16 Best Things to Do in Stavanger, Norway (+Map)

The fjords, ivory beaches, and craggy cliffs are just a sample of what one can expect as they travel Stavanger. The dramatic backdrop infuses a sense of adventure into a town that already offers its fair share of history.

One of Norway’s oldest cities, museums in Stavanger explore the early days of Vikings and traverse the rich heritage of fishing. The Old Town preserves over 150 traditional wooden buildings. These envelop ancient cobbled streets that are an adventure themselves.

As you wander, you’ll quickly discover many things to do in Stavanger. Foodies will revel in the city’s rich culinary scene spread through markets, local gems and high-end restaurants. In fact, it’s something all travelers will come to love. With Stavanger’s adventurous ways, you’ll be sure to work up an appetite.

In this post, we’ll cover:

16. Breidablikk


Constructed in 1881 for the merchant and shipowner Lars Berentsen, Breidablikk has been meticulously preserved as a museum. It offers a glimpse into the affluent lifestyle of the family during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This architectural gem epitomizes the Swiss chalet style, featuring a wooden exterior adorned with intricate carvings and ornate details, creating a visually stunning manor. A visit to Breidablikk is akin to stepping back in time, allowing you to immerse yourself in local history. This, along with the artistic, architecture, and interior décor trends of the era.

Conclude your exploration with a leisurely stroll through the gardens designed by P.H. Poulsson. It provides an ideal conclusion to your journey, offering a tranquil space for reflecting on what the era was like.

15. Iron Age Farm

Iron Age Farm

Forget transporting you centuries back in time, the Iron Age open-air museum offers a portal into life over a millennium ago. This reconstructed farmstead allows visitors to revel in the daily routines of Iron Age living in Norway (500 BC to 1000 AD).

Explore the farm’s various buildings, including barns, stables, and workshops. These were crucial for crop storage, animal husbandry, and tool crafting. Constructed using traditional methods and materials, the buildings provide an authentic experience.

Travelers can interact with knowledgeable staff adorned in traditional Iron Age attire, passionate about sharing the farm’s history and answering any queries. It’s a unique opportunity to step into the past and witness a bygone era firsthand.

14. Kjeragbolten Hike

Kjeragbolten Hike

Embark on one of Norway’s most iconic hikes at Kjeragbolten! The trail commences in Øygardstøl village, totaling about 10 kilometers round trip and requiring 6-8 hours on average. Geared towards experienced hikers, the trek is of moderate to hard difficulty, characterized by steep and rocky terrain.

The highlight is the renowned Kjeragbolten, a massive boulder wedged between cliffs, dangling 984 meters above the Lysefjord. This spot invites daring hikers to capture photos and confront their fear of heights by standing on the boulder. Caution is crucial, as any misstep could have serious consequences.

The hike ascends to the Kjerag summit, soaring impressively at 1,110 meters above sea level. At this vantage point, hikers can relish panoramic views of the Lysefjord and surrounding mountains, completing an exhilarating adventure in the Norwegian wilderness.

13. Museum of Archaeology

Museum of Archaeology

For those wanting to take a deep dive into the history and culture of Scandinavia, the Museum of Archaeology is your top spot. The initial section of the museum delves into the prehistoric era, exhibiting artifacts and remnants from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.

Here, you can discover well-preserved tools, weapons, and jewelry. Each providing insight into our ancestors’ lives and their ingenious adaptations to the environment.

Afterwards, you’ll transition to the Viking era. The museum features a replica of a Viking house. Displays capture the nuances of Viking existence, spanning clothing, food, and traditions.

With so much to see, we recommend their guided tours for a deeper understanding of our prehistory. This ensures you don’t miss the chance to unravel the rich narratives preserved within.

12. Valberg Tower

Valberg Tower

Situated in Valbergparken, Valber Tower is a medieval tower which offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding areas. The tower has a rich history and has served various purposes throughout the centuries. Such as being a defensive fortress to a prison and a fire watchtower.

As you approach the Valber Tower, you can’t help but be in awe of its impressive architecture. The tower stands tall and proud, with its sturdy stone walls and a conical red roof. It is a perfect representation of the medieval era and the necessity of such a landmark.

To reach the top of the tower, you have to climb a spiral staircase. Once there, however, you will be rewarded with views that have protected the city throughout history.

11. Skagenkaien


Take a stroll along Skagenkaien and bridge the gap between the city and the sea. Here, you’ll uncover the historical link to Stavanger’s broad global connections.

This iconic waterfront showcases vibrant, historic wooden houses that once belonged to fishermen and sailors. Today, they’ve been tastefully repurposed into delightful shops and restaurants. You can spend hours exploring these shops, to find a range of souvenirs, handmade crafts, and delectable seafood.

For a perfect evening, plan to enjoy a coffee or beer while witnessing the sunset over the bay. As the colors dissolve into the night, the waterfront transforms into a lively hub, attracting both locals and tourists to the outdoor cafes and restaurants. It’s a charming convergence of history, commerce, and community along the idyllic Skagenkaien.

10. Flor og Fjære

Flor og Fjære

For a taste of palm-tree paradise within Norway, Flor og Fjære is a destination worth discovering. Begin your journey with a brief ferry ride from Stavanger harbor to the island of Sør-Hidle. Stepping off the ferry, you’re greeted by breathtaking views of the North Sea and the surrounding islands.

Welcomed by friendly staff, Flor og Fjære unveils a garden laboriously nurtured by the Hidle family since its establishment in 1965. What was once a rocky, barren island has been transformed into a lush haven with over 5,000 plant species from around the globe.

A highlight of the visit is the delectable lunch served in the garden’s restaurant, featuring traditional Norwegian dishes crafted with fresh garden ingredients. Indulge in your meal amidst stunning views of the garden and the sea.

9. Stavanger Cathedral

Stavanger Cathedral

Known affectionately as Norway’s Best Kept Cathedral, Stavanger Cathedral is a captivating architectural gem. Its origins trace back to the 12th century, making it the oldest cathedral in Norway still in active use.

A visit to Stavanger Cathedral unveils the 17th-century masterpiece, the cathedral’s renowned pulpit. This intricately carved work of art stands as a pinnacle of Baroque craftsmanship in Norway.

Situated in an area overlooking Vagen, a settlement with only a few hundred residents when the cathedral was constructed. This central point would go on to play a pivotal role in Stavanger’s gradual growth over the centuries. So many have raised the question: which came first? The Cathedral or Stavanger?

8. Stavanger Maritime Museum

Stavanger Maritime Museum

Immerse yourself in maritime wonders at the Stavanger Maritime Museum, a captivating labyrinth of interconnected, meticulously restored merchant buildings. The exhibition intricately unfolds the shipping and trading history of Stavanger over the past 200 years.

Appealing to all, especially families with children, the museum offers a quayside marketplace for little ones to engage in the vibrant life of 1950s Stavanger. Children can dress up and embark on role-playing adventures, such as navigating a fjord boat, managing a post office, tending to a shop, and running a market stall.
Adding to the charm, the museum owns two historic sailing vessels, the 1848 Anna of Sand and the 1896 Wyvern. Both are open for exploration when in port. It’s a maritime journey through time suitable for all ages.

7. Swords in Rock

Swords in Rock

Standing tall as a significant symbol of Norwegian identity, Swords in the Rock represents the country’s rich history and cultural heritage. All the while embodying a commitment to peace and unity.

Crafted by Norwegian sculptor Fritz Røed, the three bronze swords commemorate the historic Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872. This was a pivotal moment when Harald Fairhair unified Norway into a single kingdom.

Sitting in a picturesque location overlooking the fjords of Stavanger, the monument becomes part of the scenic Hafrsfjord recreational area. Here, a charming bike route and walking path run along the fjord, offering a delightful year-round escape while visiting the monument.

6. Norwegian Canning Museum

Norwegian Canning Museum

Stavanger, once renowned as the “canning capital” of Norway, played a central role in the nation’s economy. The Norwegian Canning Museum masterfully unfolds the canning industry’s ascent and decline through its engaging exhibitions.

A highlight of the museum is the guided tour, providing a firsthand look at the canning process using well-preserved original machinery. The evolution of this process over the years comes to life, guided by knowledgeable and passionate docents who encourage visitors to experience everything.

A fun exhibition is the fish can labels. Dating back to the 1880s, these labels initially prioritized content over packaging. However, as standardized cans emerged, distinct labels became crucial for individual producers.

By 1900, vibrant and carefully designed labels became the norm. While not all on display, the museum holds a collection of over 32,000 labels, underscoring Norwegians’ profound historical understanding of marketing.

5. Visit Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

Standing at an impressive 604 meters above the Lysefjord, Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) is one of Norway’s most renowned hikes. The approximately 6-kilometer round trip to Pulpit Rock takes about 4-5 hours, featuring well-marked trails with some steep and rocky sections.

Surrounded by tall trees and the soothing sounds of nature, the ascent offers a serene and peaceful experience. The optimal hiking season spans from May to October, while special equipment and a guide are advisable from November to April.

Upon conquering the challenging yet enjoyable hike, the summit of Pulpit Rock awaits, treating you to breathtaking views. The sheer cliff drop and panoramic fjord vistas create an awe-inspiring scene.

4. Fargegaten


Known for its vibrant hues, Fargegaten is arguably one of the most colorful streets in Norway. Come see for yourself! Situated within Stavanger’s historic city center, Fargegaten boasts a lively atmosphere with picturesque, vibrant buildings lining both sides.

Distinctive to Fargegaten is each building’s unique color scheme, a purposeful choice by local artists to foster individuality and creativity. Beyond the elaborate facades, Fargegaten hosts a variety of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Explore boutique clothing stores, antique shops, and cozy cafes offering delightful Norwegian pastries and coffee. Whether you seek unique souvenirs or gifts, Fargegaten provides the perfect backdrop for leisurely wandering and discovery in the heart of Stavanger.

3. Norwegian Petroleum Museum

Norwegian Petroleum Museum

Norway’s most crucial industry, particularly offshore operations, is vividly portrayed at The Oil Museum (Oljemuseet). The exhibitions trace the historical evolution of the oil industry. This commenced with North Sea exploration and the construction of steel and concrete platforms. Before progressing to modern production ships and sub-sea systems.

Designed by an architectural firm, the museum itself is a striking structure. Appropriately, it resembles an oil platform when viewed from the outside and has become a major landmark in the Port of Stavanger. Officially opened on May 20, 1999, by King Harald V, it has since become the most visited museum in town.

Beyond historical displays, the museum highlights the future of the oil industry, showcasing innovative technology and sustainable practices for a greener and more environmentally conscious energy sector. Witnessing these efforts is both enlightening and inspiring.

2. Lysefjord cruise

Lysefjord cruise

Experiencing the stunning beauty of Stavanger and its surroundings through a Lysefjord cruise is one of the most rewarding things to do in Stavanger. This is an unforgettable journey into a 26-mile-long fjord surrounded by towering cliffs and dramatic landscapes. Alongside breathtaking views, it’s an unforgettable opportunity to explore Norway’s iconic landmarks.

As you navigate the fjord, marvel at the glacier-carved Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), a towering rock formation reaching into the sky above Lysefjord. Next, you’ll be in awe as the boat carefully approaches Hengjane Falls, offering a chance to feel the refreshing spray of mountain waters.

Choose to enjoy the striking scenery from the comfort of the boat’s interior or step onto the spacious sundeck. Either way, the Lysefjord cruise provides a unique and memorable perspective on Norway’s southernmost fjord.

1. Gamle Stavanger

Gamle Stavanger

Sitting in the heart of Stavanger, Gamle, translating to “Old Town” in Norwegian, is a delightful neighborhood steeped in history. Dating back to the 18th century, its charm lies in well-preserved wooden houses, cobblestone streets, and alluring alleyways. Each opens a window into the city’s rich heritage and traditional architecture.

This historic quarter comes to life during various events, like the annual food festival and traditional Christmas market. These lively events provide an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture, engage with the friendly locals, and experience the vibrant spirit of Gamle.

In addition, Gamle hosts many institutions, like the Canning Museum, and art galleries. Each spotlights Stavanger’s cultural legacy and contemporary art scene.

Best Time to Visit Stavanger

Stavanger Climate

A very popular port of call for cruise ships on their way to the Norwegian Fjords, Stavanger lies right in the very southwest of the country, surrounded by water. July and August see the most visitors arrive as this is when the weather is warmest and days are longest. Gladmat, Norway’s largest food festival, also takes place then.

May, June and September also attract plenty of people as temperatures average 13 to 16°C (55-61°F). The summer months are the best time to hike or island hop with swimming also possible if you can bear the coldish water. You may find though that the famous Pulpit Rock viewpoint is packed with people.

Outside of these busy months, Stavanger is rather quiet. A constant stream of visitors check into its hotels though, either commuting or on business connected to the petrol industry. In the cold, dark winter months, you can enjoy its charming center all decked out in Christmas decorations or go skiing in the nearby mountains.
Whenever you visit, make sure to pack a coat as each month sees between 16 and 26 days with at least some rain. July to January is the rainiest period with spring being relatively dry.

Where to Stay in Stavanger

Victoria Hotel

Situated in the southwest of Norway, this enchanting coastal city captivates with its picturesque landscapes, lively culture, and impressive architecture. Opting to stay in the city center is highly recommended. Doing so places you at the heart of iconic landmarks, a bustling food scene, galleries and parks for a leisurely afternoon.

Perched by the waterfront, Hotel Victoria occupies a charming Victorian-style building dating back to 1900. The rooms, tastefully appointed with classic decor, feature amenities such as a TV with a variety of channels and complimentary Wi-Fi. Ideally situated, a mere 10-minute stroll from Stavanger Train Station, the hotel places you amid many city highlights.

Frogner House, also conveniently positioned in the heart of Stavanger, was recently renovated in 2023. The hotel offers spacious rooms featuring fully equipped kitchens. Don’t miss “Fangene på Fortet” in the basement. This is an escape room-style activity perfect for families.

How to get there

Stavanger Port

Reaching your destination is easiest by air, with Stavanger Airport providing direct flights from major international hubs like London Heathrow, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to the city center, which is only a 15-minute drive away.

Alternatively, you can embark on a picturesque train ride from various Norwegian cities or utilize a bus service such as Kystbussen and Nor-Way Bussekspress. A daily ferry service run by Fjordline between Bergen and Hirtshals in Jutland calls in Stavanger, on its way from Jutland to Bergen in the mornings, and on its way back in the evenings.

For those inclined towards driving, renting a car is a viable option, but route planning and weather checks are crucial.

Map of Tourist Attractions in Stavanger

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