blog > Brussels to Oslo by train/ferry/bus (24 July 2023)

Brussels to Oslo by train/ferry/bus

I've been to Norway many times by now, and always by plane. But for this year's trip, I wanted to try doing it not by plane. Mostly for ecological reasons, as I've heard that planes are bad for the environment.

Index #


Outward journey route & costs #

The reason it took 2 days is because a) there was construction work on the DB rail network so Brussels-Köln took around 3h instead of 1h50m, b) the first trains (on Thursday) didn't leave that early to have enough ease of mind that I will catch all connections and arrive on time at the ferry, c) I postponed too much so the first trains of the day (Thursday) were fully booked already.

Dep. Arr. By From To Km[1] Cost
12:31 13:29 Train
Brugge Bruxelles-Midi 90Km €16
14:25 17:13[2] Train
(ICE 17)
Bruxelles Midi Köln-Ehrenfeld[3] 180Km €79.70
17:24 17:30 Train
(S 12)
Köln-Ehrenfeld Köln Hbf
(one night in Köln)
8:21 10:22 Train
(RE 7)
Köln Hbf Münster(Westf) Hbf 125Km €59.70
11:05 13:26
(WBF RE15)
Münster(Westf) Hbf Emden Außenhafen 160Km
17:00[4] 10:45 Ferry
Emden Kristiansand 540Km €190
12:00 16:05 Bus
Kristiansand Oslo 250Km €42.63[6]


Return journey route & costs #

Departure Tue 18th July 2023, arrival Wed 19th July 2023.

Dep. Arr. By From To Km[1] Cost
14:00 18:05 Bus
Oslo Kristiansand 250Km €42.63[2]
(I spent two nights in Kristiansand)
17:00 10:15 Ferry
Kristiansand Emden 540Km €190
(4km walk to Emden Hbf because there was no timely connection at Emden Außenhafen)
12:34 16:16
(IC 2203)
Emden Hbf Köln Hbf 275Km €61.90
17:18 20:35 Train
(Thalys 9484)
Köln Hbf Bruxelles-Midi 180Km €0[5]
19:41 22:35
(ICE 10)
Köln Hbf Bruxelles-Midi 180Km €135.30[6]
23:08 00:07 Train
Bruxelles-Midi Brugge 90Km €16


Comparing with plane #

I've always taken Scandinavian Airlines when going Brussels-Oslo. Based on those experiences and a quick check, I'd guess the journey would've costed around €110 outwards and €90 return (both including 1 piece of checked-in luggage). Way cheaper than €372 and €429. And it goes directly from Brussels to Oslo, no need for trains or busses. In less than 2 hours (flying time).

The ferry was a really exciting experience though, it was the first time I've been on a boat in open waters.


Other ferries #

See getting here by ferry . All other ferries are from Denmark/Sweden. I've taken trains to the middle of Denmark before and that's also a long journey, so I was glad to see there was a ferry from Germany (originally The Netherlands), even if that meant I needed additional transport to get to Oslo.

update: HNL filed for bankruptcy, so no ferries between NL-NO anymore.


But was is better for the environment than a plane #

I have no idea. This calculation requires a plethora of factors. I'm just gonna assume that it was.

Bahn boasts that the ICE runs on 100% green electricity. The ferry I took was the M/S Romantika (operated by Holland Norway Lines), which was launched in 2001 (to give you an idea about engine efficiency I guess).


Would I do it again #

Possibly. I would say 'yes' faster if it wasn't for the train part of the journey, that part gives me the most amount of stress. It is nice that you don't have to deal with baggage limits, as long as you are able to haul it all yourself.

update: since HNL filed for bankruptcy, I'm not sure what route I'd take instead...