Meet the locals
Here, Kjell Vidar Nilsen and Siren Salthaug Solvang share their best tips in Mandal and Lindesnes.
Photo: Kjell Vidar Nilsen
Photo: Kjell Vidar Nilsen
Kjell Vidar Nilsen was born and raised in Mandal, and has worked as a bus driver in the area for many years. Combined with his personal interest in hiking and outdoor activities, he knows the region very well. Here, he will share his best tips for those who want to venture into the woods and nature!
1. What are your favorite hikes in the Mandal and Lindesnes area, and why?
I really love scenic views, and most of my hikes are about reaching a summit. I find it especially wonderful to gain an overview of the sea, river, city, valley, or heath.
If the hike can be scheduled to include a visit to such a viewpoint during sunrise or sunset, it's truly magical! That's when you see the most beautiful colors and atmospheres imaginable.
Additionally, I enjoy exploring new places, continually discovering areas where I never thought there were trails.
In the Lindesnes municipality, there are hiking opportunities for individuals with various abilities. Whether you're a wheelchair user or a highly trained athlete, there are trails that suit everyone. Everyone knows that a walk outside is good for physical health, but it's almost more crucial for mental well-being!
All the listed hikes below come highly recommended. Want a greater challenge? Well, then just go further!
2. Which hikes would you recommend for families?
The biggest challenge with family hikes is motivating the children to join. Avoid the most strenuous hikes and instead focus on making the experience fun, exciting, or social for the kids. Feel free to invite friends along! Always have some snacks on hand.
- Gluba - Harkmark is a nice family hike that leads to a fantastic lean-to. Here, you can grill, have lunch on a bench in the open air, and see the 'dronninga' standing in the water. During the summer, it's also possible to borrow canoes here. There are bathing opportunities, and it's stroller-friendly.
- Aurebu, the new day trip cabin, is also a great family hike. You can go inside to warm up if the weather is chilly. It's possible to grill and swim here (not suitable for strollers).
- Landehobde offers an exciting hike for slightly older children. Bring a flashlight and explore the bunkers from the war, with lots of fascinating underground passages. Have lunch at the outermost part of the cannon positions (not suitable for strollers).
3. Which hikes would you recommend for those who enjoy a challenge?
5 Peaks in the city center: Stangheia – Kronheia – Uranienborg – Buråsen – Hobdetoppen. Start wherever you like in the city center and take a round trip to include all these peaks. On this hike, you'll enjoy magnificent views and get a good workout.
Andetoppen – Kalven – Kua – Start from Mandal city center or from Skinsnesheia and visit all three of these peaks. There are also splendid views over the sea and the city.
Gjallaråsen – a hike with fantastic views where you can see both Ryvingen lighthouse and Lindesnes lighthouse from the same spot.
Other recommended peaks with great views in the area:
- Hommefløyen (Vigeland)
- Vardeheia/Kjerringheia (Vigeland)
- Nomeheia (Øyslebø)
- Kleppsalan (Holum)
- Hermansheia (Holum)
- Flovarden/Årevarden in Hålandsheia (Mandal)
- Hisåsen (Mandal)
- Åksla (Skjernøy)"
4. Which hikes would you recommend for people with mobility challenges?
- Uranienborg – is a must. You can park close to the top, and there is a gravel road almost all the way to the summit. There are nice plateaus where you can stop and enjoy the view. Here, you can also plan your next trip by overlooking the city.
- Furulunden – offers a myriad of paths, roads, and possibilities. Choose your route based on the weather to maximize sun exposure and minimize wind. Visit the playground at Topcamp Sjøsanden, experience Lord Salvesen's Risøbank, enjoy well-adapted bathing opportunities at Lillebanken, and the bird feeding place at Sandbergsheia. There are often opportunities to encounter deer in Furulunden.
Siren Salthaug Solvang grew up on Ime 2 in Mandal. She currently resides on Skjernøy, with a direct view of Ryvingen lighthouse. Before settling down, she studied abroad in the USA, Denmark, and England. However, it was Mandal that enticed her the most to return, a choice she is very satisfied with. One day a week, she works at Tregde ferie, while the rest of the workweek is spent at Skap Kreativ Folkehøyskole.
1. What are you, as a resident of Mandal, proud to showcase?
When we welcome a new class at Skap, we take them to Uranienborg, around the city, and out to the beaches. It's important for us to highlight how unique Mandal is, with its fantastic hiking opportunities, archipelago, pedestrian street, sports halls, cultural center, and much more. The fact that we have so much within walking distance is unique and very positive for our folk high school. Every year, we receive feedback on how lovely it is to take walks in Furulunden.
I am proud to live on Norway's southernmost inhabited island in a 'hybrid city' that offers a lot but is also a quiet, safe, and peaceful place. The summer months are busy with many tourists, and then suddenly, as winter approaches, we have the entire city to ourselves again, and I like both aspects.
Cycling through Mandal in winter, when it's perfectly calm and all the lights reflect in the river, is incredibly beautiful. The fact that we have Furulunden, protected forever, is fantastic, and we are fortunate to have such a large, green lung in our city.
2. What are your top 5 recommendations for must-see highlights as a tourist in Mandal and Lindesnes, regardless of the season?
It's incredibly difficult to choose just 5!
Visit Ryvingen lighthouse. I recommend staying overnight so you can see the light from the lighthouse at night.
Experience the sauna at Tregde ferie; it's especially magical when snow is falling outside.
Take a round trip on Skjernøya, across the suspension bridge and further up to the viewpoint overlooking Ryvingen lighthouse.
Explore all the beaches, especially Kanelstranda. Swim out to the small islet where you can enjoy delicious pastries from Edgars while watching boats pass by.
If you're here in late summer, you must experience bioluminescence. Find a dark spot where the water is warm for the best experience. Have you ever swam in bioluminescence? It's a must-try.
And one more! Catch crabs, barehanded, from a boat. An amazing experience to be part of. I took some friends from England to catch crabs. We filled the entire boat, and they were ecstatic. 'We'll never forget this experience!'
This year, my family and I will celebrate Christmas Eve at Ryvingen lighthouse. It's completely unique, and only a few get to experience it. I greatly appreciate the opportunity we have.