Photo by: Jan Rabben
In Sunnhordland you’ll always be close to a geosite where rock, landscape and exhibitions offers both insights and views.
Explore the soul of Sunnhordland, blended in our nature and culture. But please; leave no trace and be prepared for our wild and changing weather.
A more thorough description of the sites and geology can be found here.
Green – easy Blue – some climbing, no path Red – for experienced hikers
The 2 km long path to the Ryvarden cultural lighthouse leads through some of the oldest rocks in the geopark, 1.5 billion year old ice-polished Auge gneiss. From the lighthouse you have a view of the Hardangerfjord, which flows into the North Sea, and of the landscape on the north side of the fjord, which has been shaped by more recent seabed volcanism.
The Lobster Park
The biggest lobster park in Norway, built in 1887, restored in 1993 and now protected. Honored with the Europa Nostra Diploma for its fascinating construction.
Open during summer season.
A pittoresque village built on small islets at the brim of the North Sea. No cars, and appr. 45 inhabitants during winter time. The centre for the herring fisheries during the 19th century.
Close to Hespriholmen.
Stone Age workshop and residential site where greenstone axes from Hespriholmen was produced. Protected, situated in the village centre of Langevåg. Represents the start of Norwegian Stone Age archeology.
A rockshelter where several artifacts was found, e.g. a bone comb dated 600 AD with the first known poem from Norway. An example of the many rockshelters here used as hunting stations during Stone Age.
The source for the greenstone axes during 6000 years of Stone Age at Vestlandet. One of the oldest intact mines in the world. The islet is protected, but go ashore if the weather and waves allows.
Get there with private boat, or contact the Geopark.
The upper half of Bergesfjell consist of gabbro, 60 million years older than the rocks beneath. The gabbro, during orogenic events, have been thrusted on top of the Silurian sedimentary rocks with Early Silurian fossils.
A quarry for the red micro-quartz (jasper) for tools in early Stone Age, formed on the sea floor close to hydrothermal events related to sea floor volcanism.
Accessible on path from Berge, or easily by boat.
A roadcut through extremely brecciated lava flows solidified between 472 and 466 mill. yrs ago, representing numerous eruptions from one or few volcanoes from the last episode of volcanism in the geopark.
Group of islets with well-preserved lavas and pyroclastic flow, 474 to 466 million yrs ago. The islets display laminated tuff layers of andesitic composition, thick layers of pyroclastic breccias with folded tuffite fragments.
Records of a deep-sea landslide well displayed, containing a mixture of deep-sea sediments, volcanic and plutonic rocks as well as later diabase intrusions – all formed during more than 20 million years.
The main source for Medieval soapstone buildings (churches) in Western Norway before 1160. Displayed as a vertical wall with many marks from ancient quarrying of ashlar blocks.
Goldmines in Lykling
The biggest gold mine area in Norway, where appr. 200 kilos of gold was extracted before the last mine was abandoned in 1910. The mineralization is categorized as an orogenic gold deposit. Protected.
Built 1854-56 to make safe access to the herring fisheries around Espevær. 3 km of length crossing east-west over Bømlo. A major infrastructure project in Norway when built.
At the outermost point, in the rock north of the red lake house, you will find pillow lava formed by the island arc volcanism in the Iapeus Sea 495 million years ago.
Please contact the farmer if you have any questions about parking or the driveway. +4790985254
Spectacular ridge of beach stones and gravel from the last part of the last ice age, about 35 metres above today's sea level. A unique natural monument and the most significant ornithological site as well as a major sanctuary for birds with 197 recorded species (source: Odd Hallaråker, Birdlife Vestland).vært viktig fugleområde, med 197 registrerte artar (ref: Odd Hallaråker, Birdlife Vestland)
One of the most important scientific localities for the development of geological understanding of the area. It provides critical information regarding the affinity of different rocks as well as timing of key tectonic events (S-type granite).
Here it is possible to view granite weathering, displaying rounded edges typical of long-lasting chemical weathering processes, deviating from the typical glacial erosion most frequently seen in Norway.
The Goddo fault
This inconspicuous site holds important information about the Norwegian landscape in several clayey furrow areas created by faults: Permian 265 Ma., Triassic 200 Ma. and Early Cretaceous 125 Ma.
A natural sculpture park with a boulder-like morphology resulting from glacial erosion and selective weathering along fractures in the hard, granitic rocks. Numerous pegmatite veins, displaying huge crystals of feldspar, quartz, and mica.
Accessible by boat.
Built in 1859 of cast iron, 25 meters high and with the strongest rays of light in a Norwegian lighthouse (5,180,000 candela). The island of Slåtterøy is an island of polished white granite, with the red lighthouse on top.
Accessible by boat. Or hitching a hike from Brandasund 975 66 056.
A quarry of granodiorite for buildings, roads and docks in Bergen 1870-1930. Formed from molten magma deep under an island arc 466 mill. years ago. One of the pioneering stone quarrymen Eino Taipale, left his signature on the granite surface.
A key site for research on remains of Mesozoic elements within the Quaternary landscape, accentuated by the discovery of petroleum in granitic rocks in the North Sea. Saprolite and granodiorite blocks within a fracture zone indicates sub-tropical weathering (210 Ma).
The Wichmann smithy
The cradle for The Wichmann 2 hp engine, made by a 18 year old boy in 1902. This engine developed to a company producing the dominating boat engine in the Norwegian fishing fleet during the 20. century.
Private museum, call +47 905 16 326 for appointment.
Iconic mountain peak with neolithic arrow-head quarries, erratic blocks and a great view. The trail from the east side has partly "sherpa-stairs" to the top 474 m.a.s.l. The rhyolite quarry is by the pond at the northern end of the top.
Moster Amfi & Moster church
A cultural centre for the transformation from pagan- to christian religion, the oldest medieval stone church in Norway, a theater amphi and the main visitor centre for the Geopark.
Farm with houses from 1816, built after baroque principles of symmetrics. Roofs, walls and fences of local shale (augen gneis). Private farm, the houses not open to the public. Protected since 1923.
A colorful site of laminated chert, made of sedimented chisel algaes on the bottom of the Iapetus Sea 450-490 Ma ago.
Park just north of the tunnel, entrance over fence between bridge and bridgetower.
In the schoolyard you can study the conglomerates of the Utslettefjell Formation, the youngest rocks represented within our geopark.
The clasts of the conglomerate comprise a range of lithologies such as quartzite, granite, gabbro, volcanics, jasper and limestone.
Based on large sulfide deposit formed by black smokers in an ocean basin close to 500 Ma. From 1865 a mining society was built with a strong political identity, valuable engineering skills and 90 km of tunnels.
Organised for the public in season, possibly on request (tel. +47 994 99 457)
The volcanic rocks of this spectacular landmark 713 m.a.s.l.range in composition from basaltic to rhyolitic and represent similar type of rocks as seen on Siggjo on Bømlo. A popular trail for both hiking and geological research.
The best-preserved fossil locality in Western Norway, telling the stories of important events on land as well as in the ocean 440Ma. Related to fossils of similar age found in northern America.
Trail access via Litlabø mines.
Fitjartun in the centre of the village is a fine example of the use of local granite. The wall was cut and built by the Finn Hjalmar Taipale in 1956.
The stone fence around Fitjar church is remains from the old stone church from early 1100 wich was replaced in 1867.
A widely known archipelago of granite, and a cultural landscape of national value (KULA). 468 Ma granodiotrittic pluton in a raised magma chamber, formed by the Quartarian Ice Ages.
Entrance by your own boat, evt. Fitjar tourist info: +47 951 89 950
Walk on red rocks from the interior of the Earth. Peridotite, harzburgite and olivin, formed in the transition zone between the Earth’s interior (the mantle) and the oceanic crust. 500m from Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri.
Access by boat, but the same bedrock is found along the promenade on land around the island.
Spectacular landscape of granite veins and dykes penetrating schist, marble and quartzite, from an exploding magma chamber 474 Ma deep below a volcanic island arc colliding with an ancient continental crust (Laurentia).
Boat info (Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri): +47 550 84 240
The rocks furthest west on Reksteren gives unique insight in the contact between two magma chambers (granite and gabbro) when the Sunnhordland batolite was made.
The overgrown features of the small island are quarries and remains from medieval soapstone working, left around 800 years ago, probably by the monks of the Munkeliv Monastery in Bergen.
The existing lime oven in Flakkavåg was built in 1870, but burning of marble for lime was done at most farms in this area since medieval time. Production in Flakkavåg ended in 1900.
Prehistoric burial site with 4 bautas. Originally there were 6-7 menhirs and at least 35 mounds, cairns and stone rings. Pottery and weaponry have been found in the mounds, but most of it is lost today. Traditional shop near by, open during summer.
Pottery and weapon remains were found during early excavations. Traditional shop nearby, open in summer.
One of the most spectacular marble mines in Sunnhordland, where an inclined layer of marble has been hollowed out by underground mining from the 17th century. Several entrances to the mine, separated by columns of remaining marble.
Also a nature reserve due to a rich and rare vegetation with holly, mountain lichen, yews, lime pine forests and noble broadleaf forests.
Access by boat.
Halsnøy Monastery and ice age moraine
Halsnøy Moraine stretches across the fjord and extends over Halsnøy. The monastery was established here in 1163 due to the agricultural potential of the moraine soil and marble resources near by.
The monastery with café and exhibition is open during the summer season.
A glaciomarine delta where a King was raised. Thick Quaternary deposits and characteristic landforms well-suited for explaining the geological history. Large concentrations of burial mounds from the Bronze Age and Iron Age in western Norway.
The stone church of Stødle was built in 1160 by Erling Skakke, the father of King Magnus.
Skånevik, The Love Path
A scenic area with well-prepared trails along the prominent moraine ridge between the stream Milja and Valdra. Old planted beech forest, supposedly one of the northernmost of its kind in the country.
Easy access from the Skånevik Hotel.
In Vannes, you can travel back in time to the depths of the earth's crust, from the volcanic rocks on the older surface to the younger gabbro rocks of the deep crust. The latter are criss-crossed by diabase veins, which probably feed the volcanoes on the surface.
A textbook example of how climate, glaciers and bedrock have shaped the landscape over time. The majestic mountain rises 1246 metres above sea level and is a popular hiking destination from Holmedal and up along the Dyrrinda moraine.
A glacial sculpture made of solid rock. Shaped by the plastic ice cap that penetrated into the fjord basin and, with its fast subglacial meltwater streams, enriched with gravel and under high hydrostatic pressure, polished the relatively soft phyllite.
The medieval source of baking stones of talc-bearing, green chlorite schist, most likely a tuff deposition. Exploited early and high Middle Ages, c. 1025-1250 cal AD. The standard finished baking stones were c. 1 cm thick, rounded and 25-50 cm in diameter. Distributed widely.
One of Norway’s oldest metallic ore mines, and the first in Norway (1655) to employ black powder. Mainly pyrite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite, formed by hot metalliferous water circulating in the rocks near volcanoes on the sea floor (Cambro-Ordovician time)
Soapstone quarry. Stone from here was used in the churches of Kvinnherad and Ænes in the 13th century. One of the few places in Norway where it is possible to see a medieval stone church and the quarry within a short walk.
Walk along the edge of a former fjord glacier 900 m.a.s.l. The elongated ridges, generally 2-3 m high and 10 m wide, are very distinct against the barren bedrock in the treeless landscape. An excellent school example of a lateral moraine formed by a fjord glacier (Younger Dryas). Nordli moraine, is a part of the National Park protected due to the variations in habitats and nature types.
Nordli moraine is part of the national park, protected due to the variations in habitats and nature types.
Built in 1250 using local soapstone from Bergspytt. In the church stand two marble sarcophagi for Baron Londemann and his wife, made by the bell ringer Sakseide at the Marble Factory near Finnås Rectory (1749) where the Herzberg priests resided for three generations.
A 1426-meter-high pearl amidst glacial landscapes. A geomorphological site offering expansive views in all directions, providing a good impression of the variety of landscapes within the geopark. Melderskin is part of the National Park, protected due to the variety of habitats and natural environments.
Popular, but difficult hiking destination.
The Barony Rosendal
A manor from 1665 built of money earned on trading timber with Scotland and Shetland. The barony offers concerts, exhibitions, a beautiful rose garden, accomodation and a fine restaurant.
Open during summer season.
A medieval stone church (1190-1200) made of local soapstone (Bergspytt). Ænes is a pittoresque U-valley leading up to the glacier.
For visiting, call: 905 31 910
The valley leads up to an outlet glacier of the Folgefonna glacier and has been a magnet for tourists since the middle of the 1800s. Our most popular insta-spot. A quaternary geological trek along the historic Ice Road, built for transportation of ice blocks (for export). Bondhusdalen, is a part of the National Park protected due to the variations in habitats and nature types.
A drive from Rosendal community to the mountainous area close to the Folgefonna glacier goes through a spectacular landscape of enormous granitic and gabbroic rock complexes (plutons). Møsevatn, is part of the National Park protected due to the variations in habitats and nature types.
Guided kayak-tours to the glacier are available on Møsevatn, +47 951 17 792.
A spectacular waterfall, veiling a total drop of 612 m. Ranked by CNN Travel as one of the 10 most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Precambrian granite belonging to the Sirdal Belt.
Can be viewed from the road, or by its entire length along a hiking trail that start at the parking lot by the main road (E134).
Giant's kettles in Rullestad
20 to 30 big and spectacular glacial potholes 270-320 m a.s.l, incised in the steep ice-polished Precambrian granite surface by melting water during one summer season 11300 years ago.
The descent is secured with chains and steel steps inserted into the rock..