Best of Balestrand

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Balestrand
Balestrand is a quiet fjord village on the northern side of Sognefjord. Settle into a historical hotel and make this your relaxed base for exploring the area. Take a fjord safari on a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) or cruise to Fjærland village and admire the nearby Jostedalsbreen glacier followed by kayaking or hiking.

In the past, kimkim travelers have followed a local expert on a culture walk through the village, past its dragon-style villas and art both historic and modern, or a hike through the mountains. Then, sample area specialties at a food and cider tasting with cider made in Norway’s oldest fruit-growing region, where apples have been tended since the 1100s.
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Balestrand Essentials

A pool with a view (photo courtesy of Hofslund Fjord Hotel)
The 8 Best Mid-Range Hotels in the Sognefjord

Choosing a mid-range hotel while exploring Norway's longest and deepest fjord is ideal for travelers who want a step above the standard category but don't want to spend on luxury. These eight properties offer comfortable interiors and perks, like renovated rooms with local bath products, a fireplace lounge, or an outdoor pool facing the fjord.

This family-owned hotel in Balestrand dates to 1877 (photo courtesy of Kviknes Hotel)
The 3 Best Fjordside Hotels in Balestrand

When choosing a hotel in the artsy and outdoorsy town of Balestrand, you'll likely prioritize views of the Sognefjord—Norway's longest and deepest fjord. These three hotels not only take advantage of their proximity to the surrounding mountains and sea but have easy access to galleries, challenging hiking trails, and fjord adventures.

This historic hotel has easy access to challenging hiking trails (photo courtesy of Kviknes Hotel)
The 12 Best Hotels in the Sognefjord

Given the rugged, remote, and sizable setting in Norway's fjord region, choosing the right hotel (and location) can get tricky, but we're here to help. We've hand-picked a dozen options in the Sognefjord—the country's longest and deepest fjord—and have broken them down into three categories depending on your budget: standard, mid-range, and luxury. Read on for the best hotels in the Sognefjord.

Flåm Marina and Heimly Pensjonat are neighbors in Flåm (photo courtesy of Norway's best AS)
The 5 Best Standard Hotels in the Sognefjord

Norway's fjord region, like all of Scandinavia, is notoriously expensive, but the Sognefjord—Norway's longest and deepest fjord—has its share of affordable stays surrounded by spectacular scenery. We've hand-picked five simple but charming hotels that don't break the bank, leaving you extra spending money for the area's wide range of outdoor adventures and cultural activities.

This historic hotel with stylish new interiors is located near hiking trails and glacier tours (photo courtesy of Fjærland Fjordstove Hotel)
The 8 Best Historic Hotels in the Sognefjord

These eight properties—many family-owned and operated for generations—provide plenty of local charm and hospitality after a day's adventures in the Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord.

Balestrand Itineraries

The Sognefjord, nicknamed King of the Fjords
Map of Explore Bergen, Fjords & Waterfalls - 6 Days
Explore Bergen, Fjords & Waterfalls - 6 Days

This scenic six-day itinerary highlights some of Norway's most picturesque summer destinations. Settle into the historic port city of Bergen and use it as your base to explore the surrounding mountains and fjords. After discovering the city's colorful waterfront and character-filled cobbled streets, you'll set off into the countryside—climbing mountainsides on a steam train, sailing through the spectacular Sognefjord, and visiting the waterfront towns of Balestrand, Flåm, and Fjærland.

Take in the magnificent views from your kayak
Oslo, Bergen & the Sognefjord - 8 Days

This summertime adventure includes Norway's two biggest cities and its longest and deepest fjord, using various means of transportation for a true Scandinavian adventure. Kick-off in Europe's fastest-growing capital before taking a scenic train and ferry to the fjord-side village of Balestrand. Here, you'll day-trip to Fjærland for glacier views and an award-winning museum before getting on another boat—this time to Bergen, a colorful wharf city and home to a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The historic Bryggen district along Bergen's picturesque wharf.
Map of Bergen to Oslo Fjord Adventure - 6 Days
Bergen to Oslo Fjord Adventure - 6 Days

Sample some of Norway’s infinite charms on this short 6-day jaunt through the country’s biggest cities and most dramatic landscapes. Sail through fjords, ride one of the world’s most scenic railways, and discover the modern architecture and innovative Nordic cuisine of Europe’s fastest-growing city. Starting in the historic port of Bergen, you’ll travel east through deep fjords and towering mountains to visit the picturesque towns of Balestrand, Fjærland, and Flåm, before ending your journey in the effortlessly cool capital of Oslo.

Switch from train to ferry in the village of Flåm
Oslo, Bergen & the Sognefjord - 9 Days

This active 9-day summer tour covers Norway's two biggest cities, as well as its longest and deepest fjord, using various means of transportation for a true Scandinavian adventure. Start off exploring Europe's fastest-growing capital before taking a scenic train and ferry to the village of Balestrand. Spend a few days here kayaking and exploring nearby villages before getting on another boat—this time to the UNESCO-listed city of Bergen, surrounded by seven mountains.

Take in magnificent Sognefjord views from your kayak.
Map of Norwegian Highlights: Oslo, Bergen & the Sognefjord - 8 Days
Norwegian Highlights: Oslo, Bergen & the Sognefjord - 8 Days

This active summer tour covers Norway's two biggest cities, as well as its longest and deepest fjord, using various means of transportation for a true Scandinavian adventure. After exploring Oslo, you'll take a train ride to Flåm — one of the most scenic in the world — followed by several ferries to fjord-side villages like Balestrand and Fjærland. There's also a guided kayaking trip and a longer ferry to Bergen, where you'll spend your last full day with a local who will show you the best of this charming city and its surrounding mountains.

The charming village of Flåm on Norway's Sognefjord.
Map of Norwegian Highlights: Oslo, Balestrand & Bergen - 7 Days
Norwegian Highlights: Oslo, Balestrand & Bergen - 7 Days

Experience jaw-dropping scenery and cool Scandinavian culture on this 7-day Norwegian itinerary. Start in Oslo, where you'll have two days to revel in the rich history, trendy cafés, and summer festivals of Europe's fastest-growing capital. Next, you’ll head west on the famous Flåm Railway to explore Balestrand and its majestic mountains. From here, take advantage of the warmer weather with a kayaking tour of dramatic fjords. Finish the adventure in Bergen, with a wander around its colorful wooden houses and a trip up Fløyen Mountain for panoramic views of the city.

Spend several days in Balestrand with the whole family enjoying hiking and fishing
Map of Family Active Adventure in Southern Norway - 15 Days
Family Active Adventure in Southern Norway - 15 Days

Perfect for summertime, this epic Norway adventure is ideal for adults and families with little ones aged five and up. It starts in Oslo, where you can hit cultural attractions in the nation's capital. From here, pick up a rental car and meander along the Oslofjord to get to a national park with swimming beaches. Then take the crew and head to Voss, a mountain town known for adrenaline sports (and a new gondola), before finishing in Balestrand with hiking, deep-sea fishing, and ferry trips through the longest fjord in Norway.

The historic Bryggen district along Bergen's picturesque wharf.
Map of Oslo to Bergen Fjord Adventure - 5 Days
Oslo to Bergen Fjord Adventure - 5 Days

This five-day jaunt covers a great deal of Nordic ground, visiting the country's two largest cities and its longest and deepest fjord. Start in Oslo before taking a scenic train and ferry to the fjord-side village of Balestrand. Continue north to Fjærland before getting on another boat—this time to Bergen, a historic wharf city and home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A view of the Aurland fjord in Norway
Map of Best of Norway: Bergen, Balestrand, Aurland, & Oslo - 8 Days
Best of Norway: Bergen, Balestrand, Aurland, & Oslo - 8 Days

After arriving, you can explore the cobblestoned wharf city of Bergen, hike to the top of Mount Fløyen for views over the city, and enjoy a fjord cruise to Balestrand. You'll then take a ferry, with fjord views, to Flåm where you'll spend two nights in a Riverside Farm Lodge in the Norwegian countryside before enjoying a Nærøyfjord cruise. You'll then take the steep and scenic Flåm Railway to Oslo, with a stop in Myrdal, and spend your final two nights in Oslo.

A view over Bergen city in the afternoon
Map of Norway Highlights: Oslo, Balestrand, Bergen, & Tromsø - 8 Days
Norway Highlights: Oslo, Balestrand, Bergen, & Tromsø - 8 Days

After arriving in Oslo, you'll have an afternoon to explore this capital before traveling along the scenic Flåm Railway to the Flåm Village and then taking a ferry to Balestrand, and you'll spend the evening at this fjord-side town. You'll then take another ferry to Bergen, a culturally-rich city with a vibrant bar and restaurant scene, where you'll enjoy a walking tour which includes heading to the top of Mount Fløyen for a view over the city. Your final destination is Tromsø,  a charming seaside town, and from here you'll head out in the evening to chase the northern lights!

Take a local trail with views of the Aurlandsfjord
Map of Family Hiking in Oslo, Bergen & the Sognefjord - 7 Days
Family Hiking in Oslo, Bergen & the Sognefjord - 7 Days

This fast-paced itinerary covers three popular destinations with plenty of local twists for a unique family adventure. Start in Oslo where you'll have a few days to explore the capital's forests and rivers. Then head west to catch trails and views around the Sognefjord as you travel by train, ferry, and rental car. Finish with a fjord cruise to Bergen and pick between many hikes within its seven surrounding mountains.

Drive through some of the most scenic roads in the western fjords
Map of Western Norway Fjord Road Trip - 13 Days
Western Norway Fjord Road Trip - 13 Days

This 13-day trip covers some of Norway's best fjords, mountains, villages, and cities in under two weeks. Start in Oslo and check out the capital's new architecture and restaurant scene before traveling west (by train and ferry) to pick up a rental car. From here, drive at your own pace visiting charming towns and stunning fjords while enjoying a variety of activities like hiking, kayaking, and biking. Finish the adventure with a fjordcruise to Bergen—famous for its UNESCO-listed Hanseatic wharf.

Look for waterfalls as you sail through the Geirangerfjord on the Hurtigruten.
Map of Norway Fjords Summer Tour - 14 Days
Norway Fjords Summer Tour - 14 Days

There are nearly 1,200 fjords along Norway's western coast and this trip covers the cream of the crop — Lysefjord, Sognefjord, and Geirangerfjord — using a mix of fun travel modes to amp up the adventure factor. These majestic gems provide the setting for activities like hiking, biking, and sea kayaking. You'll explore everything from tiny fjord-side villages to diverse cities like Oslo, Bergen, Ålesund, and Trondheim.

Take in Norway's stunning coastline from the water.
Map of Southern Norway's Fjord Coast - 8 Days
Southern Norway's Fjord Coast - 8 Days

Trace the impact of the sea and the country's maritime heritage across Norway's fjord coast on this weeklong journey. From charming Bergen, set sail for modern-day fishing villages and remote islands where you can not only sample the day's catch, but also dive into pristine environments now home to diverse aquatic wildlife and numerous seabirds. Urban and rural outdoor pursuits from hiking to cycling to kayaking are daily highlights of this active trip.

Norway's Lofoten Islands
Map of Western Norway Fjords & Lofoten Islands - 15 Days
Western Norway Fjords & Lofoten Islands - 15 Days

This 15-day Norway road trip explores the most beautiful fjords, mountains, and ocean scenes between Bergen and Ålesund before crossing the Arctic Circle to the Lofoten archipelago. Spend over two weeks hiking, boating, kayaking, wildlife-spotting, and feasting as you explore cool and creative cities and quiet fjord-side villages across Norway. This relaxed-pace itinerary is best in the summer months.

Ferry through the Sognefjord to Bergen to finish the trip
Map of Norway's Sognefjord Road Trip - 9 Days
Norway's Sognefjord Road Trip - 9 Days

This 9-day itinerary combines some of Norway's prettiest cities, villages, and mountains surrounding its biggest and most famous fjord: the Sognefjord. After a few days in Oslo, you'll travel by train, ferry, and rental car through several villages boasting scenic hikes, waterfalls, and UNESCO-listed architecture. Finish with a half-day cruise to get to 16th-century Bergen, a seaside city oozing with history and charm.

Get close to the views in Naeroyfjord
Map of Norway Fjord Road Trip - 10 Days
Norway Fjord Road Trip - 10 Days

This 10-day itinerary combines some of Norway's best fjords, mountains, villages, and cities. You'll kick off in Oslo with a few days to explore the up-and-coming capital before taking one of the most scenic trains in the world to Flåm. Then, ferry across the Sognefjord and begin a road trip with several days of UNESCO-listed sites, hiking trails, and boat rides to get to Bergen—a seafaring city surrounded by seven hills.

End the adventure with three nights in the Lofoten Islands
Map of Best of Summer in Norway Tour - 12 Days
Best of Summer in Norway Tour - 12 Days

Check off a number of stunning summer gems in southern and northern Norway with this 12-day adventure. After kicking off in Oslo, you'll take a train and ferry to Balestrand to kayak in the Sognefjord. From here, ferry to Bergen and visit a glacier before boarding a Hurtigruten cruise for several days of fjords, charming ports, and rare wildlife under long days of sunshine. Finally, make your way to the Lofoten Islands and explore a series of gorgeous islands by rental car at your own pace.

Summertime adventures stay golden above the Arctic Circle
Map of Summer Road Trip: Midnight Sun in Norways Arctic - 14 Days
Summer Road Trip: Midnight Sun in Norways Arctic - 14 Days

This two-week adventure is ideal for travelers who want to make the most of Norway's summer. Start off exploring southern Norway (Oslo, Bergen and the Sognefjord) before flying to the Arctic Circle. From here, you'll rent a car and head to the rugged island of Senja for an active two days of cycling and kayaking before ferrying to smaller Andenes for whale watching. The adventure ends in lively Tromsø and Oslo for festivals and outdoor restaurants.

Pulpit Rock in the Lysefjord
Map of Lysefjord, Hardangerfjord & Sognefjord - 11 Days
Lysefjord, Hardangerfjord & Sognefjord - 11 Days

If seeking relaxation and exposure to some of Norway's most spectacular fjords, this trip is for you. After arriving in Norway's 2nd largest city, begin your self-guided drive to Stavanger where you'll boat through the Lysefjord for the activity of your choosing. Then, continue to the Hardangerfjord through a series of national parks, waterfalls, mountain towns, and fjord-side villages—eventually heading north where you'll wrap around the Sognefjord to get back to Bergen for one more night on the town.

Other popular travel destinations in Norway
Fjord Region · Oslo · Bergen · Northern Norway · Tromsø · Flåm · Aurland · Lofoten Islands · Mountain Region · Ålesund · Alta · Lusterfjorden · Stavanger · Trondheim · Svolvær · Vesterålen · Fjærland · Senja · Åndalsnes · Reine · Geilo · Lom · Geiranger · Odda · Bodø · Kalvåg · Røros · Voss · Finse · Karasjok · Gudvangen · Florø · Sørlandet · Haugastøl · Værlandet · Honningsvåg · Kirkenes · Dovrefjell · Valldal · Hjørundfjord · Lyngen