Stavanger: the colourful harbour city on Norway’s south-west coast

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Norway’s fourth largest city not only invites you to explore the cosy streets of the old town and the harbour, but is also the perfect starting point for tours into the natural surroundings of Rogaland province. The coastal town skilfully combines modern and maritime city life with unspoilt and idyllic nature. If you’re curious, you can find out everything you need to know about travelling to Stavanger here.

Why travel to Stavanger?

If you choose a holiday in Stavanger, you not only get a beautiful city backdrop, but also breathtaking nature right on the city’s borders. Stavanger has something for everyone: You can either take a leisurely stroll through the historic old town or the harbour district, visit one of the exciting museums or explore the regional nature – and it has it all. Although Stavanger is Norway’s fourth largest city, it has not lost its charm and idyllic atmosphere – its location on the water and the colourful facades of the houses create a lively and maritime cityscape.

Stavanger: Holidays
Holidays in Stavanger combine colourful coastal city life with breathtaking nature.

By the way: the well-known novel “The Swarm” by German author Frank Schätzing is partly set in Stavanger.

Where is Stavanger?

Stavanger is located in the south-west of Norway in the province of Rogaland. The city is located in the North Jæren coastal region and is situated both on the Norwegian mainland and on various islands in the Byfjord. The Boknafjord, the largest fjord in the region, runs north of Stavanger. The distance to the Norwegian capital Oslo is approximately 445 kilometres by car. Closer are the cities of Kristiansand in the south of the country, which is around 240 kilometres away by car, and Bergen, which is just over 200 kilometres to the north.

Stavanger: weather

Stavanger has an ocean climate with temperatures that do not fluctuate greatly throughout the year. The best time to visit is from July to September, when temperatures are at their warmest and reach an average of 15 to 16° Celsius. The most rain falls in autumn and winter, between September and January, with the least rain in June. The coldest time is the winter months from December to March, when temperatures average 4 to 5° Celsius. The water temperature can reach 19° Celsius in the summer months.

Things to do in Stavanger

Out and about in Stavanger: harbour and Gamle Stavanger

Stavanger: old town
Stavanger’s colourful old town invites you to stroll and explore.

Stavanger’s colourful cityscape is perfect for city tours – whether on land or water. The Byfjord flows through the city, so the water is always close by, creating a lively maritime atmosphere.

The city’s harbour is not only modern, but also offers a very special sight with its warehouses. The warehouses were built around 1800 and were primarily used to store salt, herrings and other trade goods. Nowadays, the colourful buildings are home to numerous restaurants where you can enjoy the waterfront location.

Another highlight in the city centre is Gamle Stavanger, the oldest part of the city. There are a good 170 mostly white-painted wooden houses from the 18th and early 19th centuries here. The cobbled streets invite you to take a leisurely stroll and explore this little piece of living history.

Travelling through Norway’s nature: Fjords, Preikestolen and more

Stavanger is located in a region known for its breathtaking nature. The city is therefore a perfect starting point for tours and activities in nature, whether hiking, boat trips or fishing. There are numerous fjords in the immediate vicinity, including the Byfjord and Bokafjord as well as the Lysefjord, which runs for 40 kilometres through the province of Rogaland. Other hotspots and highlights, especially for hiking fans, are Preikestolen and Kjerag.

Preikestolen is a natural plateau at an altitude of over 600 metres and offers breathtaking views over the Lysefjord. The hike takes around four to five hours over eight kilometres, and Preikestolen itself is around 30 kilometres from Stavanger. The hike to Kjerag is a little more challenging and takes around five to six hours. At 1084 metres, Kjerag is the highest point on the Lysefjord. Here you can also enjoy the impressive panorama or climb the Kjerag stone – a stone wedged in a crevice.

Stavanger: Outdoor
Outdoor enthusiasts can embark on a variety of tours from Stavanger.

Museums in Stavanger: on the trail of oil and Vikings

If you want to find out more about the history and development of the city and Norway as a whole, you can visit one of the many museums in Stavanger. One of the most popular destinations is the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, which shows in an exciting way how the discovery of oil in the North Sea fundamentally changed the region and the entire country. With the help of films and interactive exhibitions, you can learn lots of interesting facts and new information about the formation and extraction of crude oil and its impact on Norwegian society. If you want, you can even slip into the uniforms of the workers on the oil rigs. The museum is open daily except for major public holidays and is located in the city’s harbour district.

Another museum highlight in Stavanger is the Viking House. As the name suggests, the main focus here is on Norway’s heroes of the past, the Vikings. The Viking House is a virtual reality experience centre that specialises in the history of the Vikings in the region around Stavanger. Visitors can climb aboard a Viking ship and embark on a 25-minute journey into the past, making Harald Fairhair and his companions almost tangible. The Viking House is located in the centre of Stavanger and is open from June to August and for groups all year round. There is room for 10 people per show, and the show itself is also available in English.

Stavanger: Museum
Stavanger’s special relationship with the North Sea can be seen in the city’s museums.

Accommodation in Stavanger

Hotels in Stavanger

As Norway’s fourth largest city, Stavanger has a large selection of hotels. Hotels are ideal for city trips, as they often offer a high level of comfort in a good and central location, so that you can reach all the city’s hotspots either on foot or in just a few minutes by public transport. There is also a wide choice, so there is a hotel to suit every budget and every taste, from chic designer hotels to cosy B&Bs.

Highlights in Stavanger include the Hotel Victoria, which is centrally located in a Victorian house from 1900 right on the waterfront and is classically furnished, or the Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel Stavanger, which is particularly known for its environmental friendliness, but also boasts a free fitness room and sauna with views over the region.

Stavanger: Hotels
There are numerous cosy hotels in Stavanger’s city centre.

Holiday homes and holiday flats in Stavanger

For people travelling in a group – whether with family or friends – accommodation in a holiday home or holiday flat can be interesting. Above all, these offer the luxury of feeling at home and independent despite being on holiday. Not only is there plenty of space, but you also have your own cooking facilities. Holiday flats also often have a central location, while holiday homes can score points with their proximity to the water.

Camping in Stavanger

Camping in Norway is a very popular holiday option. Whether you are wild camping or camping on a campsite, you are close to nature and often quite inexpensive. Especially in the warm summer months, accommodation on a campsite is a good option, and campsites now often offer a wide range of accommodation and services.

Accommodation on a campsite is particularly suitable for outdoor holidaymakers, as many campsites often offer hiking or cycling routes. If you want to be completely independent, you can try wild camping, which is permitted in Norway and allows you to stay in a tent anywhere in the great outdoors for one or two nights – as long as you stay 150 metres away from the nearest house.

Travelling to Stavanger

Flights to Stavanger via Stavanger Airport

Stavanger has its own airport, located around 15 kilometres to the southwest in Sola, with regular flights from Oslo, Bergen and Copenhagen, but also London, Abderdeen and Newcastle. You can get to Stavanger either by airport bus, rental car or the fjord ferry.

By ship to Stavanger

Stavanger is not only an important harbour for the country’s industry, but also for passenger traffic and tourism – numerous ferries and cruise ships dock here. Whether cruises along the Norwegian west coast up to the north or North Sea cruises between the north-western countries of Europe – those who opt for a cruise can experience the impressive nature of the region around Stavanger and Norway in a very special way and also visit a whole host of cities in a simple and uncomplicated way.

Travelling to Stavanger
If you are travelling to Stavanger by ferry, you can enjoy the view of beautiful coastal landscapes.
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