There has been mining at Knaben in the far north of Kvinesdal from 1885 until 1973, involving the recovery of elemental molybdenum. This special community flourished during the Great world wars because molybdenum is used for hardening steel, for example in weapons. The mines have a dramatic war story. They were bombed twice during World War II. Monument "Miner" is a tribute to all toilers in mines.
The mining community Knaben was abandoned in 1973, but the buildings remain. In the old administration building you will find Knaben Mining Museum, where you can learn more about the exciting mining and war history that the region has to offer.
Every Sunday in June, July and August you can join a guided tour into the old mines at Knaben. It's exciting, cold and damp in there, so remember to take a jacket. The trek ends in the elevator tower. From here you can enjoy the stunning views of the Knaben valley.
One of the special attractions at Knaben is the great "lake" of sand at the mines which is 25 meters deep. 1000 kg of stone in the mines resulted in two kilograms of molybdenum, the rest was grounded into fine sand.
There are three alpine slopes for various skill levels at Knaben Ski centre. Experienced skiers can also try tough off-piste skiing. The center has a ski rental and large heated lounge with cafeteria.
If you enjoy cross-country hiking, there are 30 kilometers of trails.
During the summer, Knaben has hiking trails in the beautiful mountain terrain, connecting the area with the Åseral and Setesdal regions. From Knaben, you can hike from cabin to cabin for days and weeks through norwegian highlands. There are marked trails in the area and several of them leading to the old mines. Knaben has a rich flora and fauna, with moose, reindeer, ptarmigan, black grouse, eagles and falcons. Like most parts of Norway, Knaben also offers great conditions for fishing and hunting.
The drop-in Knaben ski and activity center provides hot dogs, french fries, waffles and hot drinks.
The Knaben store is a good, old-fashioned general store which has groceries, fishing gear, ski equipment, toys, clothes, utensils, homemade craft items, ceramics and stuffed animals.
On the way to Knaben you will pass Torvløbakkan farm which provides accommodation, food, activities for the whole family including an indoor climbing wall. Food needs to be pre-ordered and booking are essential. They make their own jam and caramel which is amazing to eat. The farm also offers trips to Knaben with a guide who grew up there.
On the road to Knaben you will also find the Solli Jakt Gaard, (hunting farm) with banqueting, catering, accommodation and opportunities to hunt elk, deer, roe deer, grouse and hare. The farm even has their own deer farm.
Adjacent to the grocery store in the middle of the village you will find Knaben apartments for rent and just behind the shop is Knaben camping with pitches for caravans and motorhomes.
The Knaben church chapel is centrally located which also offers accommodation.
To Knaben by car from Kristiansand
Drive along Highway 9 (Setesdalsveien) to Hægeland, then highway 462 towards Bjelland, Highway 465 to Sveindal, Highway 42 west to Kvinlog and then Highway 465 to Knaben. You can also run the E 39 to Kvinesdal and then Highway 465 to Knaben.
To Knaben by car from Oslo
You can drive on the E 18 to Stoa Arendal, then Highway 42 past Evje to Kvinlog, and then national road 465 direct to Knaben.
To Knaben by car from Stavanger
You can use the E 39 to Helleland, then Highway 42 past Tonstad to Kvinlog, and then Highway 465 to Knaben. You can also use the E 39 to Kvinesdal and take Highway 465 to Knaben.
Check events and tourist info at Knaben community's own website.