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Where to stay overnight on Norway In Nutshell Fjord?

Where to stay overnight on Norway In Nutshell Fjord?

Old Sep 26th, 2009, 07:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 408
I did indeed read your post and based our itinerary upon what you said worked well for you. BUT... Unni Marie (propritor of the Balestrand Hotel) is in California now until May, so I called
her with some questions concerning our booking there.
Hit a snag when she told me that we will be at Balestrand on Sat. and there is no boat over to VIK on Sundays. The only day it does not run. Vik's Stave Church sounded very Norwegian and we really want to see the church. So, this is the plan I have come up with:

July 2 Depart Oslo on the 8:00 train. Arrive Flam at about 14:40. Will then catch the 15:30 boat to Balestrand. (only boat there is each day - catch it or don't go). Arrive Balestrand 5:00 p.m.- spend night.

July 3. Boat to Vik and back. Afternoon to the glaciers or hike in the area. Sleep Balestrand hotel again.

July 4 Depart Balestrand. Change to the Kaupanger/Gudvangen ferry (transfer mid- fjord at Midfjord ) to continue Nutshell Route down the Naeroyfjord to Gudvangen. Then bus to Voss and train to Bergen.

If we are lucky, the bus to Voss will pass Steilheim and we can take a peek.

SO.. instead of 1 night Flam and 1 night Balestrand, we will have 2 nights in Balestrand and none in Flam.
Will spend a little more as the Fjord view at the Balestrand is a little pricer than the Marina Apt. in Flam but we will get breakfast and everyone seems to love the Balestrand Hotel while the Heimly is just okay.

Any comments on this?? Any opinions of the 1/2 day afternoon trip to the glacier museum and the glacier?
Will also consider the smorgesbod at the Kvikne Hotel.
Glacier trip seems pricy - any opinion there? Is it worth the $$?

I'm starting to get a good feeling about the routing.
nannibray is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2009, 08:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Do not be concerned about not overnighting in Flam at Marina Apts. It was right for us just because we did some walking in the area and did not want to spend all of our time on the ferries.
It sounds like with your plan you will see the most scenic parts of the area.
We look forward to returning and getting to Balestrand and Steilheim.

If I remember correctly, someone said that the buses at the Gudvangen ferry terminal were marked either going to the hotel or straight on to Voss and I remember that the bus website said something about some buses going to the hotel and others passing on the highway nearby and only stopping if someone was waiting. So maybe there is a way to get a bus to the hotel, wander around and view, then get a later buss on to Voss and a later train to Bergen. I never quite figured that out.
Kay2 is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2009, 09:38 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 164
In July my husband and I, along with our 2 sons in their 20's, stayed in Flam on the Norway in a Nutshell tour and after five weeks in Europe we are STILL talking about Flam -- it is in a fantastically beautiful and peaceful location and we ALL had the best night's sleep on our entire trip. (No, I am not kidding.) The village is small and picturesque. There is a small museum and a film as well as walking trails you can enjoy and frankly, just enjoying a cup of tea on the hotel balcony while taking in the scenery was simply wonderful. The hotel was spotless, the beds were incredibly comfortable, the heat in the bathroom is radiant heat in the floor, and wifi was included with the room rate. The mountains rise steeply above the village and create a majestic backdrop for the fjord and the boats.
We did NOT want to leave Flam!

We did not have time to stay one night in Flam and two nights in Bergen and also to stay somewhere else but if I do this trip again, I will stay in as many places as possible en route to Bergen and three nights in Bergen instead of two. When in Bergen, do not miss the funicular -- the view of Bergen is fabulous -- and if you have any interest in music, the Grieg museum is most impressive.

Have a wonderful time on the Norway in a Nutshell tour!
canyonjane is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2009, 02:30 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,392
yep dont worry about the flam marina apartments if youre staying at the balestrand hotel

truly a great experience - not as grand as the kviknes but the view is wonderful
and i dont think id pay all that money to be at the kviknes when the balestrand is lovely in its own right
i think you have done well
shame you dont have a car cos you can fit so much more in - we did have to wait for ferries on the occasion too - even with a car
i am so pleased that people here swayed in me in the car direction ( OH would have insisted anyway but people here made me comfortable with the idea of driving in norway)
lanejohann is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2009, 06:30 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 333
I think your trip sounds great.

The trip from Oslo to Balestrand sounds long but it is really such a gorgeous trip the whole time you will be fine. We spent the night in Flam largely b/c we had a 3 year old with us. It is lovely but you will have a bit of time between the 2 ferries (well, less than 2 hrs) to look around a little. Would be nice to stretch your legs and walk over to the Heimly as it is a nice view and a nice walk. you can prob. store your bags at the train station. The food on the train Oslo to Myrdal actually isn't that bad (much better than ferry food) so eat there so you don't have to in Flam (food not overwhelming) and you can walk around a bit. We really enjoyed the 45 min mini train around Flam too that takes you off the beaten path. Leaves on the hour.

You will enjoy the Stave chuch in Vik - its a real "I could only be in Norway!" experience. Do you have Rick Steves directions? We did too and found them confusing. He checked into the Balestrand hotel the day we checked out so I left him a note that we were confused by the directions to the church! Anyway get off the ferry and walk directly up the hill for about 10 min on the Left side of the street, the sign pointing to the church is in the middle of some trees on the left and you will cross to the right and take that road about 8 min up another hill. Easy walk. You will see the church within minutes of crossing the road and taking the new road.

You're not missing anything by not taking the 4 hr ferry to Bergen so you will prob. like the bus to Stalheim/Voss/etc. Hope your boat isn't too crowded! Board early so you can get a seat by the rail for taking pics.

We stayed at the Hotel Hordeheimen in Bergen which i wouldn't particularly recommend. It also had a stinky shower and was pricey, although as I recall all hotels in Bergen are. (centrally located ones).

Will you have enough time between returning from Vik and going on the glacier tour?
jck4 is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2009, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 408
Thanks again everyone!
Kay2 - I will look for the bus marked to the Stalheim. Thanks for that info. Will have to confirm train times from Voss and also the next bus leaving the Stalkeim. Ideal would be if another boat passenger was going to the Stalhein and and then we could BRIEFLY see the view.
Is a car that much better? If I consider that I have to start planning all over! But.. there is enough time. What routing would you suggest if one had a car? I would have to do ALL the driving and also NAVIGATING as me husbands eyes are not that good. Are the roads marked well? I drove in Croatia and Slovenia last April/May and did fine. Some places just require a car or else you don't see. Thought Norway in a Nutshell was so simple by train. Would a car be much more expensive?
I would think it would be major money to take a car on all the ferries.
jck4 -
There is a luggage check at Flam. Read it somewhere. Thanks for the tip about the mini train around Flam. If not enough time we will just walk around. As you mentioned the trip to Bergen via the Nutshell - Gudvangen/Voss route should be prettier than express boat from Balestrand.
Glacier Trip - Half day trip departs at 12:00 - thus we'd have a whole 10 min to spare after returning from Vik! Did you do a glacier trip? We went to the top of the Jungfrau on our Switzerland trip in 2008. Would this glacier be much different? The Jungfrau was 12,000+ ft. and the Jostedal Glacier is certainly lower that that! But seems like a long boat ride (albeit scenic). You don't even WALK on the glacier. Just view it. Humm..Will have to think about that. Might rather spent the $$ on the buffet at the Kvikne hotel.

Any suggestions for a REASONABLE hotel in Bergen? That is all I have left to plan.
BTW this Norway segment will be preceded by a 10 day Baltic cruise. We just tacked on 6 days in Norway at the end!
nannibray is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2009, 02:07 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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IMHO, a car would add unneeded stress and expense. We rented a car for 3 days for a wedding outside Oslo and that was almost $250. Plus the train rides you take on that route are spectacular.

Didn't do the glacier, but have been to/near Jungfrau (stayed in Kleine Scheidegg a few days) and that is more spectacular (again, in my opinion). Balestrand is a nice place to just relax - the Balestrand hotel has a private strip of land across the street from the hotel that is right on the water with lounge chairs just for you to sleep, read a book, enjoy the view. The road in front of the hotel also has some cute houses so you can just take a leisurely stroll after getting back from Vik.
jck4 is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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Thank you for the reassurance.
Sometimes I just about kill myself trying to "do it all" and not enjoying anything in depth!
I am sure there will be many lovely walks we can take!
thanks again.
nannibray is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2009, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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re the car
my OH loves driving
we didnt get a navigational device like we thought we would
it wouldve helped in oslo
a lot
but it depends on what you need

OH needs to be independent and i hate lugging luggage on public transport
we saw enough of the poor people as i viewed them who had to tote their luggage from the stations
no hassle with car
but the car ferries are expensive
but we just bit the bullet- we overbudgeted anyway and came back with money as we always do

the car was our passport to freedom
we could follow local advice and also not be chained to the day if the weather wasnt good
it was good but with a car you could alter your route and the activities
wed drive around towns and get a feel to see if we wanted to explore or just drive through

we arrived in oslo by ttrain from stockholm
picked up the car
then drove to llllehammer
then the next morning did the trolls road and settled in geiranger for the next three nights
we drove to allesund and on to molde and the atlantic road as a day trip\
we also had a beautiful day at lom
then we drove to balestrand in one day visiting beautiful oye as well
stayed night at balestrand then in the morning went to fjaerland and the visited a glacier before going to catch the car ferry to gudvangen and then driving the tunnel to flam where we stayed three nights
we decided against bergen having seen enough bigger towns when we went to allesund

we explored flam and drove to voss stalheim and vik and back to flam in one day

we left flam and travelled through geilo -not much there insummer
and then stayed in oslo at the gabelhus

wonderful unforgettable
will always drive
the freedom it affords us is worth the cost
lanejohann is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2009, 07:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 10
Found your discussion in a search and wanted to ask -

Is it better to book the NIN package or book tickets separately? What are the advantages of NIN?

We are a family of 4 - kids 18 and 15. So I think sometimes they qualify for reduced prices on separate tickets. We are planning:

Bergen - Balestrand by Express boat Overnight at Balestrand Hotel
Balestrand - Flam - Myrdal - Oslo the next day
northwoods2 is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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Posts: 408
Rick Steves gives a breakdown of the prices for NIN totally or the "on your own" segments priced separately. The book I have, however is 2007. I want to check a more up to date issue - possibly from our library. Rick Steves has a whole chapter on Norway in a Nutshell.
RE your route - You will miss the Naeroyfjord when you just go from Balestrand to Flam and then on to Oslo. I have read that the Naeroyfjord is one of the prettiest and is the world's narrowest fjord: six miles long and as little as 820 feet wide. Don't know if you can alter your route to Oslo to include the Naeroyfjord.
nannibray is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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nannibray - thanks for that heads up. Now I am trying to find a way to see the Naeroyfjord too. The ferry connections just aren't great. We will be there June 16-17 and if they start the additional service like they did last year we will be 5 days too early.

Looking for either a bus from Vik to Gudvangen - where we can then take the ferry to Flam.

Or a bus from Gudvangen to Flam - where we can take the ferry from Balestrand to Midtfords to Gudvangen. Then bus to Flam so we can take the train up to Myrdal.
northwoods2 is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2009, 06:20 PM
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Posts: 408
Have you considered the train from Bergen to Voss, then bus to Gudvangen, then boat on the Naeroiyfjord from Gudvangen - to Flam. But instead of going all the way to Flam, do the midfijord exchange.(transfering at Midtfjord - literally from boat to boat, in the middle of the fjord to the boat going to Balestrand).

That is what we are going to do, only in reverse. Don't know if the times work doing it your way.
Then the next day boat at 11:50 from Balestrand to Flam and continue Nutshell to Oslo.
I got my copy of Rick Steves Scandenavia 2007 on Amazon for $.89 + #3.99 shipping.
Alternately, your idea of a bus from Vik to Gudvangen and then ferry to Flam is a great idea.
Where are you staying in Balestrand? We are booked for 2 nights at the Balestrand Hotel and Unni Marie has been helpful with our ferry times and web sites.
If you are staying at the Balestrand, you would find Unni Marie very helpful.
nannibray is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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Yes, we are staying at the Balestrand Hotel. Unni Marie has offered help - but was just moving to California so I haven't bothered her yet.

I had wanted to do the boat to Balestrand because it seem like we would get more of a feel of the coast of Norway and the fjords.
northwoods2 is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2009, 05:41 AM
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I think I found an option.

11:50 ferry from Balestrand - Flam
Depart Midtfords at 12:45 - arrive Gudvangen at 2:30

Local bus departs Gudvangen at 3:35 - arrives Flam at 4:00

Take either the 4:05 or 5:25 train to Myrdal.

Does this sound like a good workable solution?
northwoods2 is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2009, 05:35 PM
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It sounds wonderful. A good plan to me. Unni Marie is already in California. I talked to her about our schedule last Friday. Do you have her cell phone? If so, give her a call: if not, let me know and I can plst it here but I'd rather not if you have it. She was most helpful. One reason that the Balestrand Hotel has such a high rating on Trip Advisor.
nannibray is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2009, 07:19 PM
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where are you staying in Bergen? We still need a hotel for 2 nights there,
nannibray is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2009, 08:04 PM
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We are at Thon Rosenkrantz. Same friend that recommended the Balestrand Hotel recommended it to us. We are there just 1 night.

I do have her Cal. cell phone number. Thanks.
northwoods2 is offline  
Old Oct 1st, 2009, 07:53 PM
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Do you know any "tricks" to get a good price at the Rosenkrantz? I checked on TA and the best rate for next July was $283.USD Do you know if it is less with the Skanplus Hotel Pass? That pass is for the Thon Hotel chainb and should offer a nice discount according to Rick Steves, but I can't find ort the rate.
nannibray is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2009, 07:50 PM
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Sorry don't know any tricks. I actually just switched to the Thon Bergen Brygge instead. Rick Steves claims the rooms are as nice and were were able to get 2 rooms for less than we had a family room at Rosenkrantz. Found out the family room has a pull out couch for the 3rd and 4th person.
northwoods2 is offline  

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