Whilst Oslo remains Norway’s most popular tourist destination, several of its other cities provide a viable alternative to those who are feeling a little more adventurous. A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit Stavanger, a beautiful city situated in the southwest of the country. Whilst there I had an excellent time exploring what it had to offer despite the ignominy of being a 20 year old man on holiday with his parents.
One of the main attractions of this city is the magnificent Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) – a huge rock face overlooking a stunning fjord. Although this involves a few hours of hiking, the view is breathtaking and allows you to take some death-defying pics (not dissimilar to the one I’ve used for this article) which you can shamelessly exploit for likes on social media. As well as the rock itself, thrill-seekers will also be pleased to learn that on the trail leading to the rock there is a lengthy zip wire which propels you through acres of Forrest at a rate which will set pulses racing and turn trousers brown (I didn’t shit myself though). However, as this is quite a popular attraction it’s best to catch a ferry early from Stavanger in order to beat the rush as the trail leading up to the rock can become extremely busy.
The city itself is a picturesque location filled with plenty of different attractions to explore. A stroll through old Stavanger, for instance, provides some easy on the eye wooden architecture from the 18-19th century which has been extremely well-preserved and whose colours pop to a weegie used to depressingly bland tenements. The city also possesses some excellent museums, namely the Rogaland Art Museum which harbours the work of some of Norway’s most famous artists such as Edvard Munch and Christian Krogh.
If art and architecture is not your bag though, simply walking around the city is a treat in and of itself due to it being a small, quiet location which is pedestrian friendly due to limitations on traffic. It also has a huge number of public parks full of different activities to admire as well as enjoy.
Although we eschewed Norwegian places when dining out, we visited an array of different restaurants providing cuisine from across the globe. The pick of the lot was arguably a Thai restaurant which served up a fantastic array of South East Asian delights. The name of this place, however, escapes me but anybody visiting Stavanger should look out for a restaurant with an unhealthy obsession with the Thai royal family if they are craving some Thai cuisine.
The only problem with this trip was the cost. Those looking for a budget weekend getaway may want to avoid this city due to the strength of the Krone and, if you’re British, the declining value of the pound. Due to this, there were days where my family and I were having to comically stock up on food in the morning or else we would have to fast in order to avoid paying a small fortune for a meal.
Nonetheless, the multitude of activities to explore as well as the seemingly endless evenings still means that you can explore this city on a budget. As such, I’d highly recommend visiting Stavanger for quiet weekend getaway with a partner or even on your own.