Karmøy: One island, four lighthouses
Karmøy is in Rogaland, southwest Haugesund in the traditional district of Haugaland. The municipality consists primarily of Karmøy island itself, The main communities are Skudeneshavn , Skudenes, Stangaland, Torvastad, Åkra, and most of Avaldsnes. There is a lot to see.
Karmøy is also well known in Norway for the heather moors and the surfing beaches. Karmøy has long been a shipping area. The ocean outside Karmøy is dangerous, filled with underwater currents and rocks. Small wonder that there are four lighthouses on this island.
The Karmsund strait was also the source of the name of the kingdom, at the time when the first king of the unified Norway, Harald Fairhair, lived on Karmøy.
Karmøy’s four lighthouses
- Høgevarde Lighthouse is on a tiny islet in the Karmsund, the strait to the east of Karmøy which separates it from the mainland. Built in 1700, it was deactivated in 1902 and now functions as a guest house for Hydro Aluminum. It is not open to the public.
- Skudenes Lighthouse Built 1799, deactivated 1924. Skudenes sits majestically on a promontory on the east side of Skudeneshavn’s harbor. Privately owned, but it is easily viewed from ferries arriving from Mekjarvik and Stavanger.
- Vikeholmen Lighthouse Originally the station had a small light tended as needed by local fishermen. Standing at the entrance to Skudeneshavn harbor (built in 1849), the lighthouse is used as an overnighting facility and is run by the Skudenes Seaman’s Club. Tel.: (+47) 52 82 91 34. For prices and information, click here.
- Geitungen Lighthouse See the Lighthouses of Norway article on Geitungen here. This lighthouse is on a tiny islet off the southern tip of Karmøy at the opening of the Skudenesfjord.
- Skudeneshavn’s old town (Gamle Skudeneshavn), consisting of 225 wooden houses, and is regarded as one of the best preserved towns in Europe. In 2004, it was voted Norway’s “Summer Town” by Norwegians.
- Skude Festival (Skudefestivalen) is an annual festival held during the first week of July in Skudeneshavn. It is the largest gathering of coastal culture in Western Norway with boats of all categories: vintage boats of all categories – old wooden boats, vintage boats, modern boats, sailing boats, tall ships.
- Markets stalls are set up in the Town Square. Craftsmen demonstrate handcrafts from olden days connected to sea and shipping. An art exhibition in Søragadå – the main and narrow street in “Old Skudeneshavn” is held with a new festival artist chosen every year. Visitors can see the exhibitions in “Bytunet” in the old part of town.
- Entertainment is provided in the daytime – and in the evenings in the festival tent featuring national and international artists. Every year about 35 000 people visit the festival and it gathers more than 600 boats.
There is a great pdf available with information about visiting this beautifully preserved, vibrant town. Click here to view and download.