The Nordland Railway, known as the Arctic Circle Express, offers a captivating journey through Norway's diverse landscapes.
From the lush Trøndelag region to the rugged mountains and down to the fjords in the north, this 729-kilometer-long journey is a feast for the eyes. Experience the contrasts of nature as you traverse 293 bridges and 154 tunnels, witnessing the beauty of Norway in its purest form.
What is the Nordland Railway?
The Nordland Railway, or Nordlandsbanen, is not just Norway's longest train line but a gateway to an unparalleled travel experience. It's a journey that takes you through the heart of Norway, crossing the Arctic Circle and offering views of Europe's second-largest glacier, Svartisen.
This railway is a testament to Norway's commitment to showcasing its natural splendor through sustainable and enjoyable travel.
The History of the Nordland Railway
The Nordland Railway's history is as rich as its scenery. Parts of the railway were constructed during World War II, using Russian POWs as forced labor under harsh conditions.
This dark chapter in history is visible along the route, with several WWII sites accessible from the train. The railway's history is a poignant reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the beauty that can emerge from dark times.
Different Nordland Train Options
Travelers can choose from various options to experience the Nordland Railway. Whether it's the daytime journey to soak in the landscapes or the night train, which offers a chance to witness the northern lights in winter or the midnight sun in summer, each option provides a unique way to experience the magic of Norway.
Highlights of the Nordland Railway Journey
The Saltstraumen: A Mesmerizing Natural Wonder
The Saltstraumen is a natural phenomenon that stands as one of the world's strongest tidal currents. Located near Bodø, this powerful whirlpool is created by tidal forces, churning waters that can reach speeds of up to 40 km/h.
Witnessing the Saltstraumen is an awe-inspiring experience, where the raw power of nature is on full display. It's a spectacle that beautifully encapsulates the untamed beauty of Norway's coastal regions.
The Arctic Circle: Entering the Land of Extremes
Crossing the Arctic Circle on the Nordland Railway is a moment filled with excitement and wonder. This imaginary line represents the southernmost point where the sun can stay continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours - known as the midnight sun in summer and polar night in winter.
Travelers are often captivated by the dramatic changes in the landscape as they move into this unique climatic zone, where the possibility of witnessing the magical northern lights becomes a reality.
The Svartisen Glacier: Europe's Icy Marvel
The Svartisen Glacier, Europe's second-largest glacier, is a highlight of the Nordland Railway journey. This massive ice formation, part of the Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park, offers breathtaking views and a humbling reminder of nature's grandeur.
Visitors are often struck by the glacier's serene beauty and the stark contrast it forms with the surrounding landscapes. It's a must-see for anyone interested in geology, nature, or photography.
Suggested Stops and Activities Along the Nordland Railway
Trondheim: A Gateway to Nordic History and Gastronomy
Trondheim, the starting point of the Nordland Railway, is a city steeped in history and culture. Known for its remarkable Nidaros Cathedral, the city offers a rich blend of ancient architecture and modern Nordic gastronomy. Exploring Trondheim provides a perfect introduction to the cultural and historical richness of Norway, setting the tone for the journey ahead.
Verdal: A Walk Through History at Stiklestad
In Verdal, a short stop from Trondheim, lies the Stiklestad National Culture Centre. This historic site is known for the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030, a pivotal moment in Norway's transition to Christianity. Visitors can immerse themselves in Norway's Viking history and its journey to becoming a unified kingdom at this culturally significant site.
Steinkjer: The Idyllic Golden Road
Steinkjer offers a detour to the Golden Road, an idyllic route known for its stunning natural beauty, local food, and art. This area is a celebration of rural Norway, with its scenic landscapes, artisanal crafts, and farm-to-table dining experiences. The Golden Road is a testament to Norway's commitment to preserving and showcasing its rural heritage.
Namsskogan: Family Adventures at the Wildlife Park
Namsskogan Family Park in Namsskogan is a paradise for families and wildlife enthusiasts. This park is home to various Nordic animals, offering a unique opportunity to see species like bears, wolves, and lynxes up close. It's an educational and exciting experience for children and adults alike, emphasizing the importance of wildlife conservation.
Mosjøen: The Heart of Norway
Mosjøen, often referred to as the geographic center of Norway, offers a mix of historic charm and adventure. From the historic wooden buildings of Sjøgata to the adrenaline-pumping Helgeland steps and zipline, Mosjøen is a town that blends the old with the new. It's a perfect stop for those who appreciate cultural history and outdoor activities.
Mo i Rana: A Blend of Science and History
In Mo i Rana, the Helgeland Museum and Vitensenteret Nordland await. This city, known for its industrial history, now offers a deep dive into science and local history. The museum and science center provide an engaging and educational experience, making it an ideal stop for families and curious travelers.
Conclusion: A Journey Like No Other
The Nordland Railway is more than just a train journey; it's an exploration of Norway's heart and soul. From historical sites to natural wonders, this journey offers something for every traveler. As you plan your next adventure, consider the Nordland Railway for an experience that's both enriching and exhilarating.
While the Nordland train offers a unique experience, why not enhance your adventure with a campervan rental from Campervan Norway? It's the perfect way to explore Norway's stunning landscapes at your own pace. Book your campervan today and embark on a journey of a lifetime!