Aquaculture, agriculture, sand and stone quarrying, and tourism are the most important industries in the municipality. Sand from Årdal was used to build the bridge that connects Sweden to Denmark over the Øresund strait. The world's largest halibut fish farm is in Tytlandsvik bay, along the Jøsenfjord, and the Ulla-Førre hydropower plant, one of the largest in Europe, is in the east of the municipality.
There are several places to eat and stay in the municipality.
Fruit and traditional products
The mild climate and rich soil in Hjelmeland provide the perfect growing conditions for fruit and berries. Local producers focus on quality, and several have won prestigious awards for their produce.
The municipality is also known for its traditional products, such as the Jærstolen chair and woven baskets. The world's largest Jærstol chair can be found at Hjelmelandsvågen.
Nature and history
Hjelmeland, situated in the heart of Ryfylke, has diverse and spectacular scenery. Skomakarnibbå (The Shoemaker's Crag) towers 700 metres above the Jøsenfjord and is a popular hiking destination. So too is the Eventyrskogen fairy-tale forest, home to well-known fairy-tale characters made of wood, as well as the Ritland crater, the site of a meteorite collision 500 million years ago.
The cluster-farm museum Vigatunet, run by Ryfylke Museum, is situated between Hjelmeland and Fister. A wonderful and unique farm complex and cultural-heritage garden.
Ferry and mountain pass
For a unique driving experience, drive from Nes in Årdal municipality over Lyngsheia to Songesand and the Lysefjord.