Norway’s 4th largest city has an endearing, small-town atmosphere, and its abundance of museums, beautiful architecture and scenic waterfront make it a memorable destination at any time of year. Stavanger is also world renowned for its urban art scene, and hosts the Nuart Festival every year, inviting talented art activists from all over the world to decorate its buildings with thought provoking works. For those looking to use it as a base for further exploration, the city acts as a gateway to the magnificent Lysefjord; Norway’s most picturesque landmark, which is home to Preikestolen, one of the world’s truly breathtaking viewpoints. Stavanger is fabulous for food lovers as well, with the largest food festival in Scandinavia, Gladmat, attracting around 250,000 visitors every summer. All this and much, much more make Stavanger one of Norway’s most popular destinations. Here are a few things to keep you busy during your visit…
If you love nothing more than to while away the days strolling through galleries and museums, then you’re definitely in the right place. From its stunning cathedral to the Petroleum Museum, Stavanger has a fantastic blend of institutions dedicated to teaching visitors a little more about Norway and the country’s cultural history.
Among the most popular attractions in the city are three museums, the aforementioned Petroleum Museum of Norway, which offers insightful exhibitions on Norway’s past and future oil production, the Museum of Archaeology which, as you might expect, leans heavily toward Viking related artefacts, and the Stavanger Maritime Museum, which specialises in the maritime history of southern Norway. All are well worth a visit.
On the northern tip of Hidle, an island itself just north of Stavanger, lies a tranquil, green oasis which seems somewhat at odds with its icy Scandinavian surroundings. Flor og Fjaere is a collection of enclosed, beautifully designed gardens, showcasing the very best of Norwegian nature every summer. Whole day trips are offered to visitors, with a complete five hour experience consisting of a private boat trip on the nearby fjord, a tour of the gardens, as well as a meal in the acclaimed restaurant within the park.
At 40 km in length, Lysefjord may not sound as spectacular as some of the fjords further north, but the breathtaking sights and views available combine with its untamed charm to make it the most popular fjord in the world. The highlight of any trip here will undoubtedly be Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), which juts out over the Lysefjord at a staggering height of 604 metres. Needless to say, if you’re brave enough to lean over the edge then the view from the top is well worth the three hour hike, and is sure to leave you with scenic memories that will stay with you forever.
If you don’t fancy the climb up to that particular viewing point (some people find it a little daunting) then there are alternatives available should you wish to get a great view without the shivers, including observation points at Kjerag, Bratteli and Flørli. For a completely heights free alternative, consider taking a boat trip onto the fjord. In what is bound to be a memorable experience, you can view the dramatic mountain scenery, waterfalls, seal colonies and much more - all from the comfortable seclusion of a luxurious sightseeing boat. Cruises depart from Stavanger, Forsand, Lauvvik, Songesand and Lysebotn, so there are plenty of options to choose from!