Best of Stavanger

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Stavanger
The lovely city of Stavanger makes for an ideal connection between Eastern and Western Norway. It’s known for being Norway’s oil capital and an aspiring contender for the “gateway to the fjords'' title, thanks to its proximity to Lysefjord and the famous Pulpit Rock, a steep cliff roughly 2,000 feet (610 m) above Lysefjorden with a flat square top. In addition to the area’s natural beauties, Stavanger is also famous for its historic architecture as well as its street art and hosts the annual Nuart street art festival.

Previous kimkim travelers have approached Pulpit Rock via a cruise and hike, as well as sunrise hikes and off-the-beaten-path tours. Guides will lead you to beat the crowds up Kjerag and its popular boulder suspended between two cliffs, or up the world’s longest flight of wooden stairs, all 4,444 of them, at Flørli.
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Stavanger Essentials

Stavanger's colorful harbor in summer
Best Things to Do in Stavanger

Set in Southern Norway, Stavanger offers the best of all worlds: stunning natural scenery, picturesque coastlines, charming historic streets, connections to cities like Oslo and Bergen, and easy access to the fjord region. The city is an excellent hub for some of the most popular activities in Norway, including hikes to Kjerag and Pulpit Rock, cruises in Lysefjord, and day trips to charming towns like Flørli.

An autumn hiker at one of Norway's famous views from Pulpit Rock
The 4 Best Hotels near Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)

One of the most famous hikes in Norway offers few hotel options (enjoy those uninterrupted views), and you'll want a good night's sleep before and after the adventure. Luckily, Stavanger, Norway's fourth largest city, is less than an hour away from Pulpit Rock, providing a charming base. Here are four hotels in the cobbled center with access to great restaurants and shopping.

Stavanger's harbor is a popular stopover for travelers partaking in nearby hiking and fjord excursions
The 3 Best Waterfront Hotels in Stavanger

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.

Stavanger Itineraries

Aerial views of Bergen
Cities & Nature of Norway - 7 Days

This trip combines the culture of Norway's cities with active excursions in nature, starting in the capital of Oslo. You'll explore its historic center and museums before heading west to hike the country's famous Preikestolen cliffs and view the wedged boulder of Kjeragbolten. Then take a scenic ferry ride north to the colorful city of Bergen to discover its hills, museums, and eateries.

Autumn in the historic port city of Bergen
Map of Norway Autumn Adventure: Cities, Fjords & Hiking: 11 Days
Norway Autumn Adventure: Cities, Fjords & Hiking: 11 Days

With a backdrop of colorful foliage and fewer crowds, autumn is the perfect time to see southern Norway. This 11-day itinerary follows a circular route through Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger, as you journey deep into the fjords by bus, train, and boat. By day you'll hike, kayak, or cruise to sweeping views and unspoiled wilderness, while evenings are spent discovering the Norwegian art of "koselig" in toasty saunas and cozy restaurants.

Get plenty of views of the Lysefjord during two day-hikes
Map of Norway's Best Cities & Hikes - 9 Days
Norway's Best Cities & Hikes - 9 Days

Accomplish a stunning variety of trails on this active 9-day itinerary while staying in some of Norway's best cities. After an expert-curated tour of Oslo, take an overnight train to Stavanger—your gateway for legendary hikes in the Lysefjord: Pulpit Rock and Kjerag. Then, ferry to Bergen where you'll explore the city by foot culminating with a cruise (and hike) to a farm in the Hardangerfjord, nicknamed 'Queen of the Fjords'.

Pulpit Rock's jaw-dropping views
Map of Norway Cities & Hikes: Oslo, Stavanger & Bergen - 8 Days
Norway Cities & Hikes: Oslo, Stavanger & Bergen - 8 Days

Experience stunning landscapes sandwiched between two cultural cities on this 8-day Norwegian adventure. Beginning in Oslo, you'll immerse yourself in the capital's museums, summer festivals, and hip dining scene before taking an overnight train southwest towards Stavanger to hike the legendary Pulpit Rock. Finally, board a ferry for Bergen and explore the picturesque port city on your own and with a local guide.

 Discover the multicolored buildings of Stavanger's Old Town
Map of Oslo, Bergen & Stavanger: Best Itinerary Ideas
Oslo, Bergen & Stavanger: Best Itinerary Ideas

About 14 days is the most popular trip length for Norway travelers interested in visiting Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger, especially when also including Balestrand, Ålesund, Hurtigruten, and Trondheim. For travelers wanting to visit Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger exclusively, plan seven to nine days for a well-paced trip. A fast-paced highlights trip is possible in five or six days for travelers with limited time. For the best itineraries, including Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger, keep reading below.

Memorable views from Trolltunga.
Map of Best Hikes in Norway - 8 Days
Best Hikes in Norway - 8 Days

Experience western Norway's best natural landmarks on a series of moderate to challenging hikes. Begin with a local-led tour of Oslo before heading to Stavanger, the gateway to the famous Kjerag and Preikestolen treks—get ready for unbeatable views of the surrounding fjords. Then it's a scenic bus ride to Odda, your home base for your next adventure: hiking to the famous cliffs of Trolltunga.

Join a private guide for a full-day hike in Jotunheimen National Park
Map of Southern Norway Highlights: Oslo, Bergen, Årdal & Stavanger - 15 Days
Southern Norway Highlights: Oslo, Bergen, Årdal & Stavanger - 15 Days

This active tour is excellent for travelers seeking to experience Norway's stunning fjords and rich Viking culture up close. It starts in Oslo, where you'll spend a few days in the walkable capital before heading west for exciting adventures in and around Bergen and its seven mountains. Then spend two nights at the base of Jotunheimen National Park—home of Northern Europe's two highest peaks—before finishing in Stavanger, where you'll hike to the iconic viewpoint, Preikestolen (Pulpit's Rock).

See the beauty of the Norwegian countryside, fjords, and farms near Ullensvang
Map of Southern Norway Summer Highlights: Road Trip from Oslo to Stavanger - 16 Days
Southern Norway Summer Highlights: Road Trip from Oslo to Stavanger - 16 Days

Experience Norway's fjords and Viking heritage up close on this summer road trip perfect for nature and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Spend a few days in the capital, Oslo, before hiking and kayaking in Jotunheimen National Park. Travel west to Flåm for one of the world's prettiest train journeys and Bergen for ziplining and biking. Conclude in 1,000-year-old Stavanger with a hike to the iconic Pulpit Rock and a visit to a garden of 50,000 colorful flowers.

Climb to Preikestolen, or 'Pulpit Rock' – a steep cliff above Lysefjorden
Map of Ultimate Norwegian Fjord Road Trip - 10 Days
Ultimate Norwegian Fjord Road Trip - 10 Days

Experience the best of Norway's spectacular fjords on this active self-drive tour. The trip starts in Norway's second-largest city (Bergen), where you'll pick up a rental car and spend several days exploring charming fjord-side villages and stopping for outdoorsy activities, like hiking, summer skiing, and kayaking. Finish the adventure traveling along Norway's longest and deepest fjord towards Jotunheimen National Park — with more than 250 peaks — to see some glaciers.

The historic Bryggen district in Bergen
Map of Oslo, Bergen & Southern Norway - 10 Days
Oslo, Bergen & Southern Norway - 10 Days

This popular 10-day trip loops around southern Norway, mixing scenery, outdoor adventure, and history. Starting in Bergen, you'll hop on a bus to the pretty port of Stavanger, then ride a ferry through the Lysefjord to hike the longest wooden stairway in the world. Continuing east, visit charming island towns along the southern coast, then board a train to Oslo, Europe's fastest-growing capital. End the adventure with a ride on the Flåm Railway and boat across Norway's longest and deepest fjord.

Take a challenging hike to Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, above the Lysefjord
Map of Ultimate Fjord Road Trip: Lysefjord, Bergen, Voss, Aurland & Oslo - 10 Days
Ultimate Fjord Road Trip: Lysefjord, Bergen, Voss, Aurland & Oslo - 10 Days

Stop dreaming of the fjords and experience them for yourself with this 10-day Norway road trip. Survey them from above on the famous Pulpit Rock hike, then explore from the seafaring city of Bergen. Tackle mountaintop hikes near the town of Voss before you cruise or kayak through the narrow Nærøyfjord, cycle alongside the scenic Flåm Railway, and visit one of the world's oldest stave churches. End your trip in Oslo, where world-class museums and hip cafés and boutiques await.

Bergen's historic district of Bryggen
Oslo, Bergen & Southern Norway - 11 Days

This relaxing journey loops around Southern Norway to key summer spots for the ultimate mix of nature, history, and culture. Take a local tour of Bergen, visit the charming towns and islands along Southern Norway's coast, get to know Oslo, and take a scenic ride on the famous Flåm Railway. End your trip with a memorable ferry ride through Norway's longest and deepest fjord.

Climb to Preikestolen, or 'Pulpit Rock'—a steep cliff above the Lysefjorden
Map of Norwegian Fjord Road Trip - 11 Days
Norwegian Fjord Road Trip - 11 Days

This active itinerary visits the best of Norway's fjords with plenty of chances to work up a sweat. See Bergen like a local before driving to Stavanger and beyond for endless scenery, hiking, and waterfall photo ops. Stop at villages along the Sognefjord—Norway's longest and deepest fjord—before visiting the glaciers of Jotunheimen National Park.

See the best of southern Norway on this two-week family tour
Map of Southern Norway Family Road Trip - 14 Days
Southern Norway Family Road Trip - 14 Days

Discover the best of southern Norway's treasures as you and the kids embark on an epic adventure that takes you from the shores of laid-back Kristiansand to cosmopolitan Oslo. Kayak across fjords, ride the whitewater rapids at Voss, and zipline through treetops as you explore the stunning scenery around Bergen. Along the way, you'll unearth 1,000-year-old history as you experience Viking life up close through VR technology and step back in time at Viking Valley.

Look for waterfalls as you sail through the Geirangerfjord on the Hurtigruten.
Map of Norway Fjords Summer Tour - 14 Days
Norway Fjords Summer Tour - 14 Days

There are nearly 1,200 fjords along Norway's western coast and this trip covers the cream of the crop — Lysefjord, Sognefjord, and Geirangerfjord — using a mix of fun travel modes to amp up the adventure factor. These majestic gems provide the setting for activities like hiking, biking, and sea kayaking. You'll explore everything from tiny fjord-side villages to diverse cities like Oslo, Bergen, Ålesund, and Trondheim.

Happy hikers at Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
Map of Highlights of the Norwegian Fjords - 11 Days
Highlights of the Norwegian Fjords - 11 Days

Explore the highlights of the Norwegian fjords on this adventurous journey to the Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau, Aurlandfjorden and Nærøyfjorden by kayak on an overnight trip, and beautiful Bergen. You'll also explore the Navvies' Road by bicycle, hike to the iconic Trolltunga (Troll's Tongue), and trek to Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) before ending your Norwegian adventure in Stavanger.

Pulpit Rock in the Lysefjord
Map of Lysefjord, Hardangerfjord & Sognefjord - 11 Days
Lysefjord, Hardangerfjord & Sognefjord - 11 Days

If seeking relaxation and exposure to some of Norway's most spectacular fjords, this trip is for you. After arriving in Norway's 2nd largest city, begin your self-guided drive to Stavanger where you'll boat through the Lysefjord for the activity of your choosing. Then, continue to the Hardangerfjord through a series of national parks, waterfalls, mountain towns, and fjord-side villages—eventually heading north where you'll wrap around the Sognefjord to get back to Bergen for one more night on the town.

Other popular travel destinations in Norway
Fjord Region · Oslo · Bergen · Northern Norway · Tromsø · Flåm · Aurland · Lofoten Islands · Balestrand · Mountain Region · Ålesund · Senja · Alta · Svolvær · Fjærland · Trondheim · Lusterfjorden · Vesterålen · Geiranger · Geilo · Reine · Åndalsnes · Lom · Bodø · Odda · Voss · Gudvangen · Røros · Kalvåg · Florø · Karasjok · Kirkenes · Værlandet · Finse · Sørlandet · Haugastøl · Valldal · Honningsvåg · Hjørundfjord · Lyngen · Dovrefjell