The impressive Setesdal

Its rich history makes the Setesdal a beautiful place to learn more about the Norwegian history and culture.

Discover the Setesdal

Setesdal, the birthplace of Norwegian folk culture. The valley is known for its rich culture and nature. In the 210 kilometres long valley, you will pass beautiful mountains and small villages in the countryside. The climate in Setesdal ensures that there is plenty to do throughout the year. Discover below what this valley has to offer for your holiday.

Highlights 

  • Hiking trails
  • Climbing routes
  • Beautiful views
  • Winter and ski paradise
  • Cultural heritage

Culture

Setesdal is known for its rich cultural heritage. Since the valley is quite remote, residents have developed various cultural traditions that have been preserved over the centuries. In Rysstad, you will find the Setesdal Museum. Here you can depart on a journey through culture, history, and tradition. There are several nationally known artists brought from Setesdal who keep traditional music and dance alive. The folk music from the valley is unique in many ways, such as the use of special instruments. The Hardanger violin and mouth harp have been played for centuries. In addition to music, folk dancing is also an important tradition. The folk music from Setesdal is even on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

The Setesdal was nicknamed ‘Silversmith Valley’ because of the traditional silversmiths and because Rysstad plays a central role in the production of silver jewellery. There are two more traditional silversmiths in the valley: Sylvbui in Rysstad and Hasla in Valle. The silversmiths are busy all year round and you are welcome to take a look at their workshops!

The Evje region is internationally known for its abundance of rare minerals. Most minerals are found in combination with quartz and feldspar veins. Years of mining have led to hundreds of local mines and quarries. The mines are no longer in use, but it is possible to admire the minerals in various exhibitions.

Hiking in the Setesdal

It’s a wonderful walk through the valley, from Evje in the south to Hovden in the north. After a long trip, you will be rewarded with beautiful views! In addition to the short trails, there are also several hiking trails that connect different huts of the DNT (Norwegian Hiking Association). If you are not really a hiking fanatic or want to experience something else, you can try the ‘Via Ferrata’ of Setesdal. ‘Via Ferrata’ or ‘Klettersteigen’ indicate a climbing route where you are attached to the mountain with a steel cable. Iron foot brackets have been fitted on the steepest parts; this makes the climb safer and a bit easier. The valley offers three different ‘Via Ferrata’s’: Løefjell, Straumsfjell and Nomelandsfjell.

Winter sports

Despite the milder climate in southern Norway, the winters in Setesdal are long and stable and temperatures drop to freezing point. From the open meadows to illuminated hiking trails in the woods, you are assured of a true winter and ski paradise. In Setesdal, you can choose from five ski centers: Bortelid, Eikerapen, Ljosland, Brokke and Hovden. If you like to get on the slopes fast, Hovden might be something for you; this is the largest ski centre in the area.

Discover what else Norway has to offer

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