Deep inside the forest of Valdres, located next to the river Aurdøla, the three treetop cabins at Fosstopp tretopphytter are idyllically located. It’s location makes a stay here one spectacular near nature-experience!
Located about two hours drive from Oslo, we got to experience a night at Dyttholsknatten, the cabin located right next to the waterfall. Driving up on the dirt road leading to the campsite, the cabin majestically revealed itself as we turned a corner.
Built literally next to the river my first thought was “wow, will I need to go pee during the night from the sound of running water”. This luckily turned out not to be the case, as the sound turned out to be more as white noise in the background rather than anything else.
Thomas and I had invited our friends Ingeborg and Raul with us for the occasion. Dyttholknatten can comfortably fit 5 people in total, with 2 people sleeping downstairs in the living room, and 3 people upstairs in the loft.
The cabins are equipped with everything you could want for your stay. The kitchen is filled up with cutlery, and has plenty of space for preparing your meals. The bathroom has tap water, an actual toilet and a shower. Downstairs you’ll find both a seating group inside, and a big deck with a fireplace. No matter where you’ll be at the cabin big windows allow you to enjoy the view of the treetops and the river.
Shortly upon our arrival we hear another car park outside. Ante from Fosstopp has come by to make sure we’re getting all comfortable in our home for the night. “Oh, and I brought you some local food,” he says, and presents us with no more than two bags filled up with goodies.
The first thing he takes out of the bag is four beers, two pilsners and two IPAs, from Små Vesen, a local brewery located just over in Aurdal. All the beers from Små Vesen are mainly hand crafted. Since the opening of the brewery back in 2015 they are now making about 50.000 litres of beer yearly.
The next thing Ante presents us with are a moose sausage from M. F. Kjøtt. “You know, they took down this moose right outside here in the forest” Ante says, and we all quickly look over to the forest site – almost expecting to see another moose lurking around. He proceeds to dig out a container of honey, made at the local bee farm Honning fra Valdres and crisp bread made from Flisstad bakeri, which is also located close by.
The next thing is two different types of cheese, both from Valdresmeieriet. “Eat all of these together” Ante recommends. “The salt from the cheeses and the sausage, together with the sweetness of the honey and the crisp bread at the bottom makes for one incredible snack.” My mouth is watering – I am definitely a snacker!
But Ante has more local food to offer us. “For dinner I brought you these angus burgers from Piltingsrud Gård” he says, and presents four patties, and four freshly made burger buns. To top this off, we’re also given cheese from Solheim ysteri. “Put the cheese on right at the very end of cooking these burgers, and it’ll be superb” Ante says. I discreetly check the time – hoping it will be dinner o’clock.
Visiting a bee farm
But Ante has more surprises for us before dinner. “Who wants to see where that honey you just got has been made?” he asks. Four hands shoot in the air! “Thought so” he laughs, and asks us to follow him. We gladly do!
Only a few hundred metres away from Fosstopp Trehytter, Ante has three huge boxes which are brimming with life. These boxes are part of the Honning fra Valdres bee farm. More boxes are located nearby. We’re all given full protection suits and gloves, and walk up to the bee farm.
Although the boxes are really close to the cabins, the bees will not bother you at the cabins. If you move the boxes while the bees are outside, even just a metre or two, the bees will not be able to find their way back home. “It’s almost like they have a GPS set inside of them, and if you move their home, they simply will not be able to find their way back” Ante explains.
Ante opens one of the boxes, slowly and careful. What seems like a million bees (but probably is “just” more like a couple of thousands) crawl around inside, all working eagerly.
“When it comes to bees, the females are the workers” Ante tells us, and points at several of them. “The male bees are called drones. They really only have one purpose – to mate with the queen bee” he goes on. “The mating happens only once a year. So we don’t really want too many drones in here”.
The tour of the bee farm takes about half an hour. The time goes so quick! Little did I know bees and the making of honey could be so interesting. Ante explains and shows us everything – from a drone to the queen bee. The queen bee looks the same as the other bees, except she is way bigger than the rest.
As we finish up at the bees I can feel the sun roasting us inside the suits. We get out of the suits, and say goodbye to Ante. “I’d recommend you to check out the river now” he says as our goodbye, and we all nod, rather damp from the suits.
Have a bath in Aurdøla (with a natural spa)
Aurdøla is not a small river. It’s also not the most calm river I’ve seen, especially due to the fact that Dyttholknatten is located next to the waterfall. However, it is still possible to go for a swim, or at least a cool down. Which we’re in desperate need of after wearing the bee suits!
Ante has shown us a calmer place we can get into in the river located on the left hand side. “It’s almost a bit like a natural spa” he said. We all got in, and it was less cold than I had feared it would be.
The area Ante showed us was nice, as we could all sit still in the water. The rocks surrounding us made us almost feel like we’re in a pool. We couldn’t go swimming there, but the water was enough for us all to be covered. An absolute must to do if you’re here on a warm summer day!
A BBQ out on the patio
After cooling down we walked back the few metres to Dyttholknatten. We quickly prepared for snacks out on the patio, consisting of the honey, crisp bread, sausage and cheeses Ante had given us earlier. With a chilled glass of rosé each we toasted for a great day so far, and munched on the tasty snacks while enjoying the beautiful view of the river and the surrounding forest.
After the snacks it was time to prepare dinner. Our planned dinner was altered so that we could try the Angus burgers we’d received earlier. With grilled tomatoes and onion, potatoes and sauce, and a delicious red wine we were ready. Both the burgers and the cheese was great – and as the night got a bit darker we lit up the campfire pan outside.
The summer nights in Norway are long and bright, so we decided to walk down to the river and sit on a bench to enjoy the sunset over the river. An exceptionally gorgeous ending to a great day in the middle of the forest.
We all roll into bed with the gentle hum of Aurdøla as our background noise, and within minutes we’re all fast asleep.
Waking up to rain
After a great night’s worth of sleep we wake up to rain. I lay in bed watching big drops fall from the trees down on the patio. A bird lands on the railing right outside my window, and I watch it as it sits still, enjoying its natural habitat.
We prepare breakfast: scrambled eggs, mashed avocado and some delicious juice, and enjoy it inside. The rain does not bother us – the cabin is warm and feels safe. After breakfast we do the dishes, pack up the car and (sadly) say goodbye to the cabin. Staying here surely feels like a balm for the soul – and I could easily have stayed longer.
Hedalen stave church
About a 30 minutes drive from Fosstopp you can visit Hedalen stave church. The church is dated back to the year 1165, with extensions being made in 1699 and restorations in 1902. We paid 60 NOK (about 6 USD) each in order to get into the stave church with a guide. Money well spent!
About this post
This post is written after a sponsored stay at Fosstopp, but with no direction of what to write after. All things written are of course entirely based on my own experiences and my own honest review.
Drone content is made by Thomas Marthinsen.