About the Sørlandsbanen (The Sørlandet Line)
There are many ways to visit a place – by air, car, bus, or train. Riding or visiting by train is a beautiful, unique, and calming experience in Southern Norway. There are numerous new experiences to have along the way. The journey becomes as soothing as the destination. The Norwegian railway lines are one of the most beautiful train journeys worldwide.
A train journey on the Sørlandsbanen (The Sørlandet Line) is a wonderful way to explore beautiful southern Norway – a destination for all Norwegian summers. As a passenger, one becomes the part of the scenic beauty and landscape that cannot be experienced in a plane.
If someone truly wants to have every bit of what south Norway has to offer, the long-distance Sørlandsbanen is the answer. The line runs between Oslo and Stavanger and takes a lot more time than a flight, which is a great option for tourists who don’t want to miss a thing. The railway routes of Norway are not appreciated to the maximum extent.
The Oslo to Stavanger railway is not appreciated as much as it should. The railway line has a lot to offer through the slow meanders and different scenery of Norway. The trains have large passenger flows from the Stavanger and Kristiansand region, Telemark, and Oslo’s capital city. A considerable employer in the Arendal and Kristiansand region is the oil supply industry that requires transport.
History of Sørlandsbanen
The Sørlandsbanen is 545 kilometers long. The railway line took several phases to get constructed, opening the first section in 1871. The last section did not open till 1944. During World War II, the the Sørlandet Line was completed by the German occupation force. From May 1, 1944, the line was opened for regular traffic. The long stretches of the rail network are away from the coast and in the densely populated coastline – the reason for this was protection from the enemy forces.
The train journey of the Sørlandet Line
The entire journey or route of the Sørlandsbanen takes around 7 to 9 hours, depending on the type of train. It is seen that the night train takes the longest time. As the length of the journey is not any short one, it is advisable to stock up snacks and drinks for the way. It’s the best way to enjoy the journey to the fullest. There are also onboard services on the train, but they are expensive and can go out of the budget. The route doesn’t seem too long for the first-timers and tourists, thus more enjoyable.
Norway’s railway system was reorganized in 2019, and following it, Go Ahead Company took over the route. However, the tickets are still booked over Vy – a new name for NSB (people who traveled the Norwegian railway previously might know this). The service is direct but stops at over 30 stations on its way. There might be fewer stops. As the stretch into Oslo’s capital city, there may be bus replacements as the work is often undertaken. The route is full of a rugged landscape.
Highlights of the journey
The line connects the Rogaland, Aust-Agder, Vest-Agder, and parts of Telemark. The train stops at multiple picturesque landscapes – towns, villages, and towns along the way, traveling through the southernmost county of Norway, Agder. The most wonderful part of the journey is Kristiansand.
From Kristiansand, the train proceeds westwards through the colorful, cozy, and coastal town of Egersund. After that, it turns towards the Rogaland’s farming flatlands, and at last, to the Stavanger. Seeing view-wise, each side of the carriage has its advantages, assuming a window seat is booked. The train passes through deep forests, lakes, mountains, and the occasional tunnel.
A significant-stop occurs at Kristiansand that lasts for around 10 minutes on both ways, where travelers can stretch their legs. The conductor switches the direction of the seats at Kristiansand as it is a spur line.
Stavanger and its surroundings are the third-largest metropolitan area in Norway, with 310,000 people. It is the main petroleum city of the country and has seen a significant increase in the population, which has led to the development of the city’s railway line .
Kristiansand – A place worth visiting
What is the reason for Kristiansand worth visiting from the travelers? The reasons are many, and some are mentioned right here. The city is lovely, with colorful wooden houses, laidback vibes, and seaside views.
The city has a population of 24,000 people with a lot of things for the tourists to enjoy like the following:
Walking around the old town (Gamle Byen)
Make sure to visit the bridge connecting the new town center and the old town center as it is the place to find some of the prettiest and old wooden houses. A large portion of the city was rebuilt as it was damaged hugely in World War II.
A simple walk gives pleasure and joy to the mind because of the friendly vibe. And if the weather is fortunate, there is nothing that can beat that. Then there is this café called Dodeladen café for a small stop and have something to drink. There is another café called Plan A where the food is quite good.
- The Norwegian Klippfisk Museum
The museum is situated at the old harbor and is worth a visit. Previously the location was famous for making clipfish, a dry and salted cod. The fish is delicious.
- Mellemværftet shipyard
Many boats can be seen in making at the harbor downtown. There are also older boats, even from the 19th century. The history of the shipyard is also mentioned on some signboards.
- Atlantic Ocean Road
Renting a car to drive on the Atlantic Ocean Road is worth considering as it is one of the most scenic roads of Norway. The hype is worth everything.
- Kvernes Stave Church
It would be nice to have a detour of Kvernes Stave Church down the Atlantic Ocean Road. If one hasn’t seen any Norwegian stave church, this can be it. A slight detour is good with a beautiful coastline.
Things worth seeing in Stavanger
Stavanger is a beautiful city on the southern side of the country with lots of hidden gems and tourist places. There are viewpoints, interesting museums, and more unique attractions.
- Stavanger city museum
It should be everyone’s first stop in the city. After all, there is no better way to know a city than its history through the museums. The museum is intact from the 19th century with exhibits on the local history. Both kids and adults can have fun here. Parents come to know about the cultural history of the city. The various exhibits of the museum are interesting for the kids to watch. However, animal skulls in special rooms can be too much for the kids.
- Fargegaten/Holmegate (the colorful Street)
One of the streets in the old city of Stavanger is Holmegate – one of the most picturesque places. There are colorful buildings on either side of the Street with drawings and beautiful murals. The Street is well known for selfies in Stavanger – offers the right profile pics for the internet. The literal meaning of the term “Fargegaten” is “the colorful street.”
The Street is full of cafes, restaurants, and shops that make time to lose in a matter of minutes. The Street is wonderful every season – be it summer or winter. In the summers, the entrance of the Street is filled with local flowers and more, while in winter, it is decorated with beautiful lights, adding magic to the place.
- Stavanger cathedral
The 10th century Gothic and Romanesque architecture is found in the Stavanger cathedral. It is considered one of the oldest cathedrals in Norway. It is a place worth the visit.
The magic is not only outside but also inside. The cathedral has stained glass windows, incredible details, and adorned ceilings. The tour to the interior of the building is magical.
- Stavanger maritime museum
It is a small museum that exhibits the maritime history of the city. Tourists liking boats and sea ships find the museum quite tempting. It is located at the docks of Stavanger that is not easy to miss. There are replicas of boats and restored apartments of sailors and offices to see. The fun and interesting boat-building workshops are worth watching.
Don’t miss Vest-Agder
To the very south of the Sørlandsbanen, Vest-Agder is located in lovely coastal towns and cities, like Mandal and Flekkefjord.
Norway’s southernmost town is Mandal and is not overcrowded. The town is not far from Stavanger and Kristiansand.
Ticket fares and types
The price of the ticket for an adult varies depending on many factors. Ticket booking at the last minute costs more as compared to advanced bookings. The two options for ticket booking are low cost and flex, both of them are comfortable.
The night tickets go the same way and with the same services as the day ticket. There is a nighttime café where there are snacks and drinks. The free Wi-Fi on the way can help pass the time.
There is so much to explore when boarding the Sørlandsbanen.