When the ice withdrew after the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago, it was here out along the coast that people first settled. They used boats and hunting tools to procure food, and the boats enabled them to move around and be in contact with people on other islands and along the fjords. The sea and its resources were the mainstay of life for thousands of years.
Boats and coastal culture also make their mark on the communities and museums in the area. Rock carvings and Viking ships, jekteskute and ishavsskute boats tell us about the past, while shipyards, fishing boats and offshore ships represent today’s coastal culture and a people who have looked beyond the horizon and who combine ancient knowledge of the sea with forward-looking technology. Visit Ishavsmuseet museum at Hareid and Herøy kystmuseum in Herøy to learn more about the traditions of the past.
Puffins and gold
The legendary bird island Runde is situated out at the ocean’s edge in Herøy municipality. The island has a permanent population of 150, but more than 100,000 birds occupy the island during the nesting season from April to August every yearAround 80 species nest on the island, and more than 230 species have been registered on Runde overall. You can see the majestic sea eagle all year round, but you have to come between early April and August to see puffins. Every season is a unique experience.
Runde has great terrain for walks and a walk to the historical lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s dwelling, which is now a Trekking Association cabin, is highly recommended. You really get a sense of the brute force of the sea in autumn and winter. The Dutch trading ship Akerendam sank one rough winter’s night in 1725, loaded with large quantities of coins. Some 250 years later, three divers found what was one of the biggest hoards of coins ever discovered in Europe, known as the Runde treasure. You can see some of the coins at Runde Miljøsenter.
The coastal landscape
The hills along the coast are easily walked, and you will find heathland and an extensive archipelago of small islands, islets and skerries. Many of the islands are linked together by bridges and roads, which are worth experiencing for their own sake. You can experience the islands from the seat of a bike, on an ocean safari on a Rib boat trip, hike or fishing trip. How about a gourmet meal at Kami Skotholmen, a restaurant you can only get to by boat from Fosnavåg, or maybe you’d like to kayak there? Spend the night out at the ocean’s edge at Sandsøya, Tunheimsfjøra, Flø, Fosnavåg or other small places along the coast, and watch the sun setting from e.g. Mulevika bay or Hidsneset headland.
How to get to Runde and southern Sunnmøre
There are two airports nearby, Ørsta-Volda Airport and Ålesund Airport Vigra. Both have a good range of domestic flights. Ålesund also has a good range of international flights all year.
You can also come by the spectacular sea route, on the Hurtigruten coastal express or Havila Voyages.They both stop in Torvik, ten minutes from Fosnavåg.
Public transport: Buses from Bergen and Oslo correspond with buses to e.g. Hareid, Ulsteinvik and Fosnavåg. You can also book a ‘Travel like the locals’ trip from Ålesund.
If you would like to drive, the islands are linked together to the mainland by a subsea tunnel to Ørsta, or you can take the ferry from Hareid to Sulesund towards Ålesund. There are also good ferry services southwards to Nordfjord.