The Ryfylke Islands, located north of Stavanger, are full of sites and attractions. There are so many places to visit you cannot possibly see all of the sites in 1 or 2 days. We wandered Mosterøy, Sokn, Bru and Åmøy by car simply following the small roadways across the islands. Here are just a few examples of places you can visit in and around the Ryfylke Islands.
To get to the Ryfylke Islands, take E39 north of Stavanger through the 5.8km long tunnel passing 223m under the sea, through the toll and across the bridge. Immediately after you cross the bridge you will notice a gas station and rest stop as well as the Ryfylke Islands Tourist Office. The Tourist Office is open from June 2 to August 27 with the following limited hours: Monday and Wednesday to Sat 12pm to 6pm; Sunday 11am to 5pm; closed Tuesdays. For more information call 51 72 49 78.
Vaula Viking House
On the way to Utstein Kloster you will pass by point of interest, the Vaula Viking House. Across the road from the information plaques lies one of Norway's best-preserved farm complexes from the Migration Period (A.D. 200-500). The complex consists of two farmsteads, both consisting of two farmhouses, a long house and a smaller building situated more or less at right angles. The smaller building may have been a workshop while the larger one served as the living quarters. Archaeologists have found many items here: jewelry, spinning wheels, flints, fishing equipment and whetstones. Next to the sea is a boathouse from the same period which was converted to a dwelling in the Viking Age.
While there is not much to see except for the sheep that now roam the land, there are information plaques with a map and information on Vaula Viking House provided in Norwegian, English, and German.
Norway's history is intricately linked with the sea. There is no clearer illustration of this than the large number of lighthouses, or fyr, which dot the islands and mainland across Norway. There are a number of lighthouses that one can visit in the Stavanger area. One of those lighthouses is Fjøløy Fyr, situated on the island of Fjøløy only a couple of kilometres away from Utstein Kloster.
Fjøløy Fyr was built in 1849. Fjøløy is strategically placed between the channels leading to the Ryfylke Fjords and Stavanger. The kings and chieftans who rules these islands had full control of all traffic along the coast. Fjøløy provides an excellent lookout over ship movements in the area. The old lighthouse has been replaced by a modern marker lantern. The old keeper's cottage, however, remains intact.
While you cannot enter the modern marker lantern, you can take in what is really the greatest attraction at this site, nature. The sharp cliffs and rocks make it clear why so many lighthouses were necessary. The site is surrounded by bleak farmland, sheep and the odd house still inhabited by local residents. The life of the lighthouse keeper must have been a very lonely existence indeed. The wind is incredible coming straight from the North Sea. If you are visiting outside the summer months definitely bring a jacket or sweater.
To get to Fjøløy Fyr, drive north from Stavanger toward Utstein Kloster. Drive past the Utstein Kloster Hotel. Just before Utstein Kloster you will see a sign pointing the direction to Fjøløy. Turn right and drive to the end of the road. You will cross a number of cattle gates. There is parking at the end of the road.
Tungenes Fyr (Lighthouse) is actually located on the mainland north of Stavanger near Randaberg. Unlike Fjøløy Fyr, Tungenes has been restored to its 1930s appearance and serves as an art and cultural centre. It also houses a lighthouse museum as well as a fisheries and boat motor museum.
Tungenes Fyr was built in 1828. It overlooks a busy shipping lane. Much of the traffic is dedicated to the petroleum industry. The Nazis found this particular spot to be of strategic importance building artillery installations along the coastline. The ruins of these artilleries are a constant reminder of the occupation and victory over the invaders. These ruins can be seen in the photo below.
To get to Tungenes Fyr, take E39 north from Stavanger and follow the signs to road Fv480. Park your car in the parking lot along the water. Walk up the road to the lighthouse - cars are prohibited. You can walk back this same way or follow the shore back to the parking lot. Just beware the 'remnants' left behind by roaming sheep. The lighthouse is open 12-4 pm daily from July 1 to August 15 and on Sundays throughout the year. For more information call 51 41 41 00.