Images courtesy of Innovation Norway

Stavanger

Stavanger is Norway’s fourth-largest city and a fascinating mix of old and new. Its history stretches back deep into the Middle Ages. Stavanger, a rapidly expanding oil town and port, with a clutch of historical sites and a full set of first rate restaurants, is a great destination for a city break. Experience its rich cultural life and stunning natural wonders.

Stavanger is considered a great place for foodies, with a range of good restaurants and an annual food fair that fills up the harbour area for a weekend each summer.

Immerse yourself in a vibrant cultural life and travel in time through history. The Stavanger region houses some of the best museums of all the port cities in western Norway, as well as many cultural sights, from words cut in stone to art galleries where the human spirit glows.

Stavanger boasts a myriad of astonishing wonders created by Mother Nature, ready for you to explore. Experience first-hand, the great outdoors in a region full of dramatic contrasts and scenic landscapes. On your visit, get ready to encounter one of Norway’s most imposing landmarks: Preikestolen. Wander along glistening white sandy beaches, stretching out endlessly before you. Explore the largest scree in Northern Europe with boulders as huge as houses and “heather- covered hills” where the wind sings and the grasses bend.

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Wander around Gamle Stavanger (Old Stavanger) comprising 173 wooden buildings from the turn of the 18th century. Most of them are small, white cottages. Stavanger has received several awards for its efforts to preserve Old Stavanger. This was one of three pilot projects carried out in Norway during the United Nations’ Architectural Heritage Year in 1975. Many galleries and handicrafts’ boutiques are located in this section of town.

A must see, Museum Stavanger consists of ten buildings: Stavanger Museum Muségt. 16, Stavanger Maritime Museum, Norsk Hermetikkmuseum (Norwegian Canning Museum), Ledaal, Breidablikk, Norsk Grafisk Museum (Norwegian Printing Museum), Norsk Barnemuseum (Norwegian Children’s Museum), Utstein Monastery, Stavanger Skolemuseum (Stavanger School Museum) and Stavanger Kunstmuseum (Art Museum).

A good place for a photo opportunity, Sverd i fjell, (Three Swords, literally Sword in Mountain), a monument outside the centre of Stavanger, beside the Hafrsfjord. The swords themselves are massive and in the background is the fjord. The monument commemorates the battle of Hafrsfjord in the late 800’s where Harald Hårfagre beat his eastern opposition and became the first King of Norway.

Spend some time at The Norwegian Petroleum museum, a museum for everyone. Its exhibits explain how oil and gas are created, discovered and produced, and what they are used for. The museum also provides information about technological advances and the way petroleum influences Norwegian society. Original objects, models, film and interactive exhibits illustrate everything from everyday life offshore to technology and dramatic incidents.

Enjoy the blossoming garden full of exotic plants and palm trees at Flor & Fjære. Soak up the peace and tranquillity, colourful flowers, good food and sea views. The scenic boat trip through the local fjord from Skagenkaien in Stavanger to the garden at Sør-Hidle takes 20 minutes. You will be welcomed with a guided tour through the garden, including a bit of helpful garden advice and inspiration. The chef will tempt you with international cuisine from all corners of the world, while specialising in the best of local seafood.

Visit Stavanger Domkirke (Stavanger Cathedral), Norway’s oldest cathedral. It is situated in the middle of Stavanger, and is the seat of the Diocese of Stavanger. Stavanger Cathedral (Romanesque style from about 1125, with later gothic additions) is the best preserved medieval cathedral in Norway.

Check out Preikestolen or Prekestolen, also known by the English translations of Preacher’s Pulpit or Pulpit Rock, a steep and massive cliff 604 metres above Lysefjord, opposite the Kjerag plateau. The top of the cliff is almost flat, and is a famous tourist attraction in Norway. This geological oddity offers staggering views down to the Lysefjord on three sides. The walk is not recommended in winter and spring when there is snow and ice, and the track may be slippery. The best time to hike the trail is from April to October.

Explore the Kjerag Mountain, the tallest of the peaks surrounding Lysefjord towering at 1,084 meters above the fjord. Hiking to the Kjerag Plateau has become increasingly popular with visitors allowing a perfect chance for photo opportunities. However some hike further to Kjeragbolten, a rock that is wedged between two mountains to get that hair raising photo seen on many profile pictures on social media sites! For adrenalin junkies Kjerag has become increasingly popular for base jumpers.

Norway’s best surf is found along the beaches of Jæren. This stretch of coastline invites you to explore the North Sea for wind and waves. The spots range from easy and gentle beginner beaches, to the more demanding and better boulder rock points. The summer season is most welcoming for beginners and beach relaxers, while the late autumn and winter has more exciting conditions, rewarding for those who brave the colder temperatures.

Image courtesy of CH – visitnorway.com