Meeting Your Trip in FINSE

This page offers help (concrete or informational) on reaching your trip. Topics include...

  1. Where you Join Your Trip (see immediately below).
  2. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  3. Suggestions on how to time your trip to the trip, whether you are having us arrange your travel, or doing it yourself.
  4. Service information regarding train travel to your trip start location.
  5. Suggested pre-trip visits, especially when these are not geographically obvious, but are rendered economical and convenient by direct rail connections.
  6. Hopefully helpful hints for those setting up their own travel to the trip.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.


1. WHERE and WHEN Do You Join Your Trip?

Your trip assembles in a small mountain town called Finse, circa 5 hours west of Oslo by train (2.5 hours east of Bergen).  Dinner at our Finse lodge is included in the trip price.  As a practical matter, this means you should be in Oslo the night before, or at the latest very early on the morning of the trip start, in time to get the mid-morning train to Finse (see service information, below).  A later arrival is possible, but you will miss the gourmet dinner in Finse, and have to be satisfied with a plate of cold cuts.

We will send you details of meeting time and place with your final itinerary.

If you wish to make your own way to the trip (in other words, not to set up your travel arrangements through us), a couple of hints on getting there are offered at the bottom of this page.


2. Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of April 1, 2017

The closest intercontinental airport is Oslo Gardermoen.  Gardermoen offers limited direct intercontinental service, but it will often be necessary to make a connection within Europe if flying to another continent.

There are actually three “Oslo” airports.  The main one, Gardermoen, 20 minutes from the city center by fast train, and two smaller ones called “Torp” (or sometimes “Sandefjord”), and Moss / Rygge.   The smaller ones are both quite a distance from town (over an hour by bus), but the train to Finse passes close by Torp / Sandefjord, 30 minutes after leaving Oslo.  It can thus pick you up on its way, should you land there.

Our “Access Package” includes a ticket from downtown Oslo, or from Drammen (the station near Torp / Sandefjord Airport).  We do not offer a London-specific Access Package for this trip, but if you are interested in making this (long) trip by train, we will be happy to set it up....  See below for hints on getting to downtown Oslo from the different airports.

Base (Starting) Access Package Price:  850 Norwegian Kroner (NoK).
To see what this means in your currency, look here: http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html

Availability is usually good until about 45 days prior to trip start (payment received by us), and full-fare seats (but which cost twice as much) will almost always be available on less notice (summer trains do sell out, but rarely more than a week in advance).  But our fare uses a capacity-restricted fare code, and a given train may sell out at any point.  If your selected train is full, we will offer you the choice of an alternate with the discount fare, or the originally-selected train at full fare.  There is no alternate way to get to Finse, which is not reachable by road or air.

Included:

  • Daylight train tickets to Finse from Oslo, Dramman (near Torp / Sandefjord airport), Oslo Gardermoen Airport, or Bergen.
    Tickets not refundable or exchangeable once ordered.
  • Seat reservations.  All trains on these routes require seat reservations.
  • A printed schedule / itinerary, highlighting any connections.
  • Our “Route Sheet to the Trip,” helping you through your journey.
  • All taxes, booking charges, baggage charges.
    In other words, no surprise extra fees.

Options Offered at an Extra Cost (subject to availability)
Prices are in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price. 
For a general discussion of train upgrades, see here.  Topics include the relative comfort of first versus second class, and different types of accommodation available on overnight trains.

  • Tickets from Stockholm or Copenhagen:  +988 NoK 2nd cl. (+699 NoK discount rate). 
    1st cl upgrade, available from Stockholm only:  +300 NoK.
  • Higher fare code tickets which are exchangeable locally on a space-available basis:   +425 NoK.
    Exchangeable tickets may be used on an alternate train on a space-available basis, but a new reservation must be made, at a nominal additional cost.  They can be canceled for a full refund until 24 hours prior, and with only a nominal cancelation penalty until train departure time (they are non-refundable once the train has departed). 
  • “Komfort” class tickets, +90 NoK.
    This is not really “1st class.”  It is a special car which, as far as we can tell, offers free coffee or tea, and a plug for your idevice.  But maybe it is less crowded, or something....
  • Pre-Trip Hotels in Oslo.  We offer two hotels in expensive Oslo:  a pleasant pension (2* in our vernacular), modestly-priced by local standards, on the edge of the city center but walking distance to most sights; or a business quality hotel in the center of the commercial district. 
    Prices vary with room size and type, but range from 700 NoK (600 for a room with a hall shower / WC) to 1,550 NoK / single, 900 to 1,900 NoK for two people sharing a twin.  All prices are inclusive of our hotel advice-and/or-booking charge
  • Pre-Trip Hotel in Copenhagen:  655 DkK single, 955 DkK twin, per night.
    Prices include buffet breakfast, taxes, all fees, the credit card surcharge of 6% normally applied to all invoices.
    Our usual Copenhagen hotels are clean, very well-located... and simple.  Cheery shoe box-sized rooms offer private bath, but there is a bit of a high-end youth hostal feel to these places.  This is a choice on our part:  spending money on Scandinavian hotels is very easy, and you won’t need our help to do it.  Conversely, finding affordable lodging without some major defect is tough.  Our view:  your time in Copenhagen is not best spent in your hotel room.   Thus spending too much on it is a misallocation of resources.  But, if you aren’t too close to 2,500 DkK, get on your favorite search engine, and book the Palace!  We do offer an upgraded “superior” room at our usual places, at an extra cost.  Same utilitarian design, but less like a ship’s cabin....
    “Superior” Room in Copenhagen:  +200 DkK per room, single or double.
    Same utilitarian design, but less ship's cabin-like....

Alternate Arrangements, in lieu of our usual package (subject to availability)
Prices are complete (in other words, they are not in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price)

  • A Sunday cruise across the Baltic from Copenhagen to Oslo:  2,595 NoK.
    This adventure includes...
    - An elaborate buffet dinner as the boat sets sail.
    - An overnight boat trip across the Baltic and up the Oslofjord to Oslo.   Casinos, bars, a cinema, live entertainment in the form of blotto Norwegians...  a night full of adventure!  A berth is included aboard, in an inside double cabin, or an ourside 3-berth, same-sex cabin for singles.   Upgrades to more luxurious cabins are available while supplies last.
    - A no-less-elaborate breakfast buffet, featuring herring!

    - A train from Oslo to Finse, including seat reservations.

    If you are additionally interested in a Copenhagen hotel before the trip, see above.


3. TIMING Your Trip

If we may influence your thinking on the topic of timing.... Finse is interesting, though we aren’t exactly sure why we think so.  A big hotel at the foot of a glacier, and not much else.

But there is great hiking from the hotel’s back door, and the hotel itself has a nice mountain lodge feel to it.  If you have the flexibility to do so, try to schedule your arrival in time to go for an evening walk.  Or even just to hang around the lodge, watching the comings and goings of elderly Norwegians who are still far more active than you will ever be.


4. Service Information
Schedules are approximate – exact timetables can be consulted at
http://www.raileurope.com/index.html
Best trains are mentioned. Others are slower or have multiple connections.

  • From Oslo.  The “usual train” departs Oslo at 12n (arriving Finse a bit after 4:30p).  Other trains depart Oslo at 6:30a, 8a and 3:30p (±4.5 hour trip).
    Trains from Oslo airport run into Oslo’s Sentral station (departure station for trains to Finse) every 15 minutes; trip time is 25 minutes.
  • From Bergen.  Trains at 8a, 12n, and 4p.  Trip time is 2.5 hours.
  • From Stockholm:  a 6-hour trip to Oslo, plus the ongoing trip to Finse.  Depart 8a or 12n.
    The latter service requires a connection, and does not offer a same-day connection on to Finse. 
  • From Copenhagen.  8:30a or 1:30p. 
    One connection is required.  An overnight in Oslo is necessary, before continuing to Finse the next day.
    A luxurious overnight cruise boat is also available for the trip from Copenhagen:  it offers a host of different cabin types, and you can often share with other Blue Marbles if you wish to, and are arriving via this route.  Enquire if interested.


5. Suggested PRE-TRIP VISITS

We offer two hotels in expensive Oslo:  a pleasant pension (2* in our vernacular), modestly-priced by local standards, or a business quality hotel in the center of the commercial district.  See above for details.  All prices are inclusive of our hotel advice-and/or-booking charge.


6. Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY to the Trip
Guests subscribing to an “Access Package” need not read this section.

See also “Timing Your Trip” and “Service Information,” above, as either of these may additionally help.

We gladly provide travel consulting (schedule or routing information) concerning pre-trip individual travel. In particular, we have invested a great deal to become railway experts.  Our service fees are reasonable:  a 20€ charge for all but the most complex projects – or the most simple (for instance, only a 10€ charge applies if the service is limited to the preparation of a routine rail ticket).  You will generally find them well-justified by the time they will save you in research, standing on line, overpaying for your tickets, or all three.

But, for some, this type of research is fun.  So, here are some hints, intended to start off hardened “do-it-yourselfers.”

Trains.  Schedules for all routes can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

You are not getting to Finse without riding a train:  there are no roads, and definitely no airport.  It is the culminating point on the Oslo - Bergen main line, though, and so has several trains a day from each city.

Planes.  Bergen is the closest airport, but has no intercontinental service, and limited service from outside Scandinavia.  It is often less expensive to fly into Oslo.
Some low cost airlines serve bizarre little airports75 minutes from Oslo (“Torp” a.k.a. “Sandefjord”, and Moss / Rygge).  Torp is more-or-less on the train’s route out of town, and so not really less convenient than the main Oslo airport, Gardermoen, if you are headed directly to Finse.  Ryanair also serves a little airport 3 hours from Bergen by bus:  Haugesund (HAU).  But this is putting yourself through a lot to save not that much money.


If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.

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