In Gjerstad you can visit Norway’s largest rainforest in Den Lille Dyrehage [The Little Zoo], stay at the top of a tree in Trehyttene [Treehouses], learn more about the world-famous mathematician Niels Henrik Abel or explore the glorious recreational areas in the Gjerstad Forest. Gjerstad is 33 kilometres from Risør in South Norway.
Gjerstad is home to huge forested areas. Kilometre after kilometre of forests and nature reserves organised for hunting, fishing and outdoor activities. Naturally, you can also stay right up in the trees in unique treehouse cabins.
The treehouses in Gjerstad are three totally unique cabins that are located in the heart of the forest, several metres up in the trees. Here you can wake up to birdsong and squirrels right outside your window, with panoramic views across wonderful nature. Cook your own meals in the cabin kitchen, in the firepit, in the hearth on the terrace or on a camp fire at ground level. Pick blueberries for dessert in the forest around the cabins in the summer, or mushrooms for dinner in the autumn. Bathe in the deep pool in the river, or burn off some energy on the treetop Tarzan ropeways nearby. In winter, we recommend snowshoes or skis to access the cabins.
At the Little Zoo you can get close up to a variety of different animals, insects and birds. In Norway’s largest rainforest, most of the animals are free to roam as they please and it is fun to study various apes, lizards, ducks and butterflies at close range. In the rainforest you can hold a snake, and if you are really brave, take a trip into the snake jungle where the snakes move around freely on the ground or hang from the trees. In the large outdoor area you can get to know farm animals, kangaroos and the cute meerkats.
In a world where we are always surrounded by sounds, silence has become a rare commodity. Take a break from hustle and bustle and enjoy the peace that nature brings. Perhaps you will find out that it is not so quiet after all? Listen to babbling streams, small mice and birds moving around in the blueberry bushes and underbrush, and the wind blowing through the treetops. Breathe. And enjoy.
The walking routes in Gjerstad are numerous and varied. From simple, short walks close to developed areas to longer hikes that take you way up on the hills. Routes are well marked and you can buy maps of hiking areas in Gjerstad from Friluftsrådet Sør or Aust-Agder Tourist Association.
Gjerstad has many fine inland lakes containing trout and other fish. Buy a fishing or hunting permit from Inatur.no.
What could be more refreshing than an ice-cold swim in a forest tarn or a river pool on a warm summer’s day? One of the most popular beaches in Gjerstad is Sandåkerhølen. Here you will find a fine sandy beach, perfect if you are holidaying with small children. If you stay at the two topmost treehouses, Flåklypa and Gjøkeredet, we recommend a dip in the deep river pool close to the cabins.
Gjerstad offers excellent cross-country skiing in the winter months. As soon as the conditions are suitable, ski runs are prepared throughout the municipality. Ski tracks and condition reports can easily be checked at skisporet.no.
Did you know that the mathematics genius Niels Henrik Abel grew up in Gjerstad? You can find out more about one of Norway’s greatest mathematicians of all time at the Abel Centre at Brokelandsheia. The centre has a small exhibition about the man who is most known for his pioneering thesis on integrals of algebraic functions, the so-called “Abelian theorem”. The Abel centre is at Brokelandsheia and is open during the summer.
Gjerstad is a stop on the rail lines running to and from Oslo, Stavanger and Kristiansand. Oslo-Gjerstad takes 3 hours, Kristiansand-Gjerstad is 2 hours and Stavanger to Gjerstad takes 5 hours.
From Oslo: Konkurrenten and Lavprisekspessen operate buses that stop at Brokelandsheia on the E18.
From Stavanger: Take the Sør-Vestekspressen to Kristiansand and corresponding buses on towards Oslo.
From Oslo: Follow the E18 south towards Kristiansand. Take the turnoff towards Gjerstad or Brokelandsheia, depending on your particular destination in Gjerstad.
From Kristiansand: Follow the E18 east from Kristiansand (in the direction of Oslo). Follow the signs towards Gjerstad.
From Setesdal/Bergen: Follow the E134 south to Haukeligrend, then Rv9 through Setesdal. At Evje, follow Fv42 in the direction of Arendal before joining the E18. Drive in the direction of Oslo. The trip will take around 8 hours, including a ferry crossing. There are several alternative routes, among others through Telemark.