The picturesque village of Balestrand is located in the Norwegian province of Sogn og Fjordane on the north side of the Sognefjord. The village of Balestrand is surrounded by water on three sides, giving you a unique view of the high mountains surrounding the Esefjord and the glacier above the Esefjord. The Esefjorden and the Fjælandsfjorden flow into this part of the Sognefjord. Due to the unique location of Balestrand with its magnificent views of the mountains, glaciers and the Sognefjord, Balestrand was popular with tourists for a holiday from an early age and there is still plenty to see and do for everyone.
The center of Balestrand
In the center of Balestrand you get a first impression of the role that the water of the Sognefjord plays in everyday life. On the waterfront you will find the moorings for the ferries and the large cargo ships that visit the Sognefjord. Pleasure boating has also been taken into account, long wooden piers offer more than enough space for larger and smaller pleasure boats.
General facilities in Balestrand
If you look at the land from the marina, you will see the wooden warehouses painted in pastel shades that now house a few supermarkets and boutiques. Free WiFi is available at the tourist office, which is located between the two supermarkets. Behind the center, up the hill, there is a bank with an ATM and the police station.
On the right side of the marina, right in the center is the Sognefjord Akvarium, an aquarium with an interior space of 700 m2 with 24 different aquariums that give you a fascinating view of the underwater life of the Sognefjord. A model of the Esefjord, a small cinema and outdoor activities for children make a visit to this museum really worthwhile.
If you walk to the left from the marina, you can’t help but notice the Kviknes Hotel. This majestic white-painted Swiss-style wooden hotel with its extensive and well-maintained gardens gives you the feeling that this place has a long history. And that is correct.
In 1752 the Holmen Pension opened its doors. In 1877 Ole Kvikne took over the boarding house, which reportedly had four beds at the time. Together with his brother and wife, they decided to convert the guest house into the first Kviknes Hotel in the period 1884-1885. As more guests arrived, they ran out of space and when the western Norwegian fjord area was rediscovered around 1890, they decided that a real hotel had to be built. That new hotel opened its doors in 1892, about 20 to 30 meters away from the old building. Today the hotel has 190 hotel rooms and the Kviknes Hotel is still owned by the Kvikne family.
Art village Balestrand
The light is also striking in Balestrand. Because Balestrand is surrounded by water and snow-capped mountains, the light is truly special. This incidence of light has also inspired many, causing an artists’ colony to emerge in Balestrand around 1890 with Hans Dahl (1849-1937) as its center. Hans Dahl was a Berlin-based painter of romantic works who spent summers in Balestrand. After 1919 he settled permanently in Balestrand and Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany became his patron who regularly visited the hotel on his travels in Norway.
In Det Gylne hus” (the golden house) you will find a gallery where you can find paintings