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"High-end farmhouse holidays in Norway are a treasure trove of culinary, historical, natural and cultural experiences," says Edda Espeland, freelance journalist and editor.

Espeland has visited and written about some of the grandest manor houses in Norway. She says that the common denominator is often a combination of tradition, innovation, and local culture.

“Some manor houses arrange concerts and theatre performances that are based on local culture and history. Others have opened museums or offer nature activities such as kayaking, climbing, skiing, and cycling”, she says.

You will be greeted by friendly hosts who make every effort to ensure that you have a relaxing break from everyday life. Enjoy locally sourced food and get an insight into the area’s food and beverage traditions. And even though the surroundings have a distinctly remote feel, you may be surprised how easy it is to get there by train, bus, or car.

Read on for Espeland’s recommendations of the finest manor houses in Norway.

Engø Gård Hotell & Restaurant

Where: Tjøme in Eastern Norway

At Engø Gård in Tjøme, everything is in place for a relaxing break in serene surroundings. Enjoy exquisite cuisine and perfectly matched wine, elegant rooms, afternoon tea and one of the finest bathhouses in the country. Stroll along the shore, join a lobster safari or get your racket out at the private tennis court.

While you’re here: A short drive away, you’ll find Verdens Ende (“the end of the world”). It is worth a visit for the iconic lighthouse, built with pebbles from the local beaches. It is also great for fishing, hiking and a dip in the sea. Check out the restaurant at the top, too.

29/2 Aurland

Where: Aurland in Fjord Norway

29/2 Aurland is a modern boutique hotel right between the fjord and the mountains, ten minutes from the village of Flåm. Historically, Aurland was characterised by a combination of humble farmers and English aristocrats who came here to fish salmon. Today, you will find that this charming town has been complemented with trendy, innovative architecture and street art. 29/2 Aurland has eight individually decorated rooms. Spend the night in a room in the main house called the Fisherman’s Cabin, or opt for the so-called Goat Barn, a traditional cog-jointed smokehouse with a modern twist. Try locally produced goodies such as goat salami, craft bread, and freshly squeezed raspberry juice. If you want to stay active, the picturesque fjordscape offers many activities.

While you’re here: The hotel is a great starting point for hiking trips in the Aurlandsdalen valley. Explore the village of Aurland and snap a few pictures from the viewing platform Stegastein.

Valbjør Gard

Where: Vågå in Eastern Norway

The history of Valbjør Gard can be traced back to the Viking Age. It is beautifully situated in a cultural landscape some 700 meters above sea level. The sheltered courtyard consists of 13 timber buildings from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The hosts run an organic farm that produces goat’s milk and sheep milk, among other things. In the farm shop you can buy the farm's own goat brie, goat sausages and local handicraft.

While you’re here: Valbjør Gard is the perfect starting point for hiking and cycling in Jotunheimen. In Vågå, five kilometres away, you can participate in an Edvard Munch hiking tour and visit Vågå church, which goes back to the 1100s.

Hovelsrud Gård

Where: Ringsaker in Eastern Norway

Hovelsrud Gård is a true gem of a holiday spot. Situated on the Helgøya island in Lake Mjøsa, you can spend the night in the rustic barn Sommerfjøset next to the beach. Go for a stroll among fruit trees, pavilions and fountains in the strikingly beautiful garden, which has been kept in its original style from 1840. The farm has its own organic vegetable, chicken, and cereal production. It was the first chicken producer in the country to be awarded the animal protection label Dyrevernmerket.

While you’re here: Norway’s largest inland island Helgøya in the mid-area of Lake Mjøsa is shaped like a big heart. Visit the farm café Skafferiet for a delicious lunch in picturesque surroundings. You can also challenge yourself among the treetops in Helgøya climbing park. Check out all the incredible farms by the lake.

Haaheim Gaard

Where: Tysnes in Fjord Norway

Situated an hour and a half south of Bergen, Haaheim Gaard in Sunnhordland offers 21 historically decorated rooms with a sea view, including a few suites with a private sauna. This stately manor house is surrounded by a lush cultural garden with a chapel, rose bushes and fruit trees. The farm shop has a good stock of local flavours and a private gardener creates lavish food trays with fruit, vegetables, berries, and herbs. Haaheim Gaard arranges concerts, wine and beer tasting, and large dinner events based on local food throughout the year.

While you’re here: A stay at Haaheim Gaard can be combined with activities such as RIB safaris, fishing, hiking and mountain biking.

Herangtunet Boutique Hotel

Where: Valdres in Eastern Norway

You find the wonderful Herangtunet Boutique Hotel on a hill in the forest between Fagernes and Beitostølen in Valdres. Picture a traditional barn with a peat roof combined modern design and exclusive vintage furniture, and you’ll get an idea of what to expect. The hotel has five rooms and four suites, all of which are individually furnished. With a different city and country theme in each room, it is almost like checking in to another part of the world. A superb restaurant and a welcoming host make Herangtunet an exceptional hotel experience.

While you’re here: Go for a short drive to Beitostølen, where you can join dog sledging on wheels, go canoe paddling, or try packrafting, a cross between paddling and rafting.

Boen Gård

Where: Kristiansand in Southern Norway

The recently restored Boen Gård oozes with luxury and tranquillity. The farm has 18 large, bright rooms plus common rooms and cabins, all of which are stylishly decorated with stoves, furniture and art from the time the farm was built. The organic kitchen is 80 percent self-sufficient with fruit and vegetables from the garden. This elegant farmhouse is surrounded by an extensive park with grazing sheep and lambs.

While you’re here: The forests around Boen Gård offer fabulous hiking and fishing opportunities. The lively summer city of Kristiansand offers plenty of shopping, restaurants and culture just 20 minutes away.

Nordre Ekre gardshotell

Where: Heidal in Eastern Norway

The family-owned farm Nordre Ekre is located in the mountain village of Heidal, close to Gudbrandsdalen. The farm has seven uniquely decorated rooms. In the barn, you’ll find a library and a restaurant that serves divine home-cooked food based on local ingredients.

While you’re here: The national parks Jotunheimen and Rondaneare practically around the corner, which makes Nordre Ekre an excellent base for outdoor adventures. The cheese factory Heidal Ysteri has a small but special selection of cheeses. You can also stop by to try their good old-fashioned version of rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge).

Bortistu Gjestegard

Where: Storlidalen in Trøndelag

Bortistu Gjestegard is tucked away in the middle of Trollheimen in the Storlidalen valley in Oppdal. In 2000, they decided to transform the barn into a modern country house. Bortistu has a long tradition of regular farm operations. Their signature smoked lamb dish has been certified as a speciality by Matmerk (the Norwegian Food Branding Foundation).

While you’re here: Storlidalen is an eldorado for fishing, cycling and hiking. Trekanten in Trollheimen – the hike between Gjevilvasshytta, Trollheimshytta and Jøldalshytta – has made it to The Norwegian Trekking Association’s (DNT) list of the most popular mountain hikes in the country.

Sygard Grytting

Where: Sør-Fron in Eastern Norway

Sygard Grytting has welcomed visitors for over 700 years and is still a fully operational farm in the middle of Gudbrandsdalen. Today, they offer twelve individually decorated rooms and scrumptious meals in a historic setting. With a medieval hostel from around 1300, Sygard Grytting is a natural stop for pilgrims on their way to Trondheim. Today's hosts are 16th generation owners.

While you’re here: Satisfy your cravings at the award-winning Annis sausage factory in Ringebu and at Øyens home bakery, where you can enjoy flatbread baked to perfection according to grandma's recipe.

Gammel-Kleppe

Where: Vågå in Eastern Norway

Gammel-Kleppe in Vågå looks like it’s been taken straight out of a folktale. The barn and the granary have been masterfully transformed into grand suites with art and antiques. There is also a small library. Dozens of chickens provide fresh eggs for breakfast every morning. Another highlight is the farm's wellness facilities, which consist of a wood-burning sauna and a cold hose shower.

While you’re here: Gammel-Kleppe is a good starting point for excursions to the national parks Rondane, Dovrefjell and Jotunheimen. Other top tips are to go rafting in the Sjoa river, join a musk ox safari or sign up for a cooking course with Norwegian celebrity chef Arne Brimi.

Annexstad Gård

Where: Østre Toten in Eastern Norway

Annexstad Gård is idyllically situated by lake Mjøsa close to Gjøvik. The farmhouse’s 16 well-maintained buildings are surrounded by stunning gardens with magnificent views. The host is happy to chat about the history of the farm. From June to September, the farm shop offers everything from home-made honey and the farm’s own quail eggs to antique furniture and local handicrafts. You can also spend the night in the converted pigsty, which was built in 1902.

While you’re here: Gjøvik has one of Norway’s few chocolate factories and a fun science centre (Vitensenteret Innlandet). There are also plenty of marked hiking trails. Last but not least, Gjøvik is the hometown of Skibladner – the oldest paddle steamer in the world that is still in operation. Take a ride on lake Mjøsa!

Hoel Gård

Where: Ringsaker in Eastern Norway

Hoel Gård has a history that dates back to the Middle Ages. It is situated in picturesque surroundings on the Nes Peninsula, right by lake Mjøsa. During peak times, the old paddle steamer Skibladner stops at the farm’s private pier, and the hosts can come and pick you up from the boat in an elegant vintage car. The bar Anden Etage arranges concerts as well as wine and aquavit tasting sessions regularly. Be sure to pop into the Farm Museum too! Hoel Gård has a strong focus on sustainable food, and a significant part of the restaurant menu consists of ingredients that are produced by their own farm.

While you’re here: For more delicious food, have lunch in the cosy Kafe Nessesundet or dinner at restaurant Mjøskanten. Also go for a trip with Skibladner, the boat that is known as “Mjøsa’s white swan”. At the Edel Design Gallery at Alhaug Farm, you can get your hands on exclusive, locally produced clothes.

Norway has an absolute abundance of accommodation options out of the ordinary. Soak up the atmosphere in traditional surroundings or check out the selection of weird and wonderful places to stay.

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