Sue's five tips for Interrail travel in Norway...

10th Jun 2024

Narvik Station

In recent years a number of our guests have become frequent visitors to Arctic Norway, some of whom have decided to travel overland by train.

Sue Rowland's shares her five tips for interrail travel in Norway.


1. Long, Complex Journey = Interrail

An Interrail Pass is great for longer, more complex train journeys. Buy the pass, and then – where reservations are required – pay an additional amount to reserve a seat.

Buy interrail passes here:

Useful options include seven travel days in one month, and ten travel days in two months. Depending on your starting point, both work well for far flung destinations such as northern Norway. Seven travel days currently costs around £245 for an adult, standard class. Look out for ‘Black Friday’ deals in November, when passes are sold at a discount.


2. Reserve Seats

Once you’ve bought your pass, you’re ready to start reserving seats. If you’re traveling with someone else, you can book seats for both of you at the same time. Reservations are required for overnight sleeper trains and high-speed intercity services. In other words, all the trains you’re likely to use.

In theory, Eurail provides a single centralised website through which you can check timetables and reserve seats for a flat fee of 4 Euros per journey. In reality, it works well for Eurostar and less well for everything else: trains that are available to book on individual operators’ websites sometimes don’t show up on Eurail, and you cannot reserve specific seats. At the time of writing (2024) it seems better to reserve seats directly with the train operator (e.g. Deutsche Bahn, and SJ for the Hamburg-Stockholm and Stockholm-Narvik sleeper trains), particularly as it’s usually possible to reserve specific seats conveniently near luggage racks for all your skiing kit. The fees for day trains are slightly more than Eurail. Reservations are straightforward – European train operators’ websites enable you to either add details of your Interrail Pass or simply pay for just a seat reservation.

Costs of reservations can add up to a considerable amount. The most expensive are Eurostar and overnight sleeper berths. Eurostar reservations are typically around £28 per person one-way. For sleeper trains, a two-person compartment on the Stockholm-Narvik costs around £75 one-way to reserve through SJ.


3. Going Digital

Once you’ve made your reservations, download the Eurail ‘Rail Planner’ app onto your phone, create a trip and enter the details of your reservations. Each journey needs to be activated on the app to produce a QR code ticket. No need to activate all your journeys in one go: just make sure you activate the night before. The Eurail app will keep track of the travel days you’ve used.  Good to know that a sleeper train uses only one travel day, not two.

Eurail/Interrail Rail Planner iOS

Eurail/Interrail Rail Planner Android

It's also useful to save PDFs of reservations on your phone. Train staff rarely ask to see these, but it does happen.


4. Luggage

A word about luggage: avoid using a giant ski bag in which you pack all of your gear. This may work on a plane, but it’s a nightmare on trains. Much better to pack most of your gear in a wheelie holdall, your essentials and valuables in a daypack, and your skis in a simple lightweight bag. This way, your skis can go in the overhead rack above your seat, your big bag at the end of the carriage in the racks, and you can keep your valuables close by at all times.

In 2024 we had a problem with our ice axes on Eurostar at Brussels on the way home. Eurostar have confirmed (i) ice axes are not currently permitted through Brussels; and (ii) they are updating the rules on mountaineering equipment on Eurostar across the network. The Eagle Ski Club have been very proactive in stating the case for ski touring. Uncertainty still exists, and is worth checking the rules at the start of the season.


5. Sue's fastest Route...

The fastest route to northern Norway is: London – Brussels, overnight in Brussels; then day train to Hamburg; sleeper Hamburg to Stockholm; sleeper Stockholm to Narvik; and then onwards to you final destination by bus or car. A minimum of 4 days and 3 nights (A total of 3 Interrail travel days, as overnight trains count as only one travel day). 

Alternative routes to Norway from the UK are explained here: Seat 61

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