A Winter’s Day in Skudeneshavn

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When one thinks of Norway in winter, they are often drawn to places in the north to see the Northern Lights or towards the ‘mountains’ (Norway doesn’t have large mountains, in my opinion) for some skiing.  

I never made an effort to go north for the Northern Lights whilst living there and I, personally, think Geilo is overrated.  But winter can be found anywhere in Norway- just in contrasting forms.

I’ve been through Finse by train in mid-winter, stood on the shores of Lake Mjøsa in Hamar in January, road-tripped to Flåm and vicinity in December, and have seen spectacular landscapes during the dark, winter months.  

But, nothing stands out quite like Skudeneshavn to me.  And it can be visited as a Haugesund day trip, or for the more ambitious, a Bergen day trip.



Skudeneshavn is a seaside community in Rogaland on Karmøy.  It sits at the opening of Boknafjorden and the Karmsundet Strait.  

This community sparkles in summer when Norwegians flock to it for its alluring charm, idyllic harbors, and deep blue waters.  In winter?  Well, it is pretty deserted.  Apparently, most people aren’t lured into beachside towns in winter like I am.





Skudeneshavn is one of the smallest official towns in Norway with approximately 3,300 residents residing there.  This pretty town was also a second-place winner in the 1990s for Norway’s Best Preserved Small Town.  Before ever visiting Norway, this is exactly what was imaged in my mind of the country.  Gamle Skudeneshavn (the Old Town) is comprised of over 130 wooden houses and is said to be one of Europe’s best-preserved Old Towns.

I think what makes the town unique is that there was no architect or city planner involved, meaning every house and building has its own, exclusive look.  

You can walk along the town’s main street, Søragadå, and smell coffee, freshly made waffles, and the salt of the sea- all smells that are especially prevalent in the middle of winter.  Aside from a few cafes, not too much was open in early January.

I was traveling with my friend, Marte, who was living in Haugesund at the time, and she stopped in a little boutique and bought me a red and white pannebånd (winter headband) to fight the winter temperatures.  I still have this pannebånd and the coloring reminds me of the stunning white houses with red roofs that saturate Skudeneshavn.


One must make a bit of an effort if going to Skudeneshavn (as with most places in Norway), but I promise this coastal town will be the perfect place for a morning stroll, afternoon boat ride, and evening sunset.  

I visited so much of the country when living there, and Skudeneshavn in winter remains in my top five.

13 thoughts on “A Winter’s Day in Skudeneshavn

  1. Nick @ concrete and kitsch says:

    Coffee and waffles and snowy stone streets…I’ll take it! I have long been interested in the Nordic countries, but think I am turned off by the cost of goods/living there. Is my prejudgment with merit, because we’re traveling on a Balkan budget these days…

    • Megan says:

      no shame in that! i have seen a lot of norway, but never liked staying around too much when i lived there because literally everywhere else was cheaper! but the nature is incredible. i think you’ll love it!

  2. Emily says:

    I agree that this is how I pictured Norway in my head (before seeing so many different blogs and accounts of the cities and such). Gorgeous! You always find the best places.

    • Megan says:

      after living there for 4+ years, i still imagine norway to be these cute little towns with red and yellow and white houses. haha.

  3. Silvia says:

    Funnily enough we’ve been getting tons of people from Rogaland in the shop this week, since I guess they have vacation now, and it’s made me so curious about the region. Now I know where to visit! You must have been crazy lucky with the weather though, right? Or do they often get snow? Because the white against all the red houses is freaking gorgeous.

    • Megan says:

      definitely get to rogaland if you can! ive not been to stavanger (really had no interest because in norway i prefer the small towns or my beloved oslo), but ive been to many other places there and it is pretty incredible. im partial to hordaland since i lived there for a while, but it is really basically the same in terms of a good mix of nature and cities and fjords.

      i think the weather is similar to that of bergen but a little less rainy! i have no idea how much snow they get! i know from my one winter in bergen, we didnt see too much, but you drive inland like 40 minutes to kvamskogen (i lived outside of bergen i should mention!) and you will see feet of the stuff.

  4. Van (@snowintromso) says:

    I absolutely love to visit coastal towns in winter! They seem even prettier then! And this one especially ;)

    • Megan says:

      agreed!!! i miss it now living in frankfurt where the only source of water i see is the main or the gross lake next to my apartment ha!

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