City Guide Stavanger. The Travel Guide for your trip to Norway.

Are you thinking about whether Stavanger is worth traveling or not? Well, it is the doorway to some super adventurous activities like hiking, cruising, island hopping, and more. Do you prefer more sight-seeing and just absorbing the vibes? Stavanger has quaint, colorful streets, warm cafes, and soul-soaking sites all over.

Yes, it has something for all types of travelers. The best part is, not only the city, but there are plenty of spots around that you cannot miss. You may have seen a photograph of a stone dangling between two rocks, haven’t you? Well, the Kjerag is right beside the town, perfect for photography, hiking, and an experience like never before!

Stavanger is full of cultural heritage, with centuries-old wooden houses, monuments, and museums, well-preserved to date. Moreover, it is the oil capital of Norway and also the fourth-largest city. Bustling with locals and foreigners alike, it has a warm ambiance and a mild-humid climate round the year.

Haven’t made up your mind yet? Well, this guide has everything you need to know before visiting Stavanger!

Table of contents

➡️ Basic Information of Stavanger

➡️ History of Stavanger

➡️ Getting Around in Stavanger

➡️ Places to Visit in Stavanger

➡️ Go to the Museum in Stavanger

➡️ Go Shopping in Stavanger

➡️ Things to Do in Stavanger



Basic Information of Stavanger

Location: In the county Rogaland, in Western Norway
Established: in the year 1125
Population: 144,147 (2020)
Time zone: UTC+01:00 (CET), in the summer UTC+02:00 (CEST)


History of Stavanger

Traces of life in Stavanger date back to the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. The city gained recognition in 1125, on successful completion of the Stavanger Cathedral. Owing to its excellent coastline, it was a significant marine-trading town from the 12th to 14th century.

Stavanger held immense importance in the religious world, being the center of administration for several years. However, the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s declined its position as the religious hub. Nevertheless, the city gained backed its popularity in the 2000s with the rich fisheries.

Today, Stavanger is the third-largest municipality and the fourth largest city in Norway. However, this wasn’t always the case. From 1867 to 1953, several portions of the Hetland municipality were transferred to Stavanger. Furthermore, in 1965, the entire Madla municipality merged with the city, with the most recent merges including Finnøy and Rennesøy in 2020.
Through hundreds of years, Stavanger has faced challenges like WWll, recessions, and booms. Still, today it stands firm, with the oil industry as its backbone, making it the oil center of the country.


Getting Around in Stavanger

Do you want to gather all the details before planning your trip? One of the essential parts is finding out about the city transport system. Getting around Stavanger is easy with the many public transport options available. Here is all you need to know about conveyance in this city.


If you want to relish your visit to the fullest, walking around the scenic areas of Stavanger is downright the best option. Most of the places are situated around the city harbor and are easily accessible by foot.

So, you need not opt for any public or private transport to get around. However, there is an exception if you want to visit the fjord or the nearby islands. Needless to say, you wouldn’t want to miss the joy of walking along the soothing waterfront.


The Stavanger bus system is relatively smooth, with ticket options of 1 hour, 1 day, 3 days, and weeks. You must remember that getting the pass or ticket from a kiosk is cheaper than from the bus itself. Once you have the pass, you can easily plan your trip with the help of the bus website.

It is the prime mode of public transportation in the city and is well-equipped. Most of the buses feature special sections for wheelchairs and baby carriages, suitable for everyone.


If you want to travel to the Southern areas and villages, opting for the local train is the best option. You can use the same public transport ticket here that you bought for the bus.


If you want to visit any of Stavanger’s multiple nearby islands, taking a ferry is the most feasible option. Most of the passenger boats depart from the port to Byøyene, Vassøy, Usken, and Hommersåk quite frequently.

You can hop on one of these from early morning to late in the evening. However, do confirm the return timings if you are taking a day trip to the islands.


Opting to roam around on a bike is a fun, immersive, and greener choice. You can bike down the streets, hiking trails, along the harbor, and more. The best part is you can use the same public transport ticket to use the bicycles parked at bike stations.


Hiring a cab is undoubtedly the most expensive option in Stavanger. However, it is an easy mode where you can pay through your credit card. You must know that taxis get pricier at night and on Sundays.


Places to Visit in Stavanger

Stavanger is the perfect tourist spot for exploring old-crafted buildings, picturesque streets, quirky museums, monuments, and much more. You need not get confused about the places to add to your list. Here are the must-visit sites in Stavanger for your perfect itinerary!

Gamle Stavanger

Stavanger is all about eye-pleasing picturesque spots, and the Gamle Stavanger (old town) tops the list. It is a beautiful quarter of 173 white wooden houses and narrow streets. The buildings stand intact from the 18th-19th centuries, reflecting the authenticity of the town. In fact, it is one of the most well-preserved areas of entire Norway.

These wooden houses come from the older era when citizens carried their homes along with them if they moved. Yes, they dismantled their houses and re-built in the new locations. Sounds interesting, right? Well, it is even more beautiful to see.

As you walk, the cobblestone streets, beautiful gardens and flowers outside each house, and the well-built houses will surely entice you. Furthermore, this area also consists of other city highlights, including the Maritime Museum and the Fish Canning Museum.

Stavanger Cathedral – Domkirke

If you want to indulge further into the historical structures of the city, you cannot miss the Stavanger Cathedral. Located close to the city harbor, this cathedral is the only one standing intact since the 14th century. Built in 1125, the structure is as old as the city and still the most preserved cathedral in Norway.

The fun part is that the city was recognized after the completion of this cathedral! It is a gothic-style building surrounded by green fields and benches, perfect for spending a sunny morning.

Once you have taken the cathedral tour, you can slide down to Byparken park, close to the cathedral. It has a small yet lovely lake—Breiavatnet, ideal for an afternoon picnic and relaxing in the sun. You can also stroll around the Stavanger town center on the same trip, as it falls close by.

Sverd i Fjell – The Three Swords

You cannot imagine Stavanger’s history without talking about the Vikings. The Sverd i Fjell is a monument that consists of 3 massive, metallic swords dug into the rocks. These swords symbolize peace, unity, and triumph, honoring the battle that led to the unification of Norway.

As a result of the battle of 872, the clashing fractions of Western Norway merged, under king Harald Hårfagre. However, these Viking swords were built later in 1983 by King Olav the V. The 10-meter-high monument stands tall beside the 9km long Hafrsfjord.

You can also get to the Hafrsfjord’s recreational area. It has a biking trail, a bathing area—Mollebukta, and grass lawns for relaxing with friends and family.

Wharf Houses and Øvre Holmegate

Stavanger is all about colored buildings and beautiful streets, and the Wharf Houses top that list. These are 60 vibrant colored houses by the city harbor, built in the 18th-19th centuries. The spot is ideal for taking a stroll along the walking path, clicking lots of pictures, or enjoying some local delicacies at the open-roof cafes.

Another such multi-colored street is the Øvre Holmegate, also known as the Fargegaten. Initially a dull area, this place was re-modeled in 2005, into the most colorful street of Stavanger. A hairdresser Tom Kjoørsvik envisioned, took permissions, and converted the street into what it is today.

If you want to get some perfect pictures for your social media profile, you need to visit the Øvre Holmegate. Once you are done with the photo sessions, you can explore its multiple niche shops, bars, cafes, and quirky graffiti!


Go to the Museum in Stavanger

If you want to absorb more of a town’s history, there is no place better than a museum. And the good news is this city has plenty to fill your antiquity-enthusiast soul. Here is a list of Stavanger museums you must definitely visit.

Norwegian Canning Museum

Downright the best museum in the city is the Canning Museum. It is an old factory that displays antique machines, fish cans, and the entire fish catching and processing. You can also participate by threading sardines, tasting, and more!

Stavanger Kunstmuseum

If you hold a particular interest in art, this Stavanger Museum of Fine Arts is a must-visit. It features a marvelous collection of paintings and artifacts dating back to the 19th century, all within a spherical glass building. Moreover, you can also visit the Mosvatnet lake situated in the same park.

Norwegian Petroleum Museum

This replica of the oil industry is not just attractive from the inside but also has eye-catching exteriors. Built on the waterfront in 1969, the museum portrays oil equipment, ships, and rigs, along with a themed play area.

The Stavanger Museum exhibits the city’s flora, fauna, geographical formation along with the town’s cultural roots. Plus, it also houses the famous Norwegian Children’s Museum. Apart from that, the Museum of Archaeology and the Stavanger Maritime Museum are great options too.


Go Shopping in Stavanger

Are you looking for small corners to buy locals items of Stavanger? A trip is incomplete without collecting a few trinkets and souvenirs to take home. Stavanger has some amazing shopping corners for all types of things.

Gamle Stavanger

The best area to pick local handicrafts is the Old Stavanger quarter, especially if you visit its summer market. You will find multiple local artists and craftsmen with their stalls on the streets.

Øvre Holmegate

Whether you are looking for Norwegian hand-printed garments, handicrafts, or accessories, the Ovre Holmegate street has it all. One such store is the Kant that you must definitely visit. Moreover, the area is so picturesque to walk around and explore the lovely cafés.

Stavanger Storsenter

If you wish to hit the grand shopping centers, the Stavanger Storsenter offers an extensive collection. From fashion to gadgets and books to gifts—you can buy everything from here.

Souvenir Shops

If you are looking for a store specially to purchase souvenirs, Audhlid Viken, Sentrum Souvenir, and Søstrene Grene are great choices.


Things to Do in Stavanger

If sight-seeing is not enough for your adventurous-soul, Stavanger has a pot full of thrilling activities to choose from. Here is a small list of things to do in Stavanger.

Take the Lysefjord Cruise

Lysefjord is one of the biggest Norwegian fjords, surrounded by mountains that are up to 1000-meters tall. It is almost 40-km long, and cruising in this beautiful area is completely worth the try. The never-ending blue waters surrounded by sky-high mountains is a view to behold. You can also choose a ferry tour.

Explore the Beaches

If you are in for a swim on relax at the seashore, Stavanger has some of the most beautiful beaches. The Sola Beach has a golden stand and is usually empty—perfect for enjoying a private picnic. Other must-visit beaches include Vigdelstranden, Godalen, and Borestranden.

Surfing and Kayaking

If you are up for some thrilling activities, the Stavanger beaches provide perfect surfing conditions. You can find small waves at the Sola, Bore, and Hellesto beaches, safe enough for amateurs and first-timers. Alternatively, you can go kayaking at Hafrsfjord and along the east coast.


There are multiple hiking trails around Stavanger that you can find with a red-colored ‘T’ written on rocks. The path from Rosneli Beach to Godalen Beach is the best one, covering bays, sandy beaches, bathing areas, and more!

Ice Skating

If you happen to reach Stavanger during the winter, you are in for a winter wonderland. You can go to the Stokkavannet lake or the Sormarka Arena for ice skating.