On the south coast of Norway, Stavanger is the country’s third-largest city. It is also one of the oldest societies in Norway. Stavanger traces its roots as far back as the 12th century. Well protected by offshore islands, it has been a commercial center for centuries and is a popular cruise port today.
The city is also a vibrant cultural hub, with music venues and annual events that include the May Jazz Festival each May and the International Chamber Music Festival in August. Add to that the city’s museums, which cover everything from Vikings to offshore oil, with sardines, planes and seafaring in between, and there are many things to do in Stavanger. The whole region is popular as a recreational area, with several nearby lakes and marine climate. Here are a handful of tourist attractions you do in Stavanger region.
Presumably the most famous pulpit rock in Norway. Preikestolen has been named one of the world’s most spectacular vantage points. It’s not hard to understand why. 600 meters above the Lysefjord, on a square plateau you tower over an almost vertical rock wall. Here you get a view that few other places that can match.
There are many ways to get to and from Preikestolen. The trip is suitable for everyone. But it is occasionally a demanding landscape, and you should calculate extra time if you have children. Directly above Preikestolen mountain lodge, you will find Norway’s longest zip line!
If Preikestolen sounds like your thing and you do not have a fear of heights. A trip to Kjeragbolten is a must for those who visit Stavanger. Kjeragbolten is located at the very heart of the Lysefjord (the location of where Preikestolen is located). The stone is crushed in a rock crevice on Kjerag mountain, around 2.5 hours by car from Stavanger.
At the top of the mountain, you will find Kjeragbolten, which is a 5 square meter large stone wedged in a rock crevasse, 959 meters above the Lysefjord. A trip out on Kjeragbolten is for the slightly more daring, but the scenic pictures afterward will be worth it.
Kjeragbolten is certainly one of the most spectacular places to see in Norway, but the climb is tough – 12km in the rough landscape. It is recommended that you have a guided tour that picks you up in Stavanger. Before the tour guide will take you on a scenic journey, past waterfalls and up the 26 hairpin turns in the Sirdal mountains. Then on with a professional guide up to Kjeragbolten. Those who reach the top can expect incredible views and a completely unique photo motif.
Cruise on the Lysefjorden
Lysefjorden is one of Norway’s most spectacular fjords. It is no wonder this is a popular tourist destination. During the summer, the daily cruise is arranged on the Lysefjord. From the sun deck, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and the magnificent views of preikestolen, Kjerag, old farms, waterfalls!
On the trip you also get a glimpse into Fantahålå and hear the legend of what the mysterious cave once hid. In addition, the cruise takes the trip past Hengjanefossen and allows you to taste the fresh mountain water. If you have not experienced how Norway’s fjords unfold between high mountain sides in beautiful Norwegian nature, this is definitely a must.
The ultimate dining experience in Stavanger must of course, be Gladmat. Gladmat is the largest food festival in both Norway and the Nordic countries. It focuses on food production, gastronomy and food culture. Every year in the summer, the city is filled with stalls from suppliers, producers and restaurants from the region and the city becomes a regular food feast.
The festival takes place in the middle of July. Usually up to 250,000 visitors come in four days, so here it is important to be out early!
Gladmat is the festival for you who love niche products, ingredients and the latest in trends – but also local quality products with history. You can also sit and watch master chefs participating in gastronomic competitions, get inspiration for your next meal or watch parades – Gladmat has it all.
Flor og Fjære
Twenty minutes by boat outside Stavanger is Norway’s only palm island, Flor & Fjære. A garden built over decades by a family of dedicated gardeners. Here, 50,000 flowers are displayed in the garden every year.
Make sure to set aside time, eat in the restaurant and enjoy the garden! If the weather is warm enough, you can take a dip along the sandy beach in an atmosphere that feels more like the Mediterranean than the Norwegian Atlantic coast.
Gamle Stavanger (in English Old Stavanger) is the largest area with older wooden houses in all of Northern Europe. With beautiful white wooden houses and cobbled streets. Straen, as the old town is called, consists of 173 protected and restored wooden houses that were built in the late 1700s and during the 1800s. Here you will find occupied houses, a couple of galleries. As well as the Norwegian Canning Museum which is well worth a trip in itself.
This is definitely an idyllic area, especially in the summer months when there are plenty of beautiful flowers on the windowsills. It is also at this time that you can buy waffles from some of the charming little houses. What is cozier? Gamle Stavanger. Whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere, perfect for an afternoon stroll in the sun.
Gamle Stavanger is a popular residential area and is one of the oldest residential areas in the city center. The houses are close to the narrow streets that are pedestrian streets. It is nice to stroll through the narrow streets and one feels that the shoulders lower a notch. Gamle Stavanger, can be found on the west side of the city center, and is considered mandatory if you visit Stavanger.
Stavanger Art Museum
Stavanger Art Museum springs from the Stavanger Art Association’s permanent gallery. The history of the collection began on 11 February 1865 when Consul Jens Z. Kielland became chairman of the newly started art association. Kielland was an amateur painter and the father of Kitty and Alexander Kielland.
Today, Stavanger Art Museum is publicly owned, and is responsible for over 2600 works of art from the 19th century until today. The key points of the collection are the country’s largest Lars Hertervig collection consisting of over 70 works. We also find paintings by Edvard Munch, Christian Krogh, Harriet Backer and Kitty Kiellander. Stop by the museum’s café and shop, which is located in an Instagram-friendly glass dome.
A trip on the Lysefjord can well be combined with a stop in the idyllic village Flørli. Flørli is best known for its 4444 steps on the mountain – the longest wooden staircase in the world.
The stairs follow two water pipes up the mountain to a hydropower plant. It is a steep climb up and the climb is best suited for adults. Important: It is not possible to walk up the stairs in winter due to great risk of landslides. The snow normally melts in May-June. But be aware as remnants of ice and snow can make the steps slippery.
It’s not ideal if you have a fear of heights, but for those who do not, the view from the top is really fascinating.
Norwegian Oil Museum
Stavanger is known as Norway’s oil capital, so what is more appropriate than visiting the museum dedicated to the black gold? The Norwegian Oil Museum is a modern and interactive museum where you can experience how oil and gas came to be millions of years ago.
Try yourself as a North Sea diver, and see how you work – and live – on an oil platform. Visitors can experience how petroleum is found and produced, and how resources are used today. If you are of the adventurous kind, you should try out the disaster room! Here you have to go through a dark maze while the alarm goes off – can you find the way out in time? In the Småtroll play platform, children from two to ten years of age can climb into the helicopter and slide on a roller coaster.
Norwegian Children’s Museum
The Norwegian Children’s Museum opened in 2001. The museum was based on Per Inge Torkelsen’s own toy collection. It is a cultural history museum about children’s culture and childhood history. They boast various activity exhibitions and toys for children of all ages.
The museum also has an outdoor playground with historical toys and games. Here is a great collection of toys; cars and dolls from Lærdal, climbing and play castles, and changing rooms. In the same building is also the Stavanger Museum, with its natural history department which is very popular among the younger guard.
Kongeparken is the largest amusement park in Western Norway. The amusement park has attractions such as roller coaster, carousels, climbing park, go-kart track and train track.
Here the whole family can enjoy over 60 activities and experiences. For example, you can make your own chocolate in Freia chocolate factory, drive Norway’s longest bobsled track of over 1000 meters, experience Norway’s only roller coaster with spinning gondolas, take Norway’s largest or tallest carousel – and that’s just to name a few.
There is a free bus from both Stavanger and Sandnes to Kongeparken every weekend and public holiday during the summer. The park is open from March to October.
Bøker og Børst
One of Stavanger’s most pleasant cafés must be Bøker & Børst. This café also boasts a charming backyard. Order the city’s best hot chocolate (maybe with fresh bread or cake?) While you play board games with your friends. Used and new books are also sold here, and you can enjoy a good selection of craftbeer, so there are many temptations! On Saturday evenings, the tables are moved aside, and the premises get a more nightclub feel. Vinyl DJs play everything from reggae, funk and classic soul. Books and Brush are in other words worth the trip, whether you like cozy cafe life or funky nightlife.
Vitenfabrikken is one of the most visited family attractions in Rogaland (the country where Stavanger is located). The combination of museum and science center means that the exhibitions appeal to both young and old.
The science factory deals with mathematics, energy, science and astronomy. Here there are several floors with interactive exhibitions, where children can learn a lot and have fun at the same time!
Recently, Abelloftet, an educational and exciting exhibition on mathematics, was opened. This attic is furnished with over 50 mathematics experiments and installations, and it is the largest mathematics exhibition in Norway.
Stavanger Botanical Garden
A short bus ride from the city center, you will find Stavanger Botanical Gardens. Take a walk among the garden’s wonderful flowers and trees, and let the senses enjoy themselves in the impressive herb garden. The garden is always open with free admission.
Here you will find, among other things, herbs, tea plants, and fragrant plants, as well as vegetables. This is definitely the place to relax, and there are plenty of benches where one can enjoy the view. Or you can even have a picnic in the peaceful surroundings. If you are of the restless type, there is also a nice hiking trail in the area, and if you want to continue, you can take a walk up to the Ullandshaug tower.
Iron Age Farm
At the Iron Age farm at Ullandhaug, both young and old can get an insight into what life was like in the older Iron Age. Here you get to hear stories from everyday life 1500 years ago. This is the only Iron Age farm that has been rebuilt on the remains of a farm from the migration period, about 350-550 AD.
Swords in Rock
These three swords are 10 meter tall bronze swords, have become a landmark for Stavanger. It really is a unique sight! The monument represents peace after the battle of Hafrsfjord in 872, and Harald Hårfagre’s unification of Norway into one kingdom. The swords stands for peace, unity and freedom. The monument was made by Fritz Røed (1928-2002), and was unveiled by King Olav in 1983.
Short distance to mountains and fjords throughout the region. Colorful culture and wonderful culinary experiences. Stavanger is perhaps best known for its many natural attractions. As well as being Norway’s oil capital. But it also has much else to offer. Whether you are holidaying with children, boyfriend, friends or alone, there are plenty of fun things to do in Stavanger. So, why not come to Stavanger to experience any of those attractions for yourself.