Set in a landscape of sea, mountains, fjords and islands, Stavanger is a favorite destination for travelers exploring the southwest area of Norway. The city combines a modern metropolis with the charms of a small town. You'd never guess the city is also the oil capital of Norway; the main source of income for the region comes from the petroleum industry.
In 2008, Stavanger was named European Capital of Culture. The city is a university town and has a multitude of museums, art galleries, events and festivals to explore. Gamle Stavanger (Old Town) showcases Northern Europe's largest surviving wooden house settlement.
At night, the city transforms into a hub of entertainment. With numerous theaters, live music venues, bars and nightclubs, Stavanger's nightlife will keep you entertained into the early morning hours.
Stavanger's historic harbor adds to the city's scenic allure. Still a working seaport, the harbor is fronted by a colorful row of restored, half-timbered, wharf warehouses. There are a number of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars here, and you can buy fresh seafood from boats alongside the pier.
There is no shortage of museums in Stavanger—a good one to start with is the Stavanger Museum. This museum actually comprises five different museums, which you can see with a single ticket. The main museum (Stavanger Museum) features an exhibit about the history of Stavanger from the Viking days. The other museums focus on Stavanger's maritime history, historical architecture and past canning industry—the main industry of the city before oil.
If you're interested in how Stavanger became the oil capital of the region, visit the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. The museum explains the history of the oil industry in Norway through film, exhibits and interactive displays.
Gamle Stavanger (Old Town)
For a break from the bustling city center, take a stroll through Gamle Stavanger, the Old Town. With its narrow cobblestone streets and white wooden houses with terraced gardens and planted flower boxes, Gamle Stavanger is one of the most picturesque parts of Stavanger. The area is home to more than 170 wooden houses from the 18th and 19th centuries—the largest, surviving wooden house settlement in northern Europe. Most of the buildings have been carefully preserved and restored.
Located in the center of the city, Domkirke, the Stavanger Catherdral, is a medieval stone cathedral built in 1125. Originally built in the Anglo-Norman style, the church was renovated in 1272 after a fire and a Gothic chancel was added. Wander through the cathedral and you'll find tapestries, white stone columns and a beautiful stained glass window. Make sure you stop and admire the cathedral's pulpit , an elaborate example of woodcarving from the Baroque period.
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Preikestolen is a Norwegian landmark that you can reach on a day trip. The nearby lodge is a good place to stay. It is located on a south-facing slope surrounded by mountains and forested slopes with Lake Refsvatnet's glittering surface just a stone's throw below it.
|Bike rentals |
Tel.: +47 51 85 92 00
The local tourist information office offers bikes for rental. They can recommend some good cycling tours. If you are really up for biking, there is always the 3700-mile-long (6000 km) North Sea Cycle Route.
|Sjohuset Skagen |
Tel.: +47 51 89 51 80
The restaurant is situated in an old 16th century warehouse. The maritime heritage is well preserved; there is a salty feel to the place. The menu consists of both Norwegian and international dishes.