13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (2024)

There are plenty of intriguing things to do in Stavanger, which has uncrowded beaches to roam, mountains to climb, and an interactive Iron Age Farm to visit. With a slew of museums focused on Stavanger’s most prosperous industries and a gorgeous old town right in the center, Stavanger has plenty to please culture-thirsty travelers.

From sipping coffee and exploring the harbor in Old Stavanger to hiking the inimitable Pulpit Rock, take your pick from these fun activities.

Explore Golden Sandy Beaches

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (1)


Norway is known for its glassy fjords and soaring mountains, but did you know the country’s serrated coastline is home to dozens of gorgeous beaches, too? One of the best things to do in Stavanger is explore some of the region’s golden sands.

The peaceful Vistestranden, in Randaberg on the Stavanger Peninsula, is one of the closest sandy stretches to the city center. This shimmering cove is set in a bay and is perfect for swimming and bathing, with a diving board allowing you to plunge into the North Sea and coastal hiking routes leading in both directions.

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (2)


Further south, next to Stavanger Airport, is the beautiful Solastranden. This swathe of pale-colored sand features dunes that rise up behind the beach, with a golf course, remnants of World War II bunkers, and coastal hikes towards Vigdel Beach, three miles south.

This coastal region, known as Jærstrendene, is hugely popular with birdwatchers, with many seabirds nesting on islands just off the coast during summer. Cormorants, black-legged kittiwakes, guillemots, and northern fulmar are among the species to look out for on a beach walk.

Read: Beautiful Beaches in Norway

Stroll Around Old Stavanger

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (3)

Old Stavanger

One of the best things to do in Stavanger is to spend time in the city’s old quarter, Gamle Stavanger, famous for its cluster of 173 white timber-clad buildings to the west of the harbor.

This compact area of the Scandinavian city is centered on Øvre Holmegate, the main street in Old Stavanger, lined with these handsome, early 18th-century buildings. Stroll the cobbled streets to admire the former fishermen’s houses, with many garlanded with flowering plants during summertime.

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (4)

Old Stavanger

Enjoy coffee on the cobbles at FrK Krag Café on Øvre Holmegate. After, visit No90, located next to the Norwegian Canning Museum and opposite the coffee shop, to explore a house built by blacksmith Peder Pedersen Thilo in 1836.

Subsequent generations of Thilo’s family lived here until 1920 and visitors can see how the house would have looked in 1920 on the first floor, while the second floor illustrates how it might have looked in 1960.

Admire Stavanger Cathedral

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (5)

Stavanger Cathedral

Also known as St. Swithun’s Cathedral, this Middle Ages relic on the edge of a green park is Norway’s oldest cathedral.

This stone cathedral was built in an English Anglo-Norman style. There are some Gothic influences after a fire in the 13th century saw a new chancel (the area around the altar, including the choir and the sanctuary) built. Later additions also include an elaborate 1650s pulpit by Andrew Smith and a marvelous stained-glass window by Victor Sparre, added in 1957. There are two towers with green spires, one each side of the large stained-glass window, and stone sculptures to admire.

Cycle to the Swords in Rock Monument

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (6)

Swords in Rock

History enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Sverd i Fjell. This haunting coastal landmark is a breezy 25-minute cycle from the center of Stavanger (or a 20 minute bus ride or 75-minute walk, if you prefer), southwest of the city.

This towering bronze monument, translating as Swords in Rock, was created by sculptor Fritz Røed in 1983. It features three towering swords that pierce the hillside, commemorating the mighty Battle of Hafrsfjord that took place here in 872.

The battle resulted in the unification of Norway, with Viking chief Harald Fairhair declaring himself the first King of Norway. The largest of the three swords represents the victory of King Harald, with the two smaller swords representing the two defeated kings.

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (7)

Beach near Swords in Rock

Sverd i Fjell stands between two small sandy coves. Enjoy a walk on the beach or a refreshing swim in the North Sea if you’re feeling daring.

There’s another sculpture, The Fisherman’s Wife, facing the sea. It’s thought that the statue is modeled on Ane Malene Jonsdatter Nilsen, the grandmother of local 20th-century author Gottfred Borghammer, erected to honor Nilsen and all other fishermen’s wives.

Enjoy a Leisurely Cruise on the Lysefjord

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (8)


The magnificent Lysefjord was carved by a retreating glacier at the end of the last ice age around 12,000 years ago.

This tranquil 26-mile Norwegian fjord is surrounded by spectacular mountains, pastoral farms, and lush forests. One of the fjord’s most famous landmarks is Pulpit Rock, a soaring granite plateau that looms over the fjord.

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (9)


One of the best ways to experience all of this breathtaking scenery is by joining a boat tour from Stavanger. On a voyage into the inky fjord, look out for some of the region’s thrilling wildlife, including eagles, porpoises, and seals.

After gazing up at Pulpit Rock, witness the cascading Hengjane waterfall splashing into the teal-hued fjord before returning to Stavanger.

Experience Iron Age Farm

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (10)

Iron Age Farm

If you’re a Viking buff, then visit the Iron Age Farm in Ullandhaugveien, located on the remains of a farm that is thought to date from 350 to 550 A.D.

Located on the archaeological site of an original Migration period farmstead, the Iron Age Farm is surrounded by bucolic countryside, with rolling hills and grazing sheep. Discover three true-to-life longhouses equipped with utensils and a roaring fire on a fireplace. Costumed “Vikings” wait to greet visitors.

Activities at this open-air museum convey life in the Late Iron Age, including the chance to dress up in Viking attire, traditional grain grinding, bow and arrow competitions, and cooking food on the fire, just as Vikings would have done 1,500 years ago, in other words.

Drop into Jernaldergården’s visitor center next to the Iron Age Farm. Here, the Museum of Archaeology further brings to life this Viking farm through an exhibition of excavated artifacts. Facilities include a café and bathrooms.

Discover Ledaal Estate & Walk the Historic Gardens Trail

Built between 1799 and 1803, the carmine-red Ledaal estate is the glorious former summer residence of wealthy merchant Gabriel Schanche Kielland and his family in the Eiganes neighborhood of Stavanger.

Lavishly furnished in a mixture of interior styles—Baroque, Rococo, Louis XVI, Empire, and Biedermeier—Ledaal displays wonderful antiques and art, and offers an insight into how Stavanger’s high society lived in the 1800s. Indeed, the house contains Stavanger’s largest collection of antique furniture, with pieces spanning from the early 1700s to 1863.

There is a concentration of stately homes in the neighborhood with a trail, the Historic Gardens at Eiganes, linking the gardens of Ledaal with nearby Breidablikk, Holmeegenes, and Munkehagen. The trail is well worth following to take in some of Norway’s best-kept stately gardens.

Drink in the Views from Ullandhaug Tower

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (12)

Ullandhaug Tower

Near Stavanger’s Iron Age Farm is an excellent view point, Ullandhaug Tower, from where you can soak in views of the city and coast. It’s one of the best things to do in Stavanger, particularly if you’re visiting the Iron Age Farm or the nearby Botanical Garden.

The stark 1960s telecommunications tower stands over 200 feet on a hilltop, boasting views of the city, the soaring Norwegian mountains, and Jæren beaches along the North Sea coast.

Ullandhaug Tower stands on the site of Harald’s Tower, a former landmark commemorating King Harald Fairhair, the first king of Norway. The earlier tower was built in 1895, though it was destroyed during World War II.

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (13)


Pay a visit to the serene Stavanger Botanical Garden, situated next to Ullandhaug Tower, after drinking in the far-reaching views. The garden, one of six botanical gardens in Norway, is home to over 3,000 species from around the world. There is a herb garden, greenhouses, a grassy park, and a pond that’s home to a small herd of salamanders.

Tour the Norwegian Canning Museum & Norwegian Printing Museum

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (14)

Norwegian Canning Museum Photo by Chris Walsh on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Officially called Iddis Norwegian Printing Museum and The Norwegian Canning Museum (“Iddis” is the colloquial name for labels on cans of fish), this pair of museums showcase these closely related industries.

Set inside an old canning factory and a newer building in Old Stavanger, the museums illustrate the fish canning and can-printing processes, complete with an exhibit displaying fanciful vintage can labels.

Stavanger was once the location of the majority of Norway’s canning factories, with herring, mackerel, and other fish that were oiled and canned here before being shipped around the world. Indeed, Stavanger was an early pioneer of smoking sardines and visitors can sample smoked sardines straight from the oven.

If you’re a big fan of seafood, continue to Fisketorget on the harbor to sample more of Stavanger’s delicious seafood at this fish counter and restaurant.

Hike to Preikestolen

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (15)


Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is a rarefied sensational cliff with a pancake-flat summit that rises 1,982 feet above the dazzling Lysefjord.

Hiking to Pulpit Rock isn’t just one of the best things to do in Stavanger; it’s one of the biggest draws in Norway for nature-loving hikers.

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (16)


This might be one of the most beautiful places in Norway, but marching to this spectacular view point is not for the faint-hearted. It takes around four hours (round-trip), covering roughly five miles, but hikers are rewarded with an unforgettable experience and mind-blowing panoramas. The trail features forests, steep terrain, and a stone staircase that was built by expert Nepalese sherpas.

Carry water and wear the correct footwear when on a hike, such as comfortable walking boots. Carry a fully-charged camera, too, as you’ll want to capture the moment you reach the top of this towering rock formation.

Read: Best Places to Go Hiking in Norway

Learn About Stavanger’s Seafaring History at the Maritime Museum

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (17)

Stavanger Maritime Museum Photo by Jarvin Jarle Vines on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Stavanger Maritime Museum takes center stage on the city’s harbor, inside 19th-century former merchants’ buildings.

One of the best things to do in Stavanger is explore the region’s long seafaring history through stories, film, and photographs at the Maritime Museum. There are dozens of ship models, too, from fishing vessels to oil tankers.

The Maritime Museum is fantastic for families and those curious about the nautical environment, with a recreated 1950s quayside marketplace where children can enjoy role play. There is a merchant’s apartment styled how it would have looked around 1910, and a general store.

The replica set up of the former Monsen Shipping Company—which operated from this location between 1812 and 1977—is a highlight. This big-player herring fishery and salting company expanded into freight, adding steamships to transport goods from the Atlantic islands to Northern Europe.

Visit Norwegian Petroleum Museum

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (18)

Norwegian Petroleum Museum

For a crash course in petroleum, Norway’s biggest export, head to the striking Norwegian Petroleum Museum by the harbor. This offbeat museum is an essential stop on a tour of Stavanger to learn about how the city made its riches.

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum charts the industry’s backstory from when drilling first began in the North Sea to its impact on the environment with interactive exhibits. Visitors can learn about how oil is formed, how it is found beneath the seabed, and how the oil-drilling industry has shaped life in Norway.

There is a strong family element to the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. Children can play at being oil workers, with cranes, a helicopter, pipes, and platforms. At the maze-like Disaster Room, visitors can learn how oil workers are trained in safety through a true-to-life evacuation drill.

Soak in the Tranquil Flor & Fjære Garden

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (19)

Flor and Fjære Garden

One of the best things to do in Norway is to visit the enchanting Flor and Fjære, located on the idyllic island of Sør-Hidle in the middle of the fjord. This privately-owned garden is open between May and September, reached via a 20-minute boat ride from Bekhuskaien in Stavanger.

Join a guided tour to learn how three generations have shaped this 12-acre oasis, with paths lined with palm trees and other tropical plants. There are fragrant pops of orange, yellow, red, and purple; lily ponds, waterfalls, tall evergreen trees, and a beach with a bar.

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (20)

Flor and Fjære Garden

After a tour, you will be led to the one-acre greenhouse where a restaurant sits in a flower, herb, and vegetable-growing area. Sit down for a three-course meal prepared by chef André Mulder, who uses locally sourced seafood, meat, and island-grown herbs and vegetables to create dishes such as Hidlefjord fish soup, halibut from Ryfylke, and rhubarb and plum with local milk ice cream.

Read: Norwegian Food: Iconic Dishes to Try

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (21)


The best things to do in Stavanger can be experienced on an immersive vacation with Celebrity Cruises. Browse our Stavanger cruises to discover this fascinating city and the landscapes that surround it.

13 Best Things to Do in Stavanger | Celebrity Cruises (2024)


How do you spend a day in Stavanger? ›

Top Attractions in Stavanger
  1. Flor og Fjære. 804. Points of Interest & Landmarks. ...
  2. Lysefjord. 1,592. Valleys. ...
  3. Gamle Stavanger. 2,419. Historic Sites. ...
  4. Norwegian Petroleum Museum. 1,403. Science Museums. ...
  5. Swords in Rock. 1,057. Monuments & Statues. ...
  6. Norwegian Canning Museum. 352. ...
  7. Ovre Holmegate. 311. ...
  8. Stavanger Tourist Information Office. 233.

Is it worth going to Stavanger? ›

Plan your trip to Stavanger. Stunning fjords, white sandy beaches, and Preikestolen – the cliff worthy of an international blockbuster. You'll also find vibrant cultural life and tasty restaurants. These are only a few reasons to visit the Edge of Norway, the Stavanger region.

How to get from Stavanger to Pulpit Rock? ›

Driving from Stavanger is the easiest and quickest way to reach the base of Pulpit Rock, a distance of 23 miles (36.5 km). The trip takes an hour and a half and with a ferry crossing connecting Stavanger to the town of Tau. Ferries depart frequently, take forty minutes to cross, and you buy your ticket on board.

How long to stay in Stavanger? ›

The main highlights of Stavanger and its surrounding areas can be seen in three days. This is the perfect amount of time for first-time visitors planning to visit the city of Stavanger itself as well as local fjords (Lysefjord) and hiking trails (Pulpit Rock & Kjeragbolten).

Can you walk into Stavanger from cruise ship? ›

Stavanger is very walkable and there is no immediate need for taxi's, buses etc. Stavanger hop-on hop-off shore excursion. As the weather in Norway can be very unpredictable, make sure to check the cancellation policies in case of inclement weather.

Can you walk around Stavanger? ›

Explore one of 17 easy walking routes in Stavanger, with child-friendly routes for your next family outing. Venture outdoors and learn more about the area's historic sites or take a break from the hustle and bustle along the many tree-lined paths surrounding Stavanger.

Can I see northern lights from Stavanger? ›

The chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Stavanger are slim, for better chances you should go to Tromsø. Late March is still winter season in Tromsø, it is possible to participate in dog-sledding and other winter activities in addition to chasing the lights.

Do they speak English in Stavanger? ›

One in five inhabitants in Stavanger are international. Do you speak English? Great. Norwegians are pretty much fluent in English, having to learn it at primary school from they are around eight years old.

How far is Stavanger Town from Port? ›

The distance between Stavanger and Stavanger Port is 277 meters.

How much is a taxi from Stavanger to Pulpit Rock? ›

The fastest way to get from Stavanger to Pulpit Rock is to taxi which takes 57 min and costs kr 1100 - kr 1400. How far is it from Stavanger to Pulpit Rock? The distance between Stavanger and Pulpit Rock is 56 km. The road distance is 55.9 km.

How hard is the walk to Pulpit Rock? ›

This hiking trail is graded as “moderately difficult” by the Preikestolen staff. So it's better if you have some mountain walking experience before taking on this challenge. The hike starts with a steep climb and then alternates between sections of rolling terrain and gentle slopes through the woods.

Is Pulpit Rock worth visiting? ›

I would definitely recommend this hike outside of the summer season to really get the feel of the peace of the view, luckily weather was great so stopped for lunch at the top. All in all the hike was about 2 hours each way! This is the do not leave out of your visit to Stavanger experience.

Is there a hop on hop off bus in Stavanger Norway? ›

Hop on - Hop off bus tour in Stavanger

Throughout the day you can hop on and off as you please, and explore areas and sights that are of interest to you. During the bus tour, you can enjoy great views and learn more about our capital city with an interesting and informative audio guide.

What is Stavanger known for? ›

Famous for its stunning natural beauty and rich culture, Stavanger, Norway's energy capital, is an ever-evolving city with a proud history. Sheltered by islands located off the southwest coast of the country, Stavanger is a tourist hub welcoming travellers by air, land and water.

What is the famous street in Stavanger? ›

However, scepticism quickly turned to enthusiasm once the finished project was a fact. Øvre Holmegate is now one of the major attractions in Stavanger. Locals call the street Fargegata (the street of colours).

Is the ferry from Stavanger to Bergen Scenic? ›

The Fjord Line ships, MS Stavangerfjord and MS Bergensfjord, travel daily from Bergen to Stavanger through exceptionally beautiful natural landscapes.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ms. Lucile Johns

Last Updated:

Views: 5467

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ms. Lucile Johns

Birthday: 1999-11-16

Address: Suite 237 56046 Walsh Coves, West Enid, VT 46557

Phone: +59115435987187

Job: Education Supervisor

Hobby: Genealogy, Stone skipping, Skydiving, Nordic skating, Couponing, Coloring, Gardening

Introduction: My name is Ms. Lucile Johns, I am a successful, friendly, friendly, homely, adventurous, handsome, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.