Rising Tide sculpture at Haugesund, Norway

Haugesund Norway Cruise Port Guide: Coastal Walks, City Centre & Viking Village

Don’t dismiss Haugesund as a “filler” port in your Norwegian fjords cruise itinerary! When I was planning my Norwegian fjords cruise (on P&O Iona), Haugesund initially struck me as an industrial town with little to offer compared to the dramatic fjords scenery at Olden and Hellesylt. How wrong I was! 

While you won’t find towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls here, Haugesund has a surprising amount to offer intrepid explorers who venture beyond the cruise ship crowds.

This guide is packed with DIY excursion ideas, tips for getting around, and essential information to help you plan an unforgettable day in this charming coastal city. Whether you’re interested in Viking history, scenic walks, island hopping, or simply soaking up the local culture, Haugesund has something to pique your curiosity. So, let’s dive in and discover the hidden gems that await you in this picturesque corner of Norway.

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Haugesund Cruise Port: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? 😎😎😎😎😎 Easy Peasy

Haugesund is easy to explore on your own. With its compact city centre, convenient transportation options and nearby attractions, it’s 😎😎😎😎😎 easy peasy to plan your own DIY shore excursion:

  • Walkable City Centre: The charming heart of Haugesund is just a 15-minute stroll from the cruise terminal, making it easy to explore the shops,cafes, and historical sites on foot.
  • Miniature Train for All Abilities: For those who prefer a more leisurely pace or have mobility concerns, a delightful miniature sightseeing train departs right by the pier, offering a fun and accessible way to see the sights.
  • Nearby Natural Beauty: Even the famous Rising Tides sculpture is within reach, located about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the port. A scenic walk will get you there, and you can even pack a picnic to enjoy by the water or take a refreshing dip!

For those who can’t get enough of the fjords, then a trip to Langfoss waterfall is also possible via small group tour.

Haugesund Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need To Know

Entrance to Haugesund Cruise Terminal, Haugesund, Norway
Entrance to the small Haugesund Cruise Terminal – opposite the cruise pier
  • Haugesund Cruise Port schedule: Karmsundhavn.no
  • Haugesund Cruise Port Address: Garpeskjærvegen, 5527 Haugesund, Norway – see this marked on my Haugesund Cruise Port Map below 🗺️📍👇
  • Currency: Norwegian Kroner (NOK), June 2024: US $1 = 10.50 NOK, GBP £1 = 13 NOK, CAD $1 = ~8 NOK, AUD $1 = ~7 NOK
  • 💶 Cash or 💳 Card: Norway is mostly cashless! Many shops don’t accept cash and if they do, they may not have change to give back to you. So save yourself the hassle and forget about withdrawing NOK at an ATM. It’s perfectly acceptable to pay by card, even for a cup of coffee! Visa/Mastercard typically with Amex rarely accepted.
  • Language: Norwegian, but almost everyone you’ll encounter will speak English with you!
  • Official Websites:
  • Recommended Transport App: Use Google Maps to navigate your walk around Haugesund but the town is small and you’ll unlikely to get lost
  • eSIM for roaming in Norway: For a great data connection without the huge roaming fees, use an eSim data pack from Airalo. I always recommend having a smartphone with a valid plan when you’re at port touring independently. Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo when you use ROXANN1666 when you sign up or apply it at checkout

Haugesund Cruise Port Map

  • My Haugesund Cruise Port Map👇: If the map is not loading correctly, click here to see it directly on Google Maps
    • On Desktop? Use buttons on bottom left to zoom in/out. Click on the upper right hand corner to see a bigger version.
    • On Tablet | Mobile? Pinch your screen to zoom in/out and use two fingers to move map around. If you have Google Maps installed on your tablet/mobile, my map will open in your app if you click on the upper right hand corner.

Haugesund Cruise Port to Haugesund Town Centre: Your Transport Options

1. Walk to Haugesund Town Centre

From the Haugesund Cruise Pier, it’s about a 15-minute walk to Haugesund Town Centre. Follow the pavement out of the cruise terminal for about 5 minutes and take a left when you see a sign marked “City Centre”. After taking this left turn, you’ll immediately see the bridge. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, the town centre is straight ahead of you.

Note that there is a slight incline as you approach the bridge (“Risøy broen“) but the uphill section is no more than a minute or two. You can see the route marked on my Haugesund cruise port map 🗺️📍👆

2. Haugesund Port Shuttle Bus

The shuttle bus, run by a company called “Tide Buss AS”, is available just outside the pier, as you get off the ship:

  • Frequency: Approximately every 15 minutes till an hour before cruise ship departure time. (Check last bus time on the day!) – this is NOT a hop-on-hop-off bus. It runs directly from the cruise pier to the drop off point in the town centre.
  • Tickets: 70 NOK return – cards only, no cash
  • Shuttle Drop Off: Our Saviour’s Church (Vår Frelsers Church), marked on my map above 🗺️📍👆

3. Haugesund Sightseeing CityTrain

This miniature tourist train is perfect for those with limited mobility. You can take a 70-minute guided tour of Haugesund with free WiFi and audio commentary, with the option to get out at Our Saviour’s Church in the town centre and take a later train back to the cruise port. If you’re heading to Alesund for your cruise, then the same company also runs an identical CityTrain there.

  • Frequency: Roughly every 30 minutes
  • Tickets: 320 NOK adults, 150 NOK for kids under 15, 750 NOK for 2 adults and 2 kids – pay with card, as cash prices are slightly higher!
  • Route Note: The sightseeing train does not go to the Rising Tide sculpture. The furthest it goes outside the town centre is HaraldhaugenNorway’s national monument to commemorate the unification of Norway by Harald Fairhair, 2 km (~1.2 miles) outside of Haugesund. I’ve marked this on my Haugesund cruise port map above 🗺️📍👆

4. Haugesund Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Hop on Hop Off Bus leaves from just outside Haugesund Cruise Pier, Norway

Also leaving from the cruise pier is the hop-on hop-off bus. I’m generally not a big fan of HOHO buses, but I know that a lot of cruisers love them!

The Haugesund HOHO is a 50-minute loop with just 6 stops along the way. It also goes only as far as Haraldhaugen and does not stop at the Rising Tide sculpture. It does stop at the Haraldsvang Nature Park, if you’d like to do some walking trails just outside of Haugesund town centre but that is also easily accessible with local bus #202 or just walk from the cruise pier in about 30 minutes.

  • Frequency: Roughly every 30 minutes
  • Tickets: 428 NOK adults, 213 NOK for kids – you can pay with card with a ticket seller prior to boarding at the cruise pier.

Top Things To Do In Haugesund From Cruise Ship

1. Coastal Walk to Haraldshaugen & Rising Tide

Rising Tide sculpture at low tide, Haugesund, Norway

Originally exhibited in the River Thames in London in 2015, the Rising Tide is a tidal artwork by Jason deCaires Taylor – the same artist that created the underwater art museum, just off the coast of Cannes. The sculpture is a series of working horses with riders, loosely based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Each is submerged and revealed by the tide river twice daily. After the London exhibition, the sculpture was relocated here in Haugesund.

When I visited, it was low tide but on high tide, at least one of the horses submerged. It was a lovely coastal walk, on very well maintained trails. There’s no dramatic fjords views here but I definitely appreciated the beautiful archipelago views along the way. It’s an easy walk, with very limited bits on an incline. You’ll also meet some sheep – they are wild, so do not approach!

  • How to Get There: Walk directly from the cruise pier – the walk is just under 5 km (~3 miles). I did it in 75 minutes with a few photo stops along the way.
    • Best coastal trail: To maximise coastal views, take a left at Skillebekkagata street and walk downhill towards the sea. Don’t worry, it’s not a dead end. Follow the pavement as the road bends to the right and you’ll see the start of the trail.
    • Facilities: Only WC on this trail is before you reach the Rising Tide sculpture, near the car park. It was very clean when I visited on a weekday! If you miss it, then there’s one in the trailer / RV park along the way too but you’ll have to pretend that you’ll staying there!
  • What to Bring: Filled water bottle, as there’s no place to buy water or fill your water bottle once you leave the city centre. Hat, sunscreen and jacket, as it was quite windy, even on a sunny June day. There are lots of picnic tables, so you can bring your lunch here too.

Insider Tip: Fancy taking a dip? There’s a well sheltered swimming spot just before the sculpture, complete with a changing hut and picnic tables. It wasn’t warm enough on the day I visited but it didn’t stop the local kids from having a great time.

Haraldshaugen National Monument at dusk, Haugesund, Norway
Image by Robert Gray from Pixabay

On the way back, stop at Haraldshaugen, erected in 1872 to mark the millennium celebration of Norway’s unification into one kingdom. The 29 smaller stones around the obelisk is mean to symbolise each of the 29 historic counties of Norway. Why is this in Haugesund? Because legend has it that this is the burial site of King Harald I (aka Harald Fairhair), who died circa 933.

Tip: If you’re interested in doing this trail, make this the first thing on your DIY itinerary. The ship docked at 8:30am and I walked off at 8:45am. I was there by 10am, with only a few other cruisers. But on the way back, I encountered literally hundreds on the trail.

2. Stroll Around Haugesund Town Centre

Fountain in Torggata Street in Haugesund, Norway
Torggata Street in Haugesund

Haugesund Town Centre is compact and very walkable, so you’ll likely be done in an hour or two. Here’s a few must-see spots as you explore:

  • Haraldsgata: This bustling main street is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s a great place to find souvenirs, try Norwegian pastries or simply people-watch.
  • Haugesund Town Hall (Rådhuset) has a nice park attached, so drop by as a rest stop
  • Haugesund Cathedral – Our Saviour’s Church (Vår Frelsers Kirke) is a local landmark built in the Neo-Gothic style.
  • Byparken: Beautiful park in the heart of Haugesund. Duck around the corner and see the King Harald Fairhair statue – it’s also a good viewpoint where you can see the cruise pier.
  • Haugesund Art Gallery: See Norwegian art from the 1800s to the 2000s. It’s a stone’s throw away from Byparken and there’s a cafe too. Kids-friendly art activities here, too. Check opening hours here – entry fees are 70 NOK adults, 50 NOK students & seniors, free for kids under 16

3. Visit the Viking Village (aka Viking History Museum)

If you’re fascinated by Viking history, then take a bus ride to nearby Avaldsnes and visit the Viking History Museum (Nordvegen Historiesenter). It brings the Viking Age to life through interactive exhibits, archaeological finds and immersive experiences! There’s Viking ships, a reconstructed Viking farm, weapons, jewellery and everyday objects.

  • Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm Saturday to Sunday, April to September – double check opening hours here, since it’s a bit of a trek to get there!
  • Tickets: 130 NOK adults, 110 NOK students & seniors, 80 NOK kids aged 4-16
  • How To Get There: Buses #208, #209 and #210 all stop in the nearby town, Avaldsnes.
    • Closest bus stop to Cruise Pier is just across the bridge – see it marked on my map above called “Strandgata
    • Timetables: Download here – look for routes listed under Haugalandet on the right hand side. Between the different routes, there’s a bus around every 30 minutes on weekdays but note that services are less frequent on weekends.
    • Journey Time: Around 20 minutes bus ride to Avaldsnes and then add 20 minutes walk to the museum
    • Tickets: 45 NOK one-way, I think the easiest way is to download the Kolumbus Billett app and purchase on your phone. Note cards are not accepted on the bus.

4. Take a Ferry to Røvær

If you’ve visiting Haugesund on a weekday, then there’s a few islands close by, with relatively frequent ferries that allow you to visit for a few hours. (Note that the ferry schedules on weekends are less frequent, so timing your excursion is harder.)

The easiest one to explore on a DIY excursion is Røvær – home to a small fishing community and offers a glimpse into traditional island life. Once you get there, the most interesting attraction is the Aquaculture Centre.

The exhibitions show how Norway used its vast coastline to become a world leader in producing farmed salmon. You can even take a RIB boat ride out to a nearby fish farm! (If you’re going specifically to see the fish farms, then please DO email them ahead to make sure that there are no school groups visiting and they have capacity for you.). The Aquaculture Centre is free entry and RIB boat tours cost 100 NOK each – this is a very kids friendly activity but only kids over 5 can go on a RIB boat.

After your visit to the Aquaculture Centre, walk up to Bråvarden, the island’s highest point for great views. Walk to Lothastranda where the water is shallow to look at various sea life, including crabs.

  • How to Get There: Take Ferry #700 from Haugesund ferry terminal, just across the bridge from the cruise pier – marked on my Haugesund ferry terminal
  • Ferry Schedules: 10am or 10:30am departure from Haugesund with a return at 2pm is sufficient time to explore Røvær. See the full ferry timetable here.
  • Journey Time: Fast non-stop ferries between Haugesund and Røvær take 25 minutes while the “all-stops” ferries take 30 minutes.
  • Ferry Tickets: One-way fares are 73 NOK adults, 37 NOK for kids and seniors – purchase online at https://billetter.kolumbus.no/en#
  • What to Bring: Swing by a supermarket in Haugesund town centre and pick up snacks and drinks, as there’s very little to purchase on Røvær.

5. Take a RIB boat ride

RIB boat in front of P&O Iona at Haugesund, Norway
Image courtesy of Viking Adventures

RIB boat rides are very popular and available in almost every Norwegian cruise port, so why do RIB rides in Haugesund? I think that Haugesund is a good choice if you’re tempted but apprehensive about hopping onto a RIB boat.

Haugesund’s RIB rides start from just outside the cruise pier and because of the surrounding low lying areas, is less likely to be subjective to high winds than say Olden or Hellesylt. You’ll see Røvær and Feøy – both small island communities close to Haugesund, whereas in ports like Olden and Hellesylt, you’ll most likely be “flying” through the fjords to see dramatic landscapes and waterfalls. The two experiences are quite different!

  • RIB Boat Tours: Hourly rides start at the tourist booth, at the cruise pier. The boats are about 3 minutes walk away. Pre-book ahead, so you’re not disappointed – the operator in Haugesund appears to be smaller and only operates one boat an hour, whereas in other ports, there’s multiple boats running at the same time. All equipment is provided including a dry suit and goggles, so you won’t get wet!

6. Excursion to Åkrafjorden & Langfoss waterfalls

If you still craving for more dramatic fjord views, then the best full day excursion to do from Haugesund is to Åkrafjorden & Langfoss waterfalls.

The Langfoss waterfall has been voted as one of the most beautiful in the world by CNN. The water falls down a towering mountain for over 600m (~2,000 feet) before the water leaps out into Åkrafjorden at the base of the mountain. This is about 90 minutes drive from Haugesund cruise port, so the best way to see Langford and get back on time is on a small group tour – this one leaves from the cruise pier and you’ll also see Haraldshaugen – the national monument – on the way back to the port.

As your ship pulls into Haugesund, I hope you’ll have an unforgettable day exploring this stunning region of Norway. If you found this blog post helpful in planning your adventure, please share it with fellow cruisers in your roll-call groups – I’d really appreciate it. Safe travels and smooth sailing!

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