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With the wind in your hair

There are lots of walks in Haugalandet that take you out to the sea where you can feel the bracing air. The popular Coastal Trail starts just north of the centre of Haugesund. On the trail, you will encounter wild sheep, as well as seeing attractions like Norway’s national monument Haraldshaugen, Kvalen lighthouse and ‘The Rising Tide’ sculpture.

If you head further north, to Sveio, you can do the 30-minute walk to Ryvarden lighthouse. You will also run into wild sheep on this walk. The walk to Ryvarden is exotic in all kinds of weather, and you get a real sense of the forces of nature at play if you do the walk on a wet and windy day. Ryvarden is also the location of the popular Flokehyttene cabins, operated by the Haugesund branch of the Norwegian Trekking Association.

Along the urban trails

You can also do walks in more urban areas. In Haugesund, you can do a walk that starts at Rådhusparken park, takes you along Indre kai quay, through the library park and on to Byparken park. You can also walk to Risøy or Hasseløy. Take in the beautiful architecture and enjoy a cup of coffee and cake at one of the town’s cafés or bakeries.

The boathouse at the viking farm |© Moxy/Aldente

On historical ground

From urban areas to historical ground, there are several walks in the region with a historical touch. At Avaldsnes, Norway’s oldest royal seat, you can walk to the Viking Farm in Bukkøy. The walk takes you through an open landscape and you may well run into wild sheep here as well. Visnes, which is steeped in copper history, is not far from Avaldsnes. Did you know, for example, that the copper used to make the Statue of Liberty in New York comes from here? And that Visnes has its own mini version of the statue? In Visnes, you can also walk through Fransehagen park out to the smelter, where you’ll find a fun playground for children. Make the walk even more exciting by doing a treasure hunt in the area. You can download the treasure hunt map and diploma here.

Syreneset Fort is located further south on the island of Karmøy. The occupation forces maintained an overview of all the shipping in the area from this old World War II fort. There’s lots of places to explore, climb and creep into at the fort. There are also benches where you can enjoy a packed lunch. Bring a torch when you’re going to explore the fort as it’s dark in the bunkers. You can use the app ‘Tilbakeblikk’ to learn more about the history of Syreneset Fort.

Along white sandy beaches

As well as being a beautiful spot for a swim in the summer (and in the winter for the brave among us), Åkrasanden beach is a great starting point for walks. You can walk along the white sand dunes all the way to Ferkingstad and the Fishermen’s Memorial. The walk follows a natural path where you can experience the rich fauna and birdlife in the area.

The view from Himakånå|© Mattias Fredriksson

Panoramic views in Tysvær

In Nedstrand, you can visit Trolltunga Rock´s little sister Himakånå. This rock formation has become a popular destination, and you may well have seen it on Instagram. This is a family-friendly walk, and it takes around an hour to get to the top. You will be rewarded by beautiful panoramic views across Lysevatnet lake, the Nedstrandsfjord and farms surrounded by lush forest. Remember to take stock of the weather before you venture out onto the rock formation.

Fresh air in the Byheiene hills

You can also enjoy great views from Steinsfjellet in Haugesund, and there's a great network of trails to explore in the Byheiene hills. You can do the Kringsjå, Lionsløypa or Tjelltjønn trails or visit one of the many summits – the options are many. If you’d rather walk on a gravel path, you can do the floodlit trail around Djupdalen.