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Stavanger, Norway

Stavanger is the fourth largest city of Norway. It is on the south-western coast of the country. The urban area of Stavanger stretches across many neighboring municipalities, making it the third largest city in Norway by total urban population.


The municipality of Stavanger is located in a coastal landscape, bordering the sea to the west and Boknafjorden in the northeast. The Byfjorden and Gandsfjorden run along the east side of the city. It is part of the Low-Jæren, a flat area of land consisting mostly of marsh, sand, and stone aur, that ranges from Ogna River in the south to Tungenes in the north; it is the northernmost part that includes Stavanger. The majority of the municipality lies between 0 and 50 meters (0 and 164 ft)... Read more

Stavanger, Norway


Stavanger is the fourth largest city of Norway. It is on the south-western coast of the country. The urban area of Stavanger stretches across many neighboring municipalities, making it the third largest city in Norway by total urban population.


The municipality of Stavanger is located in a coastal landscape, bordering the sea to the west and Boknafjorden in the northeast. The Byfjorden and Gandsfjorden run along the east side of the city. It is part of the Low-Jæren, a flat area of land consisting mostly of marsh, sand, and stone aur, that ranges from Ogna River in the south to Tungenes in the north; it is the northernmost part that includes Stavanger. The majority of the municipality lies between 0 and 50 meters (0 and 164 ft) in elevation. The landscape has a distinctive appearance with rocks and hills where there is no settlement or agriculture. The city of Stavanger is closely linked to the sea and water, with five lakes (including Breiavatnet, Stora Stokkavatnet, and Mosvatnet) and three fjords (Hafrsfjorden, Byfjorden, and Gandsfjorden); sea and water form the landscape, providing a shoreline rich with vegetation and wildlife.

The terrain is low-lying: 49% of the area is less than 20 meters (66 ft) above sea level, While 7% of the land is at 60 meters (200 ft). Stavanger's highest point is the 139-meter (456 ft) tall Jåttånuten with the 136-meter (446 ft) Ullandhaug as the second highest point.

The city has developed on both sides of a hollow that runs right through the terrain, with steep slopes up from the bottom. An extension of Boknafjorden and Byfjorden intersects the harbor into the hollow from the northwest, while Hillevåg lake intrudes from Gandsfjorden in the southeast. Breiavatnet is located between the two fjord arms.

The city includes many islands off the coast including Bjørnøy, Buøy, Engøy, Grasholmen, Hellesøy, Hundvåg, Kalvøy, Lindøy, Sølyst, and Vassøy. It also includes the eastern half of the island of Åmøy.

There are several parks and green spots in Stavanger municipality, both in the city and beyond. Central to the town is the city lake which is in turn surrounded by the city park, built as the city's first urban park in 1866–1868. Between the city park and the bay is located Kielland garden, which got its name because the poet Alexander Kielland's house at the time was here. Kielland Park went through a major renovation in 2007 as part of the Millennium in Stavanger municipality. At the opposite end of the city lake, there is a small park outside the station; here there is Emigration, a gift from the Norwegian emigrants in the United States, commemorating the men and women of Norwegian ancestry who built America.

Bjergstedparken, a park north of Old Stavanger, is the location of Bjergsted Music Center, including Stavanger Concert Hall, and its outdoor areas are often used for festivals and outdoor concerts. The Missing park, built in honor of Lars Missing, is located up the hill on the west side of the harbor and forms the entrance from the south towards the Old Town. Canon park forms the border between Stavanger and the exit from the E39. Northward go Løkkeveien against Bjergsted westward go Madlaveien the theater and Bergelandstunnelen, east towards E39. The park is located next to the old Stavanger Hospital, which also has a large park area around the main building. Through the park runs Kannik creek, which comes to the surface at the statue of the Little Mermaid and runs into Breiavannet. Kannikkbekken runs mostly underground, in pipes, before it reaches Kannik park.

Outside the city center, the park southerly in relation to the large inland lakes such as Mosvatnet, Stora Stokkavatnet, and Water Assen. Mosvatnet is 0.46 square kilometers (110 acres) making it the third largest in Stavanger after Hålandsvatnet and Store Stokkavatn. The lake supplied the city's drinking water from 1863 to 1931 and is now by far the most used recreation area in Stavanger. The path around the lake is 3.2 kilometers (2.0 mi) long, and much used by cyclist and joggers; sampling conducted in 1995 showed that an estimated 560,000 people used the walking trail around Mosvatnet. At the south end is Mosvangen Camping, Stavanger Svømmestadion old man and Vålandskogen, and to the west is Rogaland Kunstmuseum. Stora Stokkavatnet is 2.19 square kilometers (0.85 sq mi) –-the largest in Stavanger. Right at Stora Stokkavatnet is the 0.15-square-kilometer (0.058 sq mi) Litla Stokkavatnet. The hiking trail around the lakes is 8.2 kilometers (5.1 mi) long. In the lake is a small island, Storeholmen. Store Stokkavatnet supplied Stavanger's drinking water from 1931 to 1959 and was later demoted to the reserve drinking water. In 2009 it was relegated once more, and it is now legal to swim in the water.


The city is located on a peninsula on the southwest coast of Norway. The climate seems to be greatly influenced by the Gulf Stream which creates warmer temperatures throughout the year compared to other cities at similar latitudes. According to Köppen climate classification, Stavanger experiences an oceanic climate (Cfb) with four months above 10 °C (50 °F) mean temperature. The city has also a small continental climate influence which creates subzero lows during winter. The city is relative wet with precipitation average 1,180 millimeters (46 in) and 158.9 days with precipitation above 1.0 mm.

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Stavanger, Norway: Port Information

Cruise ships dock at the Port of Stavanger, which has four berths, piers 1 (Strandkaien) and 2 (Skagenkaien) in the inner harbor and piers 3 and 4 in the outer harbor. The harbor area is right in town, only a five- to ten-minute walk to most downtown attractions.

Get around Stavanger, Norway

By bus

Public transportation in Stavanger is mainly by bus and works smoothly. Buses in the city center can be caught at the main bus terminal and at stops around the city lake,


. Buses are modern and most have areas for wheelchairs and baby carriages.

By train

Local trains connect the city center to the southern parts of the city and to the towns and villages further south. There are departures to Sandnes every 15 minutes during the daytime.

By taxi

Stavanger has different taxi companies, all charging high rates. You can use credit cards to pay through taxi meters. During weekends there can be long lines for taxis in the downtown area. Try walking out of the city center and hailing a vacant cab on its way back to downtown.

What to see in Stavanger, Norway

  • The

    Stavanger Oil Museum

    is a very interesting building with fascinating information on Norway's oil industry. Displays of submersibles, drilling equipment, a mock oil platform, and audio-visual presentations make for a good few hours. The museum caters for all ages and is open 10:00-16:00 (Sundays and June-August 10:00-18:00).
  • The Canning Museum may not seem like the most interesting place to visit but it is a surprisingly good little museum with a lot of hands-on exhibits.
  • Gamle Stavanger (Old Stavanger) is a well-preserved slice of Norwegian history. Old winding streets and wooden houses are representative of accommodation from Stavanger's days as the canning capital of Norway. Most houses in Old Stavanger are privately owned and well kept.
  • A good place for a photo opportunity is the

    Three Swords

    (Sverd i fjell, literally Sword in Mountain), a monument outside the center of Stavanger, beside the Hafrsfjord. The swords themselves are massive and in the background is the fjord. The monument commemorates the battle of Hafrsfjord in the late 800's where Harald Hårfagre beat his eastern opposition and became the first King of Norway.
  • Sculptures - In 2000 the mobile installation Another Place by British sculptor Anthony Gormley was placed on and off Sola beach. A few years later a new and permanent installation Broken Column, by the same artist, was placed at various locations surrounding the center of Stavanger.
  • The Rogaland Kunstmuseum (art museum) is on Mosvatnet Lake, only 2 km from the city center. The museum has a permanent exhibition of Norwegian art and a rotating exhibition that is sometimes quite spectacular. Be sure to see the Lars Hertervig paintings; you'll see the landscape of the islands just north of Stavanger reflected in his work.
  • Stavanger Cathedral. Stavanger Cathedral (Romanesque style from about 1125, with later gothic additions) is the best preserved medieval cathedral in Norway and well worth a visit.  

What to do in Stavanger, Norway

The seasons control what to do in Stavanger. Stavanger has a maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters. Summers features periods of warm and nice weather, although they sometimes can be rainy. Winters usually mean more rain than snow in Stavanger, although going into the mountains will ensure snow.

  • Hiking and climbing around Stavanger is the best way to see the fantastic landscape. Many of the trails have been marked out by the Turistforetning with rocks bearing a red "T". Turistforening hyttes (cabins) provide simple accommodation in the mountains. Also, mountain bikes can be hired and taken on the trails. The Pulpit Rock is accessible throughout the year for day trips, while the road to Kjerag is closed during winter.
  • Solastranden (Sola Beach) is a long sandy beach by the airport. It is very popular in the summer and allows for some small waves for surfing. Along the beach, in the dunes, are the remains of defenses from the 1940-45 occupation. Other less populated beaches are all along the coastline although they are sometimes hard to find.
  • Ice skating on Stokkavannet - In the depths of winter, the government tests the ice on its lakes. Once the official word is given many Norwegians will head for the largest lake, Stokkavannet. The lake itself is located near to Madla about 20 minutes bus ride outside of Stavanger. Should the ice not be safe, and you have a compulsion to skate, another option is the newly built full size indoor long track speed skating arena Sørmarka Arena. There are also several ice hockey rinks at Tjensvoll, ten minutes by bus from the city center.

What to eat and drink in Stavanger, Norway


Stavanger is considered a great place for foodies, with a range of good restaurants and an annual food fair that fills up the harbor area for a week-end each summer. Eating out is generally not cheap, like everywhere in Norway. If you're on a budget you should go for the smaller ethnic restaurants (Chinese, Thai). Several excellent places exist for the traveler on an expense account - or if you want to spoil yourself or a loved one: Try Tango, NB Sørensens (upstairs restaurant) or Renaa.

  • Sabi Sushi, Pedersgata 38, ☎ 90 40 60 70. Monday - Saturday 11:00-22:00, Sunday 13:00-22:00. Probably the best sushi in Stavanger. Takeaway and restaurant.  
  • Straen Fiskerestaurant, Nedre Strandgate, ☎ 51 84 37 00, 13. 18:00-01:30. Considered one of the best seafood restaurants in Norway. However, be aware that only have seafood, you will not be served meat or poultry.  
  • Flor & Fjære, Hidle, ☎ 51 11 00 00. Starting with a boat trip out to an island outside of Stavanger, you are taken to a beautiful garden with a guide. After a tour with the guide, you will be served a fixed menu. Different menus for lunch and dinner.
  • No 28 Pizza Pub, Øvre Holmegate 12, ☎ 51532828. No 28 Pizza Pub is Stavanger’s original pizza pub. It first opened in 1973 and has now reopened its doors in Øvre Holmegate 12. Informal, lovely restaurant with a large bar. Seats 200 people. It specializes in Pizza and babyback Ribs. Low price, high-quality food. 


The eastern rim of the bay gets the afternoon sun and is the prime setting for an outdoor beer - weather allowing.

  • Folken (Student house), Løkkeveien 24, ☎ 51654444. 11:00 - 01:30. Folken is by far the cheaper place to drink if you bring your Student Card. The music varies in both genre and loudness. Enjoy the summer in Folkens backyard!
  • Bøker og Børst (Books and Booze) (Café), Øvre Holmegate 32, ☎ 51 86 04 76. 10:00 - 02:00. Definitely the most charming little café in all of Stavanger. Really nice atmosphere and interiors. The eccentrics' favorite. 
  • On the western side, you will find Checkpoint Charlie, a legendary hangout for rockers and students. It is also home to CCAP, a record label that holds Thomas Dybdahl and Popface in their expanding stable. Though its clientele has gradually gotten younger over the years (now around 18-22), it retains much of its old feel.
  • Another bar well worth the visit is Cementen. Situated on the third floor of a concrete building alongside the bay, it has a great view of inner-city Stavanger. It is easy to find, just look for the cement mixer hanging from the outside wall seven meters above its entrance. The recently added dance floor has resulted in increased popularity. (Nedre Strandgt.25, 4005 Stavanger).
  • For the see and be seen crowd, Taket is the place to go (Nedre Strandgt. 15, 4005 Stavanger Tel: 51 84 37 01).
  • Munken (The Munk) is a traditional bar that serves beer, wine, and spirits. Crowd varies a great deal in age (22-72), often many English speakers. Usually not very loud music. Free entrance. Prostebakken - in the Alley by the Dressmann haberdashery.
  • Nåløyet Bar, Nedre Strandgate 13, ☎ 51 84 37 00. Nåløyet is the closest thing to an everyday pub with some of the best bartenders in town. The bar is open all days, and get packed on Fridays and Saturdays. 
  • Bar Bache, Øvre Holmegate 5. Perhaps the cheapest Happy Hour in town! Tiny English style pub. 
  • Cardinal, Skagen 21, ☎ 982 04 200. Rated as one of the worlds 50th best beer bars, they have a lot of different varieties on tap, and countless bottles as well. Be sure to check out their menu, or "The Beer Bible" as the locals call it.

Shopping in Stavanger, Norway

Pewter serving utensils at several shops in town that will also sell other tourist things. They are pretty to look at, coming in several different designs, and practical to use. The cheese slicer (ostehovel) is most traditional, and the fish server (fiskespade) is something rarely seen outside of Norway.

Safety in Stavanger, Norway

Stavanger is generally considered a very safe city. The local police force is efficient, usually, speaks good English and have a strong presence in the downtown area at weekends.
Call 112 in an emergency. During weekends, the small downtown area tends to fill up with intoxicated people.
Be careful when taking a taxi alone if you are a girl, as there have been reports of a rise in numbers of violent rapes related to cab drivers. Always stay in groups when walking or taking a taxi home from the city center on weekends. The number of streetwalking prostitutes (mostly from Nigeria according to local newspapers) has increased dramatically in recent years. They can be found everywhere in the city center at night, giving the city the nickname "Norways prostitution capital". They can behave quite aggressively towards any male walking by, often harassing passers-by. If you are not intending to use their services, avoid eye contact and don't stop when addressed. Should a group of women start following you and shouting offers and abuse, just keep walking. Buying sex is illegal in Norway, and if caught you'll risk either heavy fines or up to one year in prison.

Language spoken in Stavanger, Norway

Norwegian is the official language. English is widely spoken.


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May 25, 2022


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