"Pictoresque fjordside village" Balestrand by annase
Balestrand Travel Guide: 20 reviews and 60 photos
I lived 3 months in a tiny tiny fjord side village (pop. 1,850) in Western Norway called 'Balestrand' back in 1997. I'd say its located near Bergen, but actually it is not so near. It's hours away, but all the other places nearby are so small you can hardly find them on any decent map. The village is located along the Sognefjord, probably one the most breath-taking spots I have ever been to. The views are absolutely amazing. I had a magnificent view straight to the fjord from my window. Imagine waking up to that every morning!! :-)
There is a small pension hotel (Balestrand Hotel) next to the house we lived to and we could use their land next to the shore for chillin out and sunbathing which was great. The pension was run by one of the daughters of the hotel owner family of the village, together with her American husband and their 3 kids. They were absolutely great and let my friends use the hotel kitchen for baking me a surprise cake on my birthday and they gave me some extra shifts at the pension on a couple days.
I happened to spend a summer in Norway that was probably the warmest in a decade or so. It was sunny for the most of the three months and only rained once or twice. I was working as a waitress in a local hotel. The hotel was run by a family called Kvikne so they had named the hotel after their surname.
Besides the hotel, there were several smaller B&Bs, a camping ground, a tiny harbor, tourist information, two small grocery stores (Co-op and Spar), a couple of galleries, an art museum, a small aquarium devoted to sea life found in the fjord, a day centre for disabled people, a school and nothing much else apart from the local residents’ houses in the village. Oh yeah, and the speed boat to Bergen (4h or something) stopped there once or twice a day or something like that. Most travelers arrive in Balestrand via the express boat from Bergen or Flåm, although there are regular bus services as well. However, the busses are very slow! Lots of tourist (mainly from Asia, Germany, the US) also arrive by coach loads and stay one night on their way to somewhere else in the country.
The staff was also from mainly from anywhere else except Norway: Denmark, Sweden Austria, the UK, Iceland, Chile, Finland and the former Yugoslavia. It was very international and the main activities among some of the staff concentrated around drinking at the only ‘bar’ in the village, which was owned by the Kvikne family anyway.. or going to get totally slashed in Bergen for the weekend, if they got bored with the view.
At the other end of the spectrum, we had then some who were totally hooked on sports: cycling, running, climbing on the nearby 'mountains'. They came in to work at Kvikne’s every year and brought their bicycles and all the possible gear with them as there was nothing much else to do – except for sports or drinking...
There was a slightly bigger village called Sogndal with about 7000 inhabitants out of which about 2000 are students. It is located about 40 minutes away from Balestrand by bus. I didn't visit any sights - just went to the town centre and the few shops since I had only been in the tiny tiny Balestrand for weeks and weeks. However, I only went to Sogndal once during the whole summer. I must have been too busy working..
- Pros:Amazingly pretty
- Cons:Tiny. Nothing to do
Climbing up the hills surrounding Balestrand is pretty hard work, but once you get up there, the views are fantastic!... more travel advice
This family run fjord hotel was one of the first of its kind in Norway. Its luxurious and extremely pretty Swiss style... more travel advice
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