Sydney discovers Flam, the jewel in the Norwegian Fjords’ crown
The Norwegian town of Flåm was transported to Sydney for an atmospheric lunch on Friday 7 April. LATTE was among the media guests who descended from bustling Pitt Street into the darkened basement of Norsk Dor, a restaurant with a viking feel (complete with fur on the back of the chairs) and an earthy menu of venison, smoked salmon, trout and hearty crusty bread. Mr Bill Ellerington and Ms Helle Bakkeland of Visit Flam hosted the lunch, enlightening guests as to what this charming town has to offer discerning travellers.
Situated in a unique UNESCO World Heritage-listed habitat, Flam is a small community incorporating one of Norway’s leading tourist attractions: the Flam Railway. Also included is the historic Fretheim Hotel and boutique Heimly guest house, the Toget Restaurant and Cafe, the Flam Railway Museum, The Fjords ferry company and Aurland Shoe Factory.
Named the world’s most incredible train journey by ‘Lonely Planet Traveller’ magazine, running year-round, the privately operated Flam Railway combines both idyllic and spectacular scenery. Covering over 20 kilometres with a descent of 865 metres, the journey between Myrdal and Flam spirals through tunnels in and out of the mountainside and takes approximately 60 minutes and includes views of mighty waterfalls and mountain peaks in the Flam Valley. Travelling slowly and stopping at view-points, all guests have ample opportunity to capture the majestic vistas.
The Fretheim Hotel has over 100 years of tradition to draw upon. Operating originally as a 19th-century farm accommodating the salmon-fishing English aristocracy, the building has developed into a comfortable and contemporary hotel combining both its historic and more recent architecture. Offering 121 rooms in many different styles, the property enjoys a close cooperation with local farmers, and their produce forms the core of delicious and authentic menus. Every room has a fjord and mountain view.
The Fjords ferry company offers breathtaking journeys between Flam and Gudvangen. Guests can experience the spectacular Naeroyfjord, a branch of the mighty Sognefjord. Considered one of the most beautiful of its kind, the natural beauty is derived from its narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1400 metres from the fjord. As well as more traditional vessels, a new and innovative ferry is operating the route. Named Vision of the Fjords, it is a 399-guest vessel which won the coveted Ship of the Year award in 2016 (run by respected Norwegian shipping magazine, ‘Skipsrevyen’). A pioneering design combined with an environmentally hybrid propulsion minimises the vessel’s operational footprint.
Many excursions as well as walks, hikes and trails are available form Flam which showcase this extraordinary region.