Ryvingen Lighthouse: the epitome of southern Norway summer idyll

Ryvingen Lighthouse: the epitome of southern Norway summer idyll
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Ryvingen Lighthouse was established in 1867 and was manned until 2002. It is found on Ryvingen island which is several kilometers south of Mandal. The Norwegian State owns the southern part of the island (approximately 30 acres). Large sections of Ryvingen now form part of the Skjærgårdsparken (Archepelago) Nature Reserve. There is a pier and a wharf in the harbor.

Mandal is a one of the most beautiful towns along Norway’s southern coast and attracts tourists with its charm and good looks—to say nothing of the sun and beautiful beaches here. And if that weren’t enough, Mandal has two lighthouses, Ryvingen and Hatholmen Lighthouse (see separate posting).

Summer at the Lighthouse

There are 19 beds in eight rooms, with kitchen and a lounge for guests. Full kitchen equipment is available. Guests bring their own bed linen/sleeping bags. There is an outdoor toilet, but no shower facilities. Water from the cistern is drinkable. No organized transportation is available, but you can contact the tourist office for information about boat hire and/or hire of skippered boats.

In summer the Ryvingens Venner (Ryvingen’s Friends) association is responsible for accommodation at the lighthouse. Accommodations are available on a first-come, first-served basis. It is possible to pre-book a limited number of places per night. You may call the lighthouse to enquire about availability before setting off.

Off-Season at the Lighthouse

Experience a lighthouse outside summer season. 17 beds in five rooms. The cottage is heated and bed linen, duvets, and pillows are available for hire. Guests have access to toilet and shower in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters. Full kitchen equipment is available. During the winter months, Rita Dyrstad is the hostess at the lighthouse. Accommodation may be pre-booked during this period.

The personnel at Ryvingen are neither curators nor tour guides, but rather people who have spent a lifetime in the Coastal Directorate. A visit to Ryvingen will therefore give you  insight into daily life in a lighthouse of today. Considering that Norway is one of the very few countries with manned lighthouses, this is in itself a good reason to visit the island. The most exciting period in Ryvingen’s Lighthouse history is from 1897 to 1917. In the 1890s Ryvingen was the first lighthouse in Norway to be converted to electricity. The power came from steam generators, and a beam between two carbon elements gave the beacon enormous light power. Due to the shortage of coal during the First World War, the light was converted to gas and then back to electricity in 1957.


  • Summer rental from approximately June 20 – August 20. Mobile: +47 97 77 93 50
  • Fall, winter and spring rates: All prices are per day.
    • Adults NOK 300
    • Children under 15 NOK 100
    • School classes NOK 100 per student
  • Rental of warehouse NOK 1,000 – can seat approximately 60 people. Summer use only.
  • Rental of the lighthouse: 5 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, outbuilding, in all beds to 30 persons. NOK 3,000 per day.
  • Rental of bed linens NOK 150
  • Lighthouse talk and tour, trip to the island of NOK 1,500

IMPORTANT: Guests must wash up and clear away all their own things. All garbage and refuse must go with you when you leave. Failure to do so results in fees of NOK 1,500. All guests must bring: bedding (due to potential bug infestations, sleeping bags are no longer permitted);  bedding can be rented for NOK 100; tealights; drinking water, coffee filters, footwear; toiletries.

  • Contact: Project Manager Nils Reidar Christensen Tel: +47 95 73 16 86
  • Rentals: Rita T. Dyrstad Tel:  +47 41 55 68 66 / +47 48 89 73 58
  • Email: post@ryvingenfyr.no
  • Summer rental Ryving Friends (June 20 – August 20): +47 97 77 93 50


The Main House:  There is a large dwelling in the lighthouse plus an outer building, “Slettingbua” with 5 beds and a small kitchen for use during the summer. The main building has 5 bedrooms sleeping up to 25 persons, living room with space for 25 persons and kitchen. Stove with a plentiful supply of firewood. A toilet with a sink and a bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet. There are water mains in the house, refrigerator, freezer, and gas cooker. Cistern water, so for drinking water, you have to bring your own.

Outer building (shed) was built in 1867 and is the oldest house on the island. One of the rooms has 5 bunk beds. The second part consists of painting workshop and wood shed.

Tower and nacelle: The lighthouse that stands on the island today was completed in 1897 and is 22.5 feet high. There are excellent views from the tower: of the beaches in Mandal and of the surrounding archipelago; of Lindesnes with windmills in the west and Songvår Lighthouse in the east. To the south lies the blue sea as far as the eye reach.

Machine Building: Here are housed the remains of a bygone era. Steam engine days are gone, but much related equipment is preserved. Among other things, all the fog horn equipment is present. There is talk of eventually restoring it and make it operational. The remains of the tall chimney is located on the slope below the nacelle. Norwegian Coastal Association is responsible for the Machine Building.

The Warehouse: The warehouse can be rented for NOK 800 per day or night in summer. There are tables and chairs that can accommodate groups of maxium 50 – 60 people. It is not insulated, so people need warm clothing. The atmosphere is nice and those who have tried it, have been very pleased. Both weddings and anniversaries are celebrated here.

The Harbor:  A breakwater is built to make it easier for smaller boats. In spring 2007, a new concrete quay and crane wharf was built.

The Dam: In the valley on the way up to the lighthouse there is a large pond. It was used to provide water to the steam engine. It acts as a large freshwater pool and one can swim here.

Skjærgårdspark (archepelago park):  Large parts of the island is Skjærgårdspark. Grills, picnic tables, and toilet facilities set up. Up at the lighthouse and the main building, there are also picnic tables and barbecue for public use.

Getting there by boat

There are various opportunities to get to Ryvingen by boat. Prices are agreed upon with the individual provider.

  • Boat transportation from Sjernøya to Ryvingen by Knut Joseland, tel: +47 901 74 421. One person one way is NOK 300; roundtrip is NOK 600. Joseland will take you out anytime you want, and bring you back when you want.
  • Tregde Feriesenter. Tel.: +47 38 26 88 00. Email: tregde@feriesenter.com Website: In English, with lots of good information on things to do in the area.
    Tregde  Feriesenter on Facebook. Some very nice photos here too.
  • Marinaen Restaurant, Linn and Eila – food and transport. Mobile: +47 38 26 88 00 Email: restaurant@feriesenter.com
  • Hille Ferry operated by Arnfinn Johnsen (9 persons) Mobile: +47 90 28 27 62
NOTE: You can get to Mandal by car or bus. Then take the local bus from Mandal to Sjernøya. Make sure to check departures, because there are periods when the bus is not running Saturdays and Sundays.

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