Hello! I'm starting to plan a Scandinavia trip for June 2018 and am interested in the Norway in a Nutshell Tour from Oslo to Bergen with a stopover in Balestrand for 2 nights. I can see in Rick's book that there is an express boat from Flam to Balestrand that departs Flam at 15:30, but I can't seem to find any timetable or ticket information on this express boat. Has anyone done the stopover in Balestrand? Do we need to book express boat tickets in advance? Thanks!
I did the exact same thing as you are doing. I purchased the complete Sognefjord in a Nutshell package from the NiN website (https://www.norwaynutshell.com/). I know you can buy everything separately, but I was glad not to have to hassle with figuring out the details on my own. It was quite easy to do on the website, and then I just had to stop by the train station in Oslo the day before to pick up my tickets.
If you prefer to purchase the express boat tickets directly, here is the web site: https://www.norled.no/en/expressboat/. However, they are not going to be selling tickets for June 2018 probably until after the first of next year.
By the way, I strongly recommend staying in a fjord-view room at the Hotel Balestrand. The Kviknes is famous, and it's big. The Hotel Balestrand is family run, small, and lovely. And you can always walk to the Kviknes for the buffet dinner. (http://www.balestrand.net/)
I also rented a car for the day I was in Balestrand. If you want to explore the area north of the Sognefjord, it's pricey but so beautiful! Here's the link for the rental car: http://leigebil.no/.
You're in for a real treat! Enjoy!
We just came back last week from 2 1/2 week trip to Scandinavia - 6 days in Denmark, 4 in Stockholm and 6 days Norway with 3 of them in Balestrand and we LOVED it. We traveled back to Oslo for our last 2 days and so Balestrand was the perfect cap to our vacation!
It was everything Lane said it was and he gave good advice on the sites to check and on the Balestrand Hotell as well. We had a fjord view room and it is run by Unni-Marie Kvikne and her husband, Eric and they were a great help on planning our activities.
It was also nice & relaxing, and as Rick Steves said in his book, a break from the "nuttiness" of the usual NIN freneticness and allowed us to really see the Fjords up close and tour around. I like to do some photography, so while in Balestrand, we visited Vik to see & photograph the Hopperstad Stave Church and the next day, a leisurely cruise up to Fjaerjandsfjord.
I booked all parts myself as for some "strange" reason I enjoy visiting the various European train websites and doing the work as it helps me visualize & familiarize us to the travel, but that's just me.
We booked the NORLD 11:30 boat from Balestrand to Flam (back by 1 PM) to make the 2 PM Premium boat to Flam to Gudvangen to see the Naeroyfjord and make the 15:30 bus connection Gudvangen to Voss and the the 17:11 Voss to Oslo train. A long, long day but as I mentioned, a great cap to our vacation.
Thank you to Lane and Gene. Glad you both had nice trips! It seems like the Sognefjord in a Nutshell is the route we will plan for. And thanks for recommending Hotel Balestrand...it looks lovely.
rmg123 - thank you for posting exactly the question I was going to ask! And thanks too for the great replies Lane and retiredgene.
RetiredGene - how did you navigate the websites for the RR in Norway? I've struggled with it thus far although I know we can't book tickets just yet it does seem rather confusing. Any specific tips?
Thanks again -
Lisa - thanks, I did my scheduling in March & April 2017 so I today I went to:
https://www.nsb.no/en/frontpage (their website, English selected) and it worked fine.
I selected the different legs of NIN mentioned in Rick's book - Single Journey, plugged in the Oslo to Myrdal leg, Travelers, selected 2 people, (Adult - 2 Sr Seniors) for discount, leaving 20/07/2017 from 6 AM, on in the symbol for Calendar, (next week).
It gave me all the times from 6 AM on and the prices. FWIW, the only problem I ran into with them was my credit card and I had to use
Hope that helps.... Gene
I forgot to include the final results with the times & prices, I hope this comes through okay:
I'm sure others will find this super helpful too!