Some Basic Information

Stavanger is the third largest metropolis in Norway. Also the administrative center of the Rogaland County, the municipality is the fourth most populous city in the country. The globally famous conurbation is positioned on the Stavanger Peninsula in the southwestern parts of the country.

Also popularly known as the “Oil Capital of Norway”, the sprawling urban center experienced an unprecedented population increase in the 20th century due to its booming oil industry. Even today, oil remains the key industry in this extensively visited region. Besides being a world-famous oil hub, the heavily populated city is also a major military location. Particularly, NATO’s Joint Warfare Center is found in Stavanger.

Stavanger swords
Swords in Rock in Stavanger.

The steadily developing municipality of Stavanger is set in a coastal background with a generally low-lying terrain that is predominantly 66 feet below sea level. The metropolitan area grew on both sides of the huge hollow that cuts through the low-altitude terrain that features numerous islands such as Bjørnøy , Grasholmen, and Vassøy.

The municipality is dotted with many green spots and well-kept parks that include the ubiquitously acclaimed Emigrant – a special square that honors ancient Norwegians who migrated to settle and build The United States of America. Owing to the fact that the metropolis is located on a peninsula, it essentially experiences mild maritime temperatures.


Top 10 Highlights In and Around Stavaneger

Summarized below are the top 10 most appealing sightseeing spots and marvels in Stavanger City. These leading irresistible tourist attractions include:

1. Stavanger Cathedral – a monstrous architectural marvel located in the city center.

2. Prekestolen (“Preacher’s Pulpit” or Pulpit Rock) – an imposing flat-domed crag that towers 1,960 feet above water, reachable by both ferry and road; a two-hour trek from the civic center. Seriously the most amazing scenery ever.

3. Market Square – a fantastic place to spend time soaking up the endless intrigues of the local culture.

4. Kongsgård – the charming area around the Bishop’s Palace that dates back to the 14th century.

5. Old Stavanger (Gamble Stavanger) – a resplendent array of olden homes huddled on the well-paved meandering streets. Beautiful white washed buildings.

6. Valbergtårn – a quaint Stavanger building located in the northern part of the Market Square.

7. Stavanger Art Museum – a widely stocked cultural and heritage center located around Lake Mosvannet.

8. Ledaal House – an appealing summer dwelling place for the distinguished Kielland family set aside a heritage site to depict the deluxe lifestyle of the 18th century Norwegian elite.

9. Flyhistorisk Museum Sola – an extensive collection of well-kept aircraft accessories set aside to immortalize the epoch-making WWII military experience.

10. Museum of Archaeology – a globally renowned historical site that contains awe-inspiring collections of costumes and vessels used during the Viking Era.

How to get to Stavanger

Stavanger is one of most globally preferred sightseeing destinations. Registering the highest numbers of tourists in the course of summer, the famous conurbation is also an important port of call for thousands of cruise ships from across the globe. Further, the notable world trade hub has state-of-the-art transport infrastructure that serves both locals and foreign travelers.

The city’s busiest airfield – Stavanger Airport – is located in Sola, a fourteen-minute flight away from the Stavanger City. Other high-traffic air travel stations in this region include Trondheim Airport, Kristiansand Airport, Kjevik Airport, and Bergen Airport. These leading flight facilities provide both international and domestic air transportation services.


How to get in and around

Additionally, the extensively urbanized regional economic hub has a robust railway network, the most prominent of these train services being the Southern Railway that moves from Oslo S all the way to Drammen, to Kristiansand S, to, lastly, Stavanger S. This course measures an estimated 545 kilometers (339 mi) between Oslo and Stavanger, is painstakingly scheduled over four occasions per day, and takes a total of about seven hours.

The bubbly metropolitan area is also served by many modern trains with more than 19 stops on a single line. The availability of a meticulously structured railway transportation network is one of the top reasons why international and local tourists choose Stavanger as their favorite destination as local mobility is remarkably convenient, relatively affordable, and absolutely hassle-free.

Sailing the fjords
On a boat sailing through the fjords of Norway.

In a similar vein, Stavanger City features a top class road transport infrastructure. With innumerable small roads and numerous well-designed national thoroughfares, movement from one urban spot to another is fast and efficient. By the same token, the thickly peopled metropolis is well-connected to other major municipalities in Norway and even throughout the continent.

For instance, European route E39 operates via Stavanger from Haugesund and the Mastrafjord Tunnel and Byfjord Tunnel, then turns southward to Sandnes. Fylkesvei 44 starts from Stavanger and stops in Kristiansand, through Sandnes and Flekkefjord. A great drive for anyone who wants to see the landscapes in the country change as they drive along.

Top 5 Things to Do in Stavanger

Whilst individuals who don’t have prior knowledge of the oil capital of Norway may question its suitability as a sightseeing destination, seasoned globetrotters know that Stavanger has a lot going for it.

The very fact that the metropolis is a major European oil hub should instantly create a colorful picture of a highly industrialized municipality. As such, discussed below are some of the most exciting things to do while visiting this venerable Norwegian city. Read on to discover the top 5 tips on how to spend your time in Stavanger.

1. Getting Around

Stavanger has no shortage of affordable and top quality local transportation facilities. This means that you’ll have many point-to-point commuting services right from the airport. For sojourners who prefer taxi services, there are inexhaustible taxi ranks throughout the city.

However, most of these short-distance journey options are located at key bus and train stations. There are several favorably priced car hire choices, bicycle hire for the most uninterrupted view of the area, as well as self-drive opportunities for daring travelers who would want to be in charge of their tour.

2. Restaurants

Compared to many other metropolises of its size, Stavanger has far more inviting and variety-conscious hotel facilities. Great restaurants by the docks and in town for some seriously surprising food.

Dick side seafood
Enjoying some blue mussels by the waterfront in downtown Stavanger after our fjord cruise.

Some of the top-rated restaurants within the main city vicinity include: Restaurant Sjøhuset Skagen (expensive), Restaurant N B Sørensen’s Dampskipbsexpedition (expensive), Ostehuset (moderate), Gaffel & Karaffel (moderate), Godt Brød (cheap), and Dolly Dimple’s Torget (cheap).

3. Shopping

Like you would expect of a thriving municipality of a lofty economic importance, the whole city is full of all manner of shops. While there’s no possibility of lacking any fundamental items, it is quite essential to note that most of these outlets (including souvenir joints and kiosks) close on Sundays. Some great handmade crafts can be found in the city along with all the other postcard perfect pictures and souvenirs to remind you of you’re trip once you’re home.

4. Leisure Activities

With an endless list of wonderful sightseeing and several trip outings worth taking, who should really feel bored while in Stavanger?

There are a myriad of things to occupy your time during your stay in this time-honored urban center. For example, there are numerous downhill skiing resorts for lovers of extreme sporting. Sirdal, Sauda, Hovden, and Rauland are just but a few of such remarkable resorts. If you aren’t interested in extreme sporting, then you may try helicopter flight-seeing, have a leisurely walk around the civic center, sample the widely rave-reviewed Little Stokka skating fun, or even visit some of the most awe-inspiring tourist and heritage sites within the striking municipality.

Waterfall drinking
Drinking the cleanest tasting water the cruise members captured from the previous waterfall. Delicious!

Of course one of the highlights is the daily fjord cruise that runs straight from the docks. Takes you around the Lysefjord, under the Pulpit Rock, and they even stop to collect fresh water from the waterfalls running down the side of the mountains for you to drink. Did this on my first day ever in Norway and it’s still one of my favorite experiences.

5. Night Life

Whereas you can’t liken Stavanger’s nightlife thrills to those of top-cadre destinations such as Los Angeles, you will obviously find this lively conurbation worth every minute of your night-time exploration. Some of the most entertaining facilities include Bøker og Børst, Døgnvill Burger Stavanger, Cirkus, Broremann Bar and the ever famous Hall Toll.

Be sure to read up on some of the cultural traditions and things to know before you go to Norway. Prices for alcohol are a little steeper than most other countries in the world, so take a look at our budgeting tricks to help offset the cost.

Perfect For

  • Food Lovers
  • Pulpit Rock and Kjerag hike
  • Short stays in Norway
  • International scene
  • Comprehensive glimpse of Norway
  • Combination of nature and city life

Come see the city for yourself!

We might be biased because, well, we love Stavanger, but it truly is an amazing place. If anyone only has a short time to visit Norway, we usually personally recommend Stavanger or the Bergen area. It is well connect, easy to get a flight to, and has some of the most beautiful fjord and hiking scenery in the country nearby. Check out the summer food festival of Gladmat, the street art festival of NuArt, or take in the beauty of the land and people around you in one, or many, of the exciting activities this region has to offer. You won’t regret it.

Art festival in Stavanger. Photo: Henning Lima,