Experience a Norwegian fairy-tale
TEXT: ÅSA HEDVIG AABERGE | PHOTO © MARIT SIMONSTAD KVAALE
Surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and lush nature, lies Setesdalen Valley, often called the Silversmith Valley of Norway. Here, ten years ago, Inger and Trygve Rysstad opened Sølvgarden Hotel and holiday centre, a unique holiday destination rooted in the area’s strong traditions and rich culture.
Sølvgarden is Norwegian for ‘silver farm’. Both Inger and Trygve are silversmiths by profession, and for generations tracked 300 years back, their families have had hundreds of silversmiths amongst them.
Sølvgarden is not a typical hotel, the building looking like something from a fairytale with a unique character. In addition to hosting guests from all over the world, Sølvgarden has its own silver workshop where silversmiths craft custom jewellery for the Norwegian national costume as well as made-to-order pieces and a selection of less formal jewellery.
“The strong silversmith traditions are what make Sølvgarden so unique. Visitors are invited to experience how the jewellery is crafted, and we have a gift shop at the hotel where we sell pieces made at Sølvgarden, as well as an exhibition of traditional silver jewellery,” Inger says.
The Setesdal Valley is in the heart of Norway’s folk music region, and the folk music tradition is very much represented at Sølvgarden. “We aspire to maintain culture and traditions in every aspect of Sølvgarden. As a way to keep the folk music culture alive, we welcome local musicians to bring their instruments and come to play traditional folk music at our pub,” Inger says, adding that Sølvgarden also takes pride in maintaining Norway’s culinary traditions. The restaurant offers seasonal, local, traditional food.
Sølvgarden is blessed with majestic surrounding nature with hiking and bike trails, ski slopes and unique rock and ice climbing routes nearby. The river Otra,which runs through the area, is perfect for a swim or a canoeing trip.
The hotel and holiday centre is situated within a two-hour drive from the city of Kristiansand to the south and Stavanger to the west, welcoming guests for a relaxing stay in the bright and modern hotel rooms, charming cottages or the outside camping area. “We offer a stay for every taste and need,” Inger smiles.