Rosendal: An idyllic little town with a lot to offer
Linn Chloe Hagstrøm
Norwegian American Weekly
A few hours southeast from the city of Bergen lies Rosendal, an idyllic town at the southern shore of the Hardangerfjord, known for far more than its natural beauty. And with beauty like this, that says a lot.
A gem hidden between the Folgefonna glacier and the Hardangerfjord in Kvinnherad, Sunnhordaland, Rosendal presents itself as a small village with much to see and explore! Take a scenic and relaxing trip to Rosendal from Bergen on a fjord cruise, rent a car, take the bus, or travel with a local Norwegian. Visit the Kvinnherad Church, a stone church built in the mid 11th century (ca. 1250). This is a parish church and it was most likely the central church of this region during the Middles Ages. In 1678, the church went private under the baron of the Barony Rosendal, but it regained its status as a parish church in 1910.
Also located in Rosendal is the Kvinnherad Museum, which features three different local museums: the Ship-building museum Skaalurensamlinga, Museum farm Bygdetunet Rød, and the Haugland School Museum. Every year, this town is home to multiple festivals such as the Rosendal Music Festival and the Rosendal Food and Art Festival.
Sound like too much for one day? Stay at the Rosendal Fjordhotel, the Bed and Breakfast at the Home Farm, or make it a day trip and come back some other time!
Rosendal is widely known for its baronial manor, Baroniet Rosendal, which is the only one in all of Norway. Built in 1665, the estate inhabits a rich and diverse history, displays an amazing renaissance rose garden, and features a museum. Surrounding the manor is a park with walking paths involving breathtaking views of the fjord, waterfall, and majestic mountains. At Baroniet Rosendal there are many experiences to indulge in, such as exhibitions, demonstrations of handicrafts, tours with a guide, and concerts. There is also a Bed & Breakfast at the Home Farm. Baroniet Rosendal is open to the public from May through September.
A short drive away from Rosendal and flowing beneath Sunndalsvegen (RV551), one can find the majestic waterfall Furebergfossen. Spectacular and powerful, this waterfall is the largest and most noteworthy in the area. On the side of the road is a large pocket to utilize as a parking spot while leaving the car (or bus) for a prolonged close-up view.
Continue down Sunndalsvegen and discover another wonderful destination: the Bondhus glacier with its incredible scenic lake, Bondhusvatnet. This amazing spot is located a short hike up the mountain from the small town of Sundal. Bondhusvatnet, a lake created by runoff from the Folgefonna glacier and part of the Folgefonna National Park, has beautiful blue water and is surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. The hike from Sundal is not challenging, and it takes between 20 and 40 minutes to make it to the lake. The accessible trail is a slim gravel road and one can pick raspberries or blueberries to snack on during the hike (in late summer season). By the lake, there are tabled benches where you can eat your matpakke (sandwich lunch) and Kvikk Lunsj. Bold adventurers may bring swimwear to test the temperature of the water! Parking is available at the entrance to Bondhusdalen Valley. The hike is suited for bikes, motorized wheelchairs, and baby carriages.
In Rosendal one also finds the visitor center for Folgefonna National Park, where one can learn everything about the nearby national park, which encapsulates the third-largest glacier in Norway (with a total area of 214 km 2 and elevation of 1,662 meters). Paths leading to the park are located in Sundal and Odda, and the trip up takes four to six hours, so plan in advance! Available everyday during the summer season are guided tours across the glacier between the cabins of Fonnabu and Holmaskjær, which belong to the Norwegian Mountain Hiking Association. Blue ice tours on the offshoots of the glacier are also available! Another attraction is the Stone Park, located in the Folgefonna National Park Center; this park exhibits blocks of stone that have been uniquely sculpted and put together in order to show the geological diversity found on the Folgefonna peninsula.
General info on Rosendal travel:
This article originally appeared in the March 11, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.