The Rallarvegen bike route is an 80 km road leading from the mountains to the fjords along the Bergensbanen and Flåmsbanen railway lines. Rallarvegen begins in Haugastøl and finishes in Flåm, but it is most common to begin from Finse (53 km) or Myrdal (17 km). This historic route is not only a spectacular bike ride, taking in stunning mountain and fjord landscapes, but also a journey through history.
- What is Rallarvegen?
- Rallarvegen in one day
- Alternative route
- Bike rental
- Train tickets
- Hotel & bike package
- Rallarvegen route map
What is Rallarvegen?
Rallarvegen is a transport road built to support the construction of the Bergensbanen railway, which connects Oslo and Bergen in southern Norway. Between the two cities lies a large mountain range and enormous resources were required to build the crossing. Roads were laid up and across the mountains from Voss, Flåm, and Geilo along the path that the railway would follow. This allowed goods and manpower to be transported from major roads and the sea to the high mountains.
Today these roads make up the Rallarvegen bike route and allow riders to experience this impressive engineering feat first-hand. Traditional railway caretaker’s cabins line the road and provide an insight into working life high in the mountains. The nature and landscape is stunning and varied with wildflowers, rivers, deep valleys and waterfalls. First opened as a cycle route in 1974, Rallarvegen now sees around 25,000 riders annually.
A journey on Rallarvegen usually begins with a ride on the Bergensbanen railway from either Bergen or Oslo to your chosen starting point. Additionally, a ride through the 20 tunnels of the 20 km long Flåmsbanen railway is an adventure itself. Connecting Flåm to Myrdal and the Bergensbanen it is the steepest railway in Northern Europe with a change in elevation of 865 metres.
Watch the video for a taste of Rallarvegen:
Conveniently split into different sections corresponding with the train stations, Rallarvegen is accessible to riders of varying levels and ambition. You can bring your own bike or rent one at any of the typical starting points along the route.
The full Rallarvegen bike route begins at the Haugastøl Turistsenter and follows the Bergensbanen railway to Finse, Hallingskeid and Myrdal before turning north and descending alongside the Flåmsbanen railway to Flåm. This route starts at 1,000 m.a.s.l. in Haugastøl, climbs to 1,340 m.a.s.l. and finishes at sea level.
- Haugastøl to Finse: 4 hours (27 km)
- Finse to Hallingskeid: 3 hours (21 km)
- Hallingskeid to Vatnahalsen/Myrdal: 5 hours (17/19 km)
- Vatnahalsen/Myrdal to Flåm: 2 hours (15/17 km)
Cycling the entire route (80 km) is usually completed over two days, with a night in Finse. One day adventures usually start in Finse (53 km) or Myrdal (17 km). It is also possible to continue following the Bergensbanen railway on the alternative route from Myrdal to Voss.
The season for cycling Rallarvegen is rather short, typically from July through September. The limited season is due to the high altitude of the road and snow along the way. The first sections that become accessible are Haugastøl to Finse and Hallingskeid to Flåm. Even once the road from Finse opens, it’s often necessary early in the season to walk the bike through snow patches.
Rallarvegen is at its busiest during July and August, as well as weekends in September. As the locals head back to work and school towards the end of August the weekdays become quieter on the road. In September the beautiful autumn colors fill the landscape.
Rallarvegen in One Day
The popular route from Finse to Flåm (53 km) can be completed in one day. It is a beautiful route that provides a true taste of Norway by beginning in the mountains and descending to the fjords. The route requires average fitness can take up to 7 hours with frequent stops to enjoy the views. For a shorter ride (17 km) you can begin at Myrdal.
Starting at Finse, the terrain is flat and easy, with Hardangerjøkulen glacier to the south and Hallingskarvet mountain range to the north. Be sure to keep an eye out for the wild reindeer which live in the area. The road climbs, and after around 10 km you will reach Fagernut, the highest point of the journey at 1,343 m.a.s.l. Here you can take a break at the Rallar Café, located in a restored caretaker’s cabin, for coffee and waffles (cash only).
From Fagernut the road continues to Hallingskeid at 1,000 m.a.s.l. Some parts are rocky and a bit steep and some extra care is required. The privately-owned Grjotrust caretaker’s cabin is stunningly designed and located. Refill your water bottle from the fast-moving streams or rivers for beautiful fresh water. The beautiful Kleivabrua bridge is a perfect photo opportunity.
Once you reach the end of Lake Klevavatnet the road begins to descend. Take your time and stop to enjoy the scenic waterfalls and valleys. The road carries on along a narrow shelf and it is recommended to walk your bike. Continuing on your way to Vatnahalsen, you will pass by Seltuft, where you can see traces from the stone age.
At Vatnahalsen you will find the Vatnahalsen hotel and a fork in the road. This is the point where the road connects to Myrdal station, 2 km away. Cyclists coming from Myrdal will join the road here and those taking alternative route to Voss should cycle towards Myrdal. For those heading to Flåm, this is where the real fun begins.
Descending from over 800 m.a.s.l., you will need to be heavy on the brakes as you twist and turn through 21 hairpin turns down to Kårdal, the highest farm in Flåmsdalen. You may wish to walk parts of this stretch as the road is steep and narrow and has views you simply won’t want to miss. After the descent you’ll pass Rallarrosa stølsysteri, a farm where you can stop for a break and taste local cheeses. From here you will follow the Flåmselvi river through the valley all the way down to Flåm. There are a lot of natural wonders in the valley, including the impressive Rjoandefossen waterfall. Towards the end you’ll join the public road and cruise down into Flåm.
Flåm is a popular destination in it’s own right and is stunningly located at the tip of the Aurlandfjord. The Viking inspired Ægir Brewpub is the perfect spot for a hearty meal and beer after a long day in the saddle. There are plenty of accommodation options ranging from high-end historic hotels to campgrounds.
Due to the change in altitude you will face very different conditions at the start and of the route. It may be well below 8°C in Finse, but by the time you reach Flåm the temperature can be over 20°C. You should have wind and waterproof clothing as well as waterproof shoes. The options to purchase food on the route are limited so be sure to pack plenty. Streams and rivers provide some of the freshest drinking water you’ll ever taste.
The road to Flåm is technically a branch route. An alternative is to continue on the ‘core’ route to Voss.
Once you reach Vatnahalsen, instead of heading downhill towards Flåm, cycle 2 km on to Myrdal. From there you can take the local train for 5 minutes to Upsete before joining the 43 km route to Voss. There is a serviced cabin close to Upsete station and a youth hostel 6 km further along the trail where you can spend the night before the final ride to Voss.
Rallarvegen Bike Rental
The simplest option for cycling Rallarvegen is to rent a bike from your chosen starting point. Bikes can (and should) be booked online in advance. This way you avoid the hassle and cost of taking your own bike on the train. The bikes available for rent are of a high standard and the rental companies have made it easy to drop off your bike when you’re done, whether that’s in Finse, Myrdal or Flåm.
- Haugastøl Turistsenter, located a 15 minute walk west along the highway from the Haugastøl train station. You can also book bikes for pickup in Finse. From NOK 580 for 1-2 days.
- Sykkel 1222, at the eastern end of the train platform in Finse. NOK 730 until 12 noon the following day.
- Café Rallaren, on the train platform in Myrdal. NOK 350 for 1 day.
It is important to note that the rental companies at Haugastøl and Finse will not rent helmets. You must either buy one or bring your own. Helmets can be purchased for NOK 399 at Haugastøl Turistsenter.
If you are arriving with more than luggage than you wish to cycle with, you can transport it on the train. Order at the Finse 1222 reception before 10 a.m. for same day transport.
If you do chose to bring your own bike, ensure that it is suitable for rough and steep gravel roads with wide tires and excellent brakes. Remember your repair kit for any punctures. If you’re missing something, the Haugastøl Turistsenter stocks almost anything you might need for the ride.
Rallarvegen Train Tickets
It’s perhaps no surprise that the best way to reach Haugastøl, Finse, or Myrdal is by train. Direct trains run several times per day between Oslo and Bergen, in both directions. Tickets should be purchased online in advance in order to secure both your desired departure and the best prices. Keep an eye out for tickets labelled “Mini price” which are the most affordable.
If you are considering bringing your own bike on the Bergensbanen railway you must pre-book a ticket for the bike as well. In the summer months there are certain trains that have a dedicated bicycle wagon (and therefore more capacity). The price for a bicycle ticket during summer is NOK 195. To book the ticket, simply add a bicycle when selecting the travellers for the journey. You will receive a PDF which you should print and attach to your bike for the journey. You are expected to load and unload the bike yourself. For the Flåmsbanen railway, it is not possible to reserve a place for bikes. Since there is limited space and many rental bikes are also being transported, deliver your bike to the station as soon as possible.
Rallarvegen Hotel & Bike Package
Do you fancy the “luxury” Rallarvegen experience?
Finse 1222 and Fretheim Hotel, two historic local hotels, offer a full Rallarvegen package which includes accommodation, meals, bike rental, and luggage transportation.
- One night’s accommodation in Finse at Finse 1222
- One night’s accommodation in Flåm at Fretheim Hotel
- Bike rental
- Luggage transportation
- Two buffet breakfasts
- Two dinners
- One picnic lunch
- One after-bike menu with local beers and snacks
Price: NOK 4,595 per person