We’re doing the Norway in a Nutshell this summer, and would like to spend a little time in one or two of the towns along the way. I’m thinking 2 nights in Bergen, and was thinking one night in Flam, however, can’t find available hotels in Flam so looking for another town that may be worth an overnight stay. Preferably one that is easy to get to on the NiN route. Balestrand? Voss? Aurland? Would love to hear suggestions. Thanks!
I'd just go all the way to Bergen and spend my time there. It's a very special place.
When is your trip?
I'm going to Norway myself next month--which means all these comments are based on research rather than experience.
Based on my reading, Balestrand sounds like the most attractive place to stay, but it isn't terribly easy to work into an itinerary unless you have more than one night to spend in the area. The difficulty is that the most direct link from Flam (the usual arrival point if you're coming in from Oslo) to Balestrand is the express boat from Bergen, and it runs only once a day in each direction. These are the times are for late June:
If you take the 8:25 train from Oslo, you'll get to Flam about 15:00 and have to go almost straight to the express boat. You'll have the evening in Balestrand and a very few hours the next morning before you have to get the express boat back to Flam. The round trip on the express boat will be about US $66, I think. It seems that you'd want to have at least two nights in Balestrand, and even then I think you need to consider how you're going to use the intervening day if you don't plan to rent a car or hike. There's not a lot of public transportation over on that side of the fjord.
Voss isn't on a fjord but seems to have developed into a destination for people interested in active pursuits. When I was looking for lodging, there was more available in Voss than any of the other accessible towns. However, Voss is on the main rail line only about 90 minutes from Bergen, so it doesn't seem worthwhile to stop there unless you want to take advantage of the outdoorsy activities on offer there.
Gudvangen doesn't seem to have much going on, but it is on the fjord. You might find a room there.
I'm not sure about Aurland. It's not far from Flam, but I'm not clear on how much bus service there is.
I posted a list of lodgings in some of the fjord towns in this earlier thread; perhaps it will save you a bit of time. My sources were booking.com and Google Maps. I did not look at Airbnb.
I highly recommend 2 nights in Balestrand. In 2019 we took train from Oslo, transferred to scenic Flambasa railroad to Flam and then boat to Balestrand. After 2 nights there, we took boat to Bergen. Stay at the smaller RS recommended hotel in Balestrand, not the big resort hotel. Balestrand has far fewer tourists than busy Flam. Plenty to do and see.
I spent four nights in Balestrand last summer and loved it. There are lots of lovely hikes accessible (by foot) near there, plus there are lots of outings for Rib boats or fishing or whatever. I found it absolutely delightful and would have stayed longer if I could have.
(I was also traveling via public transportation. I spent one night in Flåm just so I could ride the Flamsbana, and a morning in Gudvangen. That was enough for me in both of those.)
Also, I stayed in the big hotel, the Kviknes -- in the old part -- and adooooored it. The view from my balcony, the view from any of the patios or the breakfast room --- all were million-dollar views.
Thanks for the feedback everyone!