former municipality in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

Balestrand is a small charming village on the northern shore of the Sognefjord in Sogn og Fjordane.


Understand edit

View from Balestrand

Balestrand has long history as a tourist resort. This little village was one of the favorites of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. For more than 20 years the Kaiser on his «Hohenzollern» and a flotilla of naval ships, including several hundred staffs and troops, "invaded" Sognefjord. Days after the fatal shots in Saravjevo 1914, the Kaiser again headed for vacation in Norway. On July 25th 1914 the Kaiser left Balestrand, war broke out July 28th and he never returned.

Get in edit

By plane edit

The closest airport is either Sogndal(SOG IATA) or Førde (FDE IATA). The closest international airport is Bergen (BGO IATA).

By bus edit

There are express buses three times a day from Oslo. There are local buses five times a day from Førde, and five times a day from Sogndal.

By boat edit

Express boat two times a day from Bergen, in the summer. Only once daily during winter, 1 Sep-30Apr. Once daily from Flåm, 1May-30Sep. Twice daily from Flåm, 21Jun-17Aug. These routes are operated by Fjord1. The ferry terminus is in located in the centre of Balestrand, less than ten minutes from any of the hotels.

By car edit

There are two roads into Balestrand:

  • Route 55 from Sogndal and across the Sognefjell mountain area between Luster and Lom. It is the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe (highest point 1430 meters), and it has been awarded the status of National Tourist Route because of the spectacular and wild mountain scenery it passes through. From the west route 55 connects to E39 at Vadheim.
  • Route 13:
    • From the south connections to Hardanger and Bergen through Voss and Vikafjell pass (ferry from Vangsnes)
    • From the north connections E39 through Gaularfjell mountain pass which is also a national tourist route.

Get around edit

Balestrand is small so it takes no longer than 15-20 minutes to walk from one side to another.

See edit

  • 1 St Olavs Church (The English church), +47 57 69 16 17. Anglican church built in 1897 with Norwegian stave churches as a model. Free admission.    
  • 2 Sognefjord Aquarium, +47 57 69 13 03. 01 May–15 Sep 09:00–19:00. A small aquarium with examples of sealife found in the fjord. There are no English descriptions in the exhibit but they do have an English brochure at the front desk. Adults: kr 70, Children: kr 35.
  • 3 Kvamsøy church, Kvamsøy island (10 km (6 mi) south of Balestrand). Medieval church built in the 13th century. An appointment is needed to visit the church.
  • 4 The golden House (Det gylne hus), +47 915 62 842, . Open daily in the summer. Art gallery.
  • 5 Haukaas Enamel workshop, Dragsvik, +47 57 69 14 19, . Open all year. An appointment is needed to visit the workshop.

Do edit

  • There is a nature trail up the hill from Balestrand and numerous other marked hikes go through the woods and along ridges up to the tops of mountains with plenty of great views of the fjord. Some can be turned into very long circular routes (about 8 hours). Maps and more information for these can be obtained from the tourist information office or your hotel reception.
  • There are some trips on small boats out into the fjord as well as the regular large daily ferries to Fjærland Glacier and Vik stave church.
  • Cars can be rented from Kviknes hotel in Balestrand or from one of the larger towns nearby. One of the National tourist routes of Norway runs from Balestrand along some smaller fjords and up into the Gaularfjell mountains a truly beautiful road and landscape. Bicycles can also be rented from Balestrand tourist information.
  • Balejazz. 08–10 May 2015. Jazz festival.

Buy edit

For groceries, there are Coop and Joker shops both less than 5 minutes walking distance from the ferry terminal.

Eat edit

Most people eat in their hotels, which have excellent restaurants or meals included.

Sleep edit

Balestrand village. Kviknes hotel on the left.
Kviknes hotel

Connect edit

Go next edit

  • Route 13 towards Førde via Gaularfjellet mountain pass, national tourist route.
  • Route 55 to Sogndal is a scenic drive along the fjord.
  • By boat to Fjærland to see the glacier. This is a beautiful voyage in the narrow fjord, surrounded by high mountains. Advanced booking is recommended, but not necessary. The route is operated by Fjord1, +47 55907070.
Routes through Balestrand
StavangerVoss  S   N  → Gaularfjellet mt pass → Førde

This city travel guide to Balestrand is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.