Sørlandet Blogg

Arkiv - February 2019

A couple’s road trip through Southern Norway

Lindesnes Lighthouse - Photo: Moose around the world

Ever wondered what you might come across as you explore the versatility of Southern Norway? German bloggers Anke and Thorsten from Moose around the world guide you through their 4-day journey from Kristiansand to the elks, from the highlands on the Suleskarvegen to kayaking around Flekkefjord. We put together an itinerary based on their blog post, which reveals a new surprise behind every fjord and mountain along the way.

Read the original blog: 3 Tage Mini Roadtrip durch Südnorwegen (in German)

Elgtun - Photo: Moose around the world.

Elgtun – Photo: Moose around the world.

Meet the shy forest dwellers

First, pay a visit to the inconspicuous town called Grendi, where you’ll come across Elgtun; an elk park that is home to eight moose. Get up close and personal with the ‘kings of the forest’, whilst you learn about their diet and way of life. Afterwards, explore the enclosure of the animals on a guided walk or enjoy barbequing in the outdoor space.

Sølvgarden Hotell - Moose around the world

Sølvgarden Hotell – Photo: Moose around the world.

Sølvgarden Hotell - Moose around the world

Dinner at Sølvgarden Hotell – Photo: Moose around the world.

Hiking in Setesdal - Photos: Moose around the world.

Hiking in Setesdal – Photos: Moose around the world.

Take a hike

Brokke Alpinsenter is a wonderful starting point for a short to medium length hike. It’s the perfect ski slope during winter, and a wonderful hiking trail in summer. Spend the night at the Sølvgården Hotell; either in the hotel, a typical wooden hut or on the campsite. It’s an eclectic place that serves great breakfast and houses a wonderful restaurant for dinner. For the self-caterers or cooks amongst us; there are enough picnic spots dotted along the water for you to enjoy the view as you cook up a storm.

Suleskarvegen - Photo: Moose around the world.

Suleskarvegen – Photo: Moose around the world.

Detour down the Suleskarvegen

A wonderful road trip along the Suleskarvegen awaits you. The highlight: a detour down 27 hairpin bends to the small town Lysebotn, at the end of the Lysefjord. Regardless of the season, you’ll come across towering highlands covered in snow on your right and left.

Stop for a photo-op

On the way to Lysebotn make a pitstop along the trail to Kjeragbolten; the renowned rock that is wedged solidly in a mountain crevice and can be reached after a 2.5 hour ascent. It’s definitely worth a photo (or 10!). Don’t forget to wear the right gear, and bring enough water and snacks with you. If you’re keen to sit and eat, restaurant Øygardstøl has the best panoramic views of the hairpin bends that wind down to Lysebotn.

Utsikten Hotell Kvinesdal - Photo: Moose around the world.

Utsikten Hotell Kvinesdal – Photo: Moose around the world.

For a well-deserved rest

After a day of hiking, you’ll crave a moment of relaxation. Spend the night at Utsikten Hotel in Kvinesdal, a beautiful hotel built using local oak wood. It’s situated at the top of the mountain overlooking Kvinesdal, surrounded by breathtaking views across the river and town. It’s within easy reach of some of Southern Norway’s most attractive sceneries including Mandal, Knaben and Lindesnes.

Kayaking Flekkefjord - Photo: Moose around the world.

Kayaking Flekkefjord – Photo: Moose around the world.

Flekkefjord - Moose around the world

Flekkefjord – Photo: Moose around the world.

Kayaking in Flekkefjord

Now, it’s time to explore Flekkefjord by kayak. Either head towards the sea for a more adventurous trip or paddle inland towards for a more peaceful ride. Flekkefjord is sheltered from the wind by the tall mountains on all the sides, and you can kayak right through the town.

Taste the flavours of Norway

Lindesnes Havhotell is the place to be for the best Norwegian cuisine. The dishes have an enchanting quality; they are put together with fresh and seasonal ingredients, and topped off with regional influences. Imagine enjoying seaweed from the beach, asparagus from a neighbouring village, freshly caught fish, and all refined with fresh herbs. Wind down at the most Southern lighthouse of Norway, and watch the sunset.

Read more Moose around the world blogs about Norway (in German).

Here’s the travel route on Google maps.

Rafting with kids in Southern Norway – Adventures of a Mother and Daughter on the River

Rafting with TrollAktiv in Evje, Southern Norway.

Did you know you can go rafting with children in Southern Norway? With daughter Roos by her side, Dutch blogger Fieke documented the thrilling journey down the Otra River. We loved her story so much that we have translated the blog that she wrote (in Dutch) about their experience.

– My enthusiastic but nervous daughter stays by my side all morning. She keeps asking how much longer we have to wait.  This afternoon has finally arrived for Roos and I to go rafting in Southern Norway. Our first time rafting was just two months ago in the Czech Republic and looking at the Otra River we can already see the difference. “Are we going down here?”, shouts Roos over the gushing water. I nod yes. It’s hard to imagine what we’re about to do.

Read the original blog in Dutch: Zuid-Noorwegen: Raften met kinderen op de Otra rivier.

We arrive at TrollAktiv, an outdoor sports center offering a range of fun activities.  There’s rock climbing, mountain biking and trail walks plus kayaks and canoes to take down to the water.  Of course it’s the rafting which is the real highlight and exactly what we’re trying out today. Gathering on the terrace, we meet our guide and friendly rafting buddies, two Norwegians and one German family. That makes nine for today’s adventure!

Team work at TrollAktiv in Evje. Photo: Fieke/KidsErOpUit.

Team work at TrollAktiv in Evje. Photo: Fieke/KidsErOpUit.

Loaded up with all the gear we need, I can’t help but notice the tension rising in Roos. Putting on the wetsuit is tricky and she’s afraid we’ll miss the bus to the water. I reassure her that no one is leaving without us and we manage to get ready quickly. We grab a paddle and board the bus, arriving a short time later south of the Byglandsfjord. Our team of nine carries the boat to the water and one by one we get in. It seems we won’t be rafting alone, there is always a kayak with a second guide accompanying us for out safety. A comforting thought.

Short interview with Roos and her mother on their experience in Southern Norway.

The Adventure

Starting on the open and calm water, we’re taught the basics of rafting. This includes where to sit in the boat, how to row and the important commands of the guide. We practice how to ‘get down’ and ‘get up’ in preparation for the rapids and what do if you fall in the water. Even as I translate, I can tell that Roos does not understand everything that is explained in English. Given her already nervous state you can understand why she got a little teary. The guide reassures Rose, giving her the confidence boost she needs.

Rafting at TrollAktiv in Evje. Photo: Fieke/KidsErOpUit.

Rafting at TrollAktiv in Evje. Photo: Fieke/KidsErOpUit.

After practicing, it’s time for the real thing. We paddle hard and fast to the first descent. Just before we reach the rapids our guide yells “get down!”  Moments later we’re all soaking wet and I see a great big smile on my daughters face.  The stress has turned into pure joy. Our guide leads us down the river past beautiful scenery and thrilling rapids.  The further we go, the more we feel like we’ve accomplished something very special. With the end of the trail in sight, Roos is given the chance to guide our raft to shore. She really made the terms “forward” “backwards” and “get down” her own!  It’s hard to wipe the smiles off our faces as we finish our amazing rafting adventure.

Rafting at Troll Aktiv.

Rafting at Troll Aktiv.

What to know about rafting with children at TrollAktiv

Children from 6 years can take part in family rafting at TrollAktiv. The materials and amenities at TrollAktiv are great and the guides are helpful and friendly. The entire rafting trip takes about 3 hours and costs 37 euros per person (price level 2016).

TrollAktiv is open from April to October and is located an hour’s drive from Kristiansand. In addition to all the outdoor activities, they offer overnight accommodation on the terrain.

More information about TrollAktiv can be found on their website.

Read more blogs from Fieke at KidsErOpUit (in Dutch).

Family, love, adventure and Southern Norway – Experiences of a travelling mother

Susanne loves Southern Norway.

It’s easy to tell how much Susanne loves Southern Norway. She’s visited over 45 times and has become fluent in Norwegian. These days, Susanne Hegenscheidt brings her family on visits and includes both her mother and three children. So what do Susanne and her three-generation family experience when visiting Southern Norway?

Visit Sørlandet: You frequently visit Southern Norway with your family. What are the ages of your group and what makes Southern Norway an ideal place for a family?

Susanne: We have five. Grandmother is 79. I’m 45. We have a beautiful girl who will be 13 in October and then two little ones. A girl of 4 years and a boy of 3 years.

In Southern Norway, people are always welcoming you and your family with open arms and kind words. They’re very patient. They have very good ideas how to entertain kids in a nice and simple way. For example, the best idea I’ve ever seen for kids was in the northern part of Setesdal there is a town called Hovden, a famous ski resort. In the summer you can go hiking there and you can take a chair lift up the mountain. I thought we would take the lift up the mountain and walk down again. My kids are quite young and for the little ones they were worried we would have to go downhill again.

The best surprise ever was that there was a trampoline halfway up the mountain. Who on earth would have this idea to put up a trampoline on a mountain in the middle of nowhere just to entertain kids? It made it easy for families to have this hiking experience. It made a great spot to have a break, have something to eat and the kids can hop on a trampoline.

Susanne and her kids at Hovden. Photo Susanne Hegenscheidt.

Susanne and her kids at Hovden. Photo: Susanne Hegenscheidt.

Another time we attended an automobile show in Rysstad. That was something for automotive enthusiasts but not really for kids. Of course, the Norwegians had waffles and sausages but they also had mini-tractors for kids. We came, we visited and the little kids got bored but then we found mini toy tractors just for them. They could go around on these toy tractors while I could look at the beautiful cars. It was a simple idea and family friendly-idea. That is something you wouldn’t find in Germany.

Visit Sørlandet: You and your family live in Germany. What makes Southern Norway an ideal spot for a German family?

Susanne: It’s ideal place because it is so close by. From northern Germany it’s just about 10 hours and you are there, including the ferry ride. You can go there just for one week and you don’t have to travel miles and miles and miles. The Color Line ferry is excellent with good service.

When you get to Norway, you can be free there. The kids can roam around the nature. It’s so beautiful. The people are so kind to families and kids. With a family you go to Southern Norway and you step on the Norwegian ground there and breathe out and feel good. It feels like home. You’re so settled in Southern Norway. It’s a great feeling.

It’s so nice for Germans because we are not as big of a country as Norway but we have so many people around. Everywhere there are people. {In Norway} You have a remote place where you can have your peace and quiet for yourself, where you can go outside and feel so relaxed and free. It’s so wonderful. They are friendly, nice, and warm-hearted. It’s a good feeling.

Update: In 2018 Susanne and her family MOVED to Setesdal in Southern Norway – we love it!

Visit Sørlandet: When you bring your family to Southern Norway, where do you and your family stay?

Susanne: We always rent a “hytte” or a little summer house. From there we do our daily trips. We always come back in the end of the day due to my mother’s age and my little childrens’ age. That’s why we are usually in Setesdal. We go on adventure trips daily.

Before my younger kids were born, I went with my elder kid and my mom. We went to Lista, a peninsula. It’s the very southern part of Norway. It’s the first part after the ice age to become free of ice. It’s a very special place with sandy beaches. Usually, you don’t have sandy beaches in Norway but you have it in Setesdal as well as at the river Otra. There you have fine sandy beaches, which are excellent for kids. You don’t have to go to Florida you can go to Southern Norway and have sandy beaches there. It’s really nice.

Visit Sørlandet: You have taken you family to Southern Norway dozens of times. What other activities would you recommend for travelers with children?

Susanne: Bygland beach. It’s a very nice spot. There you have a glassmaker where you can watch people make glass. They have waffles and souvenirs there. Right next to it is a wonderful sandy beach. A great spot for families. They also have steam ship there. It’s called Bjoren. That’s a great experience to go with that ship on the fjord. That is always a highlight for kids.

Another spot is Hovden Aqualand and Spa. It’s a swimming pool in Hovden and a great place.

In Rysstad there’s a local history museum called the Setesdal Museum. I’ve been there six times already because I simply love it. In Rysstad there’s a shop where there’s a little playground for kids. They just put up a climbing playground for kids and it’s another wonderful Norwegian idea. You go there and mom can do the shopping while the kids can go on this huge climbing playground. The Norwegians always have these nice ideas for kids. As a parent you can relax. You know everywhere you go with your kids you are welcome and everywhere there is something little and nice for kids. Kids love nice little things.

Something we want to do when our kids are older is tree climbing. There’s a climbing park in the trees in Evje. That’s something I would like to do along with river rafting in Evje. Also some more hiking!

Visit Sørlandet: When was the last time you visited Southern Norway and what is your best memory from that trip?

Susanne: The last time I visited was four weeks ago. That was in July. We went to Setesdal to Åraksbø. We went there for the fifth time. We know all the places around very well and we have great fun there. The best thing we did was something new. The Elgtun park. It’s an Elk Park in Bygland in Setesdal. I can really recommend it. They have two big elk there and just as we went back to Germany they got two little elks. I have pictures of them and they’re so cute. Next year we will definitely go back again and visit all the elks! That’s my best tip for a family trip to Setesdal.

The family visiting Elgtun elk park in Setesdal. Photo: Susanne Hegenscheidt.

The family visiting Elgtun elk park in Setesdal. Photo: Susanne Hegenscheidt.

Visit Sørlandet: Where does your family of five eat when visiting Southern Norway?

Susanne: Waffles with blueberries! Everybody is selling waffles in the summer in Norway. Even at the Petrol stations or shops, there will always be some very nice people selling waffles and coffee. Where there is a tourist attraction there’s someone selling waffles and coffee. They’re so nice to children to families. It’s great.

Visit Sørlandet: When are you visiting Southern Norway again?

Susanne: I’m always dreaming of visiting. We hope to go in the winter for one week to see the elk in Elgtun and go cross country skiing in January.

Visit Sørlandet: Describe Southern Norway in three words.

Susanne: Best place ever.

This blog was originally published in 2015 as part of the #LoveSouthernNorway campaign. As our #LoveSouthernNorway Ambassador, Susanne received Color Line ferry tickets to visit Southern Norway 5 more times.

How to live the Dutch dream in Southern Norway – Tips from a traveler from The Netherlands

Hettie visiting Southern Norway.

Just how much does Hettie love Southern Norway? She’s visited over 30 times from the Netherlands! “I am a Norway lover.” She told us after being told she was the first #LoveSouthernNorway ambassador. “There is not one reason why I love Norway but more like a million reasons.”

We caught up with Hettie for a quick interview about what exactly makes her LOVE Southern Norway.

Visit Sørlandet: You’ve visited over 30 times. What makes you keep coming back?

Hettie: I love the ruggedness of the country. There’s nothing really cultivated. You can walk along a nice pass and not even meet anybody. The ruggedness everywhere is just amazing. We all love it. Our whole family has been there. As a child I went there with my grandparents, parents and brothers. All packed up in one Volkswagen bus. You can put your tent anywhere and have a great time. The thing I love the most is the ruggedness and the freedom you feel when you’re there. Relaxed; that’s exactly how I feel when I’m in Norway.

Visit Sørlandet: When was the last time you visited Southern Norway and what is your best memory from that trip?

Hettie: I went the year before. That’s 2013. I arranged the trip together with my cousin and we had some cabins rented. We weren’t really sure where we’d wind up. One of the first cabins was at the Hove Camping at Faervik Island (located in Raet national park in Arendal). We were amazed by the stone beaches there and the sights we saw. We had this amazing time. There were like a million blueberries there that were just ripening up. Our kids had the greatest time there as well.

We went to another camping place. We were right beside the lake. That was our view. The kids didn’t see it as a lake, they thought of it as the ocean. The amazement of the kids was great. We just had a blast.

Visit Sørlandet: Describe your perfect day in Southern Norway.

Hettie: Wake up at the crack of dawn because the sun is burning me out of my tent. Have a breakfast of wild strawberries with some raspberries maybe. Have a nice walk through the nature or forest. See some waterfalls, have a picnic somewhere. Maybe see some elk or any other animal. In the evening, sit down with a vest on and have a campfire. Make your own food on a stick. Sit there and relax, have a beer or two and love the fact that it will not get dark very soon.

Visit Sørlandet: Can you describe Southern Norway in a few words?

Hettie: Amazing, fun, rugged and adventure. My kids see it as an adventure.

Visit Sørlandet: What makes Southern Norway unique compared to other places you have visited?

Hettie: The freedom. There’s a lot of freedom. I feel a lot of freedom there. You feel so welcome everywhere. You’re not as welcome in other countries. There’s a real difference there. I love the language. I’d like to speak it fluently.

Visit Sørlandet: What makes Southern Norway an ideal spot for Dutch?

Hettie: The adventure is what Dutch people will really like. Of course, the free camping. Dutch love to do things for free! You can really put your tent in a forest where you are. There are some rules, but not that many which is something that Dutch people really like.

Visit Sørlandet: For a first time visitor who will be camping in Southern Norway, do you have any recommendations?

Hettie: Yes. They need to pack summer clothes but also some warmer clothes. At night, it will be brisk and a little bit cold. Take a vest and some rain clothes. Of course, water tight boots. They need to go by car. I think that’s one of the special things that I always tell people. Every corner you can see something different. If you go in a travel group you will not have the time to shoot some pictures or just enjoy the sights. Do your own car. Just do it and have fun.

Visit Sørlandet: What do you think surprises a visitor to Southern Norway the most?

Hettie: The sights. I haven’t had one person see my pictures and not say “wow.” With almost every picture I showed them. The Wow factor, yes.

Visit Sørlandet: Did you visit any attractions or do any specific activities in your last few visits to Southern Norway?

Hettie: The Mineralpark (Mineralparken) in Evje. We had a lovely day there. Also because there is a lake next to it so if you are finished in the museum you can relax at the lakeside.

Lindesnes Fyr (lighthouse). We had a lovely roadtrip towards the lighthouse and the climb up to the top was also really lovely.

Grimstad is a nice city to visit and Tvedestrand near there is really nice because you can go to a little white beach.

When I still went to Norway with my parents as a young girl we used to go to Mjåland, this is between Evje and Arendal. This area is very nice, the roads are good and the sites are beautiful. Also, there are a lot of places you can still find cabins and campingsites because you are near a lot of nice villages and cities.

Read more about Southern Norway

Visit Sørlandet: When and where do you plan to go back, and what do you want to experience?

Hettie: What I still want to do are the following:
– Go on a trip with a boat on the rapids.
– Take a course to learn the Norwegian language. (“Jeg kan snakker litt Norsk”)

Next year I am planning to go to Norway and take my parents with me as they have not been there since 2009 and they are 77 and 81 and love Norway as well. Also take along my niece who wants to see Norway for herself for once. And maybe when I am a little older and my kids can take care of themselves, I would like to go and stay in Norway for a year and experience Norway in every season.

Visit Sørlandet: What do you love the most about Southern Norway?

Hettie: The feeling of freedom.

This blog was originally published in 2015 as part of the #LoveSouthernNorway campaign. As our #LoveSouthernNorway Ambassador, Hettie received Color Line ferry tickets to visit Southern Norway 5 more times.

Scaling Southern Norway’s greatest climbs – Stories from the top of the cliff

Emil Meade climbing in Southern Norway. Photo: Emil Meade

If you see Emil Meade in Southern Norway, you’re probably looking up at him. Climbing is Emil’s passion and you can often find him scaling our area’s famous rock faces or frozen waterfalls. When we asked Emil, who lives in Copenhagen, what he loves the most about Southern Norway, his response was unique: “The geographic formation: the rock, the ice, the opportunities and the time people have spent establishing these areas.”

Visit Sørlandet: When was the last time you visited Southern Norway and what is your best memory from that trip?

Emil: Last time was in April. I went rock climbing there with a friend of mine. We went to Setesdal and climbed long, long granite rock faces there and it was amazing.

Visit Sørlandet: When you go climbing in Norway where do you typically go?

Emil: In the summer there’s tons of places to go. Setesdal is an underrated place to do rock climbing. There’s a very good guide book (Setesdal – Rock climbing in Southern Norway) of the area that gave us the inspiration to go climbing in Southern Norway.

In the winter, when I’ve gone the most, I go to Rjukan. I go ice climbing there. It’s one of the few places in Europe that offers these amazing frozen waterfalls. The town of Rjukan, isn’t very big. There’s a few companies there that do guided tours. There’s tons of climbing to be done. The conditions are very good because it’s in a valley so it doesn’t get a whole lot of sun, which keeps the ice really good. You don’t normally run into bad conditions because the weather is so stable in the valley.

Visit Sørlandet: Do you know of places to go for beginning rock climbers?

Emil: Absolutely. Setesdal in the summer is perfect. It really helps if it’s dry. There’s routes there of all difficulty and exposure. Some are only 30 metres some are 800 metres. I know there’s few guide companies in the area that do both smaller and longer day trips.

Visit Sørlandet: Describe your perfect day in Southern Norway.

Emil: A perfect day would have good sun and warm weather and if I want to go rock climbing, no wind and just beautiful, warm granite. Have good friends around and have a beer in the evening when I get back after a long day of climbing. You can’t go wrong with that.

Emil ready to climb in Setesdal Southern Norway. Photo: Emil Meade

Emil ready to climb in Setesdal Southern Norway. Photo: Emil Meade.

Visit Sørlandet: When you go climbing in the winter what would you recommend someone pack?

Emil: We bring a small lunch, some chocolate and a little bit of water and good warm jackets. I pack for enjoying the view because we remain static for maybe a half an hour. Of course, my climbing gear and a small first aid kit. Then, a map of the area and a fully charged phone. That sums up the basic of my pack. I’m going to have to be climbing with this a lot of the times so I don’t want anything too heavy.

Visit Sørlandet: Besides climbing, what do you like to do in Southern Norway?

Emil: I have a few friends who study up there. I’ve gone hiking. I’m pretty keen on just climbing. Some of these routes are not close to the road so we’ve done long approaches, which is like a hiking trip with more gear. It’s been quite an adventure in itself. I really want to get into more of the kayaking in Norway. It’s supposed to be amazing. That’s on my list of things that what would draw me back to Southern Norway.

Visit Sørlandet: What makes Southern Norway unique compared to other places you have visited?

Emil: I’ve climbed in Canada, Italy and Switzerland. It’s {Norway} not as commercialized. You don’t see as many people on the routes and in the area. The waterfalls are so close. In Canada, the approach to a waterfall is two hours away or in some cases five hours away. In Norway, I think the longest I’ve gone to a route is thirty minutes. Most of them are roadside. I can check out the conditions of the waterfall from my car. You have 500 or 600 routes within walking distance of the road.

Setesdal has these long slappy rock faces. They’re 600 or 700 hundred meters long. That’s an area that hasn’t been fully explored yet. There’s still so much potential for new routes and for people to go out and put new routes on the rock. It has more of an adventurous feel to it sometimes. There’s not people at every anchor going up the rock face. You get there in the morning and you’re not standing in line to get on the rock. You have most of it by yourself. It’s amazing.

Visit Sørlandet: What makes Southern Norway an ideal spot for a visitor from Denmark?

Emil: This is an easy question. Southern Norway has everything that Denmark doesn’t- raging rivers, long, long highlands of mountains and open grass areas. We have no rocks in Denmark at all. It’s hard being a climber in a country that doesn’t have any rock. The highest point in Denmark is about 400 metres high. Norway has routes that are higher than that. You have these magnificent rock formations that you don’t see anywhere else. It has excellent fishing and endless hiking opportunities. I work at an outdoor store in Copenhagen and I have lots of customers who are going camping or hiking for weeks in Norway. Everyone in Norway has a certain connection to the outdoors. Not a lot of people in Denmark have that.

Follow Emil’s climbing adventures and see beautiful photo’s on his Instagram or Facebook page.

Visit Sørlandet: What do you think surprises a visitor to Southern Norway the most?

Emil: What takes a lot of people by surprise is the remoteness. Even though Norway is close to Denmark and Sweden, it is quite thinly populated. If you go hiking in Switzerland and do the recommended tourist-trail from the tourism office you see lots of people on it. If you do it in Norway, normally you don’t see a lot of other people there. In Norway, you hear there’s a premier, classic spot that you have to see in the area you’re in. You go there and there might be two other people there. You don’t get the feeling of being a tourist, but more of a visitor.

Visit Sørlandet: Describe Southern Norway in three words.

Emil: Adventurous, exposed and tranquil

Visit Sørlandet: When are you visiting again?

Emil: Sometime in January. The ice season should be good when I return. I’m not sure about the routes yet but there should be plenty to pick from. There’s so much climbing to be done.

Read more about climbing in Southern Norway.

Mathias, Emil Rock Climbing buddy, climbing in Setesdal. Photo: Emil Meade.

Mathias, Emil Rock Climbing buddy, climbing in Setesdal. Photo: Emil Meade.

This blog was originally published in 2015 as part of the #LoveSouthernNorway campaign. As our #LoveSouthernNorway Ambassador, Emil received Color Line ferry tickets to visit Southern Norway 5 more times.

Finding the perfect catch – Anecdotes from a Southern Norway fisherman

Michael Olsen fishing in Southern Norway

When Michael Olsen first visited Southern Norway for a fishing trip in 2008, he discovered a place he wants to visit for the rest of his life. “I was just so fascinated by the beautiful scenery, the friendly locals that I have since returned year after year ever since, except for 2012.” Olsen was so inspired by his visits, that he set up a website to help share his love of fishing in the Mandalselva River with potential visitors. “Southern Norway is for me a paradise that I stick by, and love contributing to.”

We caught up with our newest ambassador to gather his thoughts and advice on fishing in the Mandalselva River.

Visit Sørlandet: Describe your perfect day in Southern Norway.

Michael: A perfect day in Sørlandet is when I see a lot of great nature and meet the locals. I have a good time with them. If I catch a salmon it would be great, but the nature for me is everything. It’s so fantastic. It’s difficult to describe if you’ve never been there.

Visit Sørlandet: You’re an avid fisherman in the Mandalselva River. How would you describe fishing in the river to someone who is thinking about visiting?

Michael: I find the river very exciting. It has a lot of beach to fish in. You can go to the river as a “new one” and get so much help from the local people. The first time in 2008, I marveled at the kindness of the people as they gave me information about the river. It was there they hooked me to come again and again. I have lots of friends at the river. When I set up the homepage for Mandalselva River, I did it to be able to communicate this experience out to the Danish and Scandinavian people. They can see what the river is and what they can enjoy when they visit.

Michael Olsen fishing in Mandal Southern Norway

Michael Olsen fishing in Mandal Southern Norway.

Visit Sørlandet: What is the largest fish you have caught?

Michael: It’s not the size for me that brings me back, it’s all the stuff around also that makes me happy.

Visit Sørlandet: What is your best memory from fishing in the Mandalselva River?

Michael: The salmon I got last year and the salmon I got in 2010. The happiness I got after the landing of the salmon was a very special moment for me. In 2010, I was with my dad and brother. The happiness I got from that is printed in my mind. Last year when I caught a salmon, we had a party to celebrate.

Visit Sørlandet: When you go fishing on The Mandalselva River, where do you stay?

Michael: We have a place we stay every time. We got there in 2008. The name of the host, Jan Lindland was kind to us and gave us information about the river. He has a big place where he has a lot of rooms for fisherman. He has four buildings where we can live and we have one of the buildings. He has a field that has hay that he gives to a farm in the area so the cows come. That’s where we want to stay. When we go every year we get to know him better and better. That means a lot to me. We also mail each other at Christmas. He’s a very good friend.

Visit Sørlandet: When you catch your salmon do you eat them that day?

Michael: No. Our local guy that we live with has a huge freezer. All the fisherman that catch at his farm have access to his freezer. If it is a female fish I slip it out again as a catch and release. That way the population will grow so it will be bigger the year after.

Visit Sørlandet: What makes Southern Norway an ideal spot for a Danish person?

Michael: It’s easy to get to. The time you spend together is important for Danes. The nature is something I hear from a lot of people I talk to, that it really means a lot to them to see nature they don’t see in Denmark. The kindness of the people in Sørlandet when you come there, you’re always welcome. You don’t see any sadness. The people are always smiling and helping you.

Visit Sørlandet: For a first time fisherman or fisherwoman visiting Southern Norway, do you have any recommendations?

Michael: If new, a person should go to Mandalselva river. At the river, I will say Smeland with Jan Lindland or Holmesland or Fuglesveit. There are so many places. Fossefjellene is a new place on the river. That place is very exciting to fish at because you can fish with worms and flys. If you are new at fishing, then I say Fossefjellene would be the right place to fish in.

Visit Sørlandet: When are you planning to go back to Southern Norway and what will you do?

Michael: I will be back this month and in August I have a fishing trip. Two times this year!

Visit Sørlandet: Describe Southern Norway in three words.

Michael: Kindness, amazing, happiness

Learn more about salmon fishing in Southern Norway.

This blog was originally published in 2015 as part of the #LoveSouthernNorway campaign.  As our second announced Love Southern Norway Ambassador, Olsen received Color Line ferry tickets to visit Southern Norway 5 more times.