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Such an adventure exists, and it begins before you’ve even landed at Stavanger Sola Airport. Between the clouds you get a glimpse of the white peaks on the ocean waves breaking along the coast of Jæren. Further inland, behind islands and islets, you might just see the narrow Lysefjord vanishing into the misty world between Preikestolen Pulpit Rock and the Kjeragbolten rock formation.

If the landscape is shrouded in heavy rain clouds on the day you arrive, consider yourself lucky. Then you’ll get to experience the true Western Norway – the air, sights and wind that shaped the Vikings 1,200 years ago, and which will shape your own dreams for a long time to come – if not forever.

Stavanger: A vivid autumn pearl

The first stop is the capital of south Western Norway – Stavanger – a city surrounded by lush farmland and cold, clear waters. The city has three Michelin-starred restaurants and another five that are listed as recommendations in the Michelin Guide.

Walking the streets of Stavanger's historic city centre, you will encounter locals from around the region as well as cruise tourists, students and cheerful soldiers on leave.

Stavanger is a vibrant art city with outstanding street art comprising colourful images on houses, walls and facades. These range from graffiti and murals to cartoon art, stencil and political art. The perfect time to experience it is in the autumn’s contrasting lights. It’s easy to spend a day or two exploring Stavanger many captivating museums.

Read more about walking tours in Fargegaten street.

Be inspired by Stavanger – nightlife, shopping and street art

Top 9 things to do in Stavanger

Concerts and hotel experiences

If you finish late on a Thursday or Friday and find yourself with a bonus night in Stavanger, you may have just drawn the winning ticket. The city is blessed with high quality hotels and outstanding restaurants, and the city's modern concert hall has a symphony orchestra of an international standard that was established in 1938. Famous conductors such as Philippe Herreweghe, Fabio Bondi and the current conductor Andris Poga have firmly placed the orchestra and the city on the map of classical music in Scandinavia.

Read more about Stavanger Symphony Orchestra

Sunrise at Preikestolen Pulpit Rock

Lonely Planet has named the 604-metre-high Pulpit Rock in the Lysefjord as the world's most spectacular viewpoint, beating the Grand Canyon in the United States and the Dachstein Skywalk in Austria. With a new underwater tunnel from Stavanger, it takes 40 minutes to drive from Stavanger city centre to Preikestolen Basecamp, from where it takes two hours to walk up to the viewpoint. Even if it’s foggy and raining, you’ll never forget Preikestolen Pulpit Rock – a raw, shocking and an extremely high-altitude experience. It’s also possible to take a guided sunrise tour.

If you’re not able to hike up Preikestolen on foot, there is cruise boat and RIB-boat that goes directly from Stavanger to the Lysefjord, under the mountain formation – which is also an incredible experience. You may also want to visit Preikestolen Mountain Lodge, an authentic restaurant with a view of the mountain lake from base camp.

Ryfylke: The very definition of Fjord Norway

With its deep fjords, romantic beach resorts and abundant nature, Ryfylke offers everything you could ever want from Western Norway. It’s easily accessible by car from Stavanger.

The crisp autumn air on Preikestolen Pulpit Rock gives the perfect taste of the fjord and mountain region Ryfylke. With deep fjords and mighty mountains on all sides, Ryfylke is the very definition of Western Norway: A captivating landscape that shapes the soul – for the better, if you ask the locals.

The first major stop on the Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke – one of Norway's most beautiful driving routes – comes just after the exit of the tunnel at Solbakk, between Jørpeland and Tau. A panorama of sea and landscapes opens up towards Stavanger. You can experience the fjord by kayak from Jørpeland and in the Lysefjord.

Read more: Guided kayak tour around Jørpeland

The viewpoint Høllesli

Local produce in Hjelmeland

Beautiful Hjelmeland is easy to reach from Stavanger or from Jørpeland and might be a nice place to stop, ideally for an overnight stay after your culinary experiences. There are guided tours and apple cider and apple juice tastings, as well as award-winning salmon and cheese. In other words, it’s a mecca for anyone who loves low-mileage food and natural seasonal flavours that come straight from nature.

Local produce:

Farm shop with cured ham and quails

Farm shop and cider tasting at Eiane Gard

Beer tasting at Lilland Brewery Hotel

Wine tasting at the vinyard Hebnes

Cheeses from Ryfylke Gardsysteri

Cider tasting at Apal Sideri

Cider tasting at Omcider

The famous salmon smokehouse at Mikals Laks at Skiftun

Suldal: In the footsteps of the salmon lords

The choicest part of Ryfylke begins in Suldal, where the mountains climb into the heavens and the unyielding Suldalslågen river reigns. The massive influx of large salmon from the Atlantic Ocean has created a paradise for salmon fishers since the early 1800s. Experience the rush of the salmon biting and the battle between man and beast.

If you’re short on time, why not go on a salmon safari and then drive further up through Bratlandsdalen valley on the way to Røldal. It was here that the eighth attraction along the Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke was recently opened: Flesefossen waterfall picnic area promises the very best of nature and architecture.

If you’re travelling south, there’s a chance to see Jelsa, Ryfylke's best-preserved beach resort with wonderful small houses dating from the 18th century.

Read more about salmon safaris on Suldalslågen river

Flesåna waterfall in Bratlandsdalen valley

The rest erea Flesefossen waterfall

Magical and mighty Hardanger

Hardanger offers everything from Netlix’s Viking sets to an industrial book town, Trolltunga, Vøringsfossen waterfall and glaciers that tower over the fjord.

If you want to experience the rawest, deepest and most fascinating aspects of Western Norway, Hardanger is the destination for you. It takes about four hours to get to Hardanger directly from the airport at Sola, and you will arrive in Odda, the industrial town at the heart of the Sørfjord. The adventure offers some of Norway's most spectacular mountain hikes, gigantic waterfalls, cider safaris from village to village along the fjord, and extraordinary spa and hotel experiences.

Hardanger is not only known for its fresh apple cider and blossoming plum orchards. It also tells the history of how the industrial nation of Norway became established more than a century ago. Towering waterfalls were channelled through pipes, and the energy produced by the turbines could power smelting plants that brought enormous revenues to the local communities. Much of the industry has now gone, but the atmosphere is preserved and the communities remain.

If you travel along the main road from Odda towards Kinsarvik, you can stop at the different villages and soak up enough inspiration to see you through winter. There are paths up the mountainside to viewpoints that will take your breath away. At the top of Eidfjord you can drive up the hairpin bends in Måbødalen valley and behold Vøringsfossen – the most beautiful and powerful waterfall in all of Norway.

On the north side of the Hardangerfjord is the beautiful Norheimsund, with wonderful hotels and RIB boats that allow you to experience the landscape from the fjord – a sight for the gods. If you want to get even closer to the fjord, take a sauna on a floating jetty and jump out into the autumn-cold water, or go kayaking and break the mirrorlike surface with your paddle.

Read more about Hardanger

Waterfalls, mountaintops and deep fjords

Between Hardanger and Haugesund, you will find the most amazing natural pearl on your autumn tour of Western Norway: the Åkrafjord.

On the main road from Hardanger to Haugesund via Odda and Etne lies one of Norway's most beautiful fjords. The Åkrafjord is deep, mysterious and surrounded by mountain massifs that tower over 1,000 metres, with thundering waterfalls and majestic mountainsides. From the main road between Odda and Etne, the black surface of the fjord can clearly be seen far below.

Those who have the time can strike gold when it comes to fjord tours, hikes in the crisp autumn landscapes and places to stay among the forces of nature: whether in a dome or a micro cabin, you can listen to the elements of Western Norway.

Read more about the Åkrafjord

The exotic extremities of Western Norway

The island of Utsira, situated far out in the ocean, is Norway's smallest municipality, and it is home to a vibrant community and thousands of nesting birds.

Utsira and its 200 inhabitants are situated twenty kilometres directly out from Haugesund in the open sea. Daily ferry departures make it easy to get there, but is won’t be easy to leave without unforgettable memories. You will most likely never spend the night anywhere more special than Utsira lighthouse, where the forces of nature, the sea and light penetrate everything. The fact that everything is close by makes this island excellent for hiking, and everywhere you go you will notice the birdlife and the extraordinary nature around the island. The island's farms, the lovely church and the two harbours make Utsira’s exotic environment second to none for its hospitality.

The many adventurous guests who visit Utsira from all over the world each year have inspired its excellent local cuisine. Each day, the island’s various restaurants serve the local catch of lobsters, prawns and fresh fish, such as cod and monkfish, to fortunate visitors.

Read more about Utsira
Information about lobster catching season 

How to get to Stavanger, Ryfylke, Hardanger and Haugesund:

It's easy to explore Ryfylke, Haugalandet, Haugesund and Hardanger taking Stavanger as your starting point.
You can take a flight or boat to Stavanger. There are many international services that operate into Stavanger Sola Airport via Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Frankfurt and Oslo, and there are also many direct flights into the region from a range of European cities. You can find more information about direct routes here:

You can also travel on domestic routes between such important gateways to Fjord Norway as Oslo, Bergen and Ålesund.

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You can travel by ferry from Denmark, where Fjordline's routes operate services directly from Hirtshals.
If you would prefer to travel by train, you can take the Sørlandsbanen line from Oslo or Kristiansand.

You can rent a car at Sola Airport, where you can choose from a wide range of cars.

Alternatively, you can start your trip in Bergen.

Discover the fjords in autumn

Fjord Norway is like a fairy tale in autumn, with the autumnal colours of the trees and vegetation reflected in the fjord, a dusting of snow on the mountain tops and bracing air. Some outdoor activities are best experienced in autumn, and if the sun isn’t shining? Spend time indoors and delve into our cultural history.

Find out more

More inspiration for a visit in autumn