Fosen Region – Kjeungskjær Lighthouse
This article was originally written by Michael Holtermann and Kenneth Kiesnoski for Faces of Scandinavia.
Mid-Norway’s Fosen region northwest of the Trondheimsfjord is the area where I was born and raised. Undiscovered by U.S. travelers, Fosen offers a wealth of unique experiences. Trondheim, or Nidaros as it was called by the Vikings more than 1,000 years ago, is our starting point.
Leaving Trondheim, follow the south side of Trondheimsfjord, along Route 710, winding through quaint villages and mountain plateaus, until you get to Valset. From Valset, board a ferry for Brekstad. Ashore, stay at one of the many guesthouses, fishing cabins, or hotels in Ørland. Places not to be missed include Austråttborgen, a manor house finished in 1656; the Austrått Fort, a stone’s-throw away; and Uthaugsgården, a farm boasting an impressive 40-room “homestead” built around 1740.
Ørland was the home of the internationally acclaimed tapestry artist and feminist Hannah Ryggen and her painter husband Hans Ryggen. Visit Ørland Cultural Center for information about local cultural events, artists, and artisans.
On sunny summer Sundays our parents would take us to the islets and skerries west of the peninsula. We would borrow a rowing boat, and head for the sheltered waters towards Kjeungskjær lighthouse. Once we found “our tiny island for the day,” we’d collect driftwood for a campfire and dig into the picnic basket we’d brought along. On the way back, we’d stop and fish for cod, and whatever else would bite. A Hurtigruten ship would pass us on its northbound route, exciting us little children with the “huge waves” in its wake. Passengers on deck waved to us, and life was good.
Today, you too can head for the scenic Kjeungskjær lighthouse. Nearly 68 feet tall, octagonal in shape, and dating back to 1880, the still-functional lighthouse has been restored and is available for rental. With multiple bedrooms it can accommodate families and groups. The lighthouse even boasts a royal pedigree: Crown Prince Haakon of Norway has enjoyed a rustic yet stately dinner reception there. In summer, you’ll enjoy 24-hour daylight, and the sun dips into the sea for about two hours at night, creating an unforgettable light show set to the cries of seagulls and the fresh scent of the ocean.
Before heading back to Trondheim, make a detour north to Stokkøya Sea Center, passing through Bjugn and the picturesque oasis Å in Åfjord (yes, “Å” is the complete name of the village!) along the way. Stokkøya is situated at Hosnasand, one of the finest sandy beaches in central Norway, and is ideally suited to various types of walks and activities. Wild sheep graze on ancient fields and eagles can be seen gliding across the sky. At this relaxing resort, enjoy the beautiful nature, carefully designed buildings with a distinct look and feel, and culinary experiences.
From Stokkøya, Trondheim is an easy drive and ferry ride south. Simply follow Route 714 through Fosen’s stunning scenery – with valleys, lakes, rivers, and mountains – to Rørvik, where you board the ferry to Flakk. From there, it’s a 10-minute drive to Trondheim.