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Balestrand (locally called Holmen) is the administrative centre of Balestrand Municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. The village is located on the northern shore of the Sognefjorden, at the mouth of the small Esefjorden. It sits about 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of the village area of Leikanger-Hermansverk and about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) northwest of the village of Vangsnes (on the southern shore of the Sognefjorden). The small village of Tjugum lies less than 700 metres (2,300 ft) north of Balestrand, across the Esefjorden. The local Tjugum Church is located there, serving the people of the village of Balestrand.

View of the village (looking south)
View of the village (looking south)
Balestrand is located in Sogn og Fjordane
Location in Sogn og Fjordane county
Balestrand is located in Norway
Balestrand (Norway)
Coordinates: 61°12′34″N 06°32′09″E / 61.20944°N 6.53583°E / 61.20944; 6.53583Coordinates: 61°12′34″N 06°32′09″E / 61.20944°N 6.53583°E / 61.20944; 6.53583
RegionWestern Norway
CountySogn og Fjordane
MunicipalityBalestrand Municipality
 • Total1.07 km2 (0.41 sq mi)
Elevation8 m (26 ft)
 • Total819
 • Density765/km2 (1,980/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Post Code
6899 Balestrand

The 1.07-square-kilometre (260-acre) village has a population (2013) of 819, giving the village a population density of 765 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,980/sq mi).[1]

The village is home to the municipal government, but it is also a major tourist stop since the 1800s with several hotels including the Kviknes Hotel. The Sognefjord Aquarium and The Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism are located in the village. There are ferry routes each summer from Balestrand to the Fjærlandsfjorden and to the village of Flåm. There is also fast boat service from Balestrand to the city of Bergen. Balholm AS, a fruit juice processing company is based in Balestrand.[3]


The compounded name Balestrand was created by the Norwegian writer Henrik Wergeland as he traveled in Sogn in 1832 and wrote the poem "Framnæs-Balestrand". The first element is the name of the old farm Bale (Old Norse: Bali) and the last element is (Old Norse: strönd) or "strand" which means "beach". The name of the farm is identical with the word bali which means "hillside along a beach".[4][5] Historically, the village area was also known as Balholm or simply Holmen.

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  1. ^ a b c Statistisk sentralbyrå (1 January 2013). "Urban settlements. Population and area, by municipality".
  2. ^ "Balestrand" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  3. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Balestrand tettsted" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  4. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 137.
  5. ^ "Om Balestrand" (in Norwegian). Balestrand kommune. Retrieved 4 September 2010.