In the middle of the Sognefjord, where the fjord is at its widest and the mountains starts to rise, you’ll find Balestrand, an idyllic village down by the fjord.

The Historical Hotel Kviknes at Balestrand is beautifully located beside the Sognefjord. The Kvikne family have been the hosts here since 1877.


Season and Safety

Many of the activities, attractions, roads and accommodations mentioned on this website are open only in summer and are closed in winter. Season and opening times will vary, it usually opens in the summer and closes in the autumn, depending on, among other things, the amount of snow and the risk of landslides and avalanches in the area.

Important information about roads in Western Norway: There are restrictions on the length of vehicles on many of the roads in Norway. Many roads in Western Norway are prone to landslides and avalanches, especially in rainy and snowy weather. There might also be a chance that some of the roads are closed in short periods, especially during winter, due to weather and danger of rock- and snow avalanches and other dangerous conditions. Some of the roads in Western Norway are closed during winter! Winter tires are required in winter. Read more about Tyre Requirements in Norway...

It is important to take precautions for weather and road conditions, both when you drive and when you are out in nature in Norway. It is recommended to use a guide on the tours described on this website. Read more about safety and your own responsibility...

Visit Sognefjord

Visit Sognefjord is the official destination company for the Sognefjord area.

FJORDS NORWAY - View from Balestrand towards Esefjorden
View from the aquarium in Balestrand towards Esefjorden.

Balestrand by the Sognefjord

Balestrand is one of the first places the foreign tourists visited when they discovered Norway in the mid-19th century. Due to the beautiful nature, the wild mountains and the location down by the fjord, Balestrand became a favorite place to visit among artists and the Norwegian and foreign society from the end of the 19th century until the beginning of World War I.

Germany´s Emperor Wilhelm II visited Balestrand several times, and it was an impressive sight when he entered the Sognefjord with his warships to spend his holidays there. Well-known Norwegian painters such as Hans Dahl, Eilert Adelsteen Normann and Anders Askevold lived for long periods at Balestrand, and many of their most famous paintings have motifs from the Sognefjord and Balestrand area.

FJORDS NORWAY - Hotel Kviknes at Balestrand, down by the Sognefjord
The Historic Hotel Kviknes at Balestrand, down by the mighty Sognefjord

The magnificent villas from the 18th and 19th century which were built in Dragon Style and Swiss Chalet Style, among them Villa Strandheim, Villa Lorne and Villa Normann, the St. Olaf´s Church and Hotel Kviknes, are reasons enough to visit Balestrand. St. Olaf’s Church was the inspiration for the chapel where Elsa was crowned in Disney´s film Frozen I.

Balestrand is still one of the most popular tourist destinations in the fjords. The village is situated in the middle of all the things that is worth seeing and doing in the Sognefjord area. Activities like Fjord Angling, Kayaking, Fjord Safari with Rib Boat, hiking and skiing in the mountains, snow shoe hiking and great road trips can be done from Balestrand.

The Historical Hotel Kviknes

Hotel Kviknes at Balestrand is beautifully located down by the Sognefjord. The Kvikne family have been the hosts here since 1877. This is the hotel where Germany’s Emperor Wilhelm II spent his holiday at the start of the World War I. The chair he sat in when he was informed the war had started is still in the hotel.

Kviknes is now a modern hotel with old-world charm and atmosphere – with 190 guest rooms.  The hotel is graced with an extensive collection of artworks and antiques, which give it its special style.

Ciderhuset Restaurant and Cider Tasting

Ciderhuset at Balestrand is both a restaurant and  an experience. Ciderhuset is located only a short walk from the center of Balestrand. You can have a meal in the restaurant, join tasting of the cider made from local produce from Balholm, shop in the farm shop and learn about cider and fruit all year round.

Balejazz Jazz Festival

Every year in May, Balejazz Jazz Festival is arranged in Balestrand. Imagine a fjord flat as a mirror, green valleys, snowy mountains and jazzy tones in a garden down by the Sognefjord.

Fjord Cruise from Balestrand to Fjærland and back to Balestrand

This is a Fjord Cruise between Balestrand and Fjærland. You get to experience a part of the Sognefjord, the Fjærlandsfjord and the picturesque fjord village of Fjærland. You get to spend two hours in Fjærland before the trip takes you on the same boat back to Balestrand.

SEASON – Summer. See the Glaciertour website for more information about the season and the tour. Glaciertour is also arranging other trips on the Sognefjord.

FJORDS NORWAY - Fjærland by the Fjærlandsfjord, part of the Sognefjord area.
Fjærland by the inner part of the Fjærlandsfjord.

The Gaularfjellet Mountain Road

The road over Gaularfjellet takes the traveller into the waterfalls from the mighty Sognefjord, which is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. The 130 kilometer long drive is exciting and varied, and is closed during winter. The new viewpoint at Utsikten at the top of Gaularfjellet is one of many great viewpoints along this road. Gaularfjellet Mountain Road runs between Balestrand by the Sognefjord and Moskog and Sande in Sunnfjord and is part of Norway´s National Tourist Routes.

Fjord Angling on the Sognefjord

Balestrand Fjord Angling offers a large range of adventures on the Sognefjord and in the mountains above Balestrand. Join a local fisherman for a day, experience fishing and sightseeing on the fjord, join a guided snow shoe hike with fjord view or rent an E-bike.

Guided Hike to Mt Raudmelen above Balestrand

Balestrand is a great starting point for hiking in the surrounding mountains, most of the hikes have fantastic fjord view to the Sognefjord. Orrabenken viewpoint and Mt Raudmelen are popular goals for hikers, in the summer you can join a guided hike to Mt Raudmelen. Orrabenken viewpoint is by the same trail as the hike to Mt Raudmelen. You can start many of the hikes from the center of Balestrand, and most of the hikes are well marked.

FJORDS NORWAY - View from Orrabenken at 370 masl, a viewpoint by the trail between Balestrand and Mt Raudmelen.
View from Orrabenken at 370 masl, a viewpoint by the trail between Balestrand and Mt Raudmelen.

Guided Kayak Trips from Balestrand

Kayak Balestrand offers guided kayak-adventures and kayak-courses on the fjord around Balestrand. The guided tours take you to the Sognefjord and Esefjord.

FJORDS NORWAY - A guided kayak trip on the Sognefjord outside Balestrand is a great experience. Balestrand with Kviknes Hotel and the Esefjord mountains in the background.
A guided kayak trip on the Sognefjord is a great experience. This is Balestrand with Kviknes Hotel and the Esefjord mountains

Fjordsafari on the Sognefjord to Finnabotn in a RIB Boat

Balestrand Fjord Adventures offers fjord sightseeing in a RIB-boat. A tour to Finnabotn on the other side of the Sognefjord is an adventure you´ll never forget. Balestrand Fjord Adventures also offers private RIB-tours.

The Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism

The Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism offers exhibitions with an insight into the Norwegian tourism history in the fjords of Norway. There´s also a café where you can buy coffee, local produce lunch alternatives and sandwiches. The café is also “serving” a great view towards the Sognefjord.

FJORDS NORWAY - Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism in Balestrand
Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism in Balestrand

Sognefjord Aquarium

Sognefjord Aquarium offers indoor exhibitions, 24 different aquariums showing the life in the Sognefjord, cinema and Gallery Munken with wooden carvings illustrating the history of Balestrand.

FJORDS NORWAY - The Sognefjord Aquarium in Balestrand
The Sognefjord Aquarium in Balestrand

Fjærland at the inner part of the Fjærlandsfjord

The Fjærlandsfjord between Balestrand and Fjærland is a branch of the Sognefjord. The fjord leads you to the outskirts of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier. At the head of the fjord you find interesting attractions such as the Norwegian Glacier Museum and the picturesque town Fjærland (the Norwegian book town). From the ferry quay in Mundal it is a short drive by car or bus up to the Supphellebreen and Bøyabreen Glaciers.

Vik in Sogn, Hopperstad Stave Church and Fridtjof den Frøkne

Vik is a fjord village by the Sognefjord in the same area as Balestrand, only on the opposite side of the fjord and two ferry routes away. There are Hopperstad Stave Church and Hove Stone Church, two of Norway’s oldest churches. At Vangsnes further out the fjord stands the 12 meter tall Fridtjof den Frøkne looking out over the Sognefjord.

FJORDS NORWAY - The statue of Fridtjof den Frøkne at Vangsnes by the Sognefjord. Balestrand on the other side of the fjord.
The statue of Fridtjof den Frøkne at Vangsnes by the Sognefjord. Balestrand on the other side of the fjord.

Sognefjord – What to See and Do

The Sognefjord, the king of the fjords, is the longest fjord adventure in Norway. The Sognefjord is 204 kilometers long and 1308 meters deep at its deepest. Join a guided glacier walk on the Nigardsbreen glacier, see the beautiful stave churches. Join a fjord safari or a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. Experience the view from Stegastein viewpoint above the Aurlandsfjord. Take a short hike to Mt Molden in Luster and you will see the fantastic view down to the Lustrafjord. Balestrand is one of the first places the foreign tourists visited when they discovered Norway in the mid-19th century. The Fjærlandsfjord, Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, the Årdalsfjord and the Lustrafjord are all branches of the Sognefjord. These side fjords are perhaps even more famous than the Sognefjord itself, which is located in the middle of western Norway. The Sognefjord is so long that it almost divides Norway in two.


Allkunne – Levande Leksikon

Accommodation in Balestrand

Hotel Kviknes – Hotel in Balestrand
Hotel Midtnes – Hotel by St. Olafs-church in Balestrand
Balholm Apartments – in the center of Balestrand
Flesje Gard – outside Balestrand
Balestrand Seaside B& B Hotel – Balestrand

Balestrand – Useful Links

Hotel Midtnes – Balestrand Web Cam of St. Olaf´s Church and the Sognefjord
Visit Balestrand – Tourist Information Balestrand
Hotel Kviknes – Travel to Balestrand
Balestrand Adventure – Book an adventure from Balestrand


Here you will find an overview of recommended HOTELS in addition to SPA & BATH HOTELS and OTHER ACCOMMODATION PLACES in Western Norway. The combination of beautiful nature, activities that you can do in all four seasons and a stay at a great accommodation is unique. A stay in one of these places will do you good, both for body and mind.

There are ten restaurants that have awarded Michelin stars and Michelin awards in Western Norway. Eight of the Michelin restaurants are in Stavanger and two in Bergen. Here you will find FJORDS MICHELIN, where you will also find a list of recommended hotels in Western Norway, recommended by Michelin.

VISIT NORWAY is the official travel guide for Norway. VISIT NORWAY'S FJORD GUIDE gives you a good overview of the most beautiful fjords in Norway. USEFUL LINKS is a list of websites with great information on Norway and the Fjords.

Balestrand – Map Overview