What to see in Stavanger in Norway: between nature, oil and monuments
The wealth of Stavanger it is under the sea. It used to be fish. Now is the Petroleum. But arriving here it is certainly not the black gold that stands out. Yes, because this is the fourth largest city in the country – after Oslo, Bergen And Trondheim – it is a modern and pleasant city where the eye immediately falls on Game Stavangerthe historic district made up of cobbled streets and wooden houses of the 18th century, where many local artists have taken up residence. And there is nothing further from the grim and dirty image of an oil well. But not only there old City: in the list of what to see in Stavanger in Norway nature has a prominent place.
And a short distance away, among other things, is the impressive waterfalls Manafossen Falls and the iconic Rock pulpit (a huge granite trampoline overlooking the splendid Lysefjord). As if to say: gold is black. But the sky and the sea are still blue. In short, it will be the city of oil but you wouldn’t think so. And only the decidedly high prices of life and the national museum dedicated precisely to theblack gold reveal what lies underground. But these are certainly not the reasons tourists visit it.
What to see in Stavanger in Norway: a mix of old and new
No, the what to see guide prefers to focus on the old quarter that extends beyond the port and the lgrease. Which is also the favorite and most frequented area by travellers, lively even at night with many people on the street, especially during the summer. In short, Stavanger is a fun mix of old and new, one port city which over time has seen the passage of sailors and merchants, fishermen and adventurers, with a suggestive historical atmosphere well protected and also increased by the presence of the 13th century cathedral whose towering spiers are the city’s main landmark. And never mind if, in the meantime, current accounts continue to swell, helped by what comes from underground.
Bizarre museums and beaches too
The list of what to see in Stavanger in Norway by the way it is not short: there are also some rather bizarre museums for our standards such as the Rogaland Museum of Art, the aforementioned Petroleum Museum – strangely interesting thanks to a series of interactive exhibitions that reveal every secret of this hydrocarbon and above all because it is found only in a few places – and the so-called Canning Museum: brings together an impressive collection of vintage cans and is dedicated to the history of sardine fishing of the city.
Wondering why? Simple: the capture and conservation of sardines was the only source of livelihood for this part of Norway before the discovery of oil. Now everything has changed. But the inhabitants wanted to pay homage to the fish that you can find on offer toasted bread or cooked in butter in one many excellent restaurants of the city.
Then there is the last option and that is to stop and look at the swollen nets of the fishermen who still go out to sea often starting from beaches that are located around the city. These are also very beautiful and in the summer they have their role in pleasing those who arrive this far north. D’winter no, in winter the cold is not recommended but you can go and warm up skating on the ice of the largest lake in the city, the Stokkavannet.
Stavanger: the weather you don’t expect
Perched on a peninsula on the southwest coast of Norway, Stavanger enjoys a maritime climate which is much milder than you think. The summers I am pleasantly warm and in winter temperatures generally remain around zero, even if the often intense winds can increase the sensation of cold. The best time for one vacation in Stavanger it depends hugely on what you intend to do and how you want to spend your time.
It is obvious that those who love the outdoors will come in the summer and in fact the most popular period is late spring or early summer, between May and July, when the city receives more hours of sunshine and the weather is better. Remember then that different low-cost airlines they regularly serve Stavanger airport which is also easily accessible from Bergen.
Stavanger: nature and history
Undoubtedly the most popular tourist attraction in the Stavanger Fjord and the Preikestol (i.e. the stone pulpit), a flat top cliff 604 meters high above the fjord. It is located near the village of forsand and is easily reachable both by road and by ferry, but then for the last stretch a car is required trekking (not too demanding) of about two hours. It’s at the peak so definitely not a favorite place for vertigo sufferers and the faint of heart.
However, for those who venture this far, the prize is guaranteed: i views are spectacular and this explains why it is visited from beyond 200 thousand people per year so much that it has become one of the most visited sites in the country. Leaving aside nature and returning to what man has built, our guide on what to see in Stavanger will take us to the Cathedral. Located in the city centre.
Tribute to the cathedral
Located in the center of the city, the Cathedral was built in the 12th century by the Englishman Reginald of Worcester (later known as Bishop Reinald): it is a Romanesque basilica with nave and two aisles but the choir was rebuilt in Gothic style, after a fire in 1272, and the whole church was remodeled in the 19th century. The interior is massive and suggestive also thanks to the stained glass depicting scenes from the New Testament.
Even the area around the former Bishop’s palace, the Kongsgard, it is worth to be visited. Situated on the northern bank of the Breiavatn – the small lake in the center of the city – is also interesting due to the presence of a chapel which dates back to the early 1300s, and has been carefully restored. Then continuing the walk you can get to market Square where in the summer it’s a good idea to stop and look around and have a look at the stalls.
Here is the old city
We said it at the beginning: the list of what to see in Stavanger in Norway would necessarily be incomplete without a pleasant walk in what the locals call Game Stavanger. Namely the Old City. This historic area is made up of a series of old houses nestled together and facing along cobbled streets that are anything but regular in shape. In short: if one imagines the context for a fairy tale he pretty much thinks so.
An important detail: it is the largest settlement of wooden houses survived in northern Europe. Its streets are worth exploring at your leisure as are its galleries and museums in the area. Two of the best are the Maritime Museumalong Nedre Strandgate, which collects the history of the city’s seafaring past, and the aforementioned museum dedicated to fish and fishing history.
Another of the well-preserved old buildings is the Valbergtårn which is located north of the market square between the Vågen and Østre Havni.e. the eastern port on the peninsula of Holmen. This is the oldest part of the city and the Valbergtårn is one watchtower built in 1853 on the highest point of the city which offers a splendid view and also contains some exhibitions.
What to see in Stavanger in Norway: art and Vikings
No visit in Norway would be complete without spending some time learning the history of vikings. The Stavanger Archaeological Museum it’s a great place to get a smattering of Viking gatherings antiques but also the copy of ships and costumes of this warlike people who conquered half of Europe as they well remember not only in Norway but also in Normandy.
Finally treat us to a walk to the local art museum which is located in a park on the lake Mosvannet, about three kilometers from the center. It is home to one of the most important art collections Norwegian. Of particular interest is the collection of paintings by Lars Hertervig, who lived in the second half of the 19th century, whose romantic landscapes continue to fascinate visitors. Those who don’t resign themselves to the fact that this could be a city made of oil.