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Haugesund, Norway

Haugesund is a city in the region West Norway of Norway. The town offers a much wider range of goods and services that might be expected from a city of its size (approx. 32,000 inhabitants; 42,000 including all suburbs), due to its position as the definite center of its relatively populous region.

The town is situated on a strategically important sound, the Karmsundet, through which ships could pass without traversing heavy seas. In the early years, the coastal waters off Haugesund were a huge source of herring, and the town grew accordingly. Despite being barely a village back then, King Harald Fairhair lived at Avaldsnes, very close to the modern town of Haugesund. In the last decades, the town, like its neighbors, has been turning towards the petroleum industry, with the herring being long gone.

 

Haugesund, Norway

Destination:

Haugesund is a city in the region West Norway of Norway. The town offers a much wider range of goods and services that might be expected from a city of its size (approx. 32,000 inhabitants; 42,000 including all suburbs), due to its position as the definite center of its relatively populous region.

The town is situated on a strategically important sound, the Karmsundet, through which ships could pass without traversing heavy seas. In the early years, the coastal waters off Haugesund were a huge source of herring, and the town grew accordingly. Despite being barely a village back then, King Harald Fairhair lived at Avaldsnes, very close to the modern town of Haugesund. In the last decades, the town, like its neighbors, has been turning towards the petroleum industry, with the herring being long gone.

 


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Haugesund, Norway: Port Information


Cruise liners dock at the pier, which is situated about 800 m from the center of the town. You can get there on foot or take a shuttle bus (free).

Get around Haugesund, Norway


The city center of Haugesund is small and easy to navigate by foot. If you want to travel further out, there is a local bus system. The tourist information is located at Bytunet at the northern end of the main pedestrian street Haraldsgata. They have a wide variety of free tourist brochures and schedules and also sell passes for the city bus system.

The city buses are managed by Kolumbus, the schedules and route diagram of the services are available online. The main routes (lines 1, 2, and 10) run seven days a week, Mondays to Fridays between 6 and midnight, Saturdays from 8 to midnight, and Sundays from around 10-12 to midnight. Other routes have more limited service.

All tickets in the county of Rogaland are zone-based. Haugesund and its surrounding municipalities are in the northern Rogaland zone. In addition, there is a smaller "Haugesund zone", that covers Haugesund and the mainland part of

Karmøy

Taxis are operated by Haugesund Taxi (phone: 52 80 80 80) and Haugaland Taxi (phone: 52 81 81 81). Taxi ranks can be found at the Flotmyr bus station and in front of the Vår Frelsers church in the city center. Taxis are rather expensive in Norway.

The islands of Røvær

Feøy

, and Vibrandsøy can only be accessed by boat. In Haugesund, this route docks just south of the catamaran terminal.

While it is possible to explore the city on foot, it may be beneficial to hire a car to see the surrounding area. Car hire is offered by Hertz, Avis, and Europcar at the airport and at various locations within the city itself. It can be expensive to rent the car. Petrol (or Bensin as it is called in Norwegian) is also expensive and road tolls must be paid on many roads. As a result, it may be worth renting a car for only part of your trip. For a budget option, Rent-a-wreck also has a branch in Haugesund.

What to see in Haugesund, Norway


For thousands of years, there have been human activities on Haugalandet, and the region is covered in traces of these people. Visit one of the many exciting, historic destinations!

  • St. Olav's Church. King Håkon Håkonsson erected the St. Olav’s Church around 1250 AD as part of the royal farm on Avaldsnes. Next to the church stands one of Norway’s tallest pillars, “Jomfru Marias synål” (Virgin Mary’s Sewing Needle). According to the legend when the pillar touches the church wall it means the end of the world. That is why the priests through the years have chipped off parts of the top. St. Olav’s Church is situated on Avaldsnes, approximately 10 minutes by car south of Haugesund.
  • Nordvegen History Centre. At Nordvegen History Centre king Harald Fairhair invites us in to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors. He is our guide through a 3500-year long history about Avaldsnes as a meeting spot between Norway and Europe, and as a national and, at times, an international center of power. The Viking king presents some of the kings who have controlled the Norwegian coast from Avaldsnes. Some of these kings are known through archaeological findings and some through tales. The history center is situated adjacent to St. Olav’s Church.
  • The Viking farm at Avaldsnes. The Viking farm at Bukkøy is a reconstructed farm at Avaldsnes. The museum provides knowledge about the lives of our ancestors. In the museum courtyard, you will find a traditional longhouse as well as smaller dwellings, a Viking boat and plants and animals. During the summer people are dressed in Viking clothes as they display the Vikings’ way of life. You get here by walking from St. Olav’s Church, through the open beautiful landscape before getting to the tree-covered island.
  • Haraldshaugen

    . Just north of downtown Haugesund, you will find Haraldshaugen, a testimony to the fact that although the city is young, the area has been known and used for thousands of years. Haraldshaugen consists of four important monuments in Norwegian history; the burial mound, the stone cross, the church site, and the National Monument (Haraldsstøtta). The latter was unveiled in 1872 in commemoration of Harald Fairhair’s gathering of Norway into one kingdom. The legend goes that he was buried here.
  • Archaeological excavations. The ground and sound at the old royal farm at Avaldsnes still hold secrets that can give us new knowledge about Norwegian and international history. Excavations have led to the discovery of traces of old buildings close to St. Olav’s Church. These findings might even prove to be remains of Harald Fairhair’s court, which he set up here following the battle of Hafrsfjord. Projects are in place to excavate more of the area in order to find out more about these important and exciting findings.
  • Stødle. Stødle, in the municipality of Etne, is another important historical area in Haugalandet. During parts of the Middle Ages, Stødle was the main seat of power in Norway. From here king Magnus Erlingsson ruled Norway at the end of the 12th century. His father, Earl Erling Skakke, built a chapel at the royal farm. The chapel dates back to 1160 and today it is part of the current Stødle church. At Stødle you will also find remnants of the Bronze Ages. Stødle is situated about one hour by car east of Haugesund.
  • Rehaugene. At the top of Karmøy, six imposing earthen burial mounds, which dominate the landscape, were built during the Bronze Age (1800 – 500 BC). There used to be many more burial mounds here, however, only six remain, and they are called the pyramids of the north. They were built as the final resting place for the powerful chiefs that lived at Avaldsnes. These burial mounds show that 3000 years ago Norway traded with communities as far away as Russia, Ireland and the Mediterranean.
  • Flagghaugen. Flagghaugen is a burial mound dating back to the third century AD. It is situated just north of St. Olavs Church. Originally it was 43 meters in diameter and 5 meters high. The remaining parts can be seen just outside of the stone fence surrounding the church. A prince was buried here, and in the grave, the richest gold finds from any grave in Scandinavia from the Later Roman Iron Age was found. Among the findings was a massive necklace made of 590 grams of pure gold. The prince is presented at the Nordvegen History Centre close by.
  • Ryvarden. The Icelandic Book of Settlement, Landnáma, says that Flòke Vilgjerdson built a beacon at Ryvarden in 868 before he sailed to Iceland. He was the first man to sail to Iceland with the purpose of settling there, and he is also the one who gave Iceland its name. The story goes that he used three ravens to show him the way, hence the name he is now known by; Ravnafloke (Raven-Floke). The first Viking raid is also said to have originated from Ryvarden. There is a small museum at Ryvarden telling the story of Ravnafloke. Of course, the highlight of a trip to Ryvarden is simply taking in the breathtaking scenery.
  • The Viking Centre. The Viking Settlement at Avaldsnes is a copy of a Viking settlement, complete with a longhouse and all the requisites, has been reconstructed, just below the Church of Olav in Avaldsnes.
  • The Bear Pit. Near to Karmøy, this is the ancient hole dating back to 972 in which irritating Swedes were thrown to be mauled by bears. The practice eventually deterred Swedes from passing through, although some credit this to the nearby 'Bird Cage'.

What to do in Haugesund, Norway


  • Fishing
  • Birdwatching
  • Play golf
  • Take a stroll along the piers
  • Swimming outdoors or in the indoor swimming pool in Haugesund
  • Climbing mountains, such as Steinsfjellet, 227 m.a.s.
  • Cycle the North Sea Cycle Route (Route 1)

Cultural Festivals

In August Haugesund hosts the following annual festivals:

  • The Norwegian International Film Festival (the main film festival in Norway)
  • Sildajazz (one of the greatest jazz festivals in Norway) - listen to jazz and eat herring!

What to eat and drink in Haugesund, Norway


Eat

There are numerous restaurants on the harbor.

  • Restaurant Naustet specializes in maritime fare served in intimate and cozy surroundings that reflect part of Haugesund's history.
  • To Glass, Strandgaten 169 (Next to the tourist information building), ☎ +47 52707400. 15:00-0:00. Considered one of the best places in the city, it has prices to match. It is also not a place to visit if you are a vegetarian, but then most places in Norway aren't. The restaurant is best known for its tapas.

Drink

There are several pubs and clubs in Haugesund. However like the rest of Norway these places only come alive on a weekend and late at night, in many cases after 22-00, most have pretty good live music and cater for all ages. The staff is usually very friendly and all speak good English, in fact, many staff speaks 2-3 languages.

  • Sam Son, The Harbour. 11:00-01:30. Located on the waterfront, Sam Son's chic decor provides an excellent place or relax in the afternoon or party all night. They offer food, beer, wine, and cocktails. It is also worth trying one of their smoothies.
  • Lothes Mat og Vinhus, Skippergate 4. Cafe from 11.00-22.00 (23.00 Friday-Saturday) and Restaurant from 18.00-22.00 (23.00 Friday-Saturday). Provides a warm atmosphere during the day and into the evening. Drop in for a drink, coffee or a meal. The food is good and prices are reasonable.

Shopping in Haugesund, Norway


As the main center of the Haugaland region, Haugesund has several shopping opportunities, and you will find everything you need and more.

  • In the downtown area, the pedestrian street Haraldsgata is lined with a variety of smaller and larger stores. This includes clothing stores, toy shops, bookstores, jewelers, etc. On the parallel street Sørhauggata is the shopping center Markedet.
  • The larger shopping centers, Oasen and Amanda are located some kilometers south of downtown but both are easily reachable by bus and have generous parking space. Oasen has about 70 stores and is located at Norheim in the Karmøy municipality. The Amanda center also has about 70 stores and is located at Raglamyr in southeastern Haugesund. Apart from Amanda, the Raglamyr area is home to a number of warehouse-like stores for electronic merchandise as well as home equipment and furnishings.

Safety in Haugesund, Norway


West Norway is as safe as the rest of Norway. In western Norway there are several roads with very narrow stretches where even small cars can not pass easily. Be extremely careful around blind corners on these roads. Stick to your side of the road!

Show respect for the sea. Every year tourists die in small rented boats; usually having gone out in bad weather. Waves coming in from the Atlantic can be extremely powerful, but even in what seems like sheltered waters the wind can capsize a small boat.

Language spoken in Haugesund, Norway


The language in West Norway is Norwegian, with dialects that are distinctly different from eastern dialects. Foreign visitors will note a difference in melody only. Written Norwegian may differ somewhat as a different standard for writing, called nynorsk, is frequently used in West Norway.

As in the rest of Norway, virtually everybody under 60 years of age speaks or understand English. 

LOCAL TIME

3:20 am
December 10, 2019
Europe/Oslo

CURRENT WEATHER

5.33 °C / 41.594 °F
heavy intensity rain
Wed

4.59 °C/40 °F
moderate rain
Thu

2.76 °C/37 °F
light snow
Fri

-1.51 °C/29 °F
overcast clouds
Sat

-0.96 °C/30 °F
scattered clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

NOK

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