In Ryfylke you may hear a curious phrase from the locals: “Å bya seg.” It means “to go up to town”. You might hear it when acquaintances meet each other on the ferry, dressed rather nicely and on their way to do some shopping.
Photo: Arne Kr. S. Ytreland / visithaugesund.no
Photo: Fløibanen as/Pål Hoff
But which is the town in question? Those who live in the inner, northern parts of Ryfylke will head for Haugesund. From the islands, southern and outer parts, Stavanger is the destination. Today, the journey is quick and efficient, whereas in the past a trip to the city was a day’s journey with the old steamer.
Even if you’re just a guest in Ryfylke, you should “go up to town”. You park your car for free near the ferry quay at Tau, and buy the much cheaper passenger ticket. If you’re taking the express boat, there is parking at Sand, Sauda, Judaberg and many other places. The scenic boat ride takes you quickly to Fiskepiren (the Fishing Pier Terminal) in the heart of Stavanger.
Stavanger is great to explore on foot. Old Stavanger is a must – it’s the largest concentration of wooden houses in Europe. Other highlights include Stavanger Cathedral by the central lake, Breiavatnet, as well as the Petroleum Museum, the Canning Museum and Stavanger Archaeological Museum. A stone’s throw from the cathedral is a market where farmers and fruit sellers from Ryfylke sell the most delicious strawberries, plums and apples. Also take the time to stroll through the fish market by the harbour. If you did bring your car after all, you can make an outing to the vast beaches of Jæren outside Stavanger. Whatever your choice, you will have plenty of impressions and perhaps some produce or merchandise to bring back to your holiday base in Ryfylke.
Haugesund, a friendly town said to be built on herring bones, is easily reached by private car or bus. Head west from Sauda, Ropeid or Sand. The heart of town is the main street Haraldsgata, and Smedasundet, which is bustling with boats. Both areas have been made especially attractive and car traffic restricted. If you did bring a vehicle, do consider a visit to St. Olav’s Church and Nordvegen History Centre at Avaldsnes on Karmøy island.
You want more adventure? Head north to Bergen, “The City of Seven Mountains”! Start your excursion bright and early and take your time. For a bird’s eye view of Bergen, take Fløibanen funicular or the double-decker bus and cable car to Mount Ulriken.
If you have time on your hands and wish to really savour the scenery, consider the National Tourist Route Ryfylke. This route along Rv13 and Fv520 National takes you through the village of Røldal and through magnificent Hardanger.
We must point out, however, that Ryfylke itself has two small towns of its own: Sauda and Jørpeland. They’re humble in size but very friendly. Both offer varied shopping, pleasant cafés, restaurants with a view, wine shops and a host of services. Further north in Ryfylke is the town of Sauda. Nearby are attractions that merit a visit: the mines of Allmannjuvet, Åbøbyen and the industrial workers museum. You can rest your feet at Café Fars Vilje. In the village of Jørpeland, head for the old harbour and Rosehagen (the rose garden) café and gallery when you want a break.
A full-day excursion on the National Tourist Route Ryfylke lets you experience these small towns and villages, and the region’s amazingly scenic landscape.