Nordsjøvegen from Kristiansand to Haugesund
Finally! After quite some time we completed our journey around Norway's south coast, from Kristiansand to Stavanger & Haugesund, enjoying long walks on the beaches of the south-western coast.
Starting in Kristiansand
What a nice coincidence: to have to go on a business trip to Kristiansand and starting the weekend there. The weather forecast had been great, so this was the perfect opportunity to discover the Nordsjøvegen, so the coastline from Kristiansand towards Stavanger and Haugesund.
Mandal - Lyngdal - Flekkefjord - Egersund
So we went on heading slowly towards Egersund over the next 2 days: passing Kap Lindesnes, which we visited already before, so we skipped that this time, driving along surprisingly rough rocky nature, enjoying coffee and chocolate in small cute villages, hiking to a lighthouse, enjoying stunning views towards the ocean.
After a short stop in the evening at Mandal, another cute little village at the coast but with some modern architecture in the harbour, we stayed at Sogndal, in Paulsen's hotel, for the first night - and even got a free open concert (see box).
A concert at Paulsen's hotel, Lyngdal
The Paulsens Hotel in Lyngdal is a super charming, rather big Bed & Breakfast, nearly kind of a small farm. From the looks and the furniture inside it has hardly changed since the 40ies. Even the waiters are dressed traditionally!
We arrived just a time for an expected open air concert of the Swedish singer Peter Nordberg in the lovely back yard. As there were maybe just around 20 people, it was a rather intimate session.
And with the great music, some drinks and the candles lighted we just ignored that is was a quite chilly night...
Sogndalstrand & Sogndalstrand Kulturhotell
Forget about all the other small villages on the coastline (of course, do not), but this one really is a treasure! In fact, Sogndalstrand is a long one-way street lined with small white wooden houses & shops nicely decorated and ending at a small harbour towards the open sea.
When crossing the small bridge in the centre you have the wonderful view you often find on cover of magazines.
We spent hours walking up and down the street, back and forth the bridge, up the little hill overlooking the harbour and the sea, taking loads of pictures and enjoying the great weather and the quiet atmosphere typical for low season.
One of the nice wooden houses in the main street is Sogndalstand-Kulturhotell - a traditional, very cosy hotel & restaurant where the rooms are spread over different houses. We stayed in a room in the "kommunehuset", the white one next to the bridge and down by the river!
Good food & wine, excellent service!
Swords in rock
At Hafrsfjord near Stavanger, the monument reminds of the battle that united Norway into one kingdom in 872 AD. It is impressive but also a bit… dark. The monument was made by Friz Røed (1928-2002) and unveiled by King Olav in 1983.
On the road from Flekkefjord to Sogndalstrand you will pass 2 little houses on your left that stand in a large open cave in a massive mountain side. This is Helleren, used by people for thousands of years because of the natural protection is offers.
The 2 houses there are from the late 18th century and are open, so you can have a peek how some people lived here in the old days, far far away from any city.
From Egersund to Stavanger = Beautiful beaches
Norway does have nice sandy beaches. It is not the typical picture one has of Norway, but it is fantastic. My favourite one is Orresanden on the RV 507. Others are Hellestøstranden and Solstranden, but also Sjøsanden early on in Mandal besides the thousand other bathing bays along the coast. Have to come back a warm summer weekend.
Stavanger & Haugesund
The two cities are mostly know as the "oil cities" in Western Norway. And that is really obvious: the offshore-shipyards outside both cities, the occasional oil platfrom at the harbour in Haugesund, the noise of helicopters bringing back the staff from the platfroms on Friday afternoon at Stavanger airport.
Stavanger has a nice little city center (great shopping by the way!) with lots of cafes and pubs, the very famous and informative oilmuseum as well as the Old Town as such.
Haugesund, well, to be honest ... not really much to see. But it is worth taking a tour from here to the island Karmøy, offering beautiful views towards the ocean. At the southern tip you will find the pitoresque village of Skundeneshavn, definetely another photographer´s paradise.
A coffee with Johannes in Skudeneshavn
But most of all it is here you find Norway´s probably coziest cafe down in Søragadå. Its owner Johannes (83) who has driven the Marjostuá cafe for about 13 years now and makes great waffles! So we enjoyed some of those and a nice chit chat over several cups of coffee.
And even though the season had not started yet, guest were coming and going the home. That is how we also got to know Johannes´ 92 year old neighbor...
Distance from Oslo
320 km / 4 hours by car from Oslo to Kristiansand, 260 km / 4 hours from Kristiansand to Stavanger
Oslo - Kragerø - Kristiansand - Nordsjøvegen - Stavanger plus a day to Haugesund
Check the road conditions when driving over the mountain range, they can be closed pretty long in the year
Overnight stay we can recommend
Enjoying the idyll of Skudeneshavn
The beaches between Egersund and Stavanger
The marvellous houses along the river in Sogndalsstrand
Our personal extra tip
Visit both the "World smallest cafe" and Johannes cafe (20m apart) in Skundeneshavn. In the latter, try the freshly baked waffles and get entertained by Johannes´stories
Points of interest close by:
From Stavanger you can start to nice trips into the Lysefjord
Click on the map for opening the right clipping in google maps in a new window