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Getting To Know Stavanger – Cruise Port Guide
Stavanger is one of Norway’s oldest cities and can lay claim to being the area where the modern Kingdom of Norway was united with the Battle of Hafrsfjord in roughly 872 AD, where King Harald Fairhair declared himself King of Norway. Officially founded as a city in 1125 with the construction of the cathedral, the history of Stavanger has been one of boom and bust, but at its heart the sea has always played a prominent role in its development, and now as one of Norway’s most popular cruise destinations, you too can add to the success the sea has brought the city. Welcome to our Stavanger cruise port guide.
On one side its inner city retains a small town character in and amongst its white wooden 18th and 19th century merchants houses, where the all-important fish canning industry and wharf side storage buildings dominated the economy. On the other, as the onshore hub and capital of Norway’s booming oil industry, a visitor to the city can experience the importance of the discovery of offshore oil at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum and view some of the many oil platforms that line the harbour.
Further afield you can explore Viking history at the Museum of Archaeology and even visit an Iron Age Farm and archaeological site, and view the fantastic Three Swords Monument, positioned where they believe the Battle of Hafrsfjord is likely to have taken place. If you want to get your fjord fix, Stavanger is located within easy reach of the Lysefjord, where you can either take a fjord cruise to view the stunning rock formations and waterfalls or take the challenge of hiking up to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), which overhangs the fjord 604 metres below.
Port Location and Facilities
The cruise piers in Stavanger are positioned around the Vågen (Harbour) right at the heart of the city centre, within easy walking distance of all the major attractions. The Strandkaien berth is located directly opposite Gamle Stavanger and you’re likely to be able get a fantastic view of the area from your ship as they tend to tower above the houses.
What not to miss
The old part of the city with the restored wooden 18th and 19th century houses. This area is cobbled and has some steep streets to traverse to fully appreciate it, with around 250 houses in typical white with red tiled roofs impeccably preserved and now seen as one of trendiest parts of the city.
The oldest cathedral in Norway dates to 1100, completed in 1150, and dedicated to St. Swithun Bishop of Winchester. Originally constructed out of wood, it was damaged during a fire in 1272 that affected the whole city, so it was rebuilt in stone in gothic style.
Norwegian Petroleum Museum
As the oil capital of Norway after the discovery of oil in 1969 in the North Sea, Stavanger’s economy is focused on offshore activities and acts as the onshore base for the industry. This interactive museum focuses on these activities displaying objects highlighting the various details that have shaped the changing landscape of the oil industry.
Comprising several departments spread across various sites in the city, the Stavanger Museum established in 1877 focuses on natural and cultural history. Its locations include:
- Stavanger Museum of Natural History – previously the department of zoology, it has a keen focus on ornithology and exotic specimens collected by travellers.
- Stavanger Maritime Museum – located in wharf side buildings on the west side of the Vågen that date to the 18th and 19th Centuries, the museum focuses on the development of shipping and its importance to the economy of Stavanger.
- Norwegian Canning Museum – as the one-time canning capital of Norway, Stavanger once boasted over 50 canneries. This museum located in Gamle Stavanger is in a preserved cannery that dates to 1841 and was in operation until the 1950s. Its exhibitions focus on machinery and processes involved in canning.
- Stavanger Art Museum – with a collection of over 2,000 works of art from Norwegian and international artists, this is the place to go for fine arts in the city.
- Norwegian Children’s Museum – has a collection of traditional toys and is an interactive museum for the whole family.
- Norwegian Printing Museum – focuses on the history of printing and media in Stavanger, in an old canning stock from 1913 restored to original condition.
- Stavanger School Museum – located in an old 1920s schoolhouse, its purpose is to showcase the history of the school curriculum in Rogaland.
- Ledaal – an old manor house built between 1799 and 1803, it is now the official royal residence for the King of Norway in Stavanger but also acts as a museum which can be visited.
- Breidablikk – a preserved merchant’s mansion from the 1880s that can be visited to view the lavish decorations.
Museum of Archaeology
Covering the Stone, Bronze, Viking and Middle Ages, this fantastic museum highlights the human development in the Rogaland region spanning 11,000 years. At its heart is the exhibition Viking Voyagers, with collections found in Viking burials that include swords, jewellery and items brought back from raids and expeditions overseas.
Sverd i fjell (Swords in Rock)
A monument made up of three bronze swords that are 10 metres tall stuck in a rock in an area believed to be the site of the Battle of Harfsfjord. This battle which is believed to have taken place in 872, is when legend states King Harald Fairhair united Norway under one crown.
In contrast to Gamle Stavanger, make sure you visit the street called Fargegaten (official street name is (Øvre Holmegate). This pedestrianised street is a kaleidoscope of colour, as all the buildings have been painted in bright colours, from pink to blue, green and yellow. It was after a local hairdresser decided in 2005 to lobby for the area to brightened up to attract visitors, and it seems to have done the job, as people now come to the street to take photos and stop in one of the many coffee shops or boutiques.
Iron Age Farm
The only farm of its kind in Norway, it replicates a farmstead of three buildings from the period 350-550AD.
Flor og Fjære
A truly stunning collection of man-made tropical gardens located on the island of Sør-Hidle and host tours between May and the end of September. The gardens are redesigned and replanted every year.
This 42km (26 mile) fjord is accessed by boat tour from Stavanger and is well known for its rock formation Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock. This is a steep cliff that rises 604 metres (1,982ft) above the fjord and is a popular hiking route.
NoFlyCruises recommends https://www.regionstavanger-ryfylke.com the official site of Region Stavanger DMO.
The currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone. Norway has a reputation as one of the most expensive countries in Europe and the average price of a standard cup of coffee is around £3/$4. Budget accordingly if you plan to dine out each day, as meals are roughly around 110kr per person (£11/$13 per person).
Stavanger experiences warmer temperatures than many other parts of Norway due to the Gulf Stream, with a record high of 34 degrees Celsius. August is traditionally the warmest month with an average of 15 degrees Celsius.
From the cruise port locations around Vågen all the major attractions are easily walkable, just be aware that some areas are cobbled such as Gamle Stavanger, and some areas of the city are accessed via inclines.
Fjord cruises to visit Lysefjord depart from the Vågen and are run by Rødne Fjord Cruises. Departures vary depending on the season, but in the summer months there are several departures a day and prices start from 580NOK per person. For more information including updated prices and schedules check out https://rodne.no/en/fjordcruise/#stavanger
For Hop On Hop Off services, including information on the routes and prices, check out https://city-sightseeing.com/en/70/stavanger
Safety Whilst Ashore
Stavanger is the fourth largest city in Norway and can become crowded in peak tourist season from May to September, so take care of yourself in built up areas.
Where to Eat
NoFlyCruises recommends the following eateries:
Fisketorget Stavanger, Strandkaien 37, 4005 Stavanger, Norway
With the fishing industry having played a major role in the development of Stavanger, you have to sample the local catch at this fish restaurant that is also a small fish market located at the heart of the harbour. The menu changes regularly, except for two mainstays in the shrimp sandwich and fish soup.
Key highlights of Stavanger
- Gamle Stavanger
- Stavanger Museum
- Museum of Natural History
- Maritime Museum
- Children’s Museum
- Printing Museum
- School Museum
- Art Museum
- Norwegian Canning Museum
- Leedal (Royal Residence)
- Breidablikk Merchant Villa
- Archaeological Museum
- Norwegian Petroleum Museum
- Valberg Tower
- Stavanger Cathedral
- Three Swords Monument
- Jernaldergården – Iron Age Farm
- Flor & Fjære Tropical Garden Island
- Leprosy Museum
- Fjord cruise to Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock
Regular cruise line visitors
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- P&O Cruises
- SAGA Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Celebrity Cruises
- Viking Ocean
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