The island has a lot to offer. Here is a small selection of activities and history.
Upcoming event on Svanøy.
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Svanøy Main Farm
Svanøy Hovedgård is an old royal and noble seat. Gardstunet was preserved in 1924 and is owned by Stiftelsen Svanøy Hus. Today, the farm is used for events and accommodation by agreement. The old barn has become a concert venue.
In the Middle Ages, the garden belonged to Bergen bishopric and became crown property at the Reformation. At that time the farm was called Bru. In 1662, Archbishop Hans Svane bought the farm. When the bishop died in 1685, his widow received the rights of the Seegard for Bru. She renamed the estate Svanøy, in memory of the man. Svanøy was sold in 1719 to county clerk Severin Seehusen, who in 1720 was ennobled with the name Svanenhielm. He was in such financial trouble that the estate was seized by the king in 1724. Later owners were the Nagel family and court agent Herman Dietrich Janson. The garden was subsequently sold to Hans Nielsen Hauge. Hauge gave the farm to Ole Torjussen Svanøe, with this the seat garden rights disappeared.
Norwegian Deer Centre
The Norwegian Deer Center is idyllically located at Kvalstad Gard, on the south side of the island, 4.7 km from Svanøybukt. Here there is an experimental animal department for deer and fallow deer, a game slaughterhouse and courses and conferences are held.
You can usually see the deer from the road in Kvalstad. If you want to visit it, or have a tour, you should get in touch in advance. From Svanøybukt to Hjortesenteret it takes about 1 hour to walk, or 15 minutes by bike.
The Olaf Cross
Svanøy was formerly a hub in outer Sunnfjord, with a manor house and its own church. In the old churchyard on the island stands a stone cross with a runic inscription.
The cross is two meters high and 1.25 meters wide from tip to tip, and is one of four in Norway with runes. Experts have dated it to be from the 11th century.
The cross is a key location in Kystpilgrimsleia. Pilgrims can get their passport stamped at the shop.
The beach is a short walk from Svanøybukt, past the football field at Svanøy Røykeri. Here there is a shelter and in the summer a volleyball net is set up.
The beach lies below the old crushing plant from the mining era, from which it gets its red colour.
If you take a short walk in Svanøybukt, you will find several traces of mining. You will find Hola, which is left after the dynamite warehouse, when you follow mostly 100m from the quay. In the forest above Svanøy Røykeri you can still see the ruins of residential buildings, lift towers and crushing plants from the mine. Badestranda Leren lies below there again. It is mainly made up of slag from the old copper ice mine. The copper mine on Svanøy was one of the largest industrial enterprises in Sunnfjord around World War I. Mining started in the 1870s.
The Salt Works Rock
Hans Nielsen Hauge bought Svanøy Hovedgård for 12,000 riksdaler in 1804. It was Ole Torjussen Helling from Ål in Hallingdal who was to be responsible for the farm. Svanøy was to become a center for the Haugean movement in the entire Sunnfjord area. Ole Torjussen, who had now taken the surname Svanøe, set about farming, running mills, building sawmills, shipbuilding and saltworks on what we today call the Salt Works Rock.
The memorial stone on Salt Works Rock was erected in 1954 by Svanøe's descendants. The stone is 3.5m high and visible from the quay in Svanøybukt. On the front, facing the quay, the year 1809 is engraved.
Nikolai Astrup is one of Norway's most prominent and popular visual artists. In the summers between 1901 and 1904, Astrup stayed on Svanøy. "A green emerald in the windy blue sea", he called the island. Here he met Knuthild Holm. They developed a close friendship - and Knuthild later became an important sales agent for Astrup in Bergen. Astrup painted several pictures from these summers.
At Svanøy Hovedgård there is a painting by Astrup and a banner he decorated for the youth group.
There are several burial mounds on Svanøy dated to the Bronze Age - Iron Age. The most obvious ones can be found at Vardeneset and Gnarneset. On Kulturminnesok.no you can see a complete overview.
Certain sources claim that Eirik Blodøks grew up with herson Tore Roaldsson on Svanøy.
Eirik I Blodøks Haraldsson, born ca. 885, died 954. He was Norway's king approx. 930–935 and later King of Northumbria (947–949). He was the only one of the sons of Harald Hårfagre who had a mother of royal blood: Ragnhild Eiriksdotter