We are planning to take the Ferry from Bergen to Balestrand and stay at the Kviknes Hotel in June for two nights. Will ask for a room in the old part of the hotel (per input from someone on the Blog). Is that enough time to take a RIB ride and see the town? Any other sites we need to see?
The town as in Balestrand? It can be seen in 30 minutes or so, so yes.
Most people traveling to that area want to take the Flamsbana train between Myrdal and Flam, and many if not most want to see the Naeroyfjord. I don't know exactly where the RIB trips from Balestrand go, but I suspect they don't go into the Naeroyfjord like the Flam-Gudvangen ferries do. I'd check the details on those (quite expensive) trips. And that still leaves the Flamsbana.
Balestrand is by all accounts a very attractive place to stay, but it has only one ferry each day across the Sognefjord to Flam, so using Balestrand as a base for activities on the other side of the fjord is difficult.
If you have only two nights and don't have a car, I think you'd manage more high-impact sightseeing by staying in Flam. Whether you'd be able to fit a RIB trip into your schedule, I do not know. And Flam itself is a rather plain-looking town in a magnificent setting--not to mention a frequent port for monster cruise ships, which is definitely not a point in its favor.
Edited to add: I should have acknowledged that it will probably be very difficult at this point to find a room in Flam for two nights in June. Gudvangen or Voss might be possible.
We stayed at Kvikne's a few years ago and will stay there again on this trip The old part of the hotel is charming - the new wing that caters to tour groups looks like a college dorm. The food is good, the view from the dining room is superb. The town itself is nothing special. Norway is about scenic drives, not pretty villages - for that you need to go to the Cotswolds or the Yorkshire dales.
The Dragsvik - Vangsnes ferry crosses the Sognefjord frequently. We took the ferry, stopped at Hopperstad Stave Church, enjoyed a beautiful drive to charmless Flam where we took the train up and back, then returned to Kviknes for dinner.
This time we are taking the ferry, heading to Gudvangen and taking the ferry to Kaupanger, then returning to the hotel. The Gudvangen - Kaupanger ferry leaves at 12:00 and takes 2 hours - it is a scenic trip down a fjord, not just a quick crossing.
However, you need a car to do this. Driving in Norway is very easy - excellent roads, not much different than driving in the USA.
I stayed there three or four nights summer before last, and would have stayed longer if I had been able to, and I absolutely hope to go back for longer sometime before too long.
There are some fantastic hikes and walks from the hotel, and the views are superb. You can get the fast boat over to Vik to visit the Hopperstad Stave Church. I don’t agree with those who say it isn’t interesting there, or that you have to have a car, but I’m obviously in the minority.
But Balestrand, and the Kviknes Hotel, are some of my favorite vacation stays I’ve had in the last 10 years.
I'm sure you don't have to have a car, and I remember reading the very interesting trip report about what you were able to see. But Richard has only two nights (1-1/2 days) in Balestrand. It's tough to see things on the south side of the fjord in that amount of time if you don't have a car.
Will look at a car rental to drive from Bergen to balestrand as well as the ferry to Vik without having a car. Thanks for everyone who responded
Having a car is, IMHO, an excellent decision for a Norway trip. Many posters in this forum are skeptical about rental cars, but we have used them on many trips to Europe (including one to Norway) with no problems. The Norwegians who post in the Tripadvisor forum all recommend having a car to maximize your travel choices. IMHO it seems one gets better rental rates if returning the car to a major airport - I suspect that is where rental car companies want to have most of their cars .
Where are you heading after Balestrand? I will share the route I have planned (after obsessive research/ planning) for our June trip if you send me a PM.
I didn't have a car and had a fabulous time. It can work either way.
One of my hotels even gave me a discount for having arrived via public transportation.