Bergen & the Southwestern Fjords

Around 18km west of Haugesund, the tiny island of Utsira barely covers 6 sq km and is home to just 235 people, but its size belies its reputation in the twitching world. It's a birdwatching hot spot, with more than 310 species observed here – twitchers travel from all across Europe, especially during the migration seasons. A ferry (www.rutebaatenutsira.no; adult/child single 79/40kr) runs daily from Haugesund harbour.

Apart from the wildlife, the island is worth a visit just for its feeling of remoteness; in winter, this really does feel a bit like the end of the earth. There are a few pebbly beaches dotted around the shoreline, and the lighthouse is a historic monument: bikes are the best way to explore, and are available to borrow next to the quay. The island's website lists a few places to stay, but it's easy enough to cover in a day.

Its other claim to fame is that it's the smallest municipality in Norway.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bergen & the Southwestern Fjords attractions

1. Visnes Grubeområde

12.4 MILES

From 1865 to 1972, the village of Visnes, 4km west of Avaldsnes, was home to the largest and most sophisticated copper mine in Norway. Over its lifetime,…

2. Karmoy Fishery Museum

12.92 MILES

In Vedavågen, on the island's west coast, this striking museum explores the region's modern fishing industry and also has a saltwater aquarium. It's…

3. Nordvegen Historiesenter

14.82 MILES

Down a short path from the car park for St Olav's Church, this history centre recreates the story of Harald Fairhair and other monarchs of the newly…

4. St Olav's Church

14.85 MILES

This ancient stone church was built under the reign of King Håkon Håkonsson. Work began in 1250, although it's thought that a much earlier wooden chapel…

5. Avaldsnes Viking Farm

15.18 MILES

This living history centre brings Viking culture to life, with a number of reconstructed Viking buildings, and regular displays of handicrafts, metalwork,…

6. Marilyn Monroe Memorial

15.48 MILES

Bizarrely, Haugesund claims to be the ancestral home of Marilyn Monroe, whose father, a local baker, emigrated from here to the USA. This monument on the…

7. Vår Frelsers Church

15.62 MILES

With its arrow straight spire and redbrick exterior, this church in the centre of Haugesund is a local landmark.

8. Haraldshaugen

15.79 MILES

The burial site of Viking King Harald Fairhair, the first king of a unified Norway, is 1.5km north of Haugesund. The obelisk memorial, erected in 1872,…