Haugesund, homeland of the Viking kings, is a city in the Western Norway region's Rogaland County. The Vikings may no longer inspire fear, but they do inspire a lot of tourists to visit Haugesund. The city and its surroundings are filled with Viking history museums, archeological dig sites, and even a period settlement that recreates how the Vikings lived. The history tours are made somewhat more palatable because many of the historic ruins and heritage trails are located close to shore on the island of Karmøy, with its white sand beaches. A boat may seem more appropriate, but you do need to get a car for hire in Haugesund for moving around within the city and exploring nearby destinations in Rogaland.
There are eight providers offering visitors a car rental in Haugesund. Pick-ups and drop-offs will not be a problem no matter which agency you choose because all eight have a presence in the city as well as at Haugesund Airport (HAU), which is actually on the island of Karmøy, facing the city. That leaves the rate and the choice of vehicle, for which you can do some comparison shopping online. Select either the city or the airport as your pick-up point, and you will get a categorized listing of all currently available vehicles and deals for Haugesund. Select the deal you like and book your vehicle right now.
It is hard to go anywhere in Haugesund without tripping over something related to the Vikings. Go with the flow and get to know the Vikings. Start with St. Olav's Church, built in 1250 AD, at the royal Viking farm in Avaldsnes. A short distance away, on the island of Bukkøy, is a surreal and complete recreation of a Viking settlement. If you want to know more about Avaldsnes, head for the Nordvegen History Center next to the church. It will take you back through 3,500 years of Viking history. There are also some archeological dig sites and ancient Bronze Age burial mounds in the vicinity. The south end of the beach at Åkra has some Viking stone monuments.
Apart from Karmøy and Bukkøy, which you have already seen, this tour has to include Utsira. It is a great place for bird watching, and has a very old 18th century church and the tallest lighthouse in all of Norway. The island of Røvær is just as quaint, with only a hundred odd inhabitants and a nice beach for picnics, swimming, and water-sports. Ryvarden, with its lighthouse and museum, is also worth a visit.
When you arrive at the airport, get a car for rent in Haugesund and visit the white sand dunes on the Karmøy beaches. The lighthouse at Ryvarden is man-made, but offers a panoramic view of the sea, and you may also sight sea eagles or even deer. A trip to Haugesund would be incomplete if you did not visit the Langfoss Waterfalls in Åkra Fjord. It has been called one of the world's most beautiful waterfalls; the breathtaking view of the water tumbling down the cliffs and disappearing into the mist down below in Akra Fjord is indeed worth the 2008 ft. climb up to the top.
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