In the middle of Norway’s fjordland, Mundal Hotel is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. This family-owned hotel has creaking stairs, a great turret bed room, a library, a billiards room, a music room, deep leather chairs by the fireplace – and books; not just in the library but everywhere.
View from the turret suite
That’s as it should be. Like Hay-on-Wye, this little village is a member of the International Organisation of Book Towns.
Wherever you go in Fjærland, you’ll find books; indoors and outdoors, along the streets, in barns and in boat sheds. Four kilometres of second-hand and antiquarian books are for sale, mostly on a trust system: take the book you fancy and put money in the tin.
I found a book about old hotels and their ghosts. To my disappointment, Mundal Hotel doesn’t seem to have a resident ghost. Or does it…?
According to the International Organisation of Book Towns,
a Book Town is a small rural town or village in which second-hand and antiquarian bookshops are concentrated. Most Book Towns have developed in villages of historic interest or of scenic beauty.
Tiny Fjærland has both.
Apart from the quirky hotel, Fjærland offers fabulous water activities on the fjord, hiking – on one of the many glaciers nearby if you like – as well as a hands-on glacier museum. On our first visit in 2000, Ötzi was visiting and my then 12-year-old and I got a close look at the remarkably well-preserved Bronze Age man found in the Alps some 20 years ago.
Disclosure: Nope. We stayed a night in Mundal hotel as part of a family holiday. We stayed in the turret suite even. Cost an arm and a leg. But it was absolutely wonderful.
Excellent. I hear the best time to visit Norway is in the Winter? Is that true? I’ve visited Stockholm in Autumn and that was amazing. Next time, I’m planning for Norway.
@David – that depends on what you like to do. Winter is the best time to see the Northern Lights. If you’d like to have a go at all kinds of winter sports – or just being out in cold, crisp weather, you’ll really enjoy visiting in winter. On the other hand, summer is excellent as well – especially the long white nights (midnight sun if you go above the Arctic circle). Autumn can be nice as well – now and through September at least, the colours are just gorgeous.
For Oslo, I would probably not choose early spring, at least not in the city – can be a bit wet and muddy when the snow is melting in the streets. But from May onwards – wonderful 🙂
That sounds wonderful – I love the quaintness of the town!
Sophie, thanks so much for telling me about the International Organisation of Book Towns. I get a feeling that I want to visit them one by one.
That’s my kind of town! Did you buy any books?
Wow – it’s really beautiful.
Amazing photos – definitely makes me want to visit my hubby’s homeland . . .
how amazingly breathtaking!! Another spot I need to add to my ever growing list of places to visit!!
Beautiful photos! We spent a day in Oslo on a cruise a couple of years ago and fell in love with Norway. Can’t wait to go back and see the fjords.
Looks like the perfect village to relax and read a book.
Totally picture-book perfect!
the idea of a book town made me drool. thanks for this info.
and oh. the concept of the resident ghost is sooo Hogwarts, i love it!
I’m so jealous! What a beautiful town and full of one of my most favorite things, books–a past-time I’ve been missing since having my little girl. Thanks for sharing. Since I can’t visit in person your photos give me the next best thing!
I love the idea of a booktown. We stayed in a hotel once that had a lend a library, where you left a book you were finished with and took a new book to enjoy. Very fun!
Love the photos. Looks like it’s out of a fairy tale!
A town full of books set in a beautiful, secluded environment – now that’s a complimentary destination. The ghost (or possible ghost) of the Mundal Hotel intrigues me. All the more reason to go. Truly an interesting place, Sophie.
dont think ive ever heard of a book town before, but i really like the idea. and wow, what a location to kick back with a lazy read!
This is the first I have heard of a book town but sounds like such a wonderful time.
That first photo reminds me of Heidi!
This is sooo my kind of place. Just love the pictures and the entire article. How can I get there?
K and I have our sights set on northern Norway in 2012 to see the northern lights and some fjords so i read anything Norway related with greater interest then ever 🙂
@Robin – I think you will enjoy it heaps. And it willl certainly be quite different from Calor 🙂
Th first two pictures….soooo beautiful.
OK, I want to head to this town right now to read some books and stay in the turret suite.
Glad to hear you had an amazing time there! 🙂
Great post Sophie! I had no idea that such an organization existed. I love it!
Breathtaking! I’d love waking up to a view of the surrounding fjords 😀
Love the idea of book towns! Mundal Hotel does look like it could have a resident ghost. Lovely pics, especially the one of the village on the fjord.
I’d never heard of that organization. How wonderful! My kinda town.
I’ve never heard of a book town, but love the idea. It looks absolutely charming.
Why do ghosts love to haunt the beautiful places??? Brrr…..