"Stavanger" Top 5 Page for this destination Stavanger by wyagi6

Stavanger Travel Guide: 308 reviews and 1,009 photos


Stavanger is Norway's fourth largest city and in recent years, has become the oil capital of Norway. Despite the rapid growth of the town caused by North Sea exploration, Stavanger has managed to retain its old charm while offering all the things you would expect in a modern town or city.

The central area around Vågen harbour is usually bustling with activity, mostly during the summer months. There are a number of bars and cafes and places to eat. Cruise liners often call at Stavanger and it can be startling to see a massive boat, sometime two or three, tied up in the small harbour and towering over the buildings! The old part of town (Gamle Stavanger) is a lovely collection of old houses built in traditional style.

Outside the central area, there are lots of parks, open spaces and cycleways to explore. There are numerous ferries available to take you from Stavanger to villages and communities up and down the coast. To a casual visitor or tourist, some of the ferry routes are sightseeing trips in themselves - there is so much impressive scenery in the area.

Besides the main town of Stavanger, there are two other towns in the area which can be considered part of Stavanger within the "county" of Rogaland..

Sola (pronounced "soola") is a small town about 10 km from the centre of Stavanger and the location of Stavanger airport. Sola is known locally for its beautiful sandy beaches.

Sandnes, the other main town in the area, is slightly larger than Sola and is a popular place to live for people working in Stavanger.

Getting Here

There are many international flights to and from Stavanger (Sola) airport. Some routes (e.g. Stavanger – Aberdeen) are very expensive thanks to the oil industry but whichever route you choose to fly into Norway, it's worth checking the airlines for any special deals. With some planning beforehand and a willingness to travel on less popular days, it’s possible to pick up reasonably priced tickets.

Ryanair offer the cheapest scheduled flights to the Rogaland area, flying between London Stanstead and Haugesund. However, if you're travelling to Stavanger there is a big "but" involved (on top of all the hidden charges that Ryanair tend to add on). Haugesund is located on the island of Karmøy to the north of Stavanger and is a two-hour journey away. You will pay as much (if not more) for the bus journey to Stavanger as you pay for the airfare. You may also have to change bus in Haugesund, which can add time to the journey.

That said, the journey from Haugesund to Stavanger is very pretty and in good weather is a wonderful introduction to Norway. The scenery will keep you gazing out the window for the entire journey (unless you’re unfortunate to travel in heavy rain)! The trip involves a ferry crossing and driving through a couple of long tunnels. Eventually the bus delivers you right into the centre of Stavanger at the bus station.

There used to be a ferry service between Stavanger and Newcastle in Britain however this was discontinued in 2008. It seemed to be a popular service but obviously wasn't profitable. At the time of writing this update (Sep 2011), there appears to be no sign of the service being resurrected despite a number of rumours.

If you're on a European tour and are travelling to Norway via Denmark, there is a regular ferry service between Hirtshals in Denmark to Kristiansand in Southern Norway. From Kristiansand, it takes approximately 4 hours to drive to Stavanger. Alternatively, you can catch a ferry from Hirtshals all the way to Stavanger. It's a 12 hour journey but the boat is more cruise liner than ferry.

What to Do

Stavanger is an excellent base for exploring the fjords and mountains of south west Norway. There are some beautiful walks in the surrounding countryside, the most famous walk / sightseeing trip being Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock).

The weather can be variable but on a good day, the temperature and the beaches in the area can rival anything to be found in Spain or Italy.

There are lots of things to do in Stavanger itself, which has its own theatre, museums and concert hall. During the summer months, various festivals take place and the centre of town buzzes with activity.

All in all, Stavanger is worth visiting, even if only for a few days. I consider myself extremely lucky to live here!

  • Intro Updated Sep 28, 2011
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Reviews (11)

Comments (1)

  • Rusket's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2005 at 3:59 PM

    Excellent page with a lot of useful information! If it OK by you, I will put a link to your page from mine.

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