Maritime and cultural history museums, outdoor activities and food festivals all make Norway’s forth-largest city a traveler’s favorite. Stavanger was founded over 10,000 years ago. The city today retains the atmosphere of a traditional sea port, yet has the cosmopolitan charms that earned it European Capital of Culture in 2008.
Getting around Stavanger is easy on foot as many major attractions are within walking distance of the city center. Stroll along the cobblestone streets of Gamle Stavanger (Old Town) to find an assortment of 18th-century wooden houses. Go to the city’s harbor to find pubs and restaurants, many with outdoor seating areas. Come in July when the Gladmat Festival takes over the harbor. Here you can sample regional fish dishes and take cooking classes.
A major feature of Stavanger is its large collection of museums, which are ideal to visit when the weather shows its notoriously cold side. Learn about the city’s fish canning heritage at The Norwegian Canning Museum. Spot work by Norwegian and international artists, such as Antony Gormley, at the Stavanger Art Museum. Play games that originated in the Stone Age at The Norwegian Children’s Museum. Boat enthusiasts will appreciate the model ship collection at the Stavanger Maritime Museum.
Be sure to visit Kongeparken for a day of family fun. This amusement park is home to more than 50 rides and attractions, including the longest bobsled track in Norway. Visit the park’s chocolate factory to try your hand at making some of this sweet treat.
While in Stavanger, don’t miss out on a cruise of the Norwegian fjords. Visit Lysefjord to see a 1,312-feet (400-meter) tall waterfall, enjoy kayaking excursions and hike to viewpoints and mountain peaks.
Rent a car to explore areas outside of the city. Drive to the island of Mosterøy and visit Utstein Monastery, which is the best-preserved medieval monastery in Norway. Alternatively, rent a bike and explore areas of the North Sea Cycle Route. This 3,728 mile (6,000 kilometer) long cycle route passes through eight European countries.