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Norway in a Nutshell question

As part of the itinerary for our trip to Norway next year, we plan to leave Oslo on the 6:30 a.m. train to do Norway in a Nutshell, one way to Bergen, but with an interruption to have a two night stay in Balestrand.

Plan one: Oslo to Myrdal on the train, Myrdal to Flam on the scenic railway, then interrupt the NIN route when we get to Flam. Take the 15:30 express boat up to Balestrand, stay two nights, then take the 11:55 express boat back to Flam to continue on the NIN route (Naeroyfjord cruise from Flam to Gudvangen, bus from Gudvangen to Voss, train from Voss to Bergen).

Plan two: Oslo to Myrdal on the train, Myrdal to Flam on the scenic railway, Naeroyfjord cruise from Flam to Gudvangen, then somehow (how?) get from Gudvangen to Balestrand for our two night stay, and after Balestrand stay, take the express boat to Bergen.

Plan two seems to have a couple of advantages. It seems like plan one will get us to Bergen quite late in the evening, whereas plan two might get us there earlier. Our time in Bergen is limited to whatever we have on the day of our arrival plus one full day the next day, and we fly home early the day after that. So maximizing time in Bergen could be an advantage to plan 2. Also, taking the 1.5 hour express boat from Flam to Balestrand (plan one) might be fun and scenic, but plan one involves backtracking on it two days later, and we don't necessarily need to see that same scenery twice.

I don't want to skip the Naeroyfjord cruise part of NIN so am not interested in just taking the express boat from Flam to Balestrand and then the express boat from Balestrand to Bergen.

Are there some decent transportation options to get up to Balestrand from Gudvangen after the Naeryofjord cruise part of NIN? What are they, and how long do they take?

Any comments on the choice I'm trying to make?

Posted by
1496 posts

You did not mention date of travel.

Only other option is to rent a car which makes sense in that area but one-way rentals can become expensive. But the options are real cool, especially to be a little bit off the beaten NiN track. Think of Stegastein (, Stalheimskleiva (, Oppheimsvatnet ( or Trollafossen (

But why necessarily Balestrand? How about a stop at Vossevangen (between Flam and Bergen) or spend a night at Hardangerfjord?

Posted by
437 posts

Plan two could involve getting to Voss on the bus from Gudvangen, renting cars there, driving to Balestrand, then after our two night stay, driving to Bergen and returning the cars there. Has anyone done these drives: Voss to Balestrand, Balestrand to Bergen? Are one way car rentals prohibitively expensive in Norway?

Posted by
2746 posts

Why Balestrand? Is there something specific you wanted to do there? We spent one night there, while it is on the fjord and scenic, we found it, um quiet.
We like Flam lots better and the highlight of our 10 nights in Norway (I have a trip report on this forum) was the bicycle ride we did from the Myrdal train station 14 miles downhill to Flam.

However, to answer one of your get from Gundvegen to Balestrand you can take the express boat.
Also, while Bergen is a lovely city, one full day there was enough time for us. You can do all the main attractions in one day.
Good luck!