-the most beautiful and picturesque bicycle ride in Norway
Take the Bergen Railway from Oslo or Bergen to the mountains and experience Rallarvegen - Norway’s most scenic cycling route! Rallarvegen is a beautiful trail that takes you on a steep ride through wild nature from the high mountain plateaus down to the fjord. You can bring your bike on the train or rent a bike at the station.
Rallarvegen (English: The Navvy Road) is a construction/access road in central Norway that is now popular as a recreation trail for bicyclists. It was built from 1902 to 1904 in connection with the construction of the Bergen Line. The road is maintained by the Norwegian National Rail Administration as an access road for the railroad.
The road runs from Haugastøl Station in the municipality of Hol in Buskerud county to Finse Station in Ulvik municipality in Hordaland county. It continues across the mountains to Myrdal Station in Aurland municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, and then there is a fork in the road.
One path goes north through the Flåmsdalen valley to the village of Flåm on the shore of the Sognefjorden and the other path heads west through the Raundalen valley to Vossevangen. In all, the road is 123 kilometres (76 mi) long: 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Haugestøl to Flåm, and then another 43 kilometres (27 mi) from Myrdal to Voss.
The road is named after the "rallar" or navvies, the railway construction workers and "vegen" means road, so the name literally means the "navvy road".
The road is now a popular bicycle road. Every year, in the short season from July to September, over 20,000 cyclists travel the route. It is unpaved, and maintained by the railroad with period materials.
A part of our cultural heritage
While traveling along Rallarvegen you take part in a tradition that is over 100 years old. The road was built to transport food, people and equipment to build the Bergen Line, which opened in 1909. Along the road you will encounter both buildings and other objects connected with the building of the railway.
There is a museum at Finse and a visitors’ center at Flåm with more information about Rallarvegen. Remember to remove all trash and leave no traces from camping or a campfire. If you can’t make it to the next toilet (marked on the map), please cover up your mess.
The road is today one of Norway's most popular cycle routes, over 20,000 cycles the road each year. The road goes through varied and magnificent terrain, providing a unique and impressive impression of road construction with simple means and pure power. The standard is in many places good gravel road, while in steep sections the spring flood often washed away the gravel and leaves crushed stone or, in the worst case, pebbles.
Rallarvegen is not only a bike ride in unique nature, but also a journey through fascinating cultural history.
Rallarvegen is about 80 kilometres long and goes from Haugastøl over Finse, to Myrdal and along
the Flåm railway down to the fjord at Flåm. Along the way one can partake in glacier walks, galleries, and most of all an unspoiled landscape of waterfalls and fjords.
Most cyclists start from Haugastøl to avoid the traffic along the national road, but it is possible to start at Geilo or Ustaoset as well. If you want to take a quick and easy variant you can start at Finse and finish at Myrdal. Remember that the season is short - not until the end of July all the way is passable. If you want to cycle before this, the trip can be divided from Haugastøl to Finse and from Hallingskeid to Flåm, with a train ride in between.
The view down the valley is impressive, with Flåm Railway that winds down the mountain side, partly in tunnels, and picturesque waterfalls with fjord at the end of the valley.
Day 1: You start at Haugastøl and Finse is a perfect destination for the day. Here you can take in at the serviced Staffed lodge; Finse cabin. A detour to the glacier Hardangerjøkulen takes only a few hours and is well worth the trip, but the path is completely unsuitable for cycling. It is also possible to get the guide on the glacier by contacting the accommodation at Finse. An attraction not to be missed is the Navvies Museum (Rallarmuseet). Read more about Finse ->
Day 2: From Finse the road takes you through the arctic mountain plateau to the highest point of the road which, is located 1 km east of Fagernut (Altitude 1343).
Remember: early in the summer, the highest mountainous areas are still covered with snow. On the way to Fagernut you have to count on several snowdrifts and some poor road surfaces.
Along the road you can see the old Guard Houses (Railway Heritage Sites) of the Bergen Railway: Fagernut.
Image above: Former Navvies house at Fagernut. Photographer: Tine
A stop at Fagernut Guard House is highly recommended. Fagernut is the highest railway caretaker's house in all of Norway. Apart from Norway´s best waffles, coffee and a warm fire place, Fagernut features an interesting exhibition about the life of the Railroad Guard´s life.Travelers may enjoy a visit to Rallarkafeen (the Navvies Café), where the menu includes sluskesuppe, the soup once served to the railway construction workers.
The trip continues towards Hallingskeid. At Tågåvatnet the descent begins. The road is a bit poor towards Grjotrust, before it goes easier towards Hallingskeid. The self-catering tourist cabin is a popular accommodation and a suitable stop if you want to split the trip into several stages. Hallingskeid is unlocked and has provisions for sale.
Image above: A highpoint of the trip is Myrdalsberget, where the route snakes down through 21 hairpin bends, before following the valley floor and the Flåm river to your destination.
Dag 3:The trip continues along Grøndalsvatn and Kleivavatn to the narrow Klevagjelet. Here the real west coast nature takes over and the road becomes steep. As an old cultural monument, it is without an auto-guard (and thus unsecured against the waterfalls) and the surface is uneven and rocky. If there are children in the escort, the bike should be moved in the difficult parties, before it goes down towards Reinungavatnet.
On the other side of the water is Vatnahalsen Hotel with a great view of the Flåm Valley. Vatnahalsen is a great alternative for a nights rest before continuing your trip. Ever since 1896, Vatnahalsen has been a popular destination for Norwegians and Europeans in search of a mountain sanctuary.
Down the 21 tight hairpin bends there is a lot of loose gravel. At Vatnahalsen you must choose whether you want to step up again to Myrdal Train Station and finished the tour and take the train home, or continue the easy road down to Flåm by the fjord.
To cycle the last part to Flåm through the green and fertile Flåm Valley is definitely the nicest, but it is steep and demanding for the brakes! If you feel that they are not good enough, get of the bike and walk down with your bike. The view down the valley is impressive, with the Flåm Railway winding down the mountain side partly in the tunnel, and picturesque waterfalls with the fjord at the end of the valley.
Arriving in Flam, there are several possibilities for accommodation, but they should be booked in advance, or you can choose to send your cycle and take the train back immediately. (The train can accommodate 10 bicycles per departure) The Flåm Railway is one of the world's finest train rides and an experience in itself. It is also possible to take the local train westwards to Uppsete and continue to Voss. The first part of the stretch also goes here along the old Rallarvegen road. Another option is to take a boat from Flåm to Bergen.
Merk: På noen strekk langs ruta er det dessverre forbudt å telte. Beregn god tid med mindre barn på egen sykkel. De vil trenge hjelp til å passere snøfonner og ned Myrdalsvingene. På den første delen fra Haugastøl kan man treffe på noen biler, men fra fylkesgrensa lengre vest er den stengt for vanlig kjøring.
The climate of the mountain plateau can be harsh and the weather can change abruptly. You should be prepared for cold, wet, windy, foggy weather even in the middle of the summer. Dress accordingly. Parts of the old road can be covered by snow in July. Always check weather and trail conditions before you start your trip. There is no cell phone coverage along parts of the road.
Because of snow in the mountains, Rallarvegen normally opens in July. The trail is 80 km long and the trip can be completed in one day, but a lot of people choose to spend a couple of days on the trip. You can start the trip from Haugastøl or Finse and ride to Flåm – an alternative route is via Myrdal where you take the train to Upsete and continue to Voss.
Recommended cycling times including regular breaks are:
- Haugastøl-Finse 4 hours (27 km)
- Finse-Haugastøl 3 hours (27 km)
- Finse-Fagernut 1 hour (10 km)
- Finse-Hallingskeid 3 hours (21 km)
- Finse-Myrdal 5 hours (38 km)
- Finse-Flåm 7 hours (53 km)
All stretches can be completed more quickly, but most people prefer to take it easy, keep a slow pace and take plenty of breaks to enjoy the surroundings.
Safe bike trip
Parts of the old road are very steep and not secured with rails. It has a coarse, uneven surface with sharp rocks and deep ruts. Take it easy and be prepared for the unexpected. The most difficult part is from Finse to Myrdal (uneven surface and steep sections) and then from Myrdal down to Flåm (steep section with hairpin turns). We recommend that you walk your bike in the steepest places. Be aware of local traffic between Myrdalsvingane and Flåm. The section between Haugastøl and Finse is a good day trip for inexperienced riders and children younger than 12 years. Remem- ber bike helmets for everyone.
Rallarvegen has a rough surface, and we recommend that you use a bike with solid tires and good breaks. Remember to bring a helmet, a puncture repair kit, a pump and tools.
The Rallarvegen has two exposed sections that require extra caution:
- Down the Klevagjelet gorge, where the verges are ill-defined and plunge down into a wild river
- Down the 21 hairpins from the top of Flåmsdalen, where we recommend walking with your bike
Bike hire and accommodation
There are a number of companies along the Bergen Railway and in Flåm that rent out bikes.
Bring you bicycle on the train
On the Bergen railway you can bring regular bikes.
Attractions and sights
You can enjoy nature, explore the past and create unforgettable memories on this journey.
FOOD & DRINK RALLARVEGEN
There are plenty of great places to stay in the area:
Rallarvegen - en klassiker for fjellsyklister av DNT Oslo og Omegn. Tilgjengelig under en CC BY-SA 4.0 lisens.
Turforslaget er utarbeidet i samarbeid med Syklistenes Landsforening.
Store føremessige variasjoner fra år til år, sjekk førerapporter: https://www.rallarvegen.com/rallarvegen-report
- ^ a b c «Ingen rallarveg – ingen Bergensbane» (norsk). Besøkt 15. september 2018.
- ^ Handlingsplan for bruk og drift av Rallarvegen
- ^ Rallarvegen - en klassiker for fjellsyklister DNT
- Fjord Tours om Rallarvegen
- Rallarvegen på Open Street Map
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