

Find a hotel in Norway.  Hostels:  www.hostelbookers.com

Page last updated:

14 December 2014.  Train times valid 14 Dec 2014 to 13 June 2015.


London to Oslo by train via Hamburg & Copenhagen

  A Copenhagen to Hamburg EuroCity train on board the train ferry between Rodby & Puttgarten.
 

Train on a ferry!  This is a Hamburg to Copenhagen ICE-TD train on board the Puttgarten to Rødby ferry.  This is one of the few remaining routes in Europe where trains go onto ferries, the other major route being mainland Italy to Sicily.  The Rødby-Puttgarten crossing takes about 50 minutes, and you must leave the train and go up into the ferry whilst it is at sea.  The ferry has bars, lounges restaurants & shops.  Naturally, you can leave your bags on the train...

This is a comfortable & convenient option, using daytime trains from London to Hamburg, an overnight hotel stop, a train on to Copenhagen and the luxurious overnight ferry to Oslo.  You leave London late morning on day 1, you arrive in central Oslo two nights later on the morning of day 3, after a comfortable and interesting journey from the UK.  Note that the Cologne to Copenhagen sleeper train was sadly discontinued from November 2014.

London ► Oslo

Oslo ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Have your train tickets, transfers & hotels professionally arranged...

What's the journey like?

London to Cologne by Eurostar & ICE Watch the video guide.

Cologne to Hamburg by InterCity train.

German InterCity train   InterCity 2nd class   InterCity 1st class (6-seat compartment type)

Most Cologne-Hamburg trains are InterCity trains, a few are high-speed ICEs.  Virtual tour of InterCity train...

 

InterCity 2nd class.  You'll also find a few compartment coaches on InterCity trains, and a bistro or restaurant car...

 

InterCity 1st class, often available in both open-plan saloons like this and in compartments.

Hamburg to Copenhagen by ICE or IC3...

The 07:25 Hamburg-Copenhagen and 17:43 Copenhagen-Hamburg trains are Danish IC3 trains, shown online as EC or EuroCity, other departures including the 09:28 Hamburg-Copenhagen and 15:43 Copenhagen-Hamburg are German ICE-TD trains, shown online as ICE.

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Frankfurt

ICE 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

The Hamburg-Copenhagen ICE on board the Puttgarden-Rødby ferry.  More info on ICE.

Danish InterCity train at Copenhagen...   Inside the InterCity train from Esbjerg to Copenhagen...   InterCity train at Copenhagen about to leave for Esbjerg...

Danish IC3 train...

Copenhagen to Oslo by daytime train or overnight ferry...

Seats on an Oresund link train   An Oresund link train from Copenhagen to Gothenburg at Malmo   DFDS overnight ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

Copenhagen-Oslo, option 1:  Take an Öresund Train (Öresundtåg, pictured above) from Copenhagen to Gothenburg, then a connecting Norwegian train to Oslo (pictured below).  The train crosses from Denmark to Sweden on the 1999-built Öresund Link tunnel & road/rail bridge...

 

Copenhagen-Oslo, option 2:  Cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo on the daily overnight DFDS ferry.  This is the m/v Crown of Scandinavia.

The Norwegian train from Gothenburg to Oslo, arrived at Oslo Central   Komfort class (1st class) on the Norwegian Gothenburg to Oslo train

Arrival at Oslo...  This is the Norwegian train from Gothenburg to Oslo, arrived at Oslo Sentral.  Photos courtesy of Ivor & Ines Morgan.

 

NSB 'Komfort' class on the train to Oslo.

Traveller's reports...

Traveller Ian Dow reports on a ride on a Hamburg-Copenhagen EuroCity train, which goes onto a special train ferry to cross to Denmark:  "The ferry portion is from Puttgarden to Rødby. The ferry has already been loaded with cars and lorries, and the train is loaded last.  On our journey, the train stops at Puttgarden station and then moves on to the ferry terminal, it then slows but runs straight to the ferry, moving on board at fairly slow speed. It then stopped about half a metre from the front (in the front First class the Guard had held the door to the driver’s can open and we could see through). The train then edged slowly forward.  At the front of the ferry on the bulkhead doors is an auto-coupler and the train couples on to this to ensure it does not move during the journey. The train engines then stop, the doors open and you can get off, as there is a sort of platform step on the ferry. Once the train is docked, the ferry doors closed and we departed immediately.  The trip on the ferry is just 45 minutes, and you get off to use the ferry facilities, you can also inspect the train arrangements. The EuroCity train is designed to fit and when I was on it, there was less than a half metre at the back of the train between it and the ferry doors. The track runs through the centre of the ferry, with cars and lorries on either side. You had better make sure that you are back on board the train in time at the end of the ferry trip, as it does not hang about!  The ferry takes a little longer than a normal car ferry to line up at the destination, but once it has, the doors open, the track is locked in place, and the train engines start, and we are off, pretty fast.  We made a brief stop at the Rødby station, then continued to Copenhagen."


London to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo cruise ferry

OK, so this takes 2 nights from London rather than one, but with comfortable daytime trains, a night in a hotel in Kiel or Hamburg then a mini-cruise on a luxurious Colour line cruise ferry.  Well worth considering!  If you take this route and get any photos of the ferry, please email me!

London ► Oslo

Oslo ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...


London to Kristiansand & Stavanger by train...

As you can see on the route map above, this short cut by-passes Copenhagen & Sweden, heading up to northern Denmark for a ferry direct to southern Norway.

London ► Kristiansand & Stavanger

Stavanger & Kristiansand ► London

Fares & how to buy tickets...


Onward trains within Norway...

Train connections from Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim & other Norwegian cities...

How to buy Norwegian train tickets from Oslo to Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger...How to buy Norwegian train tickets at www.nsb.no...

The scenic Flåm Railway...

A scenic tourist line worth mentioning is the famous Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana) from Myrdal (on the Oslo-Bergen line) 900m above sea level to Flåm on the Fjord below.  Train run daily all year round, 4 departures a day in winter, 10 or so in summer.  It can be done as a day trip from Oslo, as the Myrdal-Flåm journey itself only takes 40-50 minutes each way.  See www.flaamsbana.no, then see www.nsb.no for connections from Oslo or Bergen to Myrdal.

Sleeper trains from Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim...

You can't beat a daytime journey on the scenic Oslo to Bergen line, but on the way back you can save time by travelling on the sleeper.  Unlike most other European sleeper trains where you can book individual berths in shared compartments, in Norway you pay a fixed supplement and get a whole 2-berth compartment to yourself, whether there are two of you or only one.  When you board, you must first check in at the cafe car to have your ticket checked and receive the plastic card-key to your sleeper compartment.

Oslo to Bergen sleeper train

The sleeper train from Oslo to Bergen...  Photos courtesy of Tom Gigon

Cafe car on the train to Bergen   Sleeping-car corridor   2-bed sleeper on the Oslo to Bergen sleeper train

Cafe car...

 

Sleeper corridor...

 

2-berth sleeper...


Hurtigruten - Norway's coastal steamers

From Bergen to the Arctic Circle...

Bergen - Trondheim - Bodo - Tromso - Kirkenes

Every day, an express coastal steamer service called Hurtigruten (www.hurtigruten.com, the word hurtigruten simply means express route) sails from Bergen on an all-points trip north to Kirkenes in the Arctic Circle close to the Russian border, a 6-night one-way voyage or a 11 or 12-night round trip.  It's an essential transport service for the communities along the route which also offers cruises for visitors wanting an unrivalled boat ride along the beautiful Norwegian Fjords up to the land of the Midnight Sun.  For details and online booking, see www.hurtigruten.com.  For more information on the service and its history, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurtigruten.

A Hurtigruten ferry   Cabin on a Hurtigruten ferry

The M.S. Richard With...

 

Standard outside cabin...

Seating area in a Hurtigruten deluxe cabin   A Hurtigruten ferry

Seating area of a suite...

 

The M.S. Nordnorge



The European Rail Timetable & map

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe/Maps--Atlases/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.


Guidebooks...

Rough Guide to Scandinavia - buy online at AmazonClick to buy - Lonely Planet ScandinaviaLonely Planet Norway - buy online at Amazon.co.ukMake sure you take a good guidebook.  For independent travel, I think this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both guidebooks provide the same excellent level of practical information and cultural and historical background.  You won't regret buying one!

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 


Find hotels in Oslo, Bergen & Norway...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelbookers.com...

Homestays: www.homestay.com...


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on calls & mobile data...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, so consider getting a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone which can cut call & data costs by up to 90%.  At the time of writing, www.roamsure.com claims a definite 25% saving within the EU and up to 90% saving in the rest of the world.  Incoming calls are free in 73 countries, including all of the EU, the USA, Australia & South Africa.  There's no contract or commitment, and at time I write this Roamsure is offering a global SIM card for free when you buy £20 of call credit.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you buy airtime from Roamsure.

 


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