Few cruise destinations in the world have such a high awesomeness-to-size ratio as Flåm, Norway. Home to no more than 350 people, this tiny village is one of Norway’s greatest bases for fjord and mountain explorations. It’s a major port of call on scenic cruises to Norway. Especially Viking Cruises focus greatly on this stunning destination. In this post, you’ll find the absolute best things to do in Flåm on a cruise.
Best Things to Do in Flåm, Norway
The magnificent natural beauty of the Flåm area has been known since the late-1800’s when it became a popular tourist destination. Nowadays, the village receives no fewer than about 450,000 visitors each year, including over 150 cruise ships. Flåm is one of the reasons Norway is such a popular cruise destination.
Set picturesquely at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, which is a side arm of the massive Sognefjord, Flåm is a must-visit destination in Norway. Its attractions range from historic railway journeys and local cheese to kayak adventures and spectacular fjord scenery.
1. Ride the Historic Flåm Railway
The Historic Flåm Railway, known as the Flåmsbana in Norwegian, regularly features on lists of the world’s greatest railroad journeys. It’s one of the top things to do in Flåm and arguably the most popular activity among cruise ship passengers.
Running from sea level at the end of the Aurlandsfjord to the mountaintop station at Myrdal, it’s one of the steepest standard gauge railroads on the planet. The journey is 12 miles long, 80% of which is at 5.5% gradient. On the way you can admire the spectacular mountain scenery of western Norway, including roaring waterfalls, rivers, sheer mountain peaks, 20 tunnels, and charming farms.
2. Cruise the Naerøyfjord
Flåm lies at the end of the gorgeous Aurlandsfjord, which you’ll traverse entirely on your Norway cruise. From Flåm, you can also visit another nearby fjord: the magnificent Naerøyfjord. Both fjords are side arms of the enormous Sognefjord, which is both the deepest and largest fjord in Norway.
The Naerøyfjord, especially, is sensational. Featuring sheer walls of rock, mysterious low-hanging clouds and waterfalls, it’s a landscape that’s almost indescribably beautiful. This epic fjord has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.
You can go for excursions around the Naerøyfjord while visiting Flåm, an activity that could surely be the number one highlight of your cruise.
3. Discover Norwegian History at the Otternes Farm
To see and learn about the daily lives of Norwegian farmers in a remote fjord, there’s no better place to visit than the Otternes Farm. Located only 2.5 miles from Flåm, this collection of historic 18th-century farms consists of 26 buildings. You entry tickets allows you to wander the grounds at your own pace, immersing yourself in Norwegian farm culture.
4. Sample Local Goat Cheese in Tiny Undredal
Until as recently as 1988, the tiny village of Undredal was only accessible by boat. Nowadays, there’s a road connection to both Gudvangen and Flåm (only 10 minutes away), both via a tunnel. As picturesque as it is, Undredal is most famous for a rather unusual characteristic.
While there are only about 100 people who live in the village, there are no fewer than 500 goats! Undredal’s claim to fame is its unique brown goat cheese, which is still produced in the traditional way to this day.
Visitors to Undredal can to meet some goats, sample the world-famous goat cheese, enjoy amazing fjord views, and visit the smallest stave church in Scandinavia.
5. Explore the Sognefjord in a Kayak
A kayaking trip in the mighty Sognefjord is without question one of the best things to do in Flåm for adventurous travelers. This environment-friendly and quiet means of transportation allows you to fully experience and explore the fjord and all its facets. You can start your kayaking adventure right from Flåm beach.
6. Visit the Brekkefossen Waterfall
Active visitors might want to experience these marvelous landscapes up-close on a hike. There are numerous hiking options in Flåm, from easy strolls to strenuous climbs. A particularly popular one is the Brekkefossen Waterfall hike.
You can start this 3-mile round-trip hike in the Flåm town center. After about 500 feet of elevation gain, you’ll get to see the beautiful Brekkefossen Waterfall. Look the other way and you can enjoy a stunning view of the valley of Flåm below.
7. Visit the Spectacular Stegastein Viewpoint
Western Norway is famous for its epic views and, when visiting Flåm, you get to see what the fuzz is about with your own eyes. The Stegastein Viewpoint is easily one of the greatest attractions in Flåm.
This spectacular viewpoint towers more than 2,100 feet above the Aurlandsfjord, jutting 100 feet out of the mountainside. It’s the perfect panoramic viewpoint, taking in the breathtaking fjord far below and the mountains that surround it.
8. Experience Viking Life at Njardarheimr in Gudvangen
Situated at the end of the Naerøyfjord, the small town of Gudvangen dates back 1,000 years to the Viking Age, when it was an important trading center. You can see first-hand how the Vikings used to live at the amazing Njardarheimr Viking Village.
What’s so fascinating about this village museum is that the people showing this lifestyle are not actors, but “real” Vikings who have adopted the old Viking way of living as their own lifestyle. They’re extremely knowledgeable, skilled and welcoming—it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the legendary world of the Vikings.
9. Get an Adrenalin Rush on the Flåm Zipline
Over 4,500 feet long, the Flåm Zipline is the longest zipline in Scandinavia. It starts at Vatnahalsen, which is near the Flåm Railway, and ends in Kårdalen in the upper part of the Flåm Valley. The height difference is 1,000 feet, while the top speed is approximately 60mph.
If you’re a thrill seeker looking for things to do in Flåm, this is a great option. You can combine a one-way ride on the awesome Flåm Zipline with a bike tour or hike through the quaint Flåm Valley afterward.