Though Bergen is known as the capital of Norway’s fjord country, Rogaland county centered on the west-coast port of Stavanger, has some of Norway’s most spectacular sights. It also has the country’s highest average temperature. In winter there is little snow. And the fertile fields are green for most of the year. Rogaland county is ideal to experience some of Norway’s most spectacular sights – all year round.
The Ryfylke area northeast of Stavanger is true fjord country. It starts with Lysefjord and stretches north past long narrow lakes that once were open fjords, until it reaches Vindafjord, Saudafjord and Suldalsvatn.
Every visitor should try to make the trek to stand on Prekestolen (Pulpit Rock), a dramatic table of rock soaring 597 meters (1,958 ft) above Lysefjord, and the country’s most famous vantage point. It can be reached via a two hour’s trail from the Prekestolhytta (hut) along a steep but well-paved path that gives way to steeper, rather soggy terrain, then to thrilling granite slabs and windswept cliffs. There are also buses which link up the ferries, that provide a different perspective from the water below.
The sheltered bay north of Stavanger, and other islands such as Karmøy, protect Ryfylke’s inshore island from the North Sea. Christianity flourished early here under the protection of the bishops of Stavanger, and the islands are sprinkled with churches, notably the 12th century Utstein Kloster on Mosterøy.
Bird-watching, sailing and canoeing
The many lighthouses are not only landmarks for islanders and seafarers but make excellent bird-watching sites. The waters around these peaceful islands are well trafficked. Most of the island grocers also provide boat services, and it is easy to hire rowing boats and small craft with outboard engines.
In the northeast highlands of Rogaland, the fjords, lakes and rivers are rich in fish and fine for sailing and canoeing. There are good cross-country skiing tracks in winter and excellent Alpine slopes.
Salmon Observation Studio
Among the best holiday areas is the Suldal district, stretching from Sand on Sandsfjord, along the Suldalslågen River. At the Sand end of Suldalslågen is Laksestudioet, an observation studio built under a waterfall.
Old Farmstead Museum
Also worth a visit, the Kolbeinstveit Old Farmstead Museum (Ryfylke Museum), dating to the 1850s and has recreated traditional farm life in a number of authentically restored buildings.
Some of Norway’s Most Spectacular Sights, written by Tor Kjolberg