Discover Stavanger and the must-do things to do in this beautiful city

Do you dream of visiting Stavanger is a city in southwestern Norway. Its cathedral in the city center dates from the 12th century, when the city was founded. The Stavanger Museum traces local history and exhibits stuffed specimens of wildlife. The Norwegian Petroleum Museum showcases the petroleum industry with submersible platforms, a large drilling rig and an escape ramp. The Øvre Holmegate shopping street is famous for its colorful houses. So come and discover our selection of must-see sites to make the most of your stay.

Summary

  • Le rocher Pulpit
  • Le Lysefjord
  • Old Stavanger
  • Norwegian Canning Museum
  • Norwegian Oil Museum
  • Stavanger Cathedral
  • Stavanger Maritime Museum
  • Sword in the mountains
  • Upper Holmegate
  • Local specialties

Located on the southwest coast of Norway, Stavanger is Norway’s fourth largest city. It is thanks to the riches of the North Sea that this small fishing port has become a major town. At the beginning of the 19th century, herring numbers increased significantly off the coast of Stavanger. To cope with this surplus of fish, the local authorities decided to set up factories to can it. The Frenchman Nicolas Appert has just invented a method of preservation in metal cans. This will make the fortune of the city for a long time, until we discover the second treasure of the place: oil. From now on, it is the oil platforms that enrich the place. To visit Stavanger, here is a short guide to the essentials to do in the city.

1. Le rocher Pulpit

Majestic Preikestolen au-dessus de Lysefjorden, Stavanger, Norway

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Po S

This is probably the reason why you visit Stavanger: to climb up the famous flat rock Preikestolen (The Pulpit). Beware, this is not an easy hike, especially if the stone path is wet. If the hike is only 3800 meters, for a drop of 350 meters, some portions are very steep and the rock can be slippery.

At the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view, but you will have to be careful not to get too close to the edge. This is truly the most spectacular walk to do in Stavanger.

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2. Le Lysefjord

Norwegian fjord and mountains in summer.  Lysefjord, Norway

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Kochneva Tetyana

Even if it’s not as impressive, you can also admire the famous rock below. Indeed, it overlooks the Lysefjord, another must-see in the region.

From a cruise ship, you will have plenty of time to admire the underside of the famous rock. You will also see a superb 400-meter-high waterfall: Hengjanefossen and a cavity dug in the rock: the wanderers’ cave, which would have served as a refuge for the homeless.

3. Old Stavanger

stavanger old quarter

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Travel Faery

When the fish canning industry took off in Stavanger, workers had to be recruited from all over the country and housed locally. Small houses with gardens have been built in the south-west quarter of the port.

Today, the Gamle Stavanger is listed and the small white houses from the 13th and 19th centuries have been restored. This is truly a must visit in Stavanger. The walk in the small flowery alleys is a delight. To visit Stavanger is to discover an attractive and attractive city.

4. Norwegian Canning Museum

Norwegian Canning Museum

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Joymsk140

Visiting Satvanger without understanding the history of the preserve is unthinkable! Still in the Old Quarter, another visit to Stavanger not to be missed: that of the preserve. The museum is housed in a former cannery. You will learn about the history of the metal can, whose origins date back to 1850. You will learn more about the launch of canned sardines at the beginning of the 20th century and about the technological innovations concerning this method of preservation.

5. Norwegian Oil Museum

Norwegian Oil Museum

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Dmitry Naumov

Oil facilities have replaced canneries and this new black gold also has its own museum. Ultra-modern, the Norsk Oljemuseum is shaped like an oil rig and presents the different aspects of life on board.

You can go there as a family, the presentations are fun and the exhibitions are made using models. To visit Stavanger is to discover touristic and enriching places.

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6. Stavanger Cathedral

Famous Stavanger Domkirke one of the oldest churches in Norway.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Nightman1965

Stavanger has few old buildings, except its cathedral, the oldest in Norway. This building, which mixes Romanesque and Gothic styles, appears relatively modest at first glance, with its gray stones and green roof. Push the door and let yourself be seduced by the sculpted works and the superb Baroque pulpit.

7. Stavanger Maritime Museum

Stavanger Maritime Museum

Photo credit: Shutterstock / anastas_styles

A good idea for visiting Stavanger is the local museum: it allows you to learn more about the history and geology of the region. In particular, you will find an important prehistoric collection, with local objects dating back more than three thousand years. It also has zoology, crafts and religious art sections.

8. Sword in the mountains

Sunset at Sverd i fjell (Swords in the Rock), Stavanger

Photo credit: Shutterstock / alex_c_stuart

What to do in Stavanger to see traces of the distant past? Head to the site of Sverd i fjell , Swords on the Rocks, on the edge of the Hafrsf fjord, a few kilometers from the city center.

If there are few remains of the battle of 872, which allowed the unification of the three kingdoms of Norway, there is nevertheless an engraved stone 7 meters high. It was part of a set surrounding a church. The most spectacular monument, however, is the one erected in 1983. Three bronze swords almost 10 meters high are planted in the rock, symbolizing the three kings who took part in the battle.

9. Upper Holmegate

Over Holmegate

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Ildi Papp

A very old shopping street, Ovre Holmegate Street is the most pleasant place for shopping when visiting Stavanger. For its shops, of course, but above all because it is lined with small houses of all colors.

It is often considered the ”  Notting Hill  ” of the country. It is truly one of the musts when visiting Stavanger.

10. Local specialties

fish soup

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Cesarz

Impossible to visit Stavanger without tasting its culinary specialties.

  • As you can imagine, sardines occupy a prominent place, as does the famous Norwegian salmon and many other local fish and seafood.
  • However, meat is not forgotten, with lamb, which is on the menu of all good restaurants, sometimes in the form of confit or dried.
  • Finish the meal with a Kraftar voucher and strawberries. The famous blue cheese was voted the best cheese in the world in 2016. As for the strawberries, they are enhanced by the long sunny days of summer.
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To make sure you don’t forget any of Stavanger’s specialties, join a guided culinary tour. She will make you discover the streets of the city center, making many tasting stops.

11. Street art

street art stavanger

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Konstantin Tronin

For the past twenty years, street art has had a place in Stavanger. A very special festival is dedicated to him: NuArt . This usually takes place at the end of August/beginning of September and welcomes the world’s greatest street art artists.

Outside this period, you can discover many works during a guided tour. Many locations in the city keep permanent traces of this art.

How to get to Stavanger?

Stavanger is in a sort of cul-de-sac, it can sometimes be difficult to get there.

  • However, several airlines serve Sola Airport in Stavanger (SVG), with direct flights of around 4 hours from Paris . You can compare the different offers on Skyscanner . From the airport, the FB40 bus will take you to the city center in 20min , with a frequency of 30min.
  • The journey by train, from Paris, takes a day and a half and passes through Cologne , Hamburg and Oslo . If you want to visit Stavanger on a rail trip in Norway, you’ll need to take the line that starts in Oslo and runs along the southern coast to end here.
  • To visit Stavanger from Bergen , a little further north, you will have to take local buses and ferries or the Hurtigruten coastal express line .

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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