The Viking Farm – where the Vikings reigned for a thousand years

Travel 1,000 years back in time and learn about Norway’s Viking history at the Viking Farm at Avaldsnes. The farm itself is situated on an island below the venerable St Olav’s church, and the area has been reconstructed based on archaeological findings made on the site.

For 3,000 years, princes and kings stayed at Avaldsnes, where they kept an eye on the ships that had to pass through the narrow Karmsundet sound and the fairway called 'Nordvegen', which gave Norway its name. King Harald Fairhair and his successors had their royal seat here for almost 500 years.

The Vikings have left traces of towering burial mounds, standing stones and rich historical finds. The Nordvegen History Centre, the Viking Farm on Bukkøy and the medieval St Olav’s church are gems that you definitely should experience!

Haraldshaugen – Norway's only national monument

The national monument, Haraldshaugen, is located close to the centre of Haugesund, erected to commemorate the unification of Norway into one kingdom by Harald Fairhair in 872. A thousand years later, the monument was erected on the spot where, according to the saga, Norway was united into one kingdom.

The monument itself has been built to resemble a burial mound, surrounded by a granite wall and 29 standing stones. Each of these stones represents the old Norwegian regions, while the obelisk at the top of the mound has four bronze panels. These panels illustrate important scenes from Harald Fairhair’s life.

Norway's national monument Haraldshaugen

The Rising Tide – horse sculptures in Kvalsvik

‘The Rising Tide’ by Jason deCaires Taylor was originally exhibited on the Thames in London, but today the four horse sculptures can be seen near Kvalsvik in Haugesund.

The sculptures illustrate the retired work horse, and simultaneously draw our attention to our continued dependency on fossil fuels and the potential apocalyptic result of the climate change this entails. The questions they ask are: Who is responsible and where are we headed?

Smedasundet sound and Indre kai quay – can be admired from the land and sea

Smedasundet sound and Indre kai quay are situated in the heart of Haugesund. The town, best known for festivals such as Sildajazz and Havnedager, has a bustling urban centre, restaurants, bars and hotels. It is the perfect place to stop for a break on a car holiday, boat trip or stay at the marina in Smedasundet sound.

Skudeneshavn – the white Empire-style town

At the southern tip of Karmøy lies the charming, white-painted sailing ship town of Old Skudeneshavn. The well preserved old town dates back to the herring fisheries of the early 19th century. Old Skudeneshavn is one of Norway’s best preserved coastal towns and it is listed on the Directorate for Cultural Heritage’s exclusive list of protected cultural environments

The sailing ship fleet brought home cultural impulses from many parts of the world, and the Empire style, influenced by the 18th century excavations in Pompeii, dominate the town to this day. Walk along its charming streets – look at the buildings, visit one of the cafés and go to the town park.

Langfoss – one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world

The Åkrafjord is a beautiful place known far and wide for its steep mountainsides and lush cultural landscape. A fjord cruise will take you between various gems while you observe farms without roads, Stone Age finds and small-scale power plants. The most spectacular experience, and the highlight of the trip, is without doubt, the magnificent Langfoss waterfall. The waterfall has a drop of a staggering 612 metres and has been ranked one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world by CNN Travel. Don't forget to take a trip to Åkrafjordtunet, where you’ll find a café, accommodation options and a good selection of local food products on sale.

© Pål Christensen

Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke – a spectacular section of road

Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke is one of Norway’s 18 Scenic Routes. The 260-km long section, along the Rv13, Fv520 and Fv523 roads, takes you between Oanes on the Lysefjord and Hårå in Røldal.

You can enjoy the scenery and view of the Lysefjord from the picnic spot at Høllesli in Strand. You can also experience spectacular tourist attractions such as the rock formations Pulpit Rock and Kjeragbolten from the fjord or hike up to the top of these iconic formations. On the route, you can study rock carvings in Strand, sit in the world’s biggest Jærstol chair in Hjelmeland, feel the force of the Svandalsfossen waterfall in Sauda, try your luck fishing in Suldalslågen river in Suldal or admire the view from the many mountain peaks in the region.

© Morten Aakre

Fjord cruise on the Lysefjord – see the iconic attractions from the fjord

Rødne Fjord Cruise runs fjord cruises in the Lysefjord that offer a glimpse of Fantahålå rock formation, and you’ll hear the saga of what this mysterious cave once hid. On the cruise, you also get the chance to get up close to Hengjanefoss waterfall and taste the fresh mountain water.

Experience a pleasant trip up the Lysefjord on board cruise boats with panoramic windows and large deck areas, and enjoy the views of the magical fjord landscape. The highlight is of course Pulpit Rock towering high above the fjord.

Flor & Fjære – exotic flower park

Looking for a colourful experience for the senses? Then you should head for enchanting Flor & Fjære on the island Sør-Hidle in Ryfylke. The visit starts with a pleasant boat trip from Stavanger, followed by a guided tour of the exotic garden comprising palm trees, carp and white beaches. You can finally choose from a menu of tasty dishes from all the corners of the world, made from the best local ingredients. Flor & Fjære is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or an excursion with family or friends.

OmCider – locally-produced cider and apple juice

If you’re looking for people to be impressed by, look no further than husband and wife duo Bodil and Andreas Kvame. In 2016, this couple of novice fruit growers started the enterprise OmCider at Fevoll farm in Hjelmeland. Today, the farm has 17,000 apple trees, 2,700 cherry trees in polytunnels and 100 winterfed sheep. They produce apple juice and apple cider in a separate building on the farm, and offer guided tours with tasting and have their own farm shop where they sell their products.

Give your taste buds a real treat!
(And what’s more, apple cider and apple juice are perfect for every occasion.)

© Anne Siv Aasen

Architectural round trip – modern and historical architecture

The architectural round trip is part of Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke, and features the best collection of architectural works in Fjord Norway. The round trip is the only scenic route where you get to experience both modern and historical architecture in the course of a single day through the spectacular scenery of Suldal, Sauda and Røldal.

At the Allmannajuvet zinc mines in Sauda, world-renowned architect Peter Zumthor designed a unique facility next to the abandoned mines. You can also go on a guided tour of the dark, dank zinc mines. The smelting plant and the Åbøbyen district in Sauda date back to the 1920s and are examples of industrial architecture in the area.

Hydro’s plant at Røldal-Suldal is located at Nesflaten in Suldal. The power plant and pertaining housing development were designed by the Norwegian architect Geir Grung in the 1960s, and the area is the finest and best preserved example of functionalist architecture in Norway.

Høsebrua on Sand is a unique bridge that makes it possible to cross Suldalslågen on foot.

There are also examples of traditional farm buildings, like Kolbeinstveit dating from 1850, and no visit to Røldal is complete without a visit to Røldal stave church, which dates all the way back to the 13th century.

And remember to stop on the route! You can enjoy a snack and admire fantastic views of fjords and mountains at a number of picnic spots, such as Ostasteidn and Ropeid kai.