The coastal city of Stavanger is best-known as Norway’s prosperous oil town. Despite the discovery of black gold offshore, though, Stavanger’s historic center remains a charming collection of well-preserved wooden buildings, looking much like they did in the 18th century. Stavanger’s small size means you can see a lot in a single day. Here are a few ways to spend it.
Morning: City Sights
Stavanger is a compact, highly walkable city, and a walking tour is an enjoyable way to see the sights. You have several options for getting your bearings and visiting the main landmarks on a morning tour. You can book a private tour that can be customized to your own interests and offers flexibility in length and departure time. Another option is making your own way around town armed with a downloaded audio guide that fills in the details on such attractions as Stavanger’s sculpture trail, Vagen harbor, and Stavanger Cathedral. Alternatively, a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour lets you board and disembark at any of its stops around town.
Afternoon: Fjord Cruise
Stavanger’s proximity to nature means that you are within easy access of some of Europe’s most beautiful scenery. On an afternoon tour of just a few hours you can explore the 26-mile-long (42-kilometer-long) fjord of Lysefjord in a rigid inflatable boat (RIB). Departing from Stavanger’s harbor, you’ll then head for the outlying fjords, passing close to the striking rock formations that make this landscape so distinctive. Crew provide enlightening commentary on the flora and fauna in the area as you make your way. Tours typically provide extra-warm marine suits and dry bags to keep you and your belongings safe and dry.
Night: Street Art and Food
Back in the city, make some time for a self-guided street-art tour before dinner. Home to the annual NuArt festival, Stavanger has earned itself a reputation as one of the world’s best places to see street art. Strolling around the city you’ll easily come across murals and smaller pieces by internationally known artists including Faith47 and ROA. Having worked up an appetite, finish off your day with a good dinner. Stavanger’s best restaurants, largely clustered around the harbor, take great pride in using prime local products such as shellfish and strawberries.