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SETESDAL

Visit the cradle of the Norwegian folk traditions

Scroll down for inspiration
or go directly to our plan your trip page.

The Byglandsfjord in Setesdal .
Photo: Marit S. Kvaale
The Byglandsfjord in Setesdal .
Photo: Marit S. Kvaale

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

Tour the welcoming villages in Setesdal!

Road trip in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen / Visit Sørlandet AS
Road trip in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen / Visit Sørlandet AS

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?

As a certified Sustainable Destination, Setesdal works hard to preserve the local nature, culture, and environment.

Green holiday – check!

Valle in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen Fotografer
Valle in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen Fotografer

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.

Rafting in Setesdal .
Photo: Marit S. Kvaale
Biking in Setesdal .
Photo: Marit S. Kvaale

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.

Folklore in Setesdal .
Photo: Leonhard Jansen
Folklore in Setesdal .
Photo: Leonhard Jansen

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

Folklore in Setesdal .
Photo: Kulturpatrulja
Folklore in Setesdal .
Photo: Kulturpatrulja

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?

Hasla jewellery in Setesdal .
Photo: Anne Hasla
Hasla jewellery in Setesdal .
Photo: Anne Hasla

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!

Rygnestadtunet in Setesdal .
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life AS / Visitnorway.com
Rygnestadtunet in Setesdal .
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life AS / Visitnorway.com

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?

Hiking in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen
Hiking in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen

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.

Fun Bike Park in Setesdal .
Photo: TrollAktiv
Fun Bike Park in Setesdal .
Photo: TrollAktiv

Or try rock climbing on your own or in one of tiny Valle’s three (!) via ferratas.

Climbing in Valle, Setesdal .
Photo: Peter Brunnert
Climbing in Valle, Setesdal .
Photo: Peter Brunnert

The kids will also want to clamber up trees in Klatreskogen climbing park, meet a moose at Elgtun, hunt for gemstones in Mineralparken, and raft down the Otra river.

Climbing in Evje Klatrepark in Setesdal .
Photo: TrollAktiv
Rafting down the Otra river in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen

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.

Fishing at Hovden in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen
Fishing at Hovden in Setesdal .
Photo: Anders Martinsen

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

Trout fishing in Setesdal .
Photo: Svein Nymo
Fishing in Setesdal .
Photo: Ole Gunnar Selas

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

Taste Setesdal .
Photo: Marit S. Kvaale
Taste Setesdal .
Photo: Marit S. Kvaale

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.

Spælsau sheep in Setesdal .
Photo: Norsk Sau og Geit
Spælsau sheep in Setesdal .
Photo: Norsk Sau og Geit

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

Skiing in Hovden .
Photo: Øystein Kvanneid
Skiing in Hovden .
Photo: Øystein Kvanneid

… 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.

Alpine skiing in Hovden, Setesdal .
Photo: Øystein Kvanneid
Alpine skiing in Hovden, Setesdal .
Photo: Øystein Kvanneid

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

Alpine skiing in Hovden, Setesdal .
Photo: Øystein Kvanneid
Alpine skiing in Hovden, Setesdal .
Photo: Øystein Kvanneid
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