Norwegians love to spend rejuvenating weekends in their cabins – in the woods, on a mountain or by the sea. 'Hyttekos', meaning something like 'cottagey cosiness', is the holy grail of the Norwegian vacation, and these gorgeously appointed tree huts in Gjerstad Forest – kitted out with kitchenettes and bathroom facilities, and surrounded by unspoilt pine woodlands – are guaranteed to deliver 'peak hyttekos'. Cabins, cosiness, utter tranquillity and an eagle's eye view of glorious nature at treetop level: well, they don't call us Up Norway for nothing...
We can make it exceptionally easy for you to escape civilisation by pre-ordering a goodie bag of groceries for you to bring with you from Oslo, or pick up on the way, and we'll including recipes based on the food in the bag.
Season: The tree house cabins are available all year. Our itinerary is based on a two night stay; however, both longer and shorter stays can be arranged.
Price: Cabin rental varies from NOK 2900 - 4700 per cabin/night including linen, towels and cleaning. The cabins sleep 6-8 people comfortably. Grocery price on request (tailored to number of people, individual preferences and season)
Video: A sneak peak of Kråkeslottet (Smeland Media)
DAY 1: journey to gjerstad forest
Meander to the forest, let the 'hyttekos' begin
If you arrive from the north (Oslo), a stop at our favourite organic cafe in Larvik comes recommended. Enjoy an Asian-style lunch, check out the deli next door and maybe even pop by Vinmonopolet - the state operated liquor shop. Following your map meticulously, you will find your tree cabin less than an hour after departing Larvik. If you are lucky, the local baker Grethe Dalen might even open her shop for you to pick out your own freshly baked Norwegian breads.
The modern treehuts are impressive both in terms of architecture and interior design, blurring the boundaries between nature inside and out. Settle in whichever way you like - by the fire, on the terrace or outside by the lake, and just be.
DAY 2: life among the treetops
Enjoy purity in nature or go exploring
Awake to the sounds of forest and wildlife. Preparing breakfast is half the fun, and the result should be eaten slowly and enjoyed with freshly brewed coffee (Norwegians are the second biggest coffee consumers in the world). Go for a hike and look for beavers, take a swim, row or go fishing, play in the climbing trail or just relax with good conversation (or a book). If the weather allows, why not prepare lunch over the campfire? Dinner will be made by you, with our suggested recipes and selected ingredients to hand. Watch the sunset and tune in to the natural elements.
DAY 3: StaverN is waiting
Wend your way home via an idyllic artistic town
Stavern is one of Norway's most popular summertime destinations, and is located by the coast less than an hour and a half's drive going back towards Oslo. Here there are charming galleries and interesting art installations, as well as beautiful small houses and a lively harbour. We recommend lunch at "Smak av Tavern", although in the summer, any other place crowded with happy Norwegians is a safe bet.
Map: Shows route by car from Oslo to Gjerstad, and back via Stavern.