Stavanger is the third-largest metropolitan area and the fourth-largest city and municipality in Norway. Located in Southwest Norway, on the Stavanger Peninsula, the city was founded in 1125, the same year the Stavanger Cathedral was completed. It played an important part in Norwegian history, particularly in the Viking Age. To a large degree, the heart of Stavanger is made up of 18th and 19th-century wooden houses that are considered part of the city’s cultural heritage.
With a population of approximately 135,000 people, the city has grown quickly since it was founded. This growth is largely credited to the fact the city has developed into the oil capital of Norway, thanks to its booming offshore oil industry. Being a key location in the Norwegian oil industry, Stavanger is home to the headquarters of many of the biggest oil players in the Norwegian oil business. One of which is Equinor, the largest company in the Nordic region.
There are also several institutions for higher education in the region, the largest and most prominent being the University of Stavanger. The students are known to be a big part of the nightlife in this city, as there are several exciting festivals that are held here nearly year-around.
Without looking too hard, you’ll find a good number of cultural institutions, museums, concert stages, and galleries. Although a relatively small city, there are tons of exciting things to do and breathtaking places to visit. In this article, we’ll go over some of the tourist attractions and the best places to visit in this Nordic city.
Exploring the Historical City of Stavanger
Thanks to the many festivals and concerts that are held here, the city center is always lively as it is constantly crowded. What’s great is that the restaurant offers are one of the best in the country, meaning you won’t lose an arm and a leg to enjoy delicious meals and treats.
Although the nightlife in Stavanger is something many people look forward to, you’ll find that nature may be the best attraction in this region. With a rental car, you can assess most of the beautiful places in the area, including some of the best beaches in Norway. Beaches here are great and safe since many places are shallow. During summer, thanks to the climate, most beaches are of bathing temperature.
With astonishing nature sights such as Kjerag and Preiekestolen, among many others, a leisure drive through the coasts can be a truly rewarding experience. For tourists and visitors that would be staying for a short while, the best way to get around and really explore the city is by rental cars. You can check out Goautos in Stavanger to find a reliable car rental service in the region.
Without visiting the following places, you may not be getting the best experience you can get touring the beautiful city of Stavanger.
Also known as Old Stavanger, this is a small historic area filled with wooden buildings dating as far back as the 18th and 19th centuries. Beautifully restored to become a sight to behold, these buildings were originally homes to the workers of the sardine canning industry. Since the restoration began, over 170 houses have been restored and the beautiful white wooden houses are historical sights you wouldn’t want to deny your eyes.
A visit to this area is the best way to experience old Norway. Strolling through its narrow-cobbled streets with empty benches and old-fashioned streetlights is truly relaxing, perhaps, enough to forget that people actually still live there.
With over 1,700 named fjords in Norway, Lysefjord is the most beautiful, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area annually. A Lysefjord cruise may be enough reason to keep coming back to Stavanger every year.
Sailing into the fjord, you’ll experience remarkable views from the sheer walls of rocks around you. Of these, The Pulpit Rock is the most famous and we’ll talk about that next. There are also several other amazing sights to see including waterfalls, caves, some tiny islands, and Kjerag, at the very end.
The Pulpit Rock
Located some distance inside the Lysefjord, the Pulpit Rock is one of the most famous sights in the country. To outsiders, the unique formation of this is also well known. A testament to this would be the fact that the rock was featured in the Mission Impossible Movie-Fallout, starring Tom Cruise.
Getting to the cliff is no easy job as it takes about two hours of hiking, however, rather than discourage visitors; it makes the whole experience even much more exciting. Although through the hike you’ll experience many beautiful sites, none of them is as rewarding as standing on that famous cliff. There, you’ll see one of Stavanger’s most beautiful landscapes.
Just to clarify, as we mentioned earlier, there’s a bit of hiking to be done to get to that famous spot. What this means is that you can’t drive all the way with your rental car. You’d have to park at Preikestolhytta and continue the rest of the journey on foot. With an elevation of about 330 meters, make sure you have on suitable clothing. Along the marked path, there are several spots where visitors can take breaks.
Florli is a tiny village along the Lysefjord and is home to the world’s longest staircase with 4444 stairs! With so many stairs, the climb is long and steep and certainly not for people with the fear of heights or heart problems. But for those who are fit and enjoy adventure, you’ll find this hike one of the best you’ll ever embark on.
The stairway follows an old pipeline that was constructed from 1917-1921 and was used by the old Florli Power Station. This power station has since been replaced by the new one, but the staircase has become a tourist attraction. You don’t have to climb all 4444 stairs, especially if you have kids. However, guides say that the experience is just like any other walk in the park for most kids that dared to climb all the way to the top. You can check here to learn more about the Florli Power Station.
It is not advisable to follow the stairs back down as they are narrow and won’t accommodate people going up and down at the same time. There are two other alternative routes that you can take back to Florli; Rallarstein (3 hours) and Store Runden (4 hours). Both routes are well marked.
If you plan on thoroughly exploring Stavanger, you may want to plan a month’s trip at least as there are many other wonderful places to visit. We say a month because you won’t be heading out to all these places every day since you’d need to rest and refuel, especially after challenging hikes like the Florli 4444.