What is Norway in a Nutshell?
It is a coordinated but flexible travel pass and a self-guided tour on mostly public transport. The tour includes train travel, a ferry trip on the Nærøyfjord and a one hour coach tour. Flexible means that you can do the tour over as many days as you wish, do stopovers en route and do add-ons for an even more exciting trip.
Planning your trip
Failing to do research, many travelers expect that the NiN is a guided tour and consequently there is disappointment. On peak days in high season be prepared for the fact that it can be busy as this is a very popular tour for those with no car and very little time on their hands. Highlights are the Flåm Railway, the ferry on the Nærøyfjord and the bus via Stalheim to Voss. And of course the Bergen Railway for those coming from or going to Oslo.
There are many variations on the trip. You can do a one way from Oslo to Bergen or vice versa, a return day trip from Bergen, Voss or Flåm. One way from Oslo to Bergen or the other way around includes the Bergen railway and separate luggage transport is available at additional cost. It is even possible to do a single day round trip from Oslo via Voss or via Bergen, with a return on the overnight train. The latter is available every day except Saturdays and certain public holidays.
There are quite a few changes on this trip and many worry about luggage. Both the trains, the bus and the ferry have plenty of luggage room, but there is no assistance. As long as you can carry your own luggage, you will do fine. Between Oslo and Bergen luggage transport is available.
Many worry needlessly about short connection times. Connections are meant to be short to avoid passengers waiting around forever in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes the weather is not all that perfect and then it is a blessing to just go from the ferry directly to the waiting bus. The bus from Gudvangen to Voss will be waiting at the Gudvangen dock and leaves immediately after the ferry arrival. Except for the long distance trains arriving from Oslo, the trains from Voss to Bergen are fairly frequent commuter trains with no reservation needed.
The main season is between June and August with a shoulder season in May and September. The NiN runs all year, but the services off season are limited with only one ferry in each direction between Flåm and Gudvangen. In winter when daylight hours are limited, you need to plan well. Winter 2016/2017 schedules for the NiN are pretty lame, almost forcing you to spend a night in Flåm for getting the highlights like the Nærøyfjord ferry between Gudvangen and Flåm and the Flåm Railway within daylight hours
DIY or booking with FjordTours
You can save by booking discounted tickets on the long distance trains like Oslo to Myrdal or Myrdal to Oslo, but in peak season you will have to be flexible with departures and is mostly relevant outside the peak season. Minipris train tickets go on sale 3 months prior to departure and are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Tickets are sold on the first come first serve basis and it is essential to book well in advance for the best prices. The Flåm Railway from Myrdal to Flåm and trains from Voss to Bergen are local trains and cannot be bought in advance, but you can buy a through ticket Oslo-Flåm or Flåm-Oslo on the NSB site. Long distance trains have seat reservations. Tickets for local trains are available at ticket windows in major stations, at vending machines and through applications for smart phones and tablets. Seniors over 67, students with valid student cards and children are eligible for discounts on trains and buses. On the ferry between Flåm and Gudvangen you make your reservation on the Visit Flåm site or from the tourist office in Flåm. You need a prepaid ticket to travel on this ferry. There is a bus departure from Gudvangen to Voss after certain ferry arrivals, check carefully for timings at Skyss as you would not want to be stranded for too long in Gudvangen. Enter Gudvangen Kai and Voss Stasjon in the travel planner. The bus from Gudvangen to Voss costs approximately NOK 114 and cash is needed. For more info on rail tickets, prices and discounts, please visit the NSB site
More useful links:
The Flåm Railway (a video)
Travel planner for Sogn og Fjordane county