Meet the hostel: Geilo

Halfway in between Oslo and Bergen, at the foot of snow-clad mountains, lies the town of Geilo. Here, Svein-Inge Øen is the third generation of his family to run a hostel. It’s a cosy place to stay, where traditions and history are kept alive, and adventure is around the corner.

Most visitors arrive in Geilo by train, as the town lies on the famous railway from Oslo to Bergen – crowned by Lonely Planet as “one of the most beautiful trainrides in the world”. There are several good reasons to hop of the train here. There mountains and valleys make a beautiful scenery. And both in winter and in summer, this town is famous for its activities. Be it skiing, hiking, cycling, wild water rafting or glacier safaris: there are plenty of opportunities to get out of your comfort zone.

The hostel lies a little bit outside of the centre of town. But if you give notice in advance, the host Svein-Inge might pick you up at the station with his car.

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On our way to the hostel, we were surprised by a rainbow

Svein-Inge is the third generation of his family who has had the hostel, at the same place. His grandparents started it as the railway opened. At the hostel, you’ll find several old family pictures and old artefacts from those days.

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Three generations of the Øen family have been running this hostel in Geilo. That’s what you call a family business!

The hostel in Geilo has beds and rooms in all sizes. There are dorm beds in the main building, several family-size cottages, and also places for tents and campervans. Several of the cottages are located next to a river, and if you leave your bedroom window open at night, you can fall to sleep at the sound of the water on the stones… We tried it, it’s very zen.

And in the morning, there’s no better way to start the day than with a quick dip in the (ice cold) river!

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Svein-Inge shows us one of the cottages

During summer, the hostel receives a lot of guests who come by bike, who are on their way from Oslo to the fjords. Svein-Inge is also himself a bike enthousiast. During a recent holiday, he travelled by bike across the USA with a friend. There’s also a lot of hikers who stop by, especially those who are doing the Olav’s pilgrim route to Trondheim.

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Bikers checking their gear at Geilo hostel

Geilo is surrounded by two big mountain chains: the Hallingskarvet and the Reinskarvet. Also Hardangervidda, the famous mountain plateau covered by glaciers, is nearby. There places are perfect for hiking in summer, and for wintersports in winter. Geilo itself has several ski centres located across the town, with lots of ski slopes for different levels, and endless cross-country trails.

Svein-Inge playing the traditional Hardanger fiddle for us


The hostel in Geilo is open year-round. Read more & book your stay here.


Text & pictures by Robin Van de Walle


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