When choosing a hotel in Norway's charming city of Stavanger, most travelers are drawn to the scenic harbor, steps from top-notch restaurants, shopping, and cultural attractions, not to mention boating fjord excursions. Here are three favorite waterfront hotels—standard, mid-range, and luxury—depending on your budget.

Staying in Stavanger

Walk through narrow streets lined with historic clapboard houses in Old Stavanger

Located in southwestern Norway, Stavanger is the country's fourth largest city yet retains a small-town charm thanks to its preserved wooden architecture from the 18th century. You can find many of these structures along a scenic harbor that draws a mix of small pleasure crafts and large cruise ships. The compact cobblestone core beckons visitors to wander slowly, especially along the colorful shopping street Øvre Holmegate known for its photogenic boutiques and cafés. The waterfront also hosts a busy schedule of seasonal events, including festivals dedicated to food and art.

For cultural attractions, you can visit the 12th-century Stavanger Cathedral and museums dedicated to the maritime, canning, and petroleum industries—all of which play an important part in the city's rich history. Stavanger is also an excellent hub for outdoor activities in Norway, including moderately difficult hikes to Kjeragbolten (Kjerag Boulder) and Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and cruises in the Lysefjord, which include a stop in Flørli, where you can climb up the longest wooden staircase in the world (4,444 steps). For more ideas, check out the best things to do in Stavanger

Eilert Smith Hotel

Sophisticated rooms have custom Danish furnishings and premium bedding (photo courtesy of Eilert Smith Hotel)

One of the best hotels in Norway, Eilert Smith Hotel, opened in 2019 and is named after the building's original architect: Eilert Smith. There are 12 magazine-worthy rooms that have luxury amenities and handcrafted wood furnishings from a Danish company. The single rooms have Nespresso machines, complimentary minibars, and Malin + Goetz bath products, while the higher room categories add kitchenettes and seating areas. There is even a residence on the upper two floors with a panoramic view of the harbor. 

Each morning, guests receive a made-to-order breakfast in their rooms based on a seasonal menu, which helps minimize food waste. Though it's practically impossible to get into, guests have a little pull at the on-site restaurant, RE-NAA, which is the only two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Norway since one table in the restaurant is reserved for in-house guests. Hotel staff can assist with other quality restaurant reservations, plus in-room spa treatments and private excursions to nearby attractions. Guests also have complimentary access to a gym a short walk away.

The hotel is on a quieter street in Stavanger across from the harbor, with views of boats and occasional cruise ships docked nearby. Though slightly off the beaten path for most visitors, guests are within a 10-minute walk to the city's best shopping and restaurants in nearby cobblestone streets. Learn more

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Hotel Victoria

MID-RANGE

Guests have free access to bike cruisers (photo courtesy of Hotel Victoria)

Hotel Victoria is Stavanger's oldest hotel dating to 1900, and its Neo-Renaissance redbrick exterior is noticeable from all areas of the harbor. The hotel has undergone an extensive renovation and offers much more modern interiors than it did before when it was a traditional business hotel with a steakhouse. And you can't beat the location across from the ferry terminal, with quick access to a range of boat excursions in the Lysefjord area. It's so central that a large cruise ship might be docked right in front of the hotel.

All 107 rooms have tall ceilings, luxury bedding, and elegant furnishings in neutral tones. Bathrooms have new subway tiles and bath products in eco-friendly pumps. Regarding categories, standard rooms have minibars, kettles, and bathrobes, while superior rooms have Nespresso machines. The deluxe rooms have seating areas with sofa beds that can sleep an additional two guests. These rooms also face the harbor. 

An impressive breakfast buffet, included for guests, is served in two adjacent rooms on the second floor with chandeliers and white-table-cloth service. This is an excellent spread with hot and cold items and many healthy options that can easily accommodate vegetarians and gluten-free guests. Downstairs, a stylish restaurant serves lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, and custom cocktails. During the warmer months, you can sit outside on a patio that faces the harbor or grab a loaner bike and take a spin. Learn more

Clarion Collection Hotel Skagen Brygge
STANDARD

Front-facing rooms have waterfront views (photo courtesy of Clarion Collection Hotel Skagen Brygge)

A few doors down from the hotel listed above, the Clarion Collection Hotel Skagen Brygge is an approachable option on the waterfront. The hotel opened in 1988, and the award-winning architecture was inspired by Stavanger's old sea sheds or boathouses during the heyday of its herring fishing industry. While the inspiration behind the design evokes a bygone era, the hotel has a laid-back lobby and front desk with brochures and other traveler conveniences.

There are 116 basic but contemporary rooms that have big windows, and a percentage of all categories—even standard—face the waterfront (request upon check-in). All categories have large windows and the same muted color palette with carpeting and bright bursts of jewel tones. Standard rooms have single and double options, while superior rooms offer more space. Deluxe rooms can accommodate up to two extra beds for families, or opt for the two bi-level suites that can sleep five guests.

Clarion's freebies are beloved by repeat guests and include a breakfast buffet, an afternoon treat, and a light evening buffet with a hot and cold item. If the weather is nice, take your food and drink to the outdoor deck surrounded by a white picket fence and potted plants facing the harbor view. Learn more