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Sørlandet – The Norwegian Riviera

The southernmost part of Norway has been the number one summer holiday destination for Norwegians for decades, while remaining a hidden gem for many international visitors. During the summer months, the picturesque towns and villages are teeming with visitors. The white painted wooden houses are located near the coastline and many are available for hire.

When you go inland in Southern Norway you reach the valley of Setesdal which stretches from Evje in the south to Hovden in the north, a total of 147 kilometres. In Setesdal you will find living silver handicraft and musical traditions. The mountainous areas in Hovden, Sirdal and Åseral are the winter destinations of Southern Norway.

There are several daily ferry departures from Hirtshals in Denmark to Southern Norway. Color Line sails to Kristiansand and Larvik. Fjord Line operates a summer service from Hirtshals to Kristiansand, and daily departures from Hirtshals to Langesund. The three big airports in Southern Norway are Kristiansand Kjevik Airport, Torp outside Sandefjord and Stavanger Airport Sola. Read more about how to travel to Southern Norway by train, bus, ferry and plane.

Things to do

One of the most accessible activities in Southern Norway is hiking. The seaside trails are beautiful and easy to do, while the mountain summits in Sirdal and Hovden provide a variety of marked hiking trails.

The North Sea Cycle Route (National cycle route number 1) follows the coastline. National cycle route no. 3 takes you from the sea to the high mountains between Kristiansand and Hovden in Setesdal. Read more about cycling in Southern Norway.

Angling is a way of life for many people, and the southern coastline of Norway offers deep-sea fishing and fishing in rivers and lakes. Anglers stays at the fishing resorts along the coast, or at quiet cabins in the inland area.

The skiingseason starts in December, and ends in April. Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding are all available, and the lit up trails along the coast are popular in winter.

Rafting in the rivers of Southern Norway are perfect for safe and fun water sport for the entire family. TrollAktiv in Evjeand Adventure Norway in Marnadaloffer both family and regular rafting activities.

The rock climbing area around Valle in Setesdal is known among climbers all over the world. Try out the longest Via Ferrata route in Northern Europeor visit one of the many climbing parks.

The most important cultural centre for music, theatre and opera in Southern Norway is Kilden Performing Arts Centre in Kristiansand. It houses a symphony orchestra, a theatre, opera and a cultural organisation devoted to popular music. Kilden’s architecture has been met with international recognition. The architectural style is unique with the harbor setting and varying shapes of the auditorium’s covered by a large curved wooden wall built after old boat building techniques.

Lindesnes Lighthouse is situated at the southernmost point in Norway, 2,518 kilometres from the North Cape, and is a “must-visit” in all kinds of weather. Norway’s oldest lighthouse was first lit in 1655. Lindesnes Lighthouse is still in use, and today houses a museum where you can get a glimpse into the area’s long maritime history. There is also a café on site, selling local specialities cooked or baked with sea water, and a gift shop.

Setesdalsbanen is a narrow-gauge railway more than 100 years old and still in use. The line operates during the summer season running steam trains with old wooden coaches. The eight-kilometre track runs through beautiful scenery next to the River Otra. Setesdalsbanen is part of the Vest-Agder Museum union of cultural heritage museums.

The Mineral Park – Mineralparken, situated in Evje in Setesdal, merely an hour drive north of Kristiansand, is an activity park for the whole family. Inside the mountain you will find a spectacular collection of more than 1,000 exceptional minerals from the whole world in underground tunnels. Outside there are a number of creative, fun activities, as well as a beautiful beach.