Balestrand has been voted ‘Norway’s most beautiful village’ on many occasions, and it’s really not hard to see why. Balestrand is nestled at the foot of a mountain range called the Gaularfjellet mountains, and is the centre of the world’s deepest fjord, Sognefjorden.
Kvikne’s Hotel is the main place to stay, and one of the most famous buildings in the village. The hotel was really popular in the early 1900s following the multiple visits of Kaiser Wilhelm II prior to World War I. The hotel even still has the chair he used on his visits!
The village is about a 4 hour drive from Bergen, which is the closest airport. You can combine it with a round loop road trip through multiple stunning locations. It’s fair to say Balestrand is all about the mountains and fjords, and here is my top 3 from the trip.
ONE. Mountain Views
Hiking the mountains with views down to the fjords and Balestrand is truly spectacular. You can hike to the mountain trig point of Raudmelen, and also go to the view point where the three fjords meet below (Fjaerlandsfjord, Esefjord and Sognefjord) alongside Balestrand. Breathtaking.
TWO. RIB Boat Ride
Balestrand Fjord Adventures run RIB boat rides to explore the fjords. RIBs are guided power boats and they are quite the ride, especially over choppy waters. Definitely wear a life jacket and be prepared to be flung about…not for people with really bad backs or bad motion sickness! BUT the views are epic and worth the crazy ride.
THREE. St Olaf’s Church
The church that was inspiration for Frozen! This church is the setting for Elsa’s coronation scene. This is an Anglican church, built in 1897 as an imitation of a stave church (medieval wooden churches). Nearby you can also visit a Statue of King Bele (a present from the aforementioned Kaiser Wilhelm II) and the charming Cider House is a nice lunch stop too.
FOUR (because three wasn’t quite enough). Fjord ride to the ‘Book Town’
You can ride out on the Fjaerlandfjord to the book town and glacier museum. The book town is situated in Mundal, and is about an hour’s boat ride away. The views on the boat ride are stunning, and the town itself is full of books. My kind of place! The glacier museum is also really interesting and worth a visit.
Thank you for reading! Has this post inspired you to check out Norway’s “most beautiful village”? Have you already been? Let me know in the comments below!