On Austre Bakholmen, a small islet of around 15 acres between Hundvåko and Drøni, lies the oldest trading centres in Austevoll. For a long time this was a court location and it was a natural centre in this archipelago.
The village at Bolstadøyri acquired its structure around the middle of the 1800s, but from the old days there has been a meeting place here; court location and trading post. The guesthouse place stems from the second half of the 17th century, and in the previous century Bolstadøyri was one of the largest rural trading posts in Nordhordland.
On Gisøya Island, on the west side of Brandasund Sound, there is a very privileged trading post and traveller's Inn from the 1600s, with the North Sea as its nearest neighbour. In 1991 a road was built over Bømlo out to these islands, but for thousands of years the sheltered harbour here was a main stopping place along the outer coast. During the great herring period of the 1700s and 1800s, Brandasund was a centre for the herring fisheries on the Sørafeltet fishing grounds. Today, the area belongs to the municipality of Bømlo.
The old guesthouse location in Brattholmen on the east side of Litlesotra, was probably established in the first half of the 1700s. A list from 1748 mentions that the place “for some years has been inhabited by an Enrolled Sailor by the name of Peder Michelsen”. As was the case for most other military hosts, he was exempt from paying income tax.
Bruosen is one of the few river harbours in the county. As landing place for the churchgoers, this place and the boatshed environment follow a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages, but the country store of today is much younger.
The hostelry place in Bruknappen is situated north in Radsundet, just south of Festo, by a sheltered idyllic bay, close to the main lane. Sloops both from Sognefjorden and Nordland had their fixed stops at “the blacksmith in Bruknappen”; on their way to Bergen, fully loaded with wood and hazel hoops, barrels and chests, or on their way home with town merchandise.
In Christian IV’s diary from Norgesreisa (trip to Norway) in 1599, we find the reference or anecdote that is the origin of the name Bukken. A Dutch full-rigged ship once passed the mountain outcrops on the island with the guesthouse so close that a ram grazing there jumped down on a yardarm (rånokk), thus the name “Buch van Raa!”
For more than 350 years Engesund has been a place for hostelries and trading in the Fitjar islands. The place is centrally placed in the shipping lane, with a sheltered harbour close to the exposed Selbjørnsfjorden. Engesund was once part of the great network of historical stopover places on the coast.