Balestrand, Stavanger or Aeroskobing?

Dec 27th, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Balestrand, Stavanger or Aeroskobing?

We're going to Scandinavia for a couple weeks in late May/early June. We're looking to add one to two nights in a town that adds more "local flavor" to our trip besides the big cities and are looking for your suggestions. I've read bits and pieces about each of these in the forums but am having trouble picking one. We're considering:

Balestrand, Norway
Stavanger, Norway (a bigger city but still seems like it has a nice old town, harbor, etc.)
Aeroskobing, Denmark

These don't seem too difficult to get to from the main cities for an overnight, require little or no backtracking and seem to be cute towns to walk around in. We're not museum people and aren't planning to hike. We vetoed Alesund b/c we'd have what seemed like significant backtracking.

Which would you pick? Or would you give another recommendation? We're going to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and Bergen for the Nutshell tour. We are not planning to rent a car in Norway (we might have to in Denmark if we do Aeroskobing).

Thanks in advance!
LM3682 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2006, 05:59 AM
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LM3682 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2006, 08:14 AM
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If you are looking for "local flavor", don't pick Stavanger. The "old" part of town and harbor will be much like what you have already seen in Bergen, and the rest of the city is more modern and international, because it is the commerce center for North Sea oil companies.

Between Balestrand and Aeroskobing, I personally would pick Aeroskobing, in part because I haven't been there! But from what I know, it is a charming old town with protected architecture. I would rent a bike to see the rest of the island, but if that is not possible for you, then maybe the car rental issue would lean your choice toward Balestrand.
enzian is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Enzian, thank you. That's good to know about Stavanger. We have now come across a fairly easy way to include Alesund in our trip. Have you been there? We've narrowed our couple extra days down to Alesund or Aeroskobing and just aren't sure which way to go. Thanks in advance if you have any tips!
LM3682 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 05:12 AM
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Ålesund is a nice little town with a lot of Jugend (Art Nouveau) -style historic buildings in the town centre.

If you have the time, consider visiting Runde Bird Island which is fairly close to Ålesund. Note however, that if you wish to hike around on the island (instead of taking a boat trip)that while you might wade in puffins in the evening, they are further away during the day, cathing fish. Still worthwhile.
HunterGatherer is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 08:42 PM
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We have been to both Balestrand and Aero Island. You might also think about a little town right outside of Copehagen called Dragor- Maybe a 20 minute drive. Cute thatched roofs, cobble streets, wonderful restaurant on the corner, and down the street an ice cream shop with homemade cones and ice cream.

We planned our own "Nutshell' trip spending 2 nights in Balestrand. We did not need a car. We were able to fly into Bergen, take the express ferry to Balestrand, use the ferries to take us all around the fjords-mainly to see glaciers and to Flam where we took the Flam railroad to connect to the train to Oslo.
I love Balestand, is is very small and quiet. The only signs of tourists are the buses that come in every night to eat dinner at Kviknes Hotel. We stayed at the Balestand Inn, family owned - fantastic view of the fjord from our balcony. There are only a few little shops in Balestand, many are only open a few hours each day. At night we enjoyed the silence as we walked around the hills- it will be light until midnight. My family also took sea kayak lessons while there and loved it.

We also went to Aero Island. Aeroskobing is VERY different from Balestrand. Aero Island is a place where many Danes go for a few days holiday. About a 1 hour ferry ride from the Fyn, don't miss Egskov Castle on your way. I would say Balestrand is beautiful and peaceful- Aeroskbing is beautiful and charming. The streets are narrow, cobbled and dozens of wonderful little shops. At night most people go back to the mainland, so it too is quiet. You don't need a car if you plan to just stay in Aeroskobing-the village is small and you can walk it all, but it is nice to have one to drive around the island. There are bikes to rent, but we found it nice to drive around the whole island, visiting other villages, We spent lots of time hiking down steep paths to the ocean. The island looks old and is old, but it is way ahead of most places in its energy usage. It is trying to be energy self sufficient and the solar plant was interesting- windmills all over. We were on Fyn in June- hope the strawberries are ripe when you are there. People sell them from little stands at the end of their driveways. Delicious.

We used public transportation in Copenhagen and had no problems getting around. The day we left for Fyn we rented the car, not hard to drive around at all. A few minutes an we were out of city traffic. The streets are Aero Island are very narrow- sometimes I didn't think our little rental car would even fit.

WELL, I guess I think you need to go to BOTH places!
Wilbur is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 08:38 AM
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Thanks Huntergather and Wilbur. Our final decision is between Alesund and Aeroskobing.

Couple questions: Huntergather, is Alesund worth the additional travel time (we would take the overnight Coastal Voyage up there and then fly out). And is it also different enough from Bergen to head up there? I'm kinda thinking we only need to see so many fjords but Alesund does seem like a cute town.

Wilbur- what is the "Fyn" you keep referring to? Is that the mainland town where the ferry to Aero leaves from?

I think we would go to Dragor if we go to Alesund. If we go to Aerokobing we would skip Dragor.

Thanks in advance!
LM3682 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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Denmark is made up of lots of islands. Fyn is the big island west of the island of Sjaelland where Copenhagen is located. There is a nice bridge across the water from Sjaelland to Fyn. I recall is was somewhat expensive to drive across but they took VISA!

On Fyn there is lots to do. It is rural countryside interrupted by small towns and cities. Views of the ocean are grand. We didn't go to Odense but we wanted to. There is a heritage village there and lots of Hans Christian Andersen stuff as that is his birthplace. We did go to Egeskov Slot (mabye spent 2 hours there but you could easily spend more time)- a wonderful castle located in the center of a lake, beautiful gardens and Valdemars Slot. Valdemars Slot ( we again spent about 2-3 hours here)is very close to Svendborg where we caught the ferry to Aeroskobing. On Aero Island we stayed at Pension Vestergade 44. It was charming, comfortable and homey.
We left Aero island at the other end of the island- the town of Soby and crossed to Faaborg. A really old town with a nice shopping district- all cobblestones, no cars. It was a wonderful village. We actually spent 2 days in Faaborg. Nice museums.

I might mention that we found Denmark and Norway to be very expensive. We took a very small, soft, foldable cooler and a refreezable ice pack with us. Breakfast is usually offered free with your room- so we ate heartily, sometimes taking a piece of fruit with us. Then we usually bought our lunches in the grocery stores. The small grocery stores with a picture of a black scotty dog are all over. They have wonderful rolls made with interesting combinations of grains and vegetables, lots of sliced meats and cheeses, nice fruit.

Since we often stayed at hostels, we also bought our ingredients for dinner and put it in the cooler. We cooked our own dinner back dinner at the hostel about every 3nd or 3rd night to save money. ( and refroze our icepack)

On Aero Island, directly across the island from Aeroskobing we went to a nature center/park. It's name means something about steps-you can see how the ocean formed the area and it looks like large steps. I can't remember the name of it. It was a nice easy walking path going down the cliffs to the rocky shoreline. It was really fun and we were the only ones there. My family still talks about it, besides being so beautiful, halfway down there was a gate posted with a sign in Danish, ( my daughter reads a little Danish) that said 'grazing cattle - shut gate'. We walked about 50 feet and came to another gate. So fun. When we came up the cliff the cattle appeared and indeed they were grazing. We saw the sun set from this area and it was very beautiful.
Wilbur is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 02:30 AM
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If you have already been to Bergen and done the Nutshell tour, then Ålesund might not add that much to your trip, unless you include some specific nature activity or if your not a huge fan of Scandinavian Art Nouveau...

It is by all means a lovely town, but at some point "fjord fatigue" might set in if you've already seen a lot of the natural beauty Norway has to offer.

I haven't been to Aeroskobing, so I cannot say what you'd like more. Perhaps you should try and balance the time spent in the different parts of Scandinavia, and make the decision according to that? Or reserve a couple of days for the point of arrival, in case you suffer from jetlag? (assuming you're flying in from the US).
HunterGatherer is offline  
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