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Visit the cradle of the Norwegian folk traditions

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Ready to set off on a 210-kilometre long adventure?

Tour the welcoming villages in Setesdal!

Make sure to drive slowly, though – beautiful vistas await around every bend of the road Rv9.

How many cute wooden houses with thatched roofs can you spot along the way?

Setesdal has achieved the certification Sustainable Destination. Although this does not mean that the destination is sustainable, it does mean that it has made a commitment to work systematically to reduce the negative effects of tourism, while strengthening its positive ripple effects.

The people of the valley have really kept the old folk traditions alive, maybe more so than anywhere else in the country.

They are so proud of their national costume, called “Setesdalbunad”, that they use it not only for parties but also in everyday life sometimes.

The folk musicians with their Hardanger fiddles and Jew’s harps still strike up music that makes people sing, stave, and dance like they did in the old days.

They even have a spot on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage for their folklore!

The first silversmith came to the area more than a hundred years ago. Today there are three smiths left in Evje, Rysstad, and Valle.

Step into their workshops to see how the jewellery is made. Who knows – maybe you’ll bring home a souvenir from Sylvbui in Rysstad or Hasla in Valle?

Make sure to visit Rygnestadtunet or the Setesdal museum to learn more about Setesdal’s distinct cultural traditions.

And don’t even think about leaving before you’ve seen the Byglandsfjord from the deck of the wood-fuelled steamboat Bjoren from 1866!

A few of the lore-loving locals might venture into the mountains in their “bunad” shoes, but you should bring proper hiking boots.

Find your path among almost 50 options that start right on the Rv9.

Why not take your kids on the exciting trip to the mighty Gloppefoss waterfall?

For spectacular scenery and unique experiences, take the scenic route Suleskarsvegen, the shortest and fastest way between Oslo and Stavanger in summer.

If you want to stretch your legs and enjoy your packed lunch, there are a number of nice picnic areas along the way. Or you can make a food stop in one of the villages – Dalen, Valle, Sirdal or Byrkjedalstunet.

Note that the road closes in winter, between early November and late May.

If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, you can go cycling on forest paths, down mountainsides, over challenging obstacles in TrollAktiv Fun Bike Park or on National cycle route 3.

Or rent an electric bike to discover the countryside.

Want an airy challenge? Try rock climbing on your own or in one of tiny Valle’s three (!) via ferratas.

The kids will also want to climb up trees in Klatreskogen climbing park, hunt for gemstones in Mineralparken or raft down the Otra river.

Otra is actually one of the largest waterways in Norway, and is excellent for trout fishing

… and for experiencing those happy moments and deep conversations you’ll keep with you forever.

Not to mention how good the fish tastes when it finally bites! Make your own meal of the trout from the river.

Just as delicious is the reindeer meat or lamb from the spælsau that you get served in restaurants.

Speaking of spælsau: You probably didn’t know that this old Norwegian short tailed sheep almost died out around 1900.

But thanks to Setesdal, where it was taken proper care of, the breed is now in good health.

Did you see the snow there and want to go skiing? Cruise the area’s many groomed cross-country tracks …

… hit the slopes at Hovden Alpine Centre, the largest ski resort in the southern part of Norway, or find the perfect line ski touring in the mountains near Valle or Bykle.

No matter when you want to go – plan your trip to Setesdal today!

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