When planning our weekend mini break, there were a couple of things we had on our wish list;
- good food
- within 2 hours flying time of London
- on the UK travel corridor list (crucial!)
Norway, and Stavanger in particular ticked all of these boxes for us, and was the ideal 72 hour getaway. We wanted to cram a lot into our break, but still have time to wander around at leisure. We did luck out with the weather which made it even easier to spend time sitting at outdoor cafes, cool down with giant ice-creams and spend most of our trip outside, however it can get very, very cold in Norway so make sure you pack appropriately!
How to Spend A Long Weekend in Stavanger
What to Do In Stavanger
Old Stavanger (Gamle Stavanger)
This cute part of town is situated near the port and is just so pretty. It seems like there are some Air B&B’s in this area that I would love to stay in for a future trip. With cobbled streets, gorgeous gardens and historically restored wooden houses, a stroll around here feels like you’re stepping back in time. There are guided walking tours that can tell you more about the area – famous for being Europe’s largest wooden city.
A beautiful colourful street in the heart of downtown Stavanger, with cute coffee shops (Boker og Borst is a must for coffee lovers), bars and shops. (See the first photo in the blog)
There are a number of very highly rated museums and art galleries for visitors of all ages in Stavanger. Whilst we didn’t actually make it to any on our trip, we did receive numerous recommendations for the Canning Museum, the Petroleum Museum and the Maritime Museum.
Our cruise was part of an organised hike to Kjerag, however I would highly recommend hopping on a boat at some point during your stay to enjoy the fjord at water level. We loved viewing Pulpit rock from below as well as trying to spot Kjeragbolten (read more below). It gets very cold on the boat, regardless of what the weather is like, so make sure you pack extra layers if you want to sit outside. There are boat tours that leave from Stavanger port regularly throughout the summer, including sightseeing cruises, safari tours, hiking and waterfall exploration and fishing!
Best Hikes Near Stavanger
Also known as Pulpit Rock, this is probably the most popular hike in the area. It’s a family friendly hike rated Easy by Norwegian standards. The hike can get quite busy so if you can aim for sunrise or sunset, then you won’t have to content with quite so many other tourists, especially if you’re doing it during peak season (June-Aug). Read all about our sunrise hike here.
This hike was on my bucket list but sadly it can’t be done on weekends due to the ferry service. Florli is a coastal village only accessible by boat, and home to the world’s largest wooden railway. You can climb up the 4444 steps (plus a few more for good measure) then meander back down the mountain path, enjoy a hot tub and meal while you wait for the ferry back to Stavanger. I need to go back to do this hike!
Imagine balancing on top of a suspended boulder 1000m above the fjord. The hike up to Kjeragbolten is classed as ‘Hard’ – it’s around 12KM round trip with three steep uphills and a couple of downhills. There’s a chainlink cable to help you up the steepest sections (although we avoided that to reduce touch). Weather can change quickly so be prepared with plenty of layers (and snacks).
Where to Eat in Stavanger
A local veggie/fish farm to table, organic (all wines are organic/*naked), set menu with 5-7 courses. The best food we’d eaten all year. Great staff who all cook/serve/explain the dishes. Highly recommend a visit.
Rice & Noodles
Pre-hiking carbs. Cheap and cheerful, huge portions, not fancy at all! It looks like a local takeaway, which it is but it was full when we arrived and stayed that way all evening. One man in the kitchen doing it all and with a huge smile.
Waterside fish restaurant serving local dishes, fresh fish of the day with an ever chanign menu. Great service. Recommend the traditional fish soup – creamy and delicious and the restaurants speciality.
Ice-creams the size of your face. Menu and signage in Norwegian but staff who will happily chat you through it. We chose huge whippy style soft serve with toppings and sauce – and couldn’t finish them. Go smaller but pile up the toppings. Well worth a visit regardless of weather.
Another harbour front restaurant with good Italian food in a beautiful setting. During our weekend we opted for restaurants we could sit outdoors as much as possible although this was obviously helped by the weather.
We went on Saturday afternoon for a coffee and wander around the small, local weekend market.
Boker og Borst
For great coffee in a cute location. There’s an app to order your coffees and cake to reduce contact (luckily it is also translated into English). The best coffee we had all weekend.
We also stopped by the Spa off the main square for packed lunch bits, water and snacks for our hikes.
Where to Stay in Stavanger
While I wouldn’t recommend the hotel we stayed at (noisy road and no air conditioning made for less than peaceful sleep) however the location was great. I’d definitely suggest staying near the city centre so that you can easily walk to restaurants and shops. It’s also worth thinking about whether your hotel is on the pick-up list if you’re doing any tours. If you’re looking for something a little different, then one of the wooden houses in Old Stavanger (like this or this) would be perfect!
If you have extra time in Stavanger, then I’d consider staying at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge for a night or two. The location at the trailhead of Preikestolen is gorgeous and means you can easily take advantage of a sunset or sunrise hike on Pulpit Rock.
I always enjoy reading Charlie’s blog. When all the travel restrictions are relaxed Norway is on our bucket list for a visit and now I know where we can hike and eat.
I think you’ll love it!
I love this; it’s my 60th in March and we are looking for a year of adventures (Covid permitting). This is an ideal tip for us. Thanks for the informative and engaging review.
That would be perfect!! Fingers crossed you’d be able to get there
Thanks for sharing! Haven’t considered Norway for a holiday before, but Stavanger looks so fun after reading your blog 🙂
Oh I’m so pleased, let me know if you do go!
That looks like such a beautiful place. Would love to visit it one day.