The richest food experiences in Fjord Norway await in the far south-west of Norway. You can experience the food capital of Norway, Stavanger, on this trip, a city that boasts the only two-star Michelin restaurant in the country and a wealth of decent alternatives. See the dramatic Lysefjord from a boat and visit the idyllic village Jelsa beside the sea before heading up to Røldal and turning down to Sauda on the fantastic Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke.

  1. Stavanger
  2. Hjelmeland
  3. Jelsa
  4. Nesflaten
  5. Røldal
  6. Sauda
  7. Stavanger
1.

Stavanger

Duration: 1 day

Stavanger may be the most international city in Norway. Situated in the south-west corner of Norway, it has a mild climate and excellent conditions for farming, fishing and even winegrowing in Ryfylke, the beautiful fjord landscape inland from Stavanger.

Its designation as European City of Culture in 2008 confirmed Stavanger’s position as an art and culture destination with a special focus on street art thanks to the annual Nuart Festival. On a walk around the city , you will discover modern street art in the form of both large and small murals, sculptures, art galleries and exhibitions by local artists.

Stavanger was home to a thriving canning industry in the early 1900s. A walk through the streets of Old Stavanger takes you to the Norwegian Canning Museum, where you can see how sprats were smoked and packed and labelled with hundreds of the famous, artistic siddisene labels.

You can visit eight museums under Museum Stavanger on the same ticket, and this autumn you can see Jan Groth’s paintings at Stavanger Art Museum, visit the Iron Age Farm at Ullandhaug, the Norwegian Petroleum Museum or you can delve into the city’s maritime history at Stavanger Maritime Museum.

Stavanger is a Mecca for food lovers. The gourmet restaurant RE-NAA is the only restaurant in Norway with two stars in the Michelin Guide. The dishes are created by the Norwegian, and international, acclaimed chef Sven Erik Renaa, who uses the best local produce and is inspired by distinctive dishes from the Stavanger region.

If you don’t manage to get a table at RE-NAA, which has to be booked well in advance, Stavanger has lots of other gourmet options. You can enjoy what may well be Norway’s best sushi at Sabi Omakase or its sister restaurant Sabi Enso, run by Michelin chef Roger Asakil Joya. Bølgen & Moi serves lunch and dinner with incredible wine pairings, and Spiseriet has set the bar high in the foyer of Stavanger Concert Hall – an architectural gem in the city centre. Many people will have taken note of the established restaurants Tango, Fisketorget and Fish & Cow around the harbour area, or the newly established K2, Angr and Bellies in the Østre Bydel area, to name just a few.

Spending a night in Stavanger is also a treat, with a range of excellent hotels, for example the boutique Eilert Smith Hotel, housed in the same functionalist style building as RE-NAA.

2.

Hjelmeland Jelsa

129 km 2 h 40 min
Duration: 1 day

A morning trip on the Lysefjord with Rødne Fjord Cruise offers incredible contrasts and a dramatic change of scenery from the low landscape of Jæren out along the coast to the deep fjord and mountainsides towering a thousand metres up from the shore to the mountain plateau. Shortly after you enter the Lysefjord at Forsand, you will see the Pulpit Rock way above you, and as you make your way up the fjord, you pass the old farm Bakken Gard in Songesand and Flørli with the world’s longest set of wooden steps (4,444 steps). You see Kjerag towering above you when you get to Lysebotn, innermost in the fjord.

When you return to Stavanger, replete with incredible impressions of nature, it’s time to take the Rv13 road to Hjelmeland, which is easy thanks to Ryfast, the world’s longest and deepest subsea tunnel. In Hjelmeland, the restaurant Smaken av Ryfylke provides a great opportunity to sample local produce from Ryfylke’s autumnal harvest of fruit, vegetables and herbs, and top quality local meat and locally caught fish. When you’re in Hjelmeland, we recommend a visit to OmCider, Apal Sideri and Eiane Gard, local fruit farmers who make apple juice and cider on their farms. Unless you’re visiting late in autumn, the two first farms offer guided tours with a tasting session and a visit to their farm shop. You can also pay a visit to Ryfylke Gardsysteri where they make their own cheese and yoghurt.

The trip continues from Hjelmeland by ferry to Nesvik and through the beautiful fjord landscape to the coastal gem Jelsa. If the weather is good, you should consider taking the road from Erfjord, which offers great views of the beautiful Økstrafjord.

Jelsa is a sheltered and idyllic village on the coast with trading and maritime buildings dating from the 18th century, surrounded by sites and traces of settlements dating all the way back to the Bronze Age. Jelsa church from 1647 still has its original 17th-century renaissance interior, a pulpit from the stave church that previously stood on the site and a beautiful starry sky painted on the ceiling. The schoolhouse from 1774 has been turned into a museum where you can learn more about the rich history of this village.

Choosing accommodation is easy in Jelsa, as Jelsa Hotell recently opened with 22 rooms, an apartment with a separate entrance, and a great restaurant featuring local dishes, not far from the centre of Jelsa.

3.

Nesflaten

95 km 1 h 35 min
Duration: 1 day

Jelsa is known for its fantastic scenery and waymarked paths that start beside Jelsa school, not far from the centre. A walk to Junkervarden cairn and Barkåsen offers commanding views of the fjords in Ryfylke and the beautiful landscapes of Suldal, and will make for a fantastic experience, especially if the weather is smiling.

After the morning’s walk, head north to Nesflaten past Berakvam, the location of one of the biggest granite quarries, or more specifically granodiorite in Northern Europe. Europe’s biggest stone crushing works are situated nearby, a fascinating sight for geology enthusiasts.

It’s not far from Jelsa to Sand, the charming cultural history centre of Suldal and this part of Ryfylke. Right before the centre of Sand, you come to Høse bridge, one of the highlights on Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke. The enclosed footbridge crosses the, at times, wild Suldalslågen river. The next attraction is also on the Scenic Route, i.e. Lovra - with its fantastic views and its rock-built benches and table designed by Stavanger architects Helen&Hard.

When you get to Nesflaten, after passing a large part of the long Suldalsvatnet lake, you can learn more about the region’s powerhouse, i.e. hydropower. This little village with its 80 plus houses, is home to Norsk Hydro’s Røldal/Suldal plant. The power plant was designed by architect Geir Grung in the 1960s and is one of the best preserved examples of functionalism anywhere in Norway. You can experience the hydropower architecture and the local culture on a half-hour’s walk around Nesflaten.

Grung also designed the building, which has since become Energihotellet, a fascinating building reminiscent of the Star Trek films of the 1980s, combining large windows, concrete and sustainable energy solutions. The hotel offers a taste of local food and culture, and there is plenty of opportunity to learn about the history of hydropower in Suldal.

4.

Røldal Sauda

225 km4 h 25 min
Duration: 1 day

The fourth leg of the round trip in Ryfylke takes you into the mountains before you make your way back to Stavanger in the evening.

The Rv13 road from Nesflaten up through Bratlandsdalen valley to Røldalsvatnet lake offers an opportunity to admire the natural splendour of the Saudafjellet mountains, which are at their best in autumn. A colour explosion of red, ochre and yellow, but also bare, rugged mountains. The sun reflecting on countless idyllic mountain lakes and the mountains plunging into the deep fjords. Today’s journey through the contrasting scenery sets the scene for the first cultural gem of the day – Røldal Stave Church. This 13th-century place of worship is known for its crucifix, which is said to have produced beads of perspiration every Midsummer night that could cure all kinds of ailments. The crucifix still hangs in the chancel of the stave church, which is richly decorated and serves as the parish church in Røldal.

The Norwegian Scenic Route from Røldal towards Sauda is kept open throughout autumn each year, and it takes you up into the bare mountains where snow drifts lie scattered across the landscape all year round. On your way down to Suldal, you pass Allmannajuvet, an abandoned zinc mine from the 1800s, which now features a service building, a café and a gallery recounting the mine’s history. The buildings were designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and have become a national tourist destination.

It’s not far to the next natural attraction: Svandalsfossen waterfall where there are steps you can climb beside the cascading waterfall.

Be sure to visit the exciting industrial town Sauda, which is dominated by its gigantic smelting plant. Don’t let this imposing building put you off however, the centre of Sauda with its distinctive wooden buildings and fantastic cultural arts centre is well worth a visit. Kraft Kafé in Folkets Hus and Kløver Hotel Restaurant are good options for hungry travellers.

The road south from Sauda offers great photo opportunities in the magnificent fjord landscape – from the Saudafjord to Ostastein rest area and viewpoint beside the Sandsfjord bridge and on across Hjelmeland to Stavanger through the Ryfast tunnel.

Now, you have the chance to spend another night in Stavanger and you could try the newly renovated Hotel Victoria in Vågen, which also has an excellent bar where you can savour the impressions from your trip.

5.

Stavanger

Duration: 1 day

Before concluding your round trip, you should try some cultural and culinary experiences typical of Stavanger. The traditional fish soup at Fisketorget restaurant is a memorable treat, as is lunch at Matbaren Bistro by Renaa, which lies hidden behind the cultural arts centre in the centre of the city. Both restaurants focus on delicacies of the sea with a regional twist based on the area’s fantastic agricultural produce.

If you have time to visit a museum before you leave the city, you still have a chance to buy a Museum Stavanger ticket, which gives you admission to eight museums (see the description under leg 1 of the round trip). Or you can jump on an electric scooter and set off for Østre Bydel, where the former Tou brewery building houses a host of exhibitions, studios, street art and the craft beer pub Bar Øst, with its excellent range of local Lervig beers on tap.

You will find the newly opened The Garden in the same neighbourhood, which combines local cheeses, microbrewery beers and music in a trendy atmosphere. The last tip for the day is a visit to Spildr seafood restaurant, which is set open in ‘autumn 2022’, for the perfect end to your round trip.

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