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The town of Haugesund dates back to Viking times, but is today looked upon as young and vibrant and as one of Norway’s most popular congress and festival towns, the Norwegian Film Festival being the standout event. The town is buzzing with life day and night throughout the summer. The population of Haugesund is only 36,538 people, but the town is the regional centre for approximately 160,000 people. This is one of the reasons that there is a lot to offer in the fields of culture, commerce and services in the town. This also allows Haugesund to offer a variety of goods and services that are usually found in far bigger towns. As such, it is a huge shopping hub, attracting huge crowds to its commercial streets and shopping malls.
Haugesund is a buoyant centre for cultural and sporting events, as well as a launch pad used by many to explore the fascinating natural surroundings in the area. Additionally, the Norwegian International Film Festival is held in Haugesund every year and the town likes to project itself as Norway’s Cannes.
Haugesund offers a broad selection of restaurants with dishes from all over the world. As the town is located near the water, seafood dishes are very popular and fresh, the fish often having been caught the very same day. Many of the restaurants are based in the cosy area near the waterfront, and in the summertime it is possible to enjoy your meal outside near the water.
Haugesund is the perfect place to stroll along the quayside and take in the fresh sea air. During the winter there are few better ways to warm up than enjoying a warm beverage, and you can easily stop for coffee or a bite to eat at one of the many cafés and restaurants found in the area.
Bars in and around Haugesund often play a mix of Irish folk, country and Norwegian pop music, but the latest hits can also be heard and danced to at the city's modern nightclubs. Many of the nicest places are located around the ‘Smedasundet’ area on the quay front, where you have a good chance to spark up a conversation with groups of local night owls.
Shopping in Haugesund centres around the downtown area, especially the pedestrian streets Skåregata and Haraldsgata, where shops and boutiques line the sidewalks with interesting products and beautiful handicrafts. If you need more than the shops in town, there are also large modern shopping centres nearby.
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