Last update June 2018. Weekend trip

A lovely stay at the "fairy tale" hotel in early spring. In the best sense an old-fashioned hotel in the heart of Telemark.

Dalen hotel

One weekend in the middle of nowhere

Beautifully located in a narrow valley


On the trip to the Lysefjord, quite in the beginning of our Norway-time, we passed the village of Dalen. This small place, barely consisting of a couple of dozend houses, is located between rather steep, though not very high mountains and at the end of the Bandak lake.


As I had read something about this hotel, we made a quick detour through the village, just to take a look at the hotel and to decide whether it would be worth coming back here at a later point in time.


And what should I say, both of us immediately fell in love with it. You would as well in case you value the sort of hotel making you travel back in time to enjoy some past luxury hobbies such as having lots of time passing by uneventfully and not worrying about tomorrow. We could do that, we thought, at least some days.


Two years later we booked us in, unaware that it was the first weekend after the winter break when the hotel was closed. But we barely recognized it as the charming staff glanced elegantly over some last items not yet perfectly in place.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

On the backside towards the terrace there are 4-5 more rooms, in the same classy style, but with ordinary room heights, in one of which dinner and breakfast are served. In summer I suppose guests rather like to sit on the big veranda, overlooking the large, simple but elegant English garden, the fjord and mountains in the distant.

Telemarkskanalen - we did it a year later


There is a popular, and rightly so, boat trip on the Telemarkskanalen starting in Skien and going up the canal to Hotel Dalen. Or the other way around. See our extra page on that trip here.

Quite a history


The hotel itself is from 1894, build as a hotel for the rich and beautiful, among others: King Oscar II, emperor Wilhelm of Germany, King Leopold II of Belgium and last but not least the Norwegian King Haakon VII and Queen Maud. So just perfect for us then.


From 1992 onwards, it was nicely renovated: The rooms vary in seize but are all reasonably big and furnished in the same style and time period as the main rooms. And those are the highlights: the big main hall with a huge open fire place, cosy English style leather club armchairs, old paintings over wooden panels which are cladded around the walls.


The hall is at least 6m high, with various openings and balconies accessibly from the 2nd floor and ending in a fantatstic, colorful glass ceiling. The kind of ceiling you usually find in central European churches.

At an adjacent tiny bar you can order drinks, then watching the warming flames, reading a book ot just listening to the pianist and his play.

The drinks were well made, the service really good (not just by Norwegian standard), the atmopshere quiet and the food excellent. What more do you need for a relaxing weekend?


Well, massage, sauna, a swimming pool, billard... you can always come up with such things but we didn´t miss it this time. When you don´t have the chance to do a lot, you do the few things much more relaxed, I assume.


And that was pretty much what we did for 2 days (yeah, only 2 days, we are not that patient, too much quietness drive us nuts), and we enjoyed every minute of it.


Except maybe me decision to get up very early in the morning to capture the first sunlight touching the mountaintops with my camera... Turned out to be ... pretty cold ... and an hour too early because of the steep mountains, and then clouds came in. So I made some boring shots from a pair of swanes and went back to bed until breakfast.


Distance from Oslo

  • 225 km / 3,5 hours by car



  • The whole hotel is a highlight in itself but also the surrounding is really, located at the end of the lake


Overnight stay we can recommend

  • Absolutely, but it is open only from April until October

Our personal extra tip

  • Driving back to Oslo via Rjukan is a nice alternative to the direct route, but takes 1-2 hours longer


Points of interest close by:

  • Arriving by boat from Skien through the Telemarkskanalen in summer


More information




Click on the map for opening the right clipping in google maps in a new window