The gateway to Norway’s spectacularly scenic fjord land, Stavanger is also a town with its own rich heritage as it is regarded as the ‘Cradle of the Vikings’.
Your ship will dock right next to Gamle Stavanger, the old quarter, with its collection of 200-year-old white wooden houses (considered national heritage monuments in their own right), 12th century cathedral modelled on Winchester Cathedral, markets, craft stores and art galleries.
Look out, too, for the Three Swords monument in the Hafrsfjord rock recalling the Viking sea battle won by King Harald the Fairhair to create Norway as one kingdom back in the 9th century. This is on the way to a recreation of an Iron Age Farm at Jernaldergarden. The other major landmark is a short boat trip away through the delightful Stavanger archipelago to the 2,000ft high Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen).
The ship will berth in the centre with only a short walk into town, therefore easy to access for those who have accessability issues. Stavanger town itself is very colourful and easy to get around. The old part of the town is lovely to stroll around with its whitewashed wooden houses.
In summer there is a market in the main square close to the ship and if you follow the road over the hill past the church there is a nice park and lake.
On the corner of Ovre Strandgate & Bergsmauet in the old town (opposite the canning museum) is a small café selling hot chocolate and the best cinnamon roll you will taste.
Just round the corner from this café is a reasonably priced small glass studio in Mellomstraen.
There is a very interesting Gas and Oil Museum with a life like dive to enjoy. Good place to go if the weather is not too good.
Stroll up into the old part of the town. Amongst all the old wooden builded a vist the authentic sardin cannery is recommended. The museum is set out as an authentic sardine (sprat) cannery could have looked in the period around the First World War. Then next to the museum is the Workers cottage, an authentic 1800s house built in regency style architecture. Throughout the summer season there is a cozy cafe in the first floor, with traditional Norwegian waffles, coffee, soft drinks and other things that can be enjoyed both inside the cottage or outside in the cozy backyard.
The HOHO bus is very good and it takes you to the famous 3 The Viking swords. The fare for the HOHO is 275 NOK adult or 140 NOK for children.
The Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock excursion is superb and highly recommended. The excursion ship goes from right next to your cruise liner. There are ample seats inside but with limited views, and a few seats top side. However, if you are up for it spend the whole of the trip on top standing at the front of the boat. This will prove to be a good choice later on when the ones from inside decided to join you on top and you have front row viewing. The trip up Lysefjord to Pulpit rock is spectacular and so tranquil. At one point the only noise you can hear are the cascading waterfalls hitting the water. On the way back you stop for coffee/tea and waffles. If you are planning to do this trip, even in July/August, you do need warm wet weather clothing if you plan to stay on top for the whole journey and at least a warm fleece is recommended. £54pp in 2017
If you are looking at doing this as a DIY there are normally two locations. The company is called Norled and sSometimes they set up right next to the ship and sometimes on the far side near the resturants. The cost is £40pp (2017) so cheaper than a ships excursion. The only difference is on the way back you do not stop for tea/coffee & waffles.
There is also a helicopter option for this excursion. £185pp in 2017
The Flora and Fauna tour. This is an excursion by boat to a private island which has an amazing sub-tropical garden. When you arrive you are split into groups and the owner and granddaughter show you round and after that you explore yourself. It is a beautiful place, a little bit of paradise and a must see (certainly in June/July/August) if you have the opportunity. This is an excursion that is worth every penny. If you are thinking about this then it is recommended to book early to see the incredible colour so far north. £68pp in 2017.
By Peter Dagnall
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