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Stalheim, Norway

Stalheim is located at the very heart of Western Norway's beautiful fjord region, a region that for centuries has attracted and enthralled travelers.

Stalheim has a spectacular view over the Nærøy Valley and has has been an absolute highlight of many tourist's visit to Western Norway for over one hundred years.

To reach Stalheim, you will take the famous Stalheimskleiva, (kleiva meaning steep, rocky ascent), a 1.3 km long, extremely steep road with 13 hairpin bends. Built in 1842-48 to improve the trans-mountain mailroute it has seen few improvements since, and is one of Northern Europe's steepest roads with a gradient of 1:5. The road is framed by two beautiful water falls, Stalheimsfossen and Sivlefossen.


Stalheim Folk Museum

A visitor to our area should not miss a tour of the impressive Stalheim Folk Museum. The Stalheim Folk Museum, the result of the remarkable dedication and enthusiasm of the previous owner of Stalheim Hotel, Mr Kaare Tønneberg, spans a time period from the late middle ages till pre-war Norway and is considered one of Norway's largest privately owned museums in its kind.

It aims to offer the visitor glimpses of the everyday life on the farm as well as in the manor house at different time periods, in addition to provide an overview of the development of rural Norway since the late middle ages.

The museum can be divided into three parts:

* The open air museum

* The exhibition hall

* The manor house.

The open air museum

The open-air museum consists in all of 24 old log buildings built to resemble the setting of an 18th century farm, typical of the area. Besides the living-houses on the farm, there are a vapour-bath or sauna, storehouses, guesthouse, barns and a cow house. Their interiors exhibit a vast variety of furniture, tapestries, tools and utensils that render a unique insight into everyday farm life of past generations.

The old Stalheim Inn is also present in the museum, bearing witness of a long history of hospitality at Stalheim. Down the road a little red-painted school house dating back to 1878 also has found its natural place in the community.

The exhibition hall

The exhibition hall allows the visitor to deepen in different themes connected to the everyday life on a farm 250 - 150 years ago. The top floor focuses on indoor activities and equipment; themes like lighting and heating, baking, preparation and conservation of milk products, and brewing and distillation of alcoholic beverages have all been given their own department. Clothes, both everyday clothes and the colorful costumes for feasts are also on display here.

The ground floor concentrates on the outdoor activities on the farm; Plowing, sowing and harvesting has naturally been given considerable attention as well as all kinds of equipment for the horse. But hunting and fishing, being very important to secure food during the long winter, also has its own extensive department.

The manor house

Built in 1726 to serve as the home of the leading family in Voss, the Manor House was moved to Stalheim in 1965 in rather poor condition. It took three years to restore it to its original grandness and fit it with the appropriate antique furniture. Bearing the contemporary, rather plain farm homes of the open-air museum in mind, the Manor House provides an excellent illustration of the enormous social contrasts of 18th century rural Norway.


Stalheimskleiva, (kleiva meaning steep, rocky ascent) is a 1,3 km long, extremely steep road with 13 hairpin bends. Built in 1842-48 to improve the trans-mountain mailroute it has seen few improvements since, and is one of Northern Europe's steepest roads with a gradient of 1:5. The road is framed by two beautiful water falls, Stalheimsfossen and Sivlefossen.

Monuments & Memorials

The Sivle Memorial:

One of Norway's most dearest poet and writers, Per Sivle, (1857 - 1904) grew up on a farm that is only a short walk away from the hotel. In many of his stories the Stalheim area is easily recognized as the setting, especially in the short story Just a dog telling the rather sad story of an Englishman who came to Stalheim to climb the sugar loaf mountain, Jordalsnuten and who eventually fell off the mountain and died.

In 1908 a memorial stone was raised at the top of Stalheims kleiva to commemorate Per Sivle. The stone bears an inscription from one of his poems, " That is the wise thing and that is the smart thing the marker will stand even if the man falls"

King Oscar I: In the hotel garden there is a marble stone, dating 1855, and bearing the Crown and Royal Insignia of King Oscar I of Norway and Sweden. This stone raised to commemorate King's visit to Bergen that year, years later the marble stone found its way to Stalheim.

King Oscar II: In the museum area, to the left of the Manor House, there is a height bearing the name Oscarshöi. While staying Stalheim Hotel in 1896 the King wrote his name on the mountain side of this height, and his signature was than carved into the mountain side. Later the signatures of King Olav of Norway and og Crown Princess Märtha also have been craved into the mountain side.

Emperor Wilhelm II: The German Emperor Wilhelm II was a very frequent guest to the fjords of Western Norway and to Stalheim, cruising on his own private yacht, The Hoenzollern. He came first in 1889 and since returned every summer for 25 consecutive years, in fact he was cruising in the Norwegian fjords when he was informed of the out-break of World War I. At Stalheim a memory stone was raised in 1895 to commemorate the Emperors visits, the height of which the stone was raised commands a magnificent view of the Nærøy Valley and was naturally named Wilhelmshöi.

The German Bunkers: During the Second World War the Germans built a number of bunkers and trenches around Stalheim. Two bunkers were built into the front wall of the hotel terrace, one of them " The Lorelei" is accessible through a stairway from the hotel's terrace.

The Viking Gravemounds

In the hotel garden you find two viking gravemounds, excavated in 1890 when the hotel was being moved and extended. Carbon dating of the items found in the grave- mounds dates them in the Viking Age.

The items are now housed in The Bergen Museum, but a photograph of these items can be seen in the reception area.