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About Haugesund

Haugesund, homeland of the Viking kings and birthplace of Norway, is a place where you can inhale the Viking spirit. Surrounded by beautiful coastline, spectacular waterfalls and majestic fjords it's no wonder the kings called this extraordinary setting home.

Populated for thousands of years, you can walk in the footsteps of the great kings at the Nordvegen History Centre and travel back over 3,500 years. St Olav's Church, dating from 1250 AD, is a monument to the former days of glory, and next to the church stands one of Norway's tallest pillars, Virgin Mary's Sewing Needle.

In nearby Rehaugene you can explore the 'Pyramids of the North' - six intriguing Bronze Age, earthen burial mounds. And if you are feeling like a spot of retail therapy, you're in luck - not only is Haugesund filled with charming markets it's also home to Norway's longest pedestrian street.


Shore excursions in Haugesund

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Highlights of Haugesund

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 3 hours

Discover the highlights of Haugesund, with its rich history in the herring industry.

Discover the history of Haugesund as you pass by its main sights including the City Hall, with its prominent pink facade, various sculptures and the wealthy ship owner’s road with its impressive 19th century buildings.

There will be a stop at Haraldshaugen to photograph Norway’s National Monument of Unification, which was erected in 1872. Haraldhaugen is also mentioned in Snorre’s sagas as the site where Harald Fairhair is buried. Here you will discover more about the Viking Age and the significance of the Monument of Unification.

Your next stop will be at Steinsfjellet Mountain viewpoint, to admire the view of the surrounding area and the mighty North Sea. You’ll hear about the importance of fisheries for the people, as well as the new oil and gas production industry. The Norwegian oil industry has strong roots in the Haugesund region with a gas pipeline from the North Sea to Kårstø.

Your tour finishes with a visit to the family-run Kyvik Sild Herring Factory. Through 4 generations they have built up expertise on salting, seasoning, maturation and finishing of what is colloquially called Sea Silver. Herring Treatment is actually a skill which requires special knowledge and experience. As you walk around the production area, you’ll hear how herring and fishing was the lifeblood of this community, and this is shown in more detail in an interesting exhibition, displaying old fishing tools and illustrating how people used to live in the area.

During your visit, you’ll be able to taste samples of pickled herring served with flat bread and coffee.

Essential information

This excursion operates by coach and on foot. The herring production is located on the ground floor, which is wheelchair accessible. The tasting session is located on the first floor, which is accessed only via 15 steps. The floor in the Herring Factory can be slippery, flat none-slip footwear is recommended.

Historic Avaldsnes and Viking Village

Activity medium

Duration: 4 hours

Visit Karmøy Island and gain a fascinating insight into the history of Haugesund and the region – Homeland of Viking Kings.

A scenic drive takes you through Haugesund, before heading across the Karmsund Bridge, linking Karmøy Island to the mainland. Continue to St Olav’s Church, a prominent landmark for seafarers passing through the strait of Karmsund for over 750 years.

The church is near Avaldsnes, the believed resting place of King Harald Fairhair, the first King of Norway. Nearby is a monumental stone called the Virgin Mary's Needle, standing over 7 metres tall and leaning towards the church walls. Norwegian legend claims that the day of judgement will arrive when the stone comes into contact with the church walls.

A short walk will take you to the Nordvegen History Centre, which tells the story of the Princes and Kings who ruled Avaldsnes for over 3,000 years, and controlled the passing of ships that sailed through Karmsundet Sound, to avoid the dangerous waters surrounding the island.

A further walk will bring you to a model Viking farm located on the scenic Bukkøy Island. The farm and houses have been reconstructed based on various archaeological discoveries in Rogaland County. Contrary to popular belief, it shows that the Vikings were more than just pirates and barbarians.

Upon arrival, a Viking will welcome you onto the farm, before explaining all about their local customs and daily lives.

Essential information

This tour will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 2¾ hours’ walking throughout this tour, with some uneven ground and gentle slopes to negotiate. If there is a private service taking place, the visit to St Olav’s will be to see the exterior only. Please note, the road from St. Olav’s Church leading to the Viking Village is slightly steep therefore comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The walk is approximately 15 minutes each way.

Leisurely Haugesund

Activity low

Duration: 2 hours

This tour provides the perfect introduction to Haugesund and the surrounding area.

The area of Haugesund as a settlement dates back to at least 1217, when it was mentioned in the Norse Sagas. However, it wasn’t until 1854 that town rights were awarded by King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway. Today the town has a population of approximately 35,000 and is the natural ‘capital’ of the region, situated between the Boknafjord, north of Stavanger and south of the Hardangerfjord.

Haugesund is inseparably linked to the sea and owes its prosperity to the successful herring industry, which thrived throughout the 19th century. Drive through the central parts of the town, past the pastel pink Town Hall, built in 1931 as a gift from a local ship owner and his wife.

Continue towards ‘Haraldshaugen’, raised in 1872 as a national monument commemorating The Battle of Hafrsfjord where King Harald Fairhair won over the chieftains of 29 historic counties and gathered Norway into one kingdom. The monument is believed to be the site where King Harald Fairhair is buried.

Proceed towards the Steinsfjellet viewpoint, a well-loved area of the locals and known as a picturesque starting point for nature walks and hikes. The viewpoint lies 227 metres above sea level, with impressive panoramic views of Haugesund and the surrounding areas.

Essential information

This tour will operate by coach and on foot. Any walking at the stops is at each passenger’s own discretion.


A selection of cruises to Haugesund

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