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  2. Balestrand

Inner peace and scenic landscapes in beautiful Balestrand 

If you want an authentic fjord village experience, visit beautiful Balestrand. Experience stunning nature and take part in charming village life. "Balestrand is a gift to visit," says Anne Anders, a visitor from the US. 
Fjord and snow capped mountains
Adrian Leversby / Maverix
Anne Anders and her husband Steve, from Utah, visited the Sognefjord on a round trip that took them to Geiranger, Fjærland, and Oslo. But it was the lesser-known gem of Balestrand that really took their breath away.
"The other fjord villages we went to were also very lovely, but for some reason this was a bit more. Balestrand is a rare jewel," says Anne.
The serene peace and beauty of this historic spot is truly unique, something you notice as soon as you step off the boat. Balestrand is not a port of call for international cruise ships, and this makes for a calm atmosphere and the cleanest air you can imagine.
Discover Balestrand and much more on our Sognefjord in a Nutshell tour.
Four tourists walking in Balestrand at night
Steve and Anne (to the right) visited idyllic Balestrand with their good friends, David Boston and his wife, Nona Adrian Leversby / Maverix

Where is Balestrand?

Explore an idyllic fjord village

Surrounded by mountain peaks and shimmering water, Balestrand is located by the beautiful Sognefjord. Since it is not a port of call for big cruise ships, its nature is as unspoiled as it gets. Even in summer, the snow lies on the summits, making the landscape even more spectacular.
"It is so lovely. The waterfalls, the mountains, the water, the people, and the scenery.You really can´t beat it," says Anne.
Together with some friends, the couple hiked up to some truly breathtaking views of the village and fjord. They also went on a memorable fjord cruise to the Bøyabreen glacier.
"Everywhere you look, you see a beautiful sight. I especially enjoyed the cooler weather since I am from Salt Lake City," says Steve with a smile.

Live like a local – sleep like an emperor

With only around 1,300 inhabitants, everything is just a short walk away. Stop by the local shops or wander down to the wharf and have a chat with one of the locals.
"You really feel like a part of the community in Balestrand. The people are so nice," says Steve.
Although Balestrand is small, it offers are several options for accommodation. Steve and Anne choose to stay at the venerable Kviknes Hotel, which has a history dating all the way back to 1752. The traditional hotel is literally worthy of an emperor. Kviknes Hotel was once a favorite destination for Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. The list of royalty, presidents, prime ministers, movie stars, and artists who have had Kviknes Hotel as their base in Norway is long.
"You feel like this is the place where the king and queen come. It's more upscale," says Anne.
Kviknes Hotel right by the Sognefjord - Balestrand, Norway
The family owned Kviknes Hotel has a lot of history in its walls. Adrian Leversby / Maverix

Viking graves with a view

If you want to explore Balestrand's history on your own, you can stroll past beautiful wooden houses featuring amazing dragon carvings and Viking symbols. On the way, you will pass historic graves from the Viking Age where Vikings have been laid to rest beside one of Europe's most beautiful views.

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Norway's most painted landscapes

Balestrand is also one of Norway's most painted mountain landscapes. Ever since the 1800s, artists from around the world have been visiting to capture its beautiful mountains and fairytale light. Today, you will find a large selection of art in the village, including at Kviknes Hotel.
"It's small, but you get a lot of culture here. Reading about the history and visiting the museum were both great. We really recommend the museum," says the couple.
The view from Kviknes Hotel is marvelous. No wonder painters love this fjord landcape. Adrian Leversby / Maverix

A fairytale church

Do you recognize the village church? It is almost identical to the one in the popular Disney hit Frozen. It was precisely this church the creative team had in mind when making the movie.
The church in Balestrand
The church in Balestrand is open for everyone during the summer. Adrian Leversby / Maverix
Feel the wind in your hair
Balestrand's tranquil nature and welcoming hospitality are certainly reason enough to visit. But are also excellent opportunities to get your pulse racing and feel the wind in your hair.
You can take advantage of Balestrand's well-marked hiking trails, which take you up to breathtaking views. If you want to experience more of the fjord up close, there are also many opportunities by boat. A fjord safari gives you the chance to discover the very best of the Sognefjord.

The best things to do in Balestrand

Book an exciting activity as part of your Nutshell tour or as a stand-alone booking. Check out our exciting collection below!

Indulge with delicious local cuisine

Make sure to round your evening off with some wining and dining by sampling traditional Norwegian food. Balestrand has several good options, in addition to its famous local fruit production. Ciderhuset offers both a lunch with locally sourced ingredients and a chance to sample some tasty local cider.
Cider lined up on a plate
Ciderhuset in Balestrand offers a wide variety of local cider. Adrian Leversby / Maverix

Restorative to your soul

Whether you want to dangle your feet off the end of a pier or take advantage of everything the village has to offer, the Anderses are convinced that Balestrand is one of the most beautiful and soothing destinations in Norway.
"Balestrand is restorative to your soul," says Anne.

Get inspired!

Learn more about Balestrand.

Experience more with Sognefjord in a Nutshell™

Enjoy a fjord cruise on the spectacular Sognefjord, the second longest fjord in the world. Experience two of the world’s most beautiful train rides, the Flåm Railway and Bergen Railway.
The trip can be completed in a single day but is best when combined with an overnight stay in Flåm or Balestrand.


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Sognefjord in a Nutshell™ & Hardangerfjord in a Nutshell™

This epic round trip from Oslo provides the best of Sognefjord in a Nutshell™ and Hardangerfjord in a Nutshell™ tour — welcome to incredible nature. Travel in comfort from Oslo to the very best fjord highlights!
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