Haugesund cruises

Haugesund stands on Norway’s southwest shore, where the fjords flow out into the North Sea. All around, the breathtaking scenery combines the classic ingredients of this dramatic coastline, as silent inlets are adorned with sheer cliffs, rolling meadows, striking rock formations and thundering waterfalls.

Once you’ve added a rich Viking legacy and a central role in the emergence of modern Norway into the mix, Haugesund makes an intriguing destination on cruises along the Norwegian coast.

Haugesund’s Cultural Heritage

The part of the country in which Haugesund stands was a region of great importance during the Viking Age, and even lent its name to the country itself. The shipping lane offshore was known as the North Way, which shortened over time to Norway. It’s also renowned as the site where Norway's first king, Harald Fairhair, united the nation and was later buried.

The hamlet of Avaldsnes nearby gives you a chance to visit Viking Village, a recreated farmstead, or perhaps Karmoy Island, with its ancient grave mounds and tall memorial stones.

Skipping forward several centuries, Haugesund today is celebrated as the setting for two major events in the Norwegian cultural calendar, as every August it plays host to the Sildajazz music festival and The Norwegian Film Festival.

Discover Haugesund

Crowned by a pink neoclassical town hall, there’s much to admire within Haugesund itself. Even so, it’ is what’s close by that often proves more irresistible. Many visitors, for example, choose to explore the narrow 32-kilometre20-mile Akrafjord, set between sheer cliffs on either side.

The broad 2000-foot Langfoss waterfall is one of its most spectacular sights, resembling a river running down the rock face. You may also see the subject of countless photos with your own eyes, the famous Pulpit Rock, whose scenic view over Lysefjord has become an emblem of the entire fjords region.

You can even feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1800s by visiting the picturesque herring fishing town of Skudeneshavn. Perched on the southern tip of Karmoy island, it’s home to over 100 excellently preserved whitewashed wooden houses topped with pointed orange roofs.

Excursions

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.

  • Ryvarden Lighthouse Walk

    Enjoy a scenic walk along the coastline towards Ryvarden’s first lighthouse.

    Ryvarden Lighthouse Walk

    The coastline of Norway is over 60 miles long and due to the importance of the shipping industry in the region, there have been as many as 212 lighthouses scattered along the coast over the years. These days however, only around 107 remain, with the majority now ‘automatic’.

    The first lighthouse at Ryvarden was built in 1849, and accommodated three families who manned and maintained the building. In 1984 it became ‘automatic’ and is now a cultural museum with a small gallery, conference facilities and café.

    A leisurely coach ride will take you from the pier to Mølstrevåg, the starting point of your walk. Your guided walk will take you through the ever-changing natural landscape and scenery as you make your way towards the headland. With surroundings featuring weathered heather and rugged rocks, you may even be lucky enough to spot some seals or eagles along the way.

    Upon arrival at the lighthouse, enjoy some refreshments of coffee, tea and waffles as well as free time to visit the gallery or simply enjoy the views, before walking back to Mølstrevåg for the return journey to your ship.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately one hours’ walking throughout this tour, over an undulating pathway.

    Tour code

    HAU_004

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    3 hours

  • Haugesund Walking Tour

    Discover how Haugesund’s history and industry has shaped this pretty little town as you explore on foot.

    Haugesund Walking Tour

    Embark on an interesting guided walking tour of Haugesund and get a feel for this lovely little town, as you hear about their history and its influence on daily life. The town was built initially on extensive herring fishing which, along with the shipping and oil industry, has helped shape it into the town it is today.

    You’ll visit the prominent pink Town Hall, with its colourful pictorial interior, which was voted one of the most beautiful buildings in Norway. As you continue your stroll, you’ll discover Haugesund’s eclectic array of Jugend, Neogothic and Neoclassical architecture, as well as the town’s connection to Marilyn Monroe.


    This excursion will operate on foot. Flat, enclosed shoes are recommended. Please carry a waterproof coat in case of inclement weather. There are around 50 steps to be negotiated at the Town Hall. Please note that parts of the city hall are subject to close at short notice.

    Tour code

    HAU_006

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    2½ hours

  • Historic Avaldsnes and Viking Village

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

    Historic Avaldsnes and Viking Village

    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 seven 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.


    This excursion 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.

    Tour code

    HAU_003

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Leisurely Haugesund

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

    Leisurely Haugesund

    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.


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

    Tour code

    HAU_001

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    Duration

    2 hours

  • Scenic Skudeneshavn

    Discover charming Skudeneshavn, one of Norway’s best preserved small towns.

    Scenic Skudeneshavn

    Depart Haugesund on a scenic drive as you head towards Ferkingstad for a photograph stop and the opportunity to visit the Fishermen’s Memorial, built in commemoration of the fishermen from Karmøy, lost at sea in American waters.

    Situated on the Southernmost tip of Karmøy Island, and with a harbour sheltered from the open sea, is the island’s capital, Skudeneshavn. The town was established in the early part of the 19th century when Herring Fisheries and White Sails created a hectic atmosphere among the small white wooden buildings. Enjoy a guided walk, followed by some free time in this small enchanting town, where the original exteriors of many of the houses help to retain the charm of this old town.

    Complete your tour with a visit to the Mælandsgården Museum, an authentic Merchant House from the 19th century, when Skudeneshavn prospered in fishing, shipping and trade. Located in the Old Town quarters amongst protected wooden houses, the museum houses a collection of interesting exhibits and depicts the shop and living quarters of a Merchant.

    A leisurely drive along the east side of the island will take you back to Haugesund.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot.This tour involves approximately two hours’ walking with a varied terrain of paved surfaces and cobbled streets. The walk to the Fishermen’s Memorial is optional.

    Tour code

    HAU_002

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Åakrafjord and Langfoss Waterfall

    This delightful tour offers wonderful views, a scenic boat ride and a visit to a family farm for a delicious homemade luncheon.

    Åakrafjord and Langfoss Waterfall

    Relax on board your coach as a scenic journey of around 1½ hours takes you towards Aakrafjorden. During the drive you’ll experience a wonderful contrast of rough mountains, lush green hillsides and the idyllic fjord. As you journey through these mighty landscapes, your knowledgeable guide will enlighten you with inspiring tales about life in this area.

    You’ll then embark on a leisurely cruise through the Åakrafjorden, before reaching Eljavik Farm. Lying deep in the Aakrafjord, this family-owned farm dates back more than 1,000 years and offers a wonderful view of Langfossen Waterfall. Indulge in a delicious luncheon consisting of local specialities lovingly prepared by the owners.

    Continue your tour by coach, during which a photograph stop will be made at the dramatic Langfossen Waterfall. As your scenic drive brings you back towards Haugesund, a stop will be made at a charming store where you’ll find wares painted in traditional Norwegian rosemaling, amongst other gifts. Upon arrival, the owner will provide you with a brief insight into the process of rosemaling (rose painting), before allowing you some free time to browse the store for souvenirs.


    This excursion will operate by coach, boat and on foot. There is approximately 45 minutes of walking on this tour, some of which is over uneven ground. There are approximately 6 steps to negotiate to embark and disembark the boat. Whilst there are sufficient seats for everyone on the boat, we cannot guarantee that you’ll be able to sit in the area of your choice (either inside or on the open deck).

    Tour code

    HAU_009

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Family

      Especially suitable for families

    Duration

    7 hours

  • Highlights of Haugesund

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

    Highlights of Haugesund

    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 four 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.


    This excursion will operate 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.

    Tour code

    HAU_005

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    3 hours

  • Scenes of WWII

    Step back in time to WWII at the Arquebus Museum, as recreated civilian and military scenes provide a fascinating insight into daily wartime life.

    Scenes of WWII

    Arquebus War History Museum is one of Norway’s largest museums exhibiting artefacts from the Resistance during WWII. The museum takes you on a unique and dramatic journey through the history of the German occupation in April 1940 to the Allied victory in Europe and the German defeat in Berlin 1945.

    What makes this interesting museum so enthralling for adults and children alike, are the full sized recreated scenes illustrating life during the war for both civilians and the military personnel. Each scene tells a story using life size mannequins, dressed in the clothing of the era, using historical objects, equipment and vehicles (including real tanks!) in context so you can understand its purpose. There is also a street with house facades, horses, cars and characters, illustrating a wartime street and square environment.

    As you interact between the scenes, you’ll get a feel for wartime life, as well as understanding how the contribution of the Merchant Marine Navy, the Home Front, weapon drops, and secret radio transmissions eventually contributed to liberation.

    This museum is a real gem and a fascinating way to discover the history of WWII.

    During the journey back to the pier a photograph stop will be made at Steinfjellet view point.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The WWII scenes are located on the ground floor, which is wheelchair accessible. The first floor houses display cabinets with additional clothing and weapons, however this is only accessible via 18 steps. Approximately 1½ hours will be spent in the museum. There is the option to explore independently at your own pace or to join a guided tour.

    Tour code

    HAU_008

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Family

      Especially suitable for families

    Duration

    3 hours