Whatever You Do, Don’t Underestimate Flåm
“You’re staying in Flåm… for the night?“, he said, hesitant, question marks in his eyes – which only mirrored my own.
“Yes, that’s what my itinerary says“, I replied, just as skeptical. After all, Flåm is famous for one thing, and one thing only – its train. There isn’t a TimeOut for Flåm, nor is there a guidebook, or a plethora of things to do. Clearly this wasn’t Norway’s most dynamic destination. It was going to be a long 24 hours, I thought, with literally just a handful of shops and restaurants in sight.
As he walked towards the train station, my friend and I parted ways. I apprehensively lugged my suitcase to the Fretheim Hotel, one of the village’s two accommodations. After I settled in my (surprisingly) fancy room, I sat on the bed and started to think.
“What the hell am I going to do here for a WHOLE day?”
Turns out, I did a lot.
I got work done in one of the prettiest offices I’ve ever had.
I hiked in the surrounding fjords.
I took in the sights.
I drank really, really good beer at Ægir Bryggeri. And I don’t even like beer, normally.
And I boarded one of the most famous trains in the world.
No, Flåm isn’t the most cosmopolitan destination in the world.
It’s a teeny, tiny village at the inner end of the Aurlandsfjord in central Norway. It’s merely a layover between a fabulous cruise and a breathtaking train ride. But it will blow your mind nonetheless, by its sheer beauty, by the genuinely welcoming locals, and by the quality of the few but fantastic things to do. Quality > quantity.
In fact, if there was ever a time to mention this “quality over quantity” saying, that would be it. The village doesn’t put up a show to entertain the visitors because it frankly doesn’t need to. Exit the dozens of museums, supper clubs, art galleries, and hipster cafés.
There are only two hotels in the village.
One grocery store.
One souvenir shop.
And if I had been stubborn – and blind – I would’ve probably stuck to the idea that there is, in fact, nothing to do in Flåm. But who needs entertainment when you’ve got some of the planet’s most gorgeous scenery at your feet? Why on Earth would you want to divert your attention from the fjords, the water, the fresh air?
If I was able to get off my iPhone and not check in the latest hip establishment, so should you. Open your eyes, take a deep breath and enjoy that Mama Nature made for you.