While the City of Haugesund is relatively young, the area has been inhabited for thousands of years. Therefore, the area around the Port of Haugesund is full of historic attractions.
About a 10-minute drive south of the Port of Haugesund is Avaldsnes on the, Norway’s oldest royal center. The first king of Norway, Harald Fairhair located his royal estate there in about 870 AD, and kings lived at the Avaldsnes royal farm for another six hundred years until around 1450. From here, the kings could control ships moving along Norway’s southern coastline. The farm contains many great archaeological sites, huge burial mounds, and ancient stone monuments. Located on the farm is St. Olav’s Church, built in 1250 by Hakon Hakonson and the best-preserved structure on the farm. Below the church in the woods is a rebuilt Viking farm open to the public.
Just north of St. Olav’s Church is Flagghaugen, a 3rd Century burial mound. Today, the remains of the mound can be seen outside the church’s stone fence. The richest gold artifacts in Scandinavia from the later Iron Age were found here, including a heavy necklace with 590 grams of pure gold.
The Viking Farm at Avaldsnes is a living museum with traditional longhouses, a Viking boat, and common plants and animals from the time when the Vikings lived in the area. In the summer, people dress in Viking clothing and demonstrate the Viking way of life.