Living history, authentic coastal culture, dramatic ocean and silky sand beaches.
Avaldsnes - Norway`s oldest royal seat
Walk in the footsteps of Harald Fairhair who united Norway into one kingdom! St Olav’s Church, Nordvegen History Centre and the Viking Farm invite you to delve into the history of the area. Here, princes, kings and Vikings will be your guides. There are majestic views from the church and the history centre of Karmsundet sound, known through history as Nordvegen – the way to the North – from which the name Norway is derived.
Our rich cultural heritage provides a basis for exciting events at Avaldsnes. Historical Viking feasts, engaging storytelling and intimate Church concerts. Travel back in time to a Viking farm, go on a pilgrimage walk and see the medieval ruins of a royal estate.
Avaldsnes is one of the stops along the fjord pilgrim route to Nidaros. This Medieval church was built during the reign of King Håkon Håkonsson around 1250, and is dedicated to St. Olav. It was built on a heathen cult site, surrounded by memorial stones. Norway’s second biggest memorial stone at 7.2 metres, ‘the Virgin Mary’s needle’, stands on the north side of the church. It was probably quite a bit taller at one time. Over the ages, priests have chopped bits off the top, because, according to legend, the day on which the top of the ‘needle’ touches the church wall will be Judgement Day. The distance between the stone and the church is now 9.2 cm...
At Nordvegen History Centre, Harald Fairhair is your guide through 3,500 years of history and the story of Avaldsnes as a meeting place between Norway and Europe.
At the Viking Farm, you can learn about our forefathers’ building techniques and how the Vikings lived. During summer, you will meet Viking warriors and their wives, and you can take part in challenging Viking activities. Western Norway’s biggest Viking festival is held here every year in June! Skudeneshavn - the white empire town. At the very southern tip of Karmøy lies charming Skudeneshavn. The history of the town goes back to the early 19th century, when herring fisheries made it a bustling hive of industry and what we today know as the ‘Old Town’ emerged.
There is a particularly pleasant atmosphere in Skudeneshavn. You can wander around and enjoy the peace and quiet while taking in the beautiful architecture, taste fresh waffles and coffee in one of the cosy cafés, visit interesting galleries, have fun at a lively festival, and explore great walking terrain, beaches and the archipelago.
Skudeneshavn’s tall ship fleet brought cultural impulses from many corners of the world. Old Skudeneshavn is often called ‘the white Empire town’. It is fascinating to see ornamentation from the stone temples of Antiquity reproduced on these small wooden houses. The cultural environment is listed, and it is one of Norway’s best preserved coastal town environments.
Experience new things with the app ‘Tilbakeblikk’ and experience characters and stories from the town’s golden age – as if they were taking place in front of your very eyes! You can watch actors playing out the roles on an interesting town walk with a theatrical twist at 1 pm and 3 pm every Sunday in July. Skudeneshavn museum also provides a good insight into the town’s history.
Sea and land. BLUE FLAG, SILKY SAND BEACHES Sandvesanden beach near Skudeneshavn and Åkrasanden beach further north have inviting white sand and pure, clear water. The beaches on Karmøy are popular all year round. There is a culture and nature trail along the shore between Åkrehamn and Ferkingstad. There are traces back to the Viking Age here, with memorial stones symbolising King Augvald’s daughters, ‘Skjoldmøyane’, and the remains of boathouses from the reign of the sea king, King Ferking. A ‘Fisherman’s Memorial’ has been erected past charming Ferkingstad.
There are an abundance of nature-based activities on Karmøy. Beautiful sandy beaches, surfing waves, waymarked walking trails in varied terrain and opportunities for trips out to sea. Enjoy the elements up close – in all kinds of weathers! Walking and fishing maps, bike and boat hire, padle and fishing:
Foto: Visit Haugesund
Industrial and war history. THE SUCCESSFUL COPPER INDUSTRY, FISHERIES AND WAR HISTORY Did you know that the Statue of Liberty in New York is made from copper from Karmøy? The copper works at Visnes were the biggest and most modern in Northern Europe in their day. At Visnes, you can learn about the exciting industrial history of this hectic mining town which was the biggest employer in Norway in the 19th century. There is a nice nature and play area there with a museum that is open in summer.
Åkrahamn coastel museum and Karmøy fishery museum tell the story of Karmøy’s past as an important fishery hub. The wharfside warehouse at Åkra is one of the few herring salteries that is still intact. It houses interesting exhibitions about the contact between Western Karmøy and America.
Karmøy Fishery Museum shows the development of the fishing industry after the introduction of the engine. This landmark building is an architectural gem set in the beautiful landscape of Veadavågen. The museum was designed by the renowned architecture firm Snøhetta, which has also designed major landmarks such as the Oslo Opera House. Open in summer.
Syreneset Fort is located 3.8 km from Skudeneshavn, and it is an impressive sight commanding views over the sea. From here, the occupation forces had a panorama view and could control all shipping traffic during World War II. The fort was in operation from 1943 and had five cannon emplacements. Waymarked trail, 30-minute walk there and back.
Family fun. Try the exciting activities ‘Viking for a day’ and ‘Archaeologist for a day’ at Nordvegen History Centre. Dress up like a Viking and get a sense of what life was like during the Viking Age, and take part in activities that show what it is like to work as an archaeologist.
Haugaland Zoo at Torvastad is an exciting 10-acre zoo with 250 animals, birds and reptiles. Along the way, you might encounter a kangaroo, tree leopard and crocodile.
You can also have fun at Minigolfen Familiepark, which is just a stone’s throw away. There are fun activities both indoors and outdoors, including a mining area and a farm theme.
There are frisbee golf courses at Blikshavn and at Liarlund, Kopervik.
The farm at Snurrevarden is open one day a month from April to September. Fun and games for the whole family: Horse-riding and horse and cart rides, jumping in the hay and on a trampoline, café and barbecues on a bonfire pan. Open all year to groups.
‘Eventyrjakten’ is an activity treasure hunt for the adventurous who visit Skudeneshavn, Åkrehamn, Visnes or Kopervik.
Download the app ‘Tilbakeblikk’ for a digital journey back in time! Explore Karmøy and meet people and scenes that provide insight into different eras, historical events and the origins of myths.
There is lots to explore for children and adults alike on Karmøy! See www.visitkarmoy.no
KARMØYGEDDON METAL FESTIVAL Kopervik. www.karmoygeddon.no
VIKING FESTIVAL FESTIVAL in the home of the Vikings! On historical ground at Avaldsnes, you can take part in the biggest Viking festival in Western Norway. Come and experience how the Vikings lived and visit a Viking market. See a blacksmith at work and Vikings in combat, listen to Viking music and Viking sagas, or try various activities, such as archery and juggling! Tel.: +47 52 81 24 00, www.vikingfestivalen.no
SKUDESFESTIVAL. Western Norway’s biggest coastal culture event featuring all kinds of boats – wooden boats, pleasure craft and sailing ships. There are many art exhibitions in Søragadå, the main street in the old town. The Skude Festival is always held on the first weekend in July. www.skudefestivalen.no
JULY / AUGust
FISKERIDAGENE (fishery days). A festival where fishing is the main focus. Exciting deep sea fishing competition, delicious food, funfair, stalls and entertainment for both children and adults. www.fiskeridagene.no
Medieval Festival at Avaldsnes,provides an insight into the exciting period of history from 1100 to 1400. You can meet jugglers, knights and musicians, and dance Medieval dances and take part in games from the period. www.opplevavaldsnes.no
VISNES FAIR Traditional activities for children and adults alike in Fransahagen. Market fair with concert on Friday, activities for children on Saturday, and traditional market day with sales exhibitions, arts and crafts and locally produced food on Sunday.
SKUDENESHAVN INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE AND CULTURE FESTIVAL (SILK) spreads the joy of reading by hosting cultural experiences in the many exciting venues in Skudneshavn. www.silkfestival.no
Tourist information Nordvegen Historiesenter 4262 Avaldsnes Tel. +47 52 81 24 00 firstname.lastname@example.org Karmøy rådhus 4250 Kopervik, Tel. +47 52 85 75 00 email@example.com Skudeneshavn Torget. Tel. +47 52 85 80 00 firstname.lastname@example.org Oasen Storsenter Norheim. Tel. +47 52 83 10 89 email@example.com Opening hours: www.visitkarmoy.no