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pambrown2 Jun 5th, 2013 09:17 AM

Advice on itinerary - Balestrand, Ulvik, Flam?
My 22 year old son and I are planning a week in Norway this July. We're flying into Bergen and thinking of two full days there and then three days at the fjords on the way to Oslo. Part of our goal in the fjord area is to do some hiking as well as the scenic trains, fjord cruises, etc. Based on research, it sounds like a night each in Balestrand, Ulvik and the Flam/Aurland area (Stalheim Hotel sounds good) would be a good plan. We're doing everything by public transportation so will be hauling our luggage with us from point to point. I'd like to pre-book hotels for peace of mind. Question on the route - which order to do those three places if our starting point is Bergen and our end point is Oslo, and which means of conveyance is best between the fjord towns - train or bus?. Of course the scenic train ride back to Oslo is a must. Thanks.

adeanguera Jun 8th, 2013 10:56 AM

Let me know what you find out, we are researching the same for August. Not sure which direction yet - Olso-Bergen or reverse - but looking at doing it all by public transport as well.. thinking express ferry from Bergen to Balestrand (Hurtigbat), ferry/bus to Glacier museum, back to balestrand, ferry to Flam, then train to Oslo (after which I think our journey gets simpler to plan!). Looking to spend just a couple days since we're packing in a lot of other places before and after.
I was thinking the direction Bergen - Oslo made sense for us since we'll be coming from Copenhagen and then going to Stockholm.. flights Oslo-Stockholm are much cheaper than Bergen-Stockholm.
This site has been the most useful for me for ferries, I haven't had any luck with Fjord1 website:
Maybe we can help each other as our research progresses..

pambrown2 Jun 8th, 2013 12:12 PM

We're flying from London to Bergen and then from Oslo back to London, so we're doing the Bergen to Oslo direction. I've been doing more research and am just as confused as ever as I've been getting differing opinions from people.

My latest thinking is similar to what you say - express boat from Bergen to Balestrand for a night and then the next day another boat (high speed is 1.5 hours vs. ferry?) to Flam.
At Flam I want to do the fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Naeyerfjord. Not sure if these are seen by taking the ferry from Balestrand or whether I should take the high speed boat to Flam and then do the separate 2 hour cruise once there. Haven't researched that part yet. Do you know about scenic ferry from Balestrand to Flam?

In any case when in Flam I want to do the Myrdal-Flam scenic train and Id like to stay at the Stalheim hotels for the views. I would like to fit some sort of hike/walk in too. So I'm wondering about staying 1 night in Flam and 1 at Stalheim, or just making it easy and doing 2 nights somewhere in that region (Flam, Stalheim, Aurland, Voss) and doing day trips from that base.

So that's as far as I've gotten in my thinking and research. Let me know if you know anything more and vice versa as I continue to plan.

adeanguera Jun 8th, 2013 01:13 PM

My ferry research so far: Hurtigbat runs Balestrand to Flam looks like only once a day, from 11:50-13:25. From Flam the scenic Naeyerfjord can be done with ferry + shuttle return in about 3 hours:

I'm not sure about a scenic ferry from Balestrand.. I guess what i have found matches what you mentioned - it appears the best way to see Naeyerfjord is from Flam. I don't see a ferry at all from Balestrand to Gudvagen.

historytraveler Jun 8th, 2013 05:41 PM

There is a ferry from Bergen to Balestrand and onto Flam. I highly recommend a overnight in Balestrand. You can catch a ferry at Balestrand to Ulvik. It just goes to Ulvik.Likewise you can take ferry Balestrand ( change ferry at Flam) and continue onto Gudvegen and bus to Stalheim. From Stalheim bus to Voss tthen train back to Bergen.

pambrown2 Jun 9th, 2013 12:17 AM

Is it worth going to both Balestrand and Ulvik? If we were to only go to one would you recommend Balestrand over Ulvik? Will definitely stay the night In Bakestrand.

How long is the boat trip from Balestrand to Ulvik? How do we get from Ulvik to flam?

If we're doing the ferries from Bergen to Balestrand and then the next day on to Ulvik and/or Gudvegen ultimately, is it also worth it to do the ferry on the Aurlandsfjord too or is it more of the same? That will have already been a lot of boats, so then I'm thinking hiking, bus, etc. out of Stalheim and not Aurslandfjord boat. Yes? When would we do the Myrdal-Flam train (we're heading to Oslo after we leave, not back to Bergen.

dyoll Jun 9th, 2013 01:52 PM

If you want to fit in the most then may I suggest:
Bergen-Myrdal by local train - there is supposedly not good viewing from speedboat to Flåm
Myrdal-Flåm by Flåm train
Flåm-Balestrand by boat
if you want to do some hiking then I suggest 2 nights in either Flåm or Balestrand - otherwise you are travelling most of the day.
Balestrand-Flåm by boat - sorry backtracking but I don't think you can get directly to Gudvangen
Flåm-Gudvangen by boat
Gudvangen-Voss by bus - stop off at Stålheimen for an overnight if you like.
Voss-Bergen/Oslo by train

Ulvik is in a different fjord and would really make life difficult for very little gain - you'll have spent enough time on boats and fjords here and Ulvik will just be more of the same.

pambrown2 Jun 9th, 2013 09:20 PM

That sounds like a good plan! Thank you. Now the question is two nights in Balestrand and one in the Flam area or one in Balestrand and two back in the Flam area (or one in Flam and one in Stalheim)? It sounds like Balestrand is really lovely and is a much bigger town.

szeitlin Jun 19th, 2013 08:31 PM

Did you look into norway in a nutshell? Can that be part of the itinerary? I'm looking into a similar trip and was wondering if this could be a good way to go instead of breaking to sections.

dyoll Jun 20th, 2013 11:27 AM

My suggestion is basically Norway in a nutshell with a side trip to Balestrand. See
Travelling from/to Oslo you are better off buying the minipris ticket yourself from NSB

Note that NiN is a do-it-yourself trip on public transport, no guide, no group.

tower Jun 20th, 2013 12:00 PM

<i>note that NiN is a do-it-yourself trip on public transport, no guide, no group.</i>

Yay! For the NiN, no need of guide, and certainly no group. The fjord experience can be had on the Naeroyfjorden from Flam to Gudvangen, and then the bus ride to tip-top Stalheim's outstanding views). Stay overnight then take the provided bus from Stalheim to Voss (about 35 kms) connecting to the NiN again to Bergen.

Scroll down these Norway pics for the pics of described locations above, with some shots of that view from Stalheim Hotel...from Pics can also see Oslo, Bergen and vicinity, Alesund and Geirangerfjorden, Trondheim, Black Ice glacier, Bodo, the Lofotens, Narvik and Tromso.


historytraveler Jun 20th, 2013 07:00 PM

The person who suggested that the views from the Bergen\Balestrand\Flam fast ferry has never been on it. Refrain from making comments about something you have not personally experienced. I thought the views were fabulous, in fact, ranked with the best. I did have a clear, sunny day which always help but the views remain the same regardless of the weather. I believe it's the train ride from Bergen to Myrdal that is considered a less scenic route. From Myrdal to Oslo the views are amazing.

Unless you stay at the Fretheim Hotel I would not stay in Flam. Also you can do your own trip NiN not required. It might even be less expensive as you can purchase train tickets in advance which are much cheaper. I bought my train tickets online and made ferry reservations online also. Much easier to personalize your trip.

anjun Jun 3rd, 2014 04:10 AM

How early should you book car ferry tickets? I plan on taking ferry from Vangnes to Dravik and back to get to Balestrand and back to get to Stalheim. We are going first week of August. Also using car ferry Bodo to Moskenes, how early to book that?

Perthyte Mar 2nd, 2015 02:05 AM

I am doing a very similar itinerary to Pam Brown and would really appreciate an update on how the trip went or advice from fellow travellers.

I am travelling with my 22yo daughter and will be relying on public transport also. At this stage I have booked 4 nights in Bergen, but may consider overnighting in Balestrand and then ferry to Flam and train back to Bergen. Please advise if this is recommended.

Or am I best to just do a day trip to Flam and Gudvangen and return??

Look forward to feedback.

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