Haugalandet - Norways birthplace

Røvær Sjøhus

Norway's earliest settlement

Throughout the whole of the Haugalandet region we find traces of settlements from time

immemorial. On the basis of the oldest and largest discoveries from the Stone Age, including flint axes, arrowheads and spear heads found at Fosen in Karmøy, we know that humans have lived near the Karmsund strait for at least 10.000 years. Traces can be found throughout the landscape: rock carvings, burial sites, stone monuments, stone crosses and churches.

Norway's oldest seat of kings

It was the kith and kin of the early princes who ensured that the base of power for the Viking Harald the Fair-haired was to be in Haugalandet when he united Norway into a single kingdom. It took Harald ten years to defeat these lesser kings, and where, after the decisive battle of Hafrsfjord in 872 AD, he could finally declare Avaldsnes as the seat of the kingdom. In 1872 the Norwegian National Monument was erected at Haraldshaugen as a memorial to a united kingdom of Norway established by Harald the Fair-haired.

"Nordvegen" - the strait that gave it's name to Norway

Until the middle of the 19th century the only mean of communication for trade and transport was by sea. "Nordvegen" was the most important sailing channel along the coast and ran through the Karmsund strait between the island of Karmøy and Haugesund. Through the ages this strait was controlled by the kings at Avaldsnes. Having control over the traffic in this strategic strait was decisive in the establishment of a united kingdom. It was also Karmøysundet which was first called "Nordvegen" - the way to the North, and which gave its name to Norway.

About Karmøy

Karmøy, as a modern industrial community, is often connected with the Hydro Aluminium Plant at Håvik. But our island has long traditions in industry. In 1865 great finds were made of copper, creating the mining community Vigsnes. For many years this was the most important centre in our district, contributing to 10% of Norway’s gross national product. The copper in the Statue of Liberty in New York was extracted from the mines at Vigsnes. There’s not much left of this exceptional era, but what’s left is well taken care of. Today Visnes holds a mining museum and recreation area. Karmøy has for decades been known for its many places processing fish, engineering industry, and a couple of brickworks.

We also have to mention Skudeneshavn, which with its characteristic and well preserved woodwork houses is a unique and genuine part of our culture on the coast, one of the areas in Scandinavia worthy of preservation. The name “Saga Island” suits Karmøy extremely well. Karmsundet was the route to the north, and many people claim that it’s from here Norway got its name, “Nordvegen” - (Norway). The island was without doubt of immeasurable importance to our earliest history. A great many monuments serve as story tellers, rock carvings, stone monuments and burial places. A Roman bronze vase is one the many finds made. Modern research shows that it’s even possible that Harald Fair Hair originally came from this island.

The tallest stone monument in Norway, “the Virgin Mary’s Needle”, stands at the Olav Church in Avaldsnes. Heavy it leans against the north wall, and according to the legend it means the end to the world when the stone touches the wall.


Haugaland, with Haugesund as its regional centre, is currently one of the most exciting growth regions in Norway
Haugaland, with Haugesund in in the county of Rogaland as its regional centre, is currently one of the most exciting growth regions in Norway, offering significant purchasing power and business opportunities. From Haugesund, more than 160 000 people can be reached within an hour or so by car or high speed passenger ferry. It is also a part of the country well enriched with numerous historical sites and other archaeological discoveries.

Haugesund is a cultural centre for its region, and is home to several festivals, the largest being the Norwegian International Film Festival and Sildajazz, an international jazz festival with approximately 70 bands and close to 200 concerts.

Experience this country of majestic mountains, picturesque fjords, spectacular waterfalls and ancient glaciers. Inland, abundant farmlands dot the landscape, where trout and salmon rivers or lakes offer a taste of the great outdoors. At the coast, feel the exhilaration of wild foaming seas during a storm, or wide sandy beaches on a calm summers' day. And remember, all these attractions can be reached within a short trip by car.

As of 2009, Haugesund's agglomeration has a population of approx. 100.000, of which 48,987 live in Haugesund and 38.000 live in Karmøy. The Haugesund Region, a statistical metropolitan area, consisting of the municipalities Karmøy, Haugesund, Tysvær, Sveio and Bokn, has a population of approx. 100.000 as of 2009.

So treat yourself to a relaxing, enjoyable vacation by starting your virutal journey. Every year Destination Haugesund & Haugalandet arranges over fifty press conferences and information trips. You can get in touch with us on +47 52 01 08 20 or by e-mail to: post@visithaugandet.no . Internet: http://www.visithaugesund.no

Karmøy Folkehøgskule
Austre Karmøyv. 23 - 37
Tel.: 52 84 61 60
Fax: 52 84 61 61

Røvær Sjøhus
5549 Røvær
Tel.: 52 71 80 35
Fax: 52 73 54 11

Radisson SAS Park Hotel
Ystadv. 1,
5538 Haugesund
Tel.: 52 86 10 00
Fax: 52 86 10 01

Comfort Home Hotel Amanda
Smedasundet 93,
5500 Haugesund
Tel.: 52 80 82 00
Fax: 52 72 86 21

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