The drive will be shorter and more enjoyable when children know what to look forward to. We have therefore put together a child-friendly travel route of short stages, fun experiences and attractions that are tailor-made for a memorable car holiday with children.

You can of course start wherever you like on the route, but we have decided to start in the south in Forsand and then work our way up through Ryfylke and west to Haugalandet.

Farm holiday and time travel in Forsand

Charming Gøysa Gard in Forsand comprises two farm buildings and one apartment, and offers fantastic views across the Lysefjord and the surrounding mountains. The farm is the perfect base to experience the Lysefjord or enjoy peaceful days in beautiful surroundings.

Landa prehistoric village is situated nearby, where archaeological findings point to 2,000 years of history from the Bronze Age and the Age of Migration. Haukali 33/3 is also nearby, where you can stay close to nature in an old croft and find out what life was like in 1850.

There are bus services from the quay in Forsand to Jørpeland and Stavanger and boats that can take you up the Lysefjord, to Pulpit Rock, Flørli, Songesand and Lysebotn.

© Visit Ryfylke

Off-road biking in Jørpeland

The next stop on the route is the 1.5-km off-road biking trail just outside the centre of Jørpeland. This biking trail is the start of an initiative that aims to make Ryfylke the top biking destination in Norway, and it features both lofty jumps and sudden bends.

Excursion to Jørpelandsholmen

Jørpelandsholmen is a pleasant and easily accessible outdoor recreational area where children can play and have fun. There is a 2.1-km walking trail around the island, which features a lean-to, spots where you can have a barbecue, playground equipment and a 12-hole frisbee golf course. From the island, you can also see across to Klungholmen and the artwork Solspeilet, which is decorated with historical symbols, runes and ornamentation from the Oseberg ship dating from the Viking Age.

Walking among goblins and trolls

A walk through the mystical Eventyrskogen fairy tale forest is an exciting experience for families with young children. You will meet goblins and trolls among the trees on the walk and see charming signs featuring different fairy tales. The walk covers around 1.5 km and is great entertainment for the whole family.

The forest is located in Årdal in Ryfylke. Follow the signs from the housing development in Dalane for approx. 1.2 km.

Stay with farm animals as your nearest neighbours at Fossane Gard

For those of you who dream about staying with sheep, a dog, cat and hens as your nearest neighbours, Fossane Gard in Hjelmeland makes for a unique experience. Move your family into a 100-year-old authentic farm house and soak up the atmosphere and scenery of this unique place.

Fossane Gard offers great opportunities for fishing and going for a swim, and has a boat and canoe in the nearby river. There is also an extensive network of walking trails on your doorstep.

© Skattkammeret Suldal. Foto Kjetil Brekke

The salmon steps in Suldal

Not all Norwegian salmon are farmed salmon, as children will find out at the Salmon Studio in Suldal. The 22-km long salmon river Suldalslågen runs down the valley from Suldalsvatnet lake and into the Sandsfjord in the centre of Sand. Here, by the salmon steps in Sandsfossen waterfall in Sand, you will find the Salmon Studio. The lower part of the building is underwater, enabling visitors to see the fish swimming upstream over the steps. From July to September/October, children can watch the salmon coming back to spawn through two large windows. There are also lots of sea trout to be seen.

Fun outdoor and indoor swimming

Ryfylke is a fun place for everyone who enjoys water games and swimming.

Suldal bad in Sand is the first water park on the drive. It has several pools, an outdoor jacuzzi, a therapy pool, a sauna, a 65-metre slide that times how long you take, a diving platform and climbing wall, and, not least, a fantastic view. There’s something for everyone!

Keen on even more pool fun? Can you ever really get enough of it? Probably not.

Saudahallen water park is situated in Sauda and offers fun swimming and climbing in both an indoor and outdoor pool. There is a 25-metre long pool with a 35-metre long water slide, a diving platform, climbing wall and other play equipment. Outside you can swim in a heated pool with a jacuzzi jet and massage nozzles for your neck and back. Perfect for the whole family.

To the top of the climbing park in Nedstrand

The climbing park Høyt og Lavt Nedstrand is a two-hour drive from Suldal (or an hour and a half if you take the ferry). The climbing park in Nedstrand has five courses, with a total of 78 elements of varying length and degree of difficulty, and Norway’s only 304-metre zipline with a view of the fjord. The courses are made out of wire cables and ropes that are built into the natural terrain. They enable you to take the children up among the treetops and see the world from a different angle.

It is also possible to spend the night in glamping tents, with a focus on comfort and unique experiences in nature. Himakånå rock formation is situated in the same area and is a great walk to do with slightly older children.

You can also visit the swimming pool complex at Tysværtunet.

The island community Røvær – a real summer paradise

There are several daily express boat services to idyllic Røvær from the centre of Haugesund. The trip takes 25 minutes. Don’t be fooled by the fact that there are only 35 permanent households on the island, there are lots of things to see and do!

People have been coming to Røvær for thousands of years, and in recent years, aquaculture has been established on the island. Røvær Aquaculture Centre is now one of its main attractions, where children and adults alike can learn about how Norway has become a world-leading producer of salmon. It’s particularly fun that the activity packages are made up of games, films, a visit to the aquariums and a trip out to the aquaculture facility. You can also buy tickets for a RIB boat trip to the aquaculture facility.

Afternoon swim in Haraldsvang

Back in Haugesund, the Haraldsvang nature area is well worth a visit. There are lovely walking trails around Skeisvannet lake, which has a diving platform, playground and nosy ducks. Haraldsvang is a very popular place for families with children of all ages.

Activities for families with children

Minigolf for adults and children alike

The trip continues from Haugesund across Karmsund bridge (and the sound previously called Nordvegen (the way to the north) from which Norway derives its name). The first stop on Karmøy is Minigolfen familiepark, Europe’s biggest and most modern minigolf course.

Play minigolf on three different courses, both indoors and outdoors. Children and adults can play against each other on courses with different themes.

In the old mines in Hauske, you can play mini golf and look for precious metal. If the weather is windy and wet, you can play indoors at Gården, where there are nine holes under cover in the barn.

Experience interesting animals from all over the world

And if you’re keen to see real animals after seeing pretend ones on the minigolf course, then head for the ten-acre Haugaland Zoo, less than a ten-minute drive away. The zoo has everything from alpacas, kangaroos and marmosets to snakes, iguanas and tortoises set in lovely greenery and park areas. The park has hilly terrain with trees, flowers and viewpoints across large parts of the park.

Be a Viking for a day!

The Viking Farm at Avaldsnes, where princes and kings kept an eye on the ships that passed through Karmsundet sound (Nordvegen) for 3,000 years, is not far from Haugaland Zoo. This was also the location of Harald Fairhair’s royal estate.

A history centre is located by the medieval church, St. Olav’s church, and to the east there is a reconstructed Viking farm that you can visit during the summer. Here, children can dress up like Vikings and learn more about what life was like in the Viking Age. What was being a child like back then; what did they play with, and how did they become strong enough to carry a sword and heavy shield? And why did the Vikings want to stay right here at Avaldsnes?

Children can also have fun at Avaldsnes Leikvoll, a playground right beside the history centre or do a Viking treasure hunt and solve different tasks about Viking history.

Activities for families with children

Mediterranean vibe at Åkrasanden beach

The route concludes with a visit to Åkrasanden, Norway’s most beautiful beach. There are shallow parts for young children, and waves and a diving platform for older children. And gorgeous white sand everywhere. Have a sandcastle building competition, play football barefoot in the sand or enjoy a bite to eat listening to the waves lapping the shore.

Tip: You can also have a go at the treasure hunts in Skudeneshavn, Åkra, Visnes and Kopervik. Have a magical car holiday this summer!

Åkrasanden gir sydenstemning|© Visit Haugesund