Destination Norway: Why Not Choose… Stavanger?
Situated on a Peninsula in Southwest Norway, Stavanger enjoys a warm current from the Gulf Stream. This gives it a mild and pleasant climate, especially in summer! So book now for a little escape to Stavanger, and discover a cosmopolitan and prosperous city, with its picturesque streets and its dynamic cultural scene... not forgetting the incomparable beauty of the surrounding fjords.
Culture, History and Nature: Perfect Harmony!
Start with a little trip to the fish market square, where you can sample fresh local produce. Let the catch of the day surprise you! As a port city, Stavanger has always looked to the outside world. This stimulates cultural life in the city, and in its shops, cafés and restaurants: Stavanger was named European Capital of Culture in 2008.
It also has many museums, each more interesting than the last. For example, the canning museum reveals all the secrets of smoking and processing, and the Maritime Museum, which occupies wooden warehouses dating back to 1770, is a dream come true for boat lovers.
On the East Bank of the port (Vågen), meander through the pedestrian streets lined with shops. Next, hurry along to the West Bank, where you can explore Stavanger's picturesque "Old Town" (Gamle Stavanger)with its 173 white wooden houses, built in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Get lost in Gamle Stavanger 's labyrinth of narrow, winding streets, to experience a truly enchanting world!
Don't miss the beautiful 12th-century Roman cathedral (Domkirken), one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cathedrals.
Architecture enthusiasts will be keen to check out the Ledaal and Breidablikk manors, situated opposite one another. The first is a large, red, neo-classical style building erected in 1799, with baroque decor inside. It now serves as a royal residence. The second stands in exotic grounds and was built in 1881 in a pure rococo style, entirely in wood including its gables and balustrades.
A further asset of the city is its location in the Norwegian fjords. Imagine these mountains, often reaching over 1000m in attitude, falling suddenly into the water, the sea snaking into them in a display of unreal beauty.
Majestic mountains, pure waters and long sandy beaches are just a few steps away.
Top 10 Must-Sees
Gamle Stavanger (Old Stavanger): sitting in levels on the west slope of the old port, the Old Town was a workers district built at the end of the 18th century, when the sardine industry was Stavanger's pride and joy. Its 173 white houses have been fully restored.
Domkirken (Stavanger Cathedral): this 12th-century monument illustrating the Roman and Gothic styles is characterised by two square towers, an imposing façade and a vast porch. Its restoration in the 20th century restored it to its mediaeval appearance.
Norsk Hermetikkmuseum (Norwegian Canning Museum): dive into the history of fish canning, which until the 1960s was Stavanger's primary industrial activity. You will discover the different stages of the canning process and see a remarkable collection of over 30,000 hand-drawn labels.
The Petroleum Museum: authentic items, models, films and interactive exhibitions: this Museum explains everything about the formation, discovery and production of oil and gas.
Store Stokkavatnet Lake: if you like cycling, take a trip to this lake, just 6km from the centre of Stavanger. Norwegians practice roller-skiing on the cycle paths around the lake.
The Three Swords Monument: look for the three swords on this rock commemorating the Bottle of Hafrsfjord in 872, after which Harald Fairhair unified Norway.
The Broken Column: an installation by British sculptor Anthony Gormley, whose life-size characters are scattered around the city at key sites. As you wander around Stavanger, have some fun finding the 23 sandblasted iron figures making up this "Broken Column".
Preikestolen, overlooking the Lysefjord: take a cruise to explore this cliff rising 604m above the Lysefjord, Norway's most impressive fjord. After a two-hour walk on a steep track, you will reach the top of Preikestolen, where a 25m² plateau offers a breathtaking panorama.
Jæren: Norway's longest beaches are not far away. With their dunes and protected plant life, they are a restful contrast to hectic life in the city. They are also a paradise for surfers.
Kjeragbolten Boulder, above the Lysefjord: hanging 984m above the Lysefjord, this masterpiece of nature created by the elements is an enormous boulder wedged between two rock walls, with a 241m drop on one side and a 735m gradient on the other.
Discover the Taste of Norway!
Famous for its culinary diversity, the Stavanger region is particularly reputed for its shellfish, dairy products, meat, vegetables and fruit. Not forgetting the fish of course: Salmon in all its forms (cooked, smoked, marinated), pickled or smoked herring, and dried cod. Norway's meatballs (Kjøttkaker) are also famous. They are sometimes made from elk meat or smoked reindeer meat, and served with wild berry jam, for those who like to mix sweet and savoury flavours!
April: Stavanger Vinfest : The archetypal port city, Stavanger offers great gastronomical diversity. In mid-April, Stavanger Vinfest celebrates the love of cookery and wine.
17 May: Constitution Day : This is the most popular celebration in Norway.
May: Maijazz : Stavanger International Jazz Festival: the city's oldest festival.
July: Gladmat Festival : In summer, Norway celebrates its gastronomy. The Gladmat ("Happy Food") Festival aims to bring gastronomy and the culinary traditions of the Stavanger region to the general public.
August: International Chamber Music Festival : Twenty to forty musicians, including the best in their field, come from several countries to participate in this festival directed by a composer. Concerts take place in the 900-year-old cathedral or at the Utstein Monastery, which has exceptional acoustics.
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