The main route from south to north is the Ryfylkevegen Rv 13 and Rv 520 – a spectacular road of adventure leading from Sandnes in the south to Røldal in Hardanger county region in the north.
What’s special about the fjord nature?
Among the best known attractions in Ryfylke, are the huge rock shelf called Preikestolen overlooking Lysefjorden 600m above sea level. In this fjord, you will also find the famous Kjerag, where base jumpers hurl themselves into a 1000 meter dive above the fjord. You can experience these fjords’ distinctive characteristics from different a special sightseeing boats or from one of the ferries that cruise beside the steep, sparse mountains. You can also climb the Preikestolen by foot on a well marked path – it’s not a long hike, but it’s spectacular. Almost 100,000 people take this hike every year! There are a lot of other tempting paths to great viewpoints all over Ryfylke.
Further north there are several falls near Ryfylkevegen. Svandalsfossen near Sauda is one of them. The beautiful lakes and the wide rivers of Ryfylke offer great fishing possibilities. The salmon of Sundalslågen is famous for its large size, as Andreas Viestad experienced fishing there. English lords with a salmon fishing passion made the river famous in the late 19th century. Today you can go for a salmon safari, where you follow the flow of the river, looking for fish!
The very first Norwegians?
Ryfylke is a part of the Rogaland county. The first Norwegians probably set foot in this region when the ice pulled back after the last ice age. Later, during the Bronze Age, the Viking age and the middle age, important historic events took place here. Subsequently, today, you can find interesting remains in the region such as the prehistoric village of Landa in Forsand, with beautiful middle age stone churches on the islands and picturesque renaissance wooden churches in Årdal, Jelsa and Sjernarøy, rock carvings and beautiful, preserved old farmstead are open to the audience.
Lush fjords and wild mountains – a lovely culinary foundation!
Ryfylke is well known for its mild, humid climate and long growth season. Beautiful fruit gardens surround the roads especially in the center parts of this region. In the early 20th century the fruit farmers exported berries and fruit in handmade baskets sent to England. Today you can buy the baskets and the Ryfylke-fruit – the strawberries, blackberries, cherries, plums and pears are of best quality.
The Ryfylke islands have extensive tomato farming in greenhouses. Cherry tomatoes from Finnøy are famous for their delicious taste.
In the beautiful landscape sheep grass. Many farmers have their herd in the mountains all summer. In the parts of Ryfylke that are close to the fjords, as well the islands, wild sheep are out in the nature all year long. Even kettle grass peacefully in this lush landscape, that never dries out. In the mountains of Ryfylke Europe’s southernmost wild reindeer can be found and in the forest the moose and deer roam free.
Since the 1980′s, the people of Ryfylke have further developed fish farming, and today Ryfylke has a large production of salmon, halibut and cod. There is also more and more shellfish. This makes for the possibility to always get the freshest fish, shellfish and the loveliest of smoked salmon.
This regions traditional food mirrors the variety of natural resources, and several restaurants serve these traditional dishes. At the same time our great chefs are inspired by the great natural ingredients to venture new gastronomic grounds in the kitchen. Bon Appetit!
But where should you stay? You can find small family owned and driven hotels, bed & breakfasts, farms and cabins right by the fjords. You can enjoy the peace and quiet of the nature, far from the noisy cities.
There are a lot of different activities to do in the great nature of Ryfylke. Hikes have been mentioned, but you can also try bike trips on the islands, all year fjord fishing or sightseeing by boat. If you want winter and snow, this can be found in the northern part of the region, in Sauda and Suldal, but even in the winter the fjords are open. You can actually take the boat to get to the mountains for skiing! Modern alpine resorts offer a variety of slopes.
When to travel?
Ryfylke has a lot to offer all year, but from April/May to September/October it’s green and lush and you have the right Nordic light.
In Ryfylke there is a tradition for festivals – try some of these! Several focus on food, like the Tomato-festival on Finnøy in August and The Norwegian Fruit and Salmon Fest in Hjelmeland in September.