From its charming old town of 18th century wooden houses to the fascinating and very ‘hands on’ oil museum reflecting the town’s role as Norway’s energy capital. It’s rich in history, fun and contrasts. The compact restaurant district offers everything from Michelin Stars to hot dog venders. There really is something for everyone. Here’s our top five: 

1. Fjord cruise to Lysefjord

A Cruise to Lysefjord is a must when you visit Stavanger! A perfect half-day trip, far into the stunning fjord. See famous Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) from the fjord, check out Vagabond’s Cave of local legend, and feel the refreshing spray from a towering waterfall. We pass idyllic islands and hamlets before sailing halfway up 42-km long Lysefjord, with its memorable landscapes and sheer mountain walls. If you want to take your adventure a step farther, we’ll bring you to the jumping off point for treks to Preikestolen and famous Kjeragbolten boulder. 

Waterfall on the Lysefjord cruise

2. Gamle Stavanger (old town) 

You just can’t miss the old town of Gamle Stavanger, a few steps from the downtown Vågen harbor.  This painstakingly preserved neighborhood of narrow, cobblestone streets and 173 (mainly) white wooden houses is all but unchanged from the 1700-1800s. Most of the houses are historically listed and protected so it’s like stepping back in time. Stroll around remarkable Old Stavanger and you’ll stumble upon galleries, arts and crafts, an antique bookstore and more.  Enjoy the splendor of summer flowers while sharing a place that might seem like a museum exhibition but is really a living neighborhood full of year-round residents. If you have the chance, check out IDDIS, the Norwegian Canning Museum, with a great introduction into the city’s history and a very modern café. 

Couple walking the streets of Old town Stavanger
The old town in Stavanger

3. Fargegata 

It started as a crazy idea: Why not shock some life into a dead back street in downtown Stavanger by painting houses in vibrant colors? Tom Kjørsvik was only 21 when he came up with the idea in 2000. Now the street Øvre Holmegate, usually called Fargegata (Color Street) is one of the hottest spots in the center of town, with pubs, shops and crowds. It is one of the most photographed areas in Stavanger. 

The colorful street of Øvre Holmegate in Stavanger

4. Street Art 

Walking around downtown Stavanger is like entering a giant street art gallery. For many years, the city hosted the Nuart international street art festival. Almost everywhere you look is a masterpiece, some so big that you can’t miss them with others small or hard to find but definitely worth the search. Some have been around for 20 years while others might have popped up last night. If you want a little help finding these gems, we’re happy to suggest a street art tour. 

Street art in Stavanger

5. Jæren and its beaches 

Norway is often associated with towering, hard granite mountains and deep fjords, so the Jæren district and its soft, sandy beaches may come as a surprise; a very pleasant one! The lowlands just a few kilometers from the city have some of Norway’s longest and most beautiful sand beaches. They seem to go on forever and you can often have a section all to yourself. At some places along the Jæren coast, you might even see surfers catching waves. Find more beach tips at Visit Jæren. 

Hellestø Beach
Hellestø beach