Where have all the norway experts gone?

May 24th, 2014, 10:40 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 166
Where have all the norway experts gone?

Hi, again. I may have asked this question to death. Maybe I'm getting too old to plan these trips as I can't seem to wrap my head around what and how to in the fjords. I have booked a night at the Balestrand Hotel, then the next night at the Stalheim. We will be coming from and back to Bergen. If I use public transportation, is it easier to take the express Norled ferry from Bergen to Balestrand, then take the regular ferry from there to Flam, Gudvagen, bus? to Stalheim, then how to get back to Bergen? Help!
anjun is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 10:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,423
A short answer is yes. I have done almost exactly exact the same trip. Wonderful! Loved Balestrand. There is a bus from the Stalheim Hotel to Voss where you connect with the train to Bergen.
historytraveler is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 06:36 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 166
Thank you history traveler. Any side trips or hikes you can recommend?
anjun is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 06:39 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 166
Also should we wait till we are in Bergen to book tickets for the fjord transportation? I have read you just pay on the bus. But do you recommend to book ahead for the train or ferries?
anjun is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 06:39 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 166
We are there August 1-3.
anjun is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 08:27 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,423
Considering that you will be in Norway during the height of the tourist season, I would book ferry and train in advance. Yes, buy bus tickets as you board. You can take advantage of the minipris ( reduced fares) on rail tickets if purchased in advance. www.nsb.no

The following website is helpful for activities in Balestrand www.visitbalestrand.no. There are a number of hiking possibilities. I would also recommend a visit to St. Olavs Church and the guided culture tour. There is more to see and do in Balestrand than one might initially think. I took the ferry up the Faerlandsfjord ( another beautiful fjord) to Mundal where we were met by a shuttle taking us to the Ice a Museum ( very interesting) then to the glacier (plenty of time to view and take pictures) and then back to Balestrand. If booked you simply board the small ferry as soon as you disembark at Balestrand. I enjoyed the tour, but it does mean a lot of time on the water and limits the amount of time you have in Balestrand. I think you get back to Balestrand about 4:00/5:00 pm no later.
historytraveler is offline  
May 25th, 2014, 09:17 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,625
I am also planning a trip to Norway (end of June). From the research I've done it's my understanding that the only train ticket that requires a reservation, or that should be purchased in advance, is the portion from Myrdal to Oslo, which it doesn't sound like you are doing. It sounds like what you are doing is a bit different from the Norway in a Nutshell route, but the getting back to Bergen from Flam and Gudvagen would be the same.

Norway in a Nutshell does: train from Bergen to Myrdal, cog rail from Myrdal to Flam, boat from Flam to Gudvangen, bus from Gundvangen to Voss and then train from Voss back to Bergen. (and you can do it in either direction, and can do only parts of it). And all of those legs can be purchased at the time of travel and don't require reservations or save money by booking in advance.
isabel is offline  
May 25th, 2014, 09:27 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 166
Thank you both, I think we would rather spend the time hiking around Balestrand, as we have a lot of time on the water. Okay, I think I have my route now.
anjun is offline  
May 25th, 2014, 10:00 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,423
NIN is a packet of tickets/vouchers for train ( including the Flamsbana), ferry and bus. The ferry and train reserved. The easiest way (and the one suggested by NIN ) is to pick up your tickets ( packet ) at the train station prior to first departure which will be either Bergen or Oslo. During the busy tourist season, I would not assume that one could purchase tickets at the last minute. The train, buses and ferries were crowded when I went in late May and, with the exception of the buses, I had booked everything in advance.
historytraveler is offline  
May 25th, 2014, 01:14 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,625
historytraveler - are you sure about that - I know you certainly need reservations for the portion of the train going to Oslo but everything I've read said that reservations are not even possible on the other legs.
isabel is offline  
May 25th, 2014, 02:53 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,423
Perhaps it's the terminology that's a problem. I am referring to tickets and not reservations. I can't imagine purchasing your ticket, especially during the busy tourist season, just prior to boarding the train, and why would the leg from Myrdal/Oslo be different from the others? When I have a moment I'll double check.

On my trip I did the train from Myrdal to Oslo and bought my ticket online with a reservation. I was able to take advantage of the minipris so the ticket was considerably cheaper. I upgraded to Komfort class for the equivalent of about $20. I printed ticket at home and was given seat number etc.
historytraveler is offline  
May 25th, 2014, 04:42 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,625
Well everything I have read says you DO need a seat reservation for the Myrdal to Oslo leg, and that those do sell out and if you don't have a reservation/seat then you can't board. But for the section from Bergen to Voss/Myrdal it's more like a 'regional' train, that does not have seat reservations.

On this thread (http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ys-in-june.cfm) at least three people were saying that you didn't need to buy tickets in advance (except for the Oslo part). So hopefully they are right.

As suggested on that thread I checked the cruise ship schedule and between that and the weather I'm hoping to pick the 'best' day to do the NIN trip so therefore I really don't want to book before I get there. Just hope that plan works.
isabel is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 08:40 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 453
You need to make reservations for regional train journeys like Myrdal-Oslo and buying in advance will save you money. NiN package tickets will include full-price rail tickets. While you can buy tickets for the rest of the journey you can't reserve seats (except on a few Bergen-Voss departures on regional trains). For local trains you can only get tickets from the machines at the station. If you are buying the ticket Myrdal-Oslo, you can specify Flåm-Oslo at https://www.nsb.no/en/ and get the Flåm rail ticket as well - otherwise it can't be booked in advance for single passengers - and that will save you queuing in Flåm. The Flåm rail is the only likely bottleneck on days when there are many cruise tourists in Flåm. Cruise ship arrivals in Flåm (Aurland harbour) can be checked here: http://aurlandhavn.no/cruise-2/ship-arrivals-2014/
dyoll is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 10:25 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 898
There is a really nice hike up the Saurdalen ski mountain just outside of Balestrand. A nice area to hike with great view out over the fjords.

We liked the Balestrand hotel. It was empty when we went (October) and most everything else in town was closed. We had dinner at the hotel both nights we were there and it was quite good and typically local.
astein12 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:46 PM.