Welcome to Stavanger, 3rd largest city in Noway. I imagine locals would tell you not to waste your time here, but I really enjoyed wandering this sweet, colorful little city. Its official founding dates back to 1125. But more recently, it has become the Oil Capital of Noway.
It’s an expensive place to spend time, however, if you adjust the way you eat, it can cushion the blow. We stayed at The Clarion Hotel Downtown for a decent price, which included breakfast. For dinner, we split meals, then went back to the room to have a few local beers we picked up from the store.
Norway’s famous fjords also line the perimeter of Stavanger’s coast–making aerial views especially stunning. Stavanger Sentrum (aka downtown Stavanger) feels quite touristy. There are some fun restaurants, bars, and colorful buildings. But I’d encourage you to venture out to some of the surrounding neighborhoods as well.
Walk down to the piers. Try to catch a quick boat ride. Marvel at how they turned an old shipyard into a playground. Can you imagine if this place were in the US? Everyone from high school seniors to newly wed couples would be out here getting that instagram shot. Interestingly enough, I didn’t get that vibe anywhere in Stavanger. They must be way cooler than all us Americans in the instagram department.
Welcome to Øvre Holmegate, the most colorful neighborhood of Stavanger! These streets may date back to the Middle Ages, but you wouldn’t guess it today from all the street art. It’s hard to imagine, but not soo long ago, this area was a grey, uninviting part of town. Now it’s bustling with people and art and night life. A large portion is even closed down to cars, upping the neighborhood vibe.
Øvre Holmegate is my favorite part of Stavanger, and it’s easy to see why.
Welcome to Gamle Stavanger. This neighborhood is full of whitewashed wooden homes along cobblestone streets. After WWII, there was a clamoring to rebuild the city with more modern structures that could withstand more than the existing buildings. However, the official City Architect of Stavanger, Einar Hedén, opposed such an idea, believing it would deprive the area of culture. How lucky we all are that someone had the foresight of preservation–so much so that we are still enjoying their work to this day.
Looking for a quick bite or beer? Try one of these places:
- Pa Kornet: local beers and charcuterie
- Noodle Noodle: Asian Fusion
- Gulating Ølutsalg: affordable bottle shop
- Dongvill Burger: chic burger bar
Like I mentioned before, Stavanger may be a bit off the tourist path, but it’s well worth the visit.