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Logistics for Norway in a Nutshell with a side trip to Balestrand

We will be in Norway in late May and have two days booked in Balestrand.

It was our original plan to travel Oslo-Myrdal-Flam and then connect to the Balestrand Ferry. After our two nights in Balestrand, we wanted to complete the nutshell tour from Flam and return to Oslo the same day. (Balestrand-Flam-Gudvangen-Voss). However, it doesn't appear this is possible given the only ferry from Balestrand to Flam arrives at 1:45 pm, and by the time you complete the nutshell, you miss the last train (other than the all-night train) to Oslo.

Is this itinerary possible? Is it possible to connect another way in order to complete the Flam-Gudvangen fjord cruise? I am assuming that the Flam-Gudvangen fjord cruise is a "don't miss" sight.

We want to return to Oslo as the next leg of our journey is Stockholm.

Thank you

Posted by
131 posts

Back in 2010, we took a ferry from Bergen to Balestrand, spent the night there, and took a morning ferry to Flam. The train took us to Myrdal, where we switched to an Oslo bound train, arriving early evening. Perhaps ferry and train schedules have changed since then. Good luck! I'm sure it can be done. It IS totally worth it. (Sorry I wasn't much help...)

Posted by
460 posts

Our two night stay in Balestrand was my favorite part of our visit to Norway in 2019. The way we worked it into our itinerary was to travel the complete Norway in a Nutshell journey all the way from Oslo to Voss, leaving on the 6:22 a.m. train from Oslo rather than choosing the second departure time. In Voss we picked up the rental car we'd booked from Hertz and drove up to Balestrand. After two nights there, we drove to Bergen, and returned the car there. If you decide to rent a car, you'd probably want to save the hefty one-way fee by returning the car in Voss and taking the train there back to Oslo. The driving was quite easy. You may find that it is nice to have a car in Balestrand. It's a lovely little town to walk around in, but there are things to do in the area that would make having a car a plus.

The Hertz rental car facility is actually just before Voss as you are on the bus from Gudvangen. Using instructions provided to us by the owner of the Hertz rental car facility, we had the bus driver let us out early, at the Skulestandmo bus stop. (I was worried he wouldn't be willing to stop the bus before reaching Voss, but this request was no problem.) From there we had a five minute walk to get our reserved car.

The Voss Hertz facility was very easy to work with. When I was first looking into this, I was communicating with the owner by email, but then I picked up the phone and called because these arrangements were too vital to not be sure I'd gotten my booking locked in and knew how to get there. The owner spoke excellent English and assured me that our reservation was secure and our car would be waiting for us, even though we'd be arriving after hours. (Our arrival day was on a Saturday when they close early. His instructions to us were to pick up our paperwork and keys at a gas station next door to his place.)

Back then, the email address I was using to communicate with the Hertz facility in Voss was [email protected]. The owner's name was Stefan. He really was so helpful! At first we were going to pay a little extra to have him drop off the car right where the bus lets NIN passengers off in Voss, but then he had the idea of saving us that money by having the bus driver let us off early, so we could walk to Hertz.

Posted by
6670 posts

This sounds tricky. What date are you looking at? Is the Gudvangen-Voss bus important to you?

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you! We had not considered getting a rental car.

The original plan was to leave Oslo on Tuesday the 23rd, spend the 23rd and 24th in Balestrand and then return to Oslo late on the 25th. The Gudvagen-Voss bus is not important.

thank you

Posted by
6670 posts

I'm not sure a rental car will be of much help. And without knowing what the full itinerary looks like, my suggestion is:

When you arrive in Gudvangen, take the bus to Voss and then continue by train to Bergen. Spend the night in Bergen and fly to Stockholm the next day. SAS has direct flights from Bergen to Stockholm twice daily.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for the information. Will plan to head to Bergen for a day and then to Stockholm.

Posted by
5 posts

Anyone taken the Nutshell from Bergen to Oslo in the first half of October? I'm concerned about missing scenery with the shorter days. Other alternatives if the Nutshell is too long for October? Really want to see the fijords. Can't change the date.