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Balestrand from Bergen or Flåm? Also - clothing in August and avoiding cruises

Hi! We (4 adults, all interested in nature's beauty, food, and history) will be doing a variation of the NIN in mid August from Olso to Bergen. Should we...

1) Stop in Flåm, taking the Express boat to Balestrand, then return to Flåm and go on to Gudvangen and Bergen? If so, is it better to spend the night in Flåm or Balestrand?

or
2) Do the NIN, then take the ferry from Bergen to Balestrand, seeing the western route?

Which is prettier? Also, we'd like to spend some time at the Gudvangen Viking Village - we are all living history re-enactors. Is there a good place to stay near there or are we better off in Flåm? Or Aurland? So many towns!

Also - what type of weather should we be expecting? What sort of temps?
Is there a way to find out when the cruise ships will be at Flåm, so I can plan around them?
Thanks so much for your advice!
Sharon

Posted by
1378 posts

Ship arrivals 2020 at Flåm port.

Be aware that there are no towns. These all are very small villages, e. g. "Flåm is a charming village with a population of approx. 300 residents" (source).

Balestrand is overvalued in my opinion.

Temps is a question of when in August. Early August is Norwegian summer, end of August autumn has started already: temps from August 2019.

Posted by
38 posts

Thank you so much, MarkK. That link was invaluable, but now I have more questions! :)
It seems spending the night in Flåm is a good plan. It also looks like we definitely want to avoid Flåm on the 12th. We arrive in Oslo on the 8th. I feel like my options are Olso 8th-13th - which would be great but doesn't leave much time for anything else - or 8th -10th, which is too short.

Half of our party needs to be back in Oslo on the 16th to fly home, so I suppose after a few days in Bergen we could all go back together and spend more time there before my half goes on to Denmark. Is the train from Bergen to Oslo along the southern route a pretty one?

Am I understanding you correctly, that I should abandon Balestrand as a destination?
Tusen takk!

Posted by
1378 posts

I do not know what are the topics you want to do in Oslo hat takes days? It is not comparable to Copenhagen or Stockholm which need much more time than Oslo imo.

Videos from train Oslo - Bergen you can find on Youtube.

Flåm and Naeroyfjord are really beautiful places. At a sunny morning try to get a group taxi up to Stegastein if you stay in Aurland.

Balestrand is nice but just not my thing: recommended since 1900 and discussed so much but I know other places, also close to your route, that are very beautiful as well. Let me take Utne or Eidfjord as examples - both located at Hardangerfjord. If you want to stay at Sognefjord and branches Kaupanger, Aurland and Solvorn are beautiful.

A lot to explore.

I do not know if flights are booked already but Bergen is also well connected to other international airports, e. g. CPH.

Posted by
38 posts

Thank you!
In Oslo we are interested in a number of the museums - the Norsk Folkemuseum, the Viking Ship museum, the National Gallery. How many days would you recommend? Our true goal is to get a taste of life in Norway. It's not so much Balestrand we are interested in as the ride on the ferry to and from... I was trying to figure out if the view on the ride from Flåm-Balestand or Bergen-Balestrand would be nicer.

I am absolutely willing to abandon Balestrand for Utne or Eidfjord (or Aurland and Solvorn). We will not have a car, but are willing to ride any sort of public transit. Hiring a taxi is possible, too.

We do not have flights purchased yet. To be honest, I haven't started figuring out the second week of my trip yet. It could be anywhere - I was just thinking Denmark would be fun. :)

Posted by
5437 posts

Oslo. You could sprint through Oslo sights and attractions in two full days (three nights), or enjoy Oslo strolling about in three full days (four nights). My arrival day is usually spent getting oriented and walking about.

Two day sprint plan. The Oslo 48 hour Pass may be worth the price and save time buying transit and entrance tickets:
https://www.visitoslo.com/en/activities-and-attractions/oslo-pass/prices/

You can cover the Bygdoy Peninsula museums and attractions in a day and visiting Oslo City Hall after the boat ride back from Bygdoy: https://www.visitoslo.com/bygdoy
Ferry from the Fram Museum goes to the pier near City Hall, the Nobel Peace Center and AkerBrygge complex. If you are staying in the central Oslo area, walk back from City Hall via the Akershus Fortress and views of the fjord from the fortress ramparts.

Second (or first) day. A lot to see in Oslo including Vigeland Park, National Museum, the Scream, Resistance Museum, taking the Metro T1 to Holmenkollen and the ski jump museum and tower. You can sprint or stroll Vigeland Park and its sculptures. Walk the Opera House roof.

https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/norway/oslo

At a Glance ▲▲▲ City Hall Oslo's artsy 20th-century government
building, lined with huge, vibrant, municipal-themed murals, best
visited with included tour.

▲▲▲ National Gallery Norway's cultural and natural essence, captured
on canvas.

▲▲▲ Frogner Park Sprawling park with works by Norway's greatest
sculptor, Gustav Vigeland, and the studio where he created them (now a
museum).

▲▲▲ Fram Museum Captivating exhibit on two Arctic exploration ships.

▲▲ Norwegian Folk Museum Norway condensed into 150 historic buildings
in a large open-air museum.

▲▲ Norwegian Resistance Museum Gripping look at Norway's tumultuous
WWII experience.

▲▲ Viking Ship Museum Impressive trio of ninth-century Viking ships,
with exhibits on the people who built them.

▲▲ Kon-Tiki Museum Adventures of primitive Kon-Tiki and Ra II ships
built by Thor Heyerdahl.

▲ Oslo Opera House Stunning performance center that's helping
revitalize the harborfront.

▲ Akershus Fortress Complex and Tours Historic military base and
fortified old center, with guided tours, a ho-hum castle interior, and
the excellent Norwegian Resistance Museum (listed above).

▲ Norwegian Maritime Museum Briny voyage through Norway's rich
seafaring heritage.

▲ Ekeberg Sculpture Park Hilly, hikeable 63-acre forest park with
striking contemporary art and city views.

▲ Edvard Munch Museum Works of Norway's famous Expressionistic
painter.

▲ Grünerløkka Oslo's trendy former working-class district, with
bustling cafés and pubs.

▲ Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen Oslo's harborfront promenade, and nearby
trendy neighborhood with Astrup Fearnley Museum, upscale galleries,
shops, and cafés.

▲ Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Ski Museum Dizzying vista and a schuss
through skiing history, with a zip line off the top.

Norwegian Holocaust Center High-tech look at the rise of
anti-Semitism, the Holocaust in Norway, and racism today.

Nobel Peace Center Exhibit celebrating the ideals of the Nobel Peace
Prize and the lives of those who have won it.

Posted by
279 posts

Everyone is missing an important component of the trip to Oslo. Spend the evening sitting at one of the outdoor tables on Carl Johans Gate and watch the the people. Very pleasant on a summer evening!