Haugesund Cruise Port Guide | 8 Best Things To Do In Haugesund

Haugesund city panorama

Welcome to Haugesund cruise port, located in the heart of Haugesund town on Norway’s southwestern coast, between Bergen in the north and Stavanger in the south. With a population of 38,000, Haugesund is best known as “Norway’s Birthplace”, an area where Vikings used to live and later were united into the Kingdom of Norway.

Haugesund is a living testament to a long history that dates back to the mighty Viking era and is known for its rich maritime heritage and stunning nature. Due to a wide range of things to offer to visitors, Haugesund cruise port is a frequent port of call in the Baltic and Norwegian cruise itineraries.

In this article, I give you an overview of the Haugesund cruise terminal (getting around, useful info) and share with you the 8 best things to do in Haugesund on a cruise.

Visit also our cruise port guides to Tromso, Bergen, Stavanger, Olden, Oslo, Alesund

Haugesund Cruise Port

Cruise ships dock at Garpeskjær pier in the industrial port on the small island of Risøy, around 900 meters (a 20-25 minute walk) from the town center. Only one cruise ship can dock at a time.

There aren’t many facilities within the port area except for the waiting area, a gift shop, toilets, and Wi-Fi within a small Haugesund Harbour Park terminal building. Taxis and shuttle buses are available outside the cruise ship terminal.

To get to downtown Haugesund, you can either walk or take a shuttle bus provided by your cruise line (usually for an extra fee of around 80 NOK (which is around 7 EUR/8 USD, the price is from 2023). The shuttle bus drop-off point is Vår Frelsers Church, located in the town center.

The walk to the town includes a steep climb over the bridge (Risøybru, or Risøy Bridge), from where you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the city and harbour. The road is well-signposted, allowing visitors to easily navigate the area.

Haugesund Tourist Information is located right after you cross the bridge to your left and only 300 meters from Vår Frelsers Church. Brochures, maps and free Wi-Fi are available for visitors, and helpful staff is there to provide you with useful information on what to see and do in Haugesund.

Haugesund Hop on Hop off sightseeing bus is usually available in front of the terminal, but is quite expensive and only goes around the town (which is easily accessible on foot).

The currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). 1 USD = 10.66 NOK; 1 EUR = 11.59 NOK; 1 GBP = 13.55 NOK. Credit/debit cards are accepted almost everywhere.

The panorama of Haugesund Norway, Haugesund cruise port is on the left and city center on the right.
Haugesund cruise port is on the left and the city center is on the right. They are connected via Risøy Bridge. Photo source: Canva Pro

8 Best Things To Do In Haugesund Cruise Port

From learning about Viking history at ancient sites to exploring the stunning Langfoss Waterwall and the spectacular fjords, the port of Haugesund blends history and natural treasures, making it ideal for every visitor.

1. Avaldsnes and Viking Farm

Nestled just 9.5 km/5 miles south of Haugesund cruise ship terminal, Avaldsnes is often referred to as “Norway’s Oldest Royal Seat” because it was the location of one of the most important royal estates during the Viking Age. The village was a center of power and governance, playing a crucial role in the early history of Norway with roots dating back over a thousand years.

One of the most famous figures associated with Avaldsnes is King Harald Fairhair (Harald Hårfagre in Norwegian), renowned for unifying Norway into a single kingdom in the 9th century. Avaldsnes was considered his principal royal residence.

The village is rich in archaeological findings, including burial mounds, remnants of Viking settlements, and the ruins of St. Olav’s Church (Sankt Olavs).

A highlight of Avaldsnes is the beautifully reconstructed Viking Farm at Bukkøy on the Karmøy peninsula, which realistically recreates the way of life during the Viking era. Visitors to this living history exhibit are transported to an actual Viking community, filled with longhouses, artifacts, and the atmosphere of daily life. Here, you can learn about the agricultural techniques, craftsmanship, and social structure that established Viking society.

You can reach Avaldsnes from Haugesund cruise port by taxi (a 15-minute drive), or public bus (the ride takes about 15 minutes, check the timetables at https://www.skyss.no/). Booking a guided shore excursion or renting a car are alternative and convenient options as well.

Avaldsnes Norway - Sankt Olavs
Avaldsnes – Sankt Olavs. Photo course: Canva Pro

2. Haraldsgata

Go on a shopping spree along Haraldsgata, one of Norway’s longest pedestrianized streets. Haraldsgata, named after King Harald Fairhair, is located only a 15-minute walk from the cruise dock. To get there, follow the signs or inquire at the cruise port’s information desk for directions.

Stroll down the wide promenade, flanked by both sides with designer boutiques, department stores, and charming specialty shops. If you are looking for an authentic Norwegian souvenir, here you’ll find a wide range of handmade products, and locally created goods.

In addition to shopping, Haraldsgata features an array of cafés, bakeries, and restaurants where you can take a break and indulge in delicious food and beverages. Do not miss to try traditional Norwegian seafood dishes and taste traditional pastries like kanelboller (cinnamon buns), accompanied by a refreshing cup of Norwegian coffee!

Last but not least, this charming street is dotted with historical monuments and buildings featuring traditional facades. So, whether you are looking to shop, dine, or soak in the local atmosphere, this street has it all!

Explore Haugesund tours and activities

3. Vår Frelsers Church

Located within a 20-minute walk from Haugesund port, the iconic Vår Frelsers Church is also known as Our Savior’s Church and is a must-see place when visiting Haugesund.

Built in the late 19th century, Vår Frelsers Church features impressive Gothic Revival architecture with its pointed arches and a tower that pierces the sky. The interior of the church boasts stained glass windows, elaborate altars, and a peaceful atmosphere that takes you to a different era.

The church holds regular worship services and also hosts cultural events, concerts, and community gatherings throughout the year. It is one of Haugesund’s most important landmarks that you should definitely consider visiting during your stay.

Haugesund - Vår Frelsers Church
Vår Frelsers Church. Photo credit: Canva Pro

4. Steinsfjellet

If you are into hiking and beautiful panoramic views, you should head to Steinsfjellet, a beautiful viewpoint offering breathtaking views of Haugesund and its surroundings.

You can choose to hike to this location (the hike takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes), bike, or take a taxi/local bus (local buses do not run so frequently so I wouldn’t recommend this option to cruise passengers).

This popular hiking destination is known for its scenic trails, diverse flora and fauna, and opportunities for outdoor adventure for those of you in good shape. Of course, a scenic drive to Steinsfjellet is an alternative option for those who prefer to skip a walking part.

Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with stunning vistas of the fjords, islands, and coastal scenery that will take your breath away!

5. Haugaland Museum

Nestled in the heart of Haugesund, next to Vår Frelsers Church, this museum (also known as Haugalandmuseet) provides an insight into the region’s maritime heritage, industry, and everyday life.

You can explore exhibits related to maritime history, Viking culture, traditional crafts, and local folklore, and learn more about the rich historical and cultural heritage of Haugesund.

6. Risøy Island and Risøy Bridge

Risøy Island (the island where the cruise port is located) is a charming and scenic island known for its natural beauty and historical significance. It offers stunning views of the surrounding fjords and is connected to the mainland via the Risøy Bridge that you need to cross to get to Haugesund town center.

This bridge serves as a vital transportation link, but it is also a nice place to walk, cycle, and enjoy magnificent views of Haugesund and its harbor. It is more than 20 meters high, making it one of the highest points in the city.

The bridge is illuminated at night, so be sure to get out on the outer decks to admire the sail away in case your ship stays until evening.

Haugesund - Risøy Island and Risøy Bridge
Risøy Bridge and Haugesund. Photo credit: Canva Pro

7. Haraldshaugen Monument

Dedicated to King Harald Fairhair, who unified Norway into a single kingdom in the 9th century, Haraldshaugen stands as a symbol of Norwegian unity and independence, commemorating Harald Fairhair’s achievements and his role in shaping Norway’s early history.

Located less than a 10-minute drive from Haugesund cruise port, the monument is a must-visit site for history buffs and those interested in Norway’s monarchic history and heritage. To get there, you can take a taxi, public bus or book a guided tour.

The centerpiece of Haraldshaugen is a large granite obelisk surrounded by smaller stone monuments and a well-maintained park area. Visitors can explore the monument, learn about King Harald Fairhair’s legacy through informative displays, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Haugesund - Haraldshaugen Monument
Haraldshaugen at night. Photo credit: Pixabay.com

8. Åkrafjord and the Langfoss Waterfall

A cruise to Norway wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the stunning Norwegian fjords!

Åkrafjord is a magnificent fjord located in the Hordaland region of Norway, known for its dramatic landscapes and natural beauty. One of its highlights is the majestic Langfoss waterfall, voted by CNN as one of the top 10 most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

With a height of around 612 meters, Langfoss is one of Norway’s tallest waterfalls that you can admire from viewing platforms, and even from the water – by taking a scenic boat tour that will take you closer to the majestic waterfall.

Besides boat tours and fjord cruises at Åkrafjord, you can hike to the top of the waterfall (although this option is not recommended on a rainy day).

Langfoss Waterfall is located 96 km/60 miles northeast of the port of Haugesund and it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get there. The waterfalls are best visited on a guided shore excursion, but if you prefer to visit on your own, you can rent a car and drive there. The waterfall is alongside the road and there’s a parking where you can leave your car before starting the exploration.

Haugesund - Åkrafjord and the Langfoss waterfall
Åkrafjord and the Langfoss waterfall. Photo credit: Canva Pro

Visit also our cruise port guides to Reykjavik, Isafjordur, Akureyri, Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Copenhagen, Invergordon (Inverness), Glasgow (Greenock), Tallinn, Stockholm

You may also like our cruise port guides to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Western Europe, Baltic & Scandinavia, USA & Canada, Australia & New Zealand

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