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Balestrand fjord and forest hike

If you wanted to create a cliche of natural beauty, it would be Norway (and probably this part of Norway).
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 4 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  In the classic sci-fi comedy 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', the Earth turns out to be a giant computer created by aliens and... more »

Tips:  To get to Balestrand from Norway's second city of Bergen (or anywhere else on the south east of the country), it's a long drive around... more »

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Points of Interest

The rich and famous have been dragging their travel trunks to Balestrand since the 1800s and while the stream of summer boats and buses continues apace, the town never seems to be suffering from a tourist crush.

This trail starts at the historic Kviknes Hotel, a huge wedding cake of a Swiss-style chalet where you can feel like a 19th century... More

2. Fjord views

Tearing your attention from the man (& woman in the case of St Olafs) made town features are expansive views down the Sognefjord. The vista can range from 'clear for miles' to misty and emotive depending on the weather, but whatever conditions it's easy to see what has attracted generations of landcsape artists.

3. Forest nature trail ascent

This trail is rated 'moderate' rather than 'easy' because of the steep ascent to 400 metres as you leave the town. Well, we thought it was steep until we met an elderly local taking it in her stride as she did daily.

Distracting from the strain will be the elevated fjord and mountain views developing behind you. You'll also cross and walk... More

4. Forest nature trail junction

The paper trail maps provided by the local tourist authority are not particularly detailed to say the least, but fortunately the trails themselves have a simple and well-marked color coding system.

It's the yellow stripes for this trail, but at various points like this POI there are offshoots to longer treks across the top of the surrounding... More

5. Forest nature trail

From this point, the trail is an easy level or downhill stroll back to town. If you want to learn more about the flora and fauna you're wandering through, take note of the educational signs lining the path at various points.

As you leave the forest, the trail winds alongside the local school and back to the town streets.

6. Ferry wharf & boat jetty

In many ways, this end of the walking trail seems like the hub of Balestrand. It is surrounded by most of the local shops and cafes, and is literally the first Balestand experience for those arriving by ferry.

It's also the parking spot for people who have made the summer trip to the area in their own boats, and you can rent a kayak here if you ... More

7. Fjord cruise up the Fjaerlandsfjord

The wharf is also the place to pick up a ferry sailing up the narrow Fjaerslandfjord to the north. Check the timetable noticeboard for details but generally there are two ferries a day in each direction between early May and late September.

You'll pass through steep mountainous banks of forest and farmland (while you ponder the logistics of... More

It's 45 minutes to the quirky village of Fjaerland at the end of the fjord. Fjaerland could possibly be the strangest town in Norway. It's a small farming village that looks like it wouldn't have more than 100 residents but, if that's the case, it can boast a bookshop for every dozen people. Some humorous sculptures and the 1891 wooden Hotel... More