Stavanger sights

Stavanger sights

Stavanger on your own

The visit to Stavanger, the fourth largest city in Norway, fascinates us immensely. The 146.000 inhabitants live partly on the mainland or on islands around the city. Day visitors would do well to check out the city center attractions. There is enough to see there.


Visitors arriving by cruise ships are to be envied. Their floating hotels are located right in the city center around the harbor bay of Vågen. The piers are called: Strandkaien, Skagenkaien and Skansenkaien. If these berths are not sufficient, the town of Sandnes, 15 kilometers away, is an alternative port. We describe how guests get from there to Stavanger below Stavanger.

Stavanger - Vågen harbor bay with the P&O IONA
Stavanger-Cruise Terminal

Two particularly beautiful quarters

The big city of Stavanger is surrounded by a lot of water. Guests whose ships dock at Vågen harbor should give priority to visiting the old town, Color Street and its neighbourhood.

Den Gamle Stavanger – the old town

One of the highlights is the picturesque old town adjacent to the Strandkaien cruise terminal. Before oil and gas were found off the Norwegian coast in the late 1960s, Stavanger residents made their living mainly from the fishing, fish processing and canning industries. From ancient times, Stavanger's building fabric consisted of wooden houses. Of these, 173 units have been preserved in Den Gamle Stavanger.

Den Gamle Stavanger - Nedre Strandgate
Den Gamle Stavanger - Øvre Strandgate
The Game Stavanger
Den Gamle Stavanger - Øvre Strandgate

The buildings were mainly built on slopes towards the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. What used to be no premier residential area is now a preferred neighborhood where residents strive to outdo each other with beautiful gardens.

A visit to Øvre Strandgate is a must.

Øvre Holmegate – Stavanger's "Color Street"

Another attraction in central Stavanger is without a doubt the Øvre Holmegate. A hairdresser got involved in 2005 for the then run-down street. To breathe fresh life into them, he advocated painting the houses different colors. He was supported in his project by an artist. Both managed to convince the city administration and the homeowners of the idea.

Stavanger - Ovre Holmegate
Stavanger - Ovre Holmegate
Stavanger - pedestrian street near Øvre Holmegate
Stavanger - Ostervag

Now a pedestrian street, Øvre Holmegate is home to cafes, pubs, restaurants and small shops. The adjacent streets, which are worth seeing not least because of their street art works, also benefited from the change.

Stavanger - Statue at Ostervag
Stavanger - Graffiti at Ostervag
Stavanger - mural painting

Cathedral church

The three-aisled basilica dedicated to St. Svithun is situated on the north shore of the Breiavatnet city lake in central Stavanger. In 2025, the diocese, the cathedral and the city of Stavanger will celebrate their 900th anniversary together. As the only Norwegian and also the oldest bishop's church, the church has retained its original architecture since the Middle Ages. The cathedral church was built in the Anglo-Norman style. A city fire in 1272 severely damaged it. As part of the necessary repairs, it was enlarged, the chancel, portals and porch were rebuilt in the Gothic style. The baptismal font was probably created between 1250 and 1300. The pulpit, which is worth seeing, is more recent. It was completed in 1658 and contains elements of the Bible. In the 1860s and thereafter, the church underwent several restorations and transformations. The medieval character of the church was lost.

Stavanger Cathedral ChurchStavanger Cathedral Church

In 1682 the bishopric was moved to the city of Kristiansand. In 1925, King Haakon VII had the diocese of Stavanger restored.

The cathedral is currently closed for interior restoration work. It is expected to reopen in August 2024.

Two unusual museums

The city has several museums, two of which deserve special mention. They are the Norwegian Graphic and Canning Museum and the Norwegian Oil Museum.

IDDIS – Norwegian Graphic and Canning Museum

IDDIS stands for "iddikett" (label) in the local dialect. In a broader sense, this means labels and cans. Both were aspects of the city's industrial history. Stavanger, as the location of a thriving canning industry, required a powerful (label) printing industry.

Stavanger - IDDIS - Norwegian Graphic MuseumStavanger - IDDIS - Norwegian Graphic Museum

In the IDDIS, both branches of industry are the focus of the presentation and consideration. The canning industry is honored in a former cannery. In an adjoining new building, visitors can learn more about the printing industry and its importance for Stavanger at the time. You will also experience how printing was done back then. Keywords are manual typesetting, old printing presses and bookbinding.

Location: Den Gamle Stavanger, Øvre Strandgate no. 90
The facility maintains a museum café;
Activities and demonstrations are regularly held in the print shop.

Norwegian Petroleum Museum – Norsk Oljemuseum

In just a few decades, oil and gas discoveries off Norway's coast have brought a whole new business and prosperity to a country with previously agricultural, shipping and fishing traditions. The oil and gas business has blossomed into Norway's most important industry within half a century.

Stavanger - Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Stavanger - Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Stavanger - Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Stavanger - Norwegian Petroleum Museum

The museum provides information on how oil and gas were formed and how the resources in the sea are discovered. It provides information about extraction techniques and visitors learn how the income from oil and gas extraction has affected the state of Norway and its citizens. Likewise, reference is made in a section of the exhibition to greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of oil production on global warming.

The focus of the exhibition is offshore production in the North Sea. The museum, which opened in 1999, is therefore reminiscent of a drilling platform.

Location: Kjeringholmen, Stavanger;
Ticket prices: regular admission 150 NOK (13,40 euros); Discounts are granted.
Summer season opening hours: daily 10:00am to 19:00pm


The Vålbergtårnet, the former fire alarm tower, can already be seen from the old city port of Vågen. The octagonal tower, almost 27 meters high, stands in the middle of a green area on a hill above the city. It towers over the other buildings in the Storhaug district. From the watchtower erected in the middle of the 19th century, the town, which was much smaller at the time, could be viewed well. In the event of a fire, the inhabitants were alerted to the impending danger by ringing bells or firing cannons. About 100 years ago the fire alarm tower was abandoned in favor of other alarm techniques. He was the second watchtower. In its place was an octagonal wooden tower built in 1658.

Stavanger - Vålbergtårnet
Stavanger - Vålbergtårnet
Stavanger - Vålbergtårnet - Cannons at Utsiktspunkt
Stavanger - Vålbergtårnet - the Utsiktspunkt

The Vålbergtårnet now houses the City Guard Museum. The “Valberget Utsiktspunkt” was set up at the tower. It allows limited views of the city.

Breiavatnet – the city lake

In the center of Stavanger, south of the cathedral and the adjoining cathedral school, lies the city lake Breiavatnet in the middle of a green area. It is a refuge for swans, ducks and seagulls. A fountain and benches for those seeking peace and quiet are also available.

Stavanger's city lake Breiavatnet

Stavanger's city lake Breiavatnet

Breiavatnet - Cathedral School

Breiavatnet - Cathedral School 

Destinations outside of Stavanger

Pulpit Rock

In 2019, according to hearsay, more than 300.000 hikers visited the natural rock platform Preikestolen. Translated into German, the name of the tourist attraction, located about 40 road kilometers east of Stavanger, means "pulpit" or "sermon chair".

The natural phenomenon was created about 10.000 years ago by frost cracking of the glacier above. He carried the blasted blocks with him. The pulpit, measuring about 25 by 25 meters, was preserved. It towers 604 meters above the Lysefjord below. The platform is close to Preikestolhytta. This is where the upgraded road ends. You then continue on foot to Preikestolen. The difference in altitude is 330 meters. The distance to the platform is almost four kilometers. Altogether, a minimum of five hours should be estimated for the two routes. Added to this is the transport time. We recommend this time-consuming excursion to day guests from cruise ships only in connection with excursions organized by the shipping companies.

Sverd i fjell – swords in the mountain

A few kilometers from the center of Stavanger, three symbolic swords protrude from the rocky landscape at Hafrsfjord's Møllebukta. The memorial commemorates the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872. In that year or a few years later, historiography does not give a specific date, Harald Hårfagre, who bore the adorning nickname Harald Fairhair, united Norway, which was divided into several small kingdoms, into one kingdom . Harald Fairhair became Norway's first king as Harald I.

Stavanger - Sverd i fjell

Stavanger - Sverd i fjell

Stavanger - Sverd i fjell

Stavanger - Sverd i fjell 

The three bronze swords, each ten meters high, are a symbol of the country's national unification. The swords can be equated with the three main regions of Norway at that time. The regions were the north, the south-east and the south-west. The memorial not only commemorates the Battle of Hafrsfjord; it is also a symbol of peace. In times of peace, when they didn't need the swords, the Vikings would stick them in the ground. Although the monument looks old, it is of recent origin. In 1983 Norway's King Olav V inaugurated the monument.  

August 2023

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