Licensed Guide and Norway Tour Planner

Stavanger City Guide

Stavanger is a vibrant coastal city situated on the southwestern coast of Norway.

The harbor and waterfront area are bustling with activity. Quaint streets, seafood restaurants, and lively markets contribute to the maritime charm of the city.

When to visit Stavanger

The best time to visit Stavanger in Norway depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and the type of experience you seek. Here's a breakdown of each month and season:

Blog: See my packing list for Norway.

April to May (Spring): Expect mild temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F). Spring is a lovely time to visit Stavanger as nature awakens, flowers bloom, and outdoor activities like hiking become enjoyable. It's a quieter period before the peak summer season.

June to August (Summer): This is peak summer with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). Naturally, this is the most popular time for tourists due to the warm weather and long days. Ideal for outdoor activities, fjord tours, and visiting iconic sites like Preikestolen.

September to October (Fall): Temperatures gradually cool off during fall, ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). Fall is a beautiful time with colorful foliage. It's less crowded than summer and outdoor activities are still pleasant. September can be particularly charming.

November to March (Winter): Expect winter temperatures ranging from 0°C to 8°C (32°F to 46°F). Winter is the quietest time for tourism. While it's not a traditional winter destination, you can explore the city, enjoy indoor attractions, and experience a more local atmosphere. Some attractions may have reduced hours.

Getting into Stavanger

Stavanger Airport Sola (SVG)

To get from the airport I would recommend the ​​Airport Express Coach (Flybussen). A 30 minute ride from the city center, 3/h. Buying the ticket in advance online will save you about 40 NOK. Buy them here.

Another good option, if you are 3 or more travelers, is to share a cab. It’ll take about 15 minutes to get downtown, and the price ranges from 5-600 NOK.

The Taxi stand is located between the terminal and the parking garage. When you leave the arrival hall go left. If you have a pre-booked taxi you’ll find them in the parking space on your right hand side.

A couple of taxi firms:

  • Stavanger Taxi: Phone (+47) 51 90 90 90
  • Sandnes Taxi: Phone (+47) 51 66 16 00
  • Sola Taxi: Phone (+47) 51 65 04 44
Stavanger colorful city from the water with blue sky up above

Places to stay in Stavanger

Stavanger is a fairly small and compact town, but I think the best places are to stay near the waterfront or close to the Byparken (city park), which is a nice green area.

High End

Stavanger is short on high-end/luxury hotels, except for the Eilert Smith Hotel which is a boutique hotel with 12 elegant rooms.

Note that prices for hotels highly fluctuate throughout the year, and if you book early you can sometimes find good deals! The high season in Norway goes from June to August.

Mid-Range

Stavanger has a good collection of well-priced mid-range hotels. One of my favorites is the Thon Hotel Stavanger, which has a good location just 300 meters from the Cathedral, a 5 minute walk from the train station, and has comfortable rooms and a big breakfast buffet.

Another good option is the Victoria Hotel with a warm and relaxed atmosphere, just a block away from the Vågen (bay of Stavanger). They serve breakfast and have their own bar and steakhouse.

A third option is the Clarion Collection Hotel Skagen Brygge sitting right next to the harbor front. They serve a complimentary evening meal to all the guests.

Budget

If you don’t need a hotel I can recommend renting from Cozee Apartments. The apartment is comfortable and well-equipped, and can come with rental bikes.

For a budget hotel check out Scandic Stavanger City which is centrally located in the harbor area, and often has good deals on their rooms.

Places to eat in Stavanger

Eating places in Stavanger have a strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, seafood takes center stage, offering fresh catches from the North Sea. The city boasts a diverse range of restaurants, from charming seafood bistros along the harbor to Michelin-starred establishments.

Here are a few of my favorite food and drink spots in Stavanger:

RESTAURANTS & CAFéS

A place I (almost) always visit when in Stavanger is the Fisketorget (fish market) Restaurant. The location is excellent just at the end of the Vågen (bay), and they serve up a daily catch and other tasty seafood dishes.

Another favorite is Matbaren Bistro by Renaa, a casual place with delicious food prepared on their charcoal-fired grill. If you are hungry for a pizza they have a separate pizza restaurant at Sirkus Renaa Sølvberget.

For a fine dining experience head to the Michelin star Re-Naa Restaurant (must book far ahead).

Just next to the Norwegian Oil Museum is the Happy Corner Burger & Bar, which probably has the best burgers in town.

Italo is an excellent Italian restaurant. For som far-away food try out Gådjå Ethiopian Restaurant or the Mogul India Restaurant.

For a café, head to Baker og Børst, which feels like stepping into someone's living room. They have excellent coffee, cakes, tea, and a wide selection of non/low alcoholic beers.

Bars

Stavanger has a lively bar scene and due to its small size you can easily do some bar hopping.

The Cardinal Pub just a block away from the waterfront is a traditional place with a great selection of beers and helpful staff. If you like craft beers this is the place for you.

For a top notch cocktail bar head to Aloha Stavanger which is a local favorite and a place with a nice atmosphere. Nearby Bardello is also a good choice and often has live music.

For a cozy wine bar with an extensive selection of wines head to Norvald Vinbar.

Things to do in Stavanger

Stavanger has plenty of cultural and historical sights to explore, and with its proximity to nature it's a city with a lot to offer.

Here are some of my top recommendations for things to do in Stavanger:

MUSEUMS, Art & Culture

Immerse yourself in the history of Norway's oil industry at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. Interactive exhibits and multimedia displays provide insights into offshore drilling and the impact of oil on Norway's economy.

Visit Stavanger Cathedral (Stavanger domkirke), one of Norway's oldest cathedrals dating back to the 12th century. The cathedral is a testament to medieval architecture and craftsmanship.

Visit the Stavanger Art Museum located at the south-west corner of the Mosvatnet lake.

Stavanger has a vibrant street art scene with colorful murals and graffiti enhancing the city's urban landscape. Take a stroll through the streets to discover hidden artistic gems and don’t miss out on the colorful Øvre Holmegate street. Also take time to wander through the charming cobblestone streets of Gamle Stavanger, where well-preserved white wooden houses from the 18th and 19th centuries create a picturesque neighborhood.

Sea & Fjord/hiking activities

The sea to the west and mountains and fjords to the east makes Stavanger an ideal place for nature lovers. Many excursions go to the nearby Lysefjord (see my guide here), where you can do both hiking and kayaking.

You can find a range of activities nearby Stavanger here on GetYourGuide.

Stavanger park with water fountain and swans

How to get around in Stavanger

Public transportation

Stavanger is small and most things are reachable by foot, but there are buses, ferries, and city bikes that can take you around.

Find information on the Kolumbus website.

Stavanger park with water fountain and swans

Stavanger Travel Connections

Stavanger is well-connected with rail, bus, ferry, and flights. You can easily get here from most places in Norway.

Oslo

Oslo is easily reachable by trains operated by Go-Ahead, but you can buy tickets and find the schedule on the Vy website.

Nor-Way Bussexpress also operates a bus line between Oslo - Kristiansand - Stavanger.

There are also frequent flights between Oslo and Stavanger.

TO TROMSØ, LOFOTEN & BODØ

These destinations are far up north, and unless you have ample time, consider traveling by train and/or bus. For most travelers I would recommend to find a flight and fly up north.

TO ÅLESUND

Further to the north, Ålesund can be reached with a flight, but you’ll have to make a stopover in either Bergen or Oslo. Consider taking the Vy Bus to Bergen and then the Nor-Way bus from there.

TO KRISTIANSAND & Bergen

Nor-Way Bussexpress operates a bus line between Bergen - Stavanger - Kristiansand. Buses are comfortable, and include some fjord ferry crossings, so this is a great way to travel in that direction.

To avoid bus or car, you can also consider taking the Fjordline Ferry. There is also a train connection between Stavanger and Kristiansand, find schedule and tickets on the Vy website.

TO TRONDHEIM

There are no direct bus or train lines between Stavanger and Trondheim, so to get there in one day I would recommend a flight.

TO STOCKHOLM & COPENHAGEN

For a train ride between Stavanger and Stockholm or Copenhagen you will need to go through Oslo. I would recommend doing this journey over two days with a stopover in Oslo. Find route schedules and tickets on the Vy website.

Once in Oslo you could consider taking the overnight DFDS Ferry to Copenhagen.

There are many flights between Stavanger and Stockholm/Copenhagen. Some are direct and some you’ll have to change in Oslo.

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