Are you fascinated by the discoveries, go-ahead spirit and seamanship of the Vikings?
Bukkøy, Avaldsnes, Karmøy
Photo: Ørjan B. Iversen
Photo: Ørjan B. Iversen
Are you fascinated by the discoveries, go-ahead spirit and seamanship of the Vikings? Around Haugalandet, you can allow your curiosity to take you in the footsteps of the Vikings. Forget about Viking helmets adorned with horns; here you’ll find the true and historically correct story waiting to be told.
Allow your explorer instincts to guide you to Avaldsnes where princes and kings have had their seat of power through millennia. Harald Hårfagre, who promised his betrothed Princess Gyda, that he would not cut his hair until Norway was united as one kingdom, established his court at Avaldsnes around 870 AD. Avaldsnes thus became the oldest royal seat in Norway. At the same location, St. Olav’s Church today towers proudly over Karmsundet Sound. This sound was formerly known as Nordvegen – the way north – from which the name Norway is derived.
Harald Hårfagre and other kings bid you welcome to Nordvegen History Centre, where they will lead you though the recounting of royal sagas, ancient myths and archaeological discoveries, all of which will provide you with an intimate knowledge of the home of the Viking kings – Norway’s birthplace.
Still curious? Follow the pathway from the History Centre to the Viking Estate on the island of Bukkøy, site of a living experimental research project. Among the attractions here, you will see a remarkable long house and an impressive large boathouse built in authentic Viking style. The boathouse is the only one of its kind in Europe. During the Viking Festival, which is arranged annually at the beginning of June, you can participate in Bukkøy’s pulsating Viking Life.
It is not only Avaldsnes that has traces of the Vikings. The whole region, ranging from Utsira in the west to Sauda in the east, features objects such as ancient stone monuments, burial mounds, rock carvings, and house and boathouse foundations. All are easy to find with the help of the overview on our website and through our printed annual guide. All attractions are accessibly situated within an hour of Haugesund.
Have you heard about Skudeneshavn, the beautiful white pearl of a town that was designated as Norway’s Summer Town in 2004? This tall ships’ town, along with the other coastal towns, has herring – the silver of the seas - to thank for the wealth that it acquired in the 1800s. Nor is it a coincidence that the Sildajazz Festival in maritime Haugesund bears the herring-inspired name that it has attained. It can easily be said that the silvery glint of trumpets and saxophones are well suited to the town.
At Visnes, it is another type of metal that will bring you on a journey - this time to New York. From the mines at Visnes, via France, the copper from here was used in the construction of the Statue of Liberty. This story and others are retold in the museum at Visnes. In the 1800s, copper production at Visnes accounted for 10% of Norway’s GNP and represented 70% of the country’s exports. Today, Visnes is a beautiful hiking and recreation area, where one can wander along the “French” riding paths or have a picnic in the family-friendly French Gardens.
We understand that our guests are curious and always looking for exciting experiences. We are very pleased to be able to bid you welcome to such a place, a historic landscape filled with just that – exciting experiences!