A Side Trip to Norway's Only Barony -- In 1658, Karen Mowat, a rich Norwegian heiress, wed Ludvig Rosenkrantz, a Danish nobleman. Her wedding present was a farmstead at Hattberg, lying in a valley west of Folgefonna. She and her husband built a castle here, which was granted the status of a barony. That castle and all its side attractions can be visited. It is also a cultural center, B&B, and a luncheon or dinner stopover. The descendants of this noble pair donated the estate to the University of Oslo in 1927. The small castle is enveloped by a rose garden and some of the most dramatic scenery in Norway.
The Baroniet holds many concerts in the summer season, and it's also possible to hear plays by Shakespeare in the courtyard. Lunch, based on freshly grown produce from the baronial estate, is served in a greenhouse. You can also have tea in the Tea Room. The specialty is the Baroness's rose tea, served with freshly made pastries. Those who are still around can order dinner at the estate's farm, a three-course meal served beside a 17th-century fireplace. Call tel. 53-48-29-99 for reservations. You can also be served more elegantly in the manor itself, with a concert in the Red Room preceding a 3- or 5-course dinner in the Blue Room.
Bed-and-breakfast can be arranged at the home farm. Rooms are well furnished, and most have washing facilities, but you have to share the bathrooms in the hallway. Rates are NOK900 ($180/£90) for a double, including breakfast, with an extra bed costing NOK250 ($50/£25).
Baroniet Rosendal, at N-5486 Rosendal (tel. 53-48-29-99; www.baroniet.no) is open May 3 to June 27 daily 11am to 3pm; June 28 to August 17 daily 10am to 5pm, and August 18 to September 7 daily 11am to 3pm. Admission is NOK100 ($20/£10) for adults, NOK10 ($2/£1) for children 17 and under; concerts range from NOK150 to NOK250 ($30-$50/£15-£25). From Utne, follow Rte. 550 south in the direction of Odda, taking the Folgefonn Tunnel west and going along Rte. 48 into Rosendal where the estate is signposted.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.