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In a nutshell
A journey through Norway’s history, including the medieval church at Avaldsnes, the Viking farm, the History Center and legendary tales. Learn about the viking lifestyle and how they lived their everyday life.

Main stops
  • Avaldsnes and St. Olav’s church. Discover the beautifully restored medieval church and the legendary St. Mary’s sewing needle.
  • A reconstructed Viking farm based on archaeological finds.

The programme
  • This excursion to the island of Karmøy near Haugesund is a real journey back in time through the history of Norway.
  • After a short tour of the centre of Haugesund on board our coach, we cross the 691-metre span of the Karmsund Bridge, on our way to Avaldsnes. Here, the Church of Saint Olav is of particular interest. For about 750 years, this building – a local icon – has greeted the ships passing through the Karmsund Strait. King Haakon Haakonsson gave his permission for the construction of this holy building in 1250. It stands a short distance from the Avaldsnes Viking Farm, where King Harald Hårfagre (Harald Fairhair) had his principal residence. The site oozes history, but is also shrouded in legend. The church is famous for Mary’s Needle, a monumental stone 7.2 metres in length that leans towards the wall of the church. Legend has it that the moment the needle finally touches the wall of the church will signal the coming of doomsday itself. It is also said that over the course of the centuries, for lack of faith, certain priests have climbed up the needle and chipped away a piece in the hope of staving off such an outcome. As the church is under a well needed renovation, a special excavation will be visited near the church and a video of the inside of St Olavs church will be viewed at the Nordvegen History Centre
  • From the churchyard, the Nordvegen Historiesenter (History Centre) is just a walk away. A centre for historical documentation, the centre uses modern technologies to retell the sagas of the kings and princes of Avaldsnes. For centuries, the sovereigns of Avaldsnes controlled the Karmsundet Strait, which was the only route available to the ships sailing the Nordvgen – “the way to the north” – if they wished to circumvent the treacherous waters close to the island.
  • A 15/20 minute walk from the Church of Saint Olav on to the island of Bukkøy, about 9.5 km from Haugesund, brings us to a reconstructed Viking farm. Be ready for an truly authentic experience, as we are welcomed by Viking – in full period costume – who will tell us everything we need to know about their everyday lives and guide us through the farm and the buildings, which have been reconstructed on the basis of archaeological evidence uncovered in the county of Rogaland.

Good to know
  • The itinerary may be subject to change.
  • At the History Center a short film will be shown in English and audio guides will be provided which will provide information recorded in English.