Summer 2007: Getting to and from Copenhagen by train, and travel in Norway.Once again we chose to take the night train to Denmark, and again booked using the Treinreiswinkel. The major difference was that we decided to go all the way from Utrecht to Copenhagen. This was the same route we used in 2006 to get to Flensburg and back from Kolding just to the end point of the night train.
It is undoubtedly more expensive that the cheapest of flights and takes more time. However although a plane is in theory faster than the train it takes much less than a cycling day to get us to our destination, especially when taking a night train. In at seven in the evening, out at any time from seven to ten in the morning. Also instead of the hassle of getting your bike to the airport, breaking it down and cramming it into a bike box or bag, all we have to do is just take our bags off the bikes and put them and the bags in the train. We find it a lovely way to start our trips, a relaxing pause before we get on with the tour in hand.
The 2007 train journey was better than the 2006 one. This was in part due to the fact that we went all the way to Copenhagen, allowing us to 'lie in' and eat a relaxed breakfast before getting out of the train a couple of hundred metres from the tourist information. On the way back the night train did not suffer any delays so we were able to take the one train per day that went direct from Duisburg to Utrecht.
Note 2008 update: in 2008 the night train went straight through from Utrecht to Copenhagen (as far as we know the train starts in Amsterdam). This is a wonderful development meaning you get into the train at seven in the evening and disembark the following morning without having to change. Check with your local international train reservation agent if you wish to use this route.
A generally very good place to start checking for international (night) trains is the Deutsches Bahn website. This is a relatively complicated site to use although not overwhelmingly so, and appears to have an extensive pan-European database of train times. We think it is a fantastic resource for all travellers, especially for cyclists.
We also used trains and boats at other parts of our journey, from Sarpsborg via Oslo to Haugestøl and on the return journey from Voss to Oslo. We had no problems again with taking our bikes on Norwegian NSB trains. The ticket prices for bikes we find a bit on the steep side, compared to a bike day ticket here in the Netherlands, but not particularly expensive if you compare it with the night train to Copenhagen. If you wish to book a journey in advance from outside Norway there is a help page in English with a Call Centre phone number. Damae used this once when trying to book a trip with bikes.
We also used a number of ferries in the Sognefjorden. We were able to find comprehensive and accurate (mini) timetables in the bus station in Sognsdalsfjøra which made planning very much easier. The journey times and speeds of the ferries varied quite a lot. The fast ferry from Sogndalsfjøra to Balestrand was rather zippy whilst the boat from Balestrand to Fjærlandsfjorden was a rather older and more stately affair. Prices we found acceptable but as with the trains, bikes get their own tickets and are relatively expensive.
Once back in Oslo we took the ferry from Oslo to Copenhagen on the return journey. This is an overnight boat leaving in the early evening and arriving at around eight in the morning in Copenhagen. The inside cabins and the boat in general is similar to boats on the Hull-Rotterdam routes. We had a mid-priced cabin with en-suite shower and toilet. It had enough room for our bags and the facilities were fine.