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Two cyclists on Rallarvegen between Finse and Myrdal
A man and woman cycling along a stream at Rallarvegen
A woman and a man cycling on the mountain from Finse
Two people cycling over a hill towards a stream on Rallarvegen
Two cyclists on their way down from Vatnahalsen towards Flåm
Two cyclists look down into Kleivagjelet from Rallarvegen

Cycle Rallarvegen from Finse to Flåm

Cycle from the mountain to the fjord in summer. Rallarvegen has been named the most beautiful cycling trip in Norway on a number of occasions, and it’s popular among Norwegians as well as foreign tourists. On this trail, you can enjoy everything from magnificent mountains to impressive engineering and the beautiful Flåmsdalen Valley. You can cycle the route from Finse to Flåm in a day. It involves a gravel track and is relatively easy, so anybody with a little cycling experience can cycle here.

A man and woman cycling along a stream, and a waterfall at Rallarvegen

Rallarvegen from mountain to Finse to fjord in Flåm

Rallarvegen has been named the most beautiful cycling trip in Norway on a number of occasions. And with good reason. Over the course of a day, you’ll get to see everything from fantastic mountains to the dramatic Flåmsdalen Valley and the Aurlandsfjord at Flåm.

Your trip starts with a railway journey to Finse, the highest station in Norway, before then cycling back along the Bergen Railway towards Myrdal and onwards along the Flåm Railway down to Flåm. At 1340 metres above sea level, between Finse and Hallingskeid, Fagernut is the highest point on this route. There may be a little snow on the ground here until late in the summer, but the road is normally possible from early/mid-July. You can cycle earlier in the summer from Hallingskeid and Myrdal / Vatnahalsen.

A sign at Finse showing the distances to Haugastøl, Flåm and Hallingskeid

Distances:

  • Finse - Flåm: 53 km, approx. 6 hours
  • Finse - Hallingskeid: 21 km, approx. 3 hours
  • Hallingskeid - Vatnahalsen/Myrdal: 15 km, approx. 1.5 hours
  • Vatnahalsen - Flåm: 17 km, approx. 1.5 hours
A couple cycling on Rallarvegen from Finse

Finse - Hallingskeid

This is the longest part of the 21 km route, and also the only part where there’s an uphill gradient. Here, you can touch and feel the nature and the cultural history, with magnificent mountains, mountain flowers in the ditch and walls and tunnels that were built by hand. The section between Finse and Hallingskeid goes up to Fagernut first – at 1343 metres above sea level, this is the highest point on the route. There’s an old dwelling at Fagernut that was still being used as late as 1964. If the café there is open, you can enjoy some waffles and a nice cup of coffee here.

Enjoy the view over the Hardangerjøkul glacier from the back of your bike, and take a moment to think about the people who’ve kept the railway open here all year round for more than a century.

A waterfall along Rallarvegen, with two cyclists on their way down Kleivagjelet

A cycling trip with history in mind

The Bergen Railway opened in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1974 that Rallarvegen – the Navvy Road – opened up to cyclists. Nowadays, thousands of Norwegians and international tourists cycle the old works road between Haugastøl, Finse, Voss and Flåm every year.

The construction of the Bergen Railway between Oslo and Bergen in around 1900 is thought to have been one of the most challenging railway projects ever in Europe. Before they were able to start building the railway itself, they had to establish a works road for transporting materials into the mountains from Voss, Flåm and Geilo. This road, covering 120 kilometres in total, is the route we can cycle now. “Rallar” is an old Norwegian term for a travelling construction worker, usually Swedish or Norwegian – these were the people who built the road that ended up being named after them.

So cycling this route isn’t just a breathtaking look at nature, it’s also a trip through cultural history. Take the time to study some of the bridges and tunnels along the way. The Kleivabrua bridge at Kleivagjelet, between Hallingskeid and Myrdal, presented one of the biggest challenges on this railway project, and this beautiful stone bridge spanning 35 metres is a beautiful example of engineering.

Tip: Read The Bridge Builders by Jan Guillou before heading out on your cycling trip!

Two people cycling between rocks on Rallarvegen towards Vatnahalsen

Hallingskeid - Vatnahalsen

There are 15 kilometres for flat and downhill sections from Hallingskeid to Vatnhalsen. The highlight of this section is Kleivagjelet and the views across to the beautiful Kleivabrua bridge. We recommend you take a break to have your packed lunch and enjoy the views over the river and bridge. If you’re not great at balancing on two wheels or don’t like heights, you can hire a bike past the Ravine instead.

If you’d like to finish your trip by taking a train from Myrdal or want to cycle on to Voss, cycle up the hill from Vatnahalsen to Myrdal station. If you’re heading to Flåm, carry on down past the Vatnahalsen Hotel.

Two cyclists on their way down the hairpin bends from Vatnhalsen to Kårdal on Rallarvegen

Vatnahalsen - Flåm

Now all you have left to do is the charming 17-kilometre stage down to Flåm. From Vatnahalsen, there are 21 hairpin bends alongside the river and the waterfall down Myrdalsberget. At the bottom, you’ll arrive at Kårdal and Rallarrosa Stølsysteri, which is open from June to September every year. If the café is open, we recommend treating yourself to a Norwegian svele pancake with fresh goats cheese here.

Between Vatnahalsen and Kårdal, you also have the option of swapping your bike for the Flåm Zipline. Scandinavia’s longest zipline opened in 2018 and with no less than 1,381 metres long, with a maximum speed somewhere around 100 kph. If this is what you want to do, your bike will be transported down for you.

Your trip on towards the fjord will use a gravel track first, then an asphalt road. If you’ve cycled in peace and quiet from Finse, it’s easy to forget that Rallarvegen is shared with motorised traffic here. So take your time around the corners. The fertile, wild Flåmsdalen Valley is a brilliant place to cycle in itself, and you can go there earlier in the year than the rest of Rallarvegen. When you arrive in Flåm, you can then return your hired bike and check in at the Fretheim Hotel.

A man and woman cycling down a straight part of Rallarvegen, with a stream in the background

Practical information

You have to head up into the mountains, and it wouldn’t be unusual for you to encounter snowdrifts, even in the middle of summer. So we recommend you carry decent clothing with you, ideally layered as you’ll find it gets warmer as you approach the fjord.

The easiest thing to do is hire a bike at Finse and return it in Flåm. You can also hire a bike in Flåm and take it with you on the train up to Finse, or take along your own bike. Remember that there’s coarse gravel on this route at times, so leave the racing bike at home.

Bring along plenty of food and drink for your journey. If you book the Rallarvegen package at Fretheim Hotel, you can make a packed lunch at breakfast.

The recommended lower age limit is 12, but younger children may also enjoy the experience if they’re experiences cyclists. However, sitting in a bike trailer on this road, which is bumpy and covered in coarse gravel at times, wouldn’t be a pleasant experience.