With a pristine historic core, and epic scenery all around, Norway’s energy capital is a dynamic powerhouse of the south. The city's growth was fuelled by North Sea oil exploits and industry – but this being Norway, you can prepare to visit a perhaps surprisingly charming place, surrounded by spectacular landscapes of cutting fjords, soaring mountains and sandy beaches. With a high international population and regular youthful influxes to its university - Norway’s third-biggest city is a diverse and energetic highlight of this dramatic country.
Any preconceptions of a lifeless, industrial city are instantly allayed by the colourful Øvre Holmegate street. A gorgeous palette of candy-coloured wooden shops and cafes shine brightly along this picturesque row - and you can soak in the colours and the quaint charm of a stroll along the waterfront too. Museums explore Stavanger’s industries - from oil to sardine canning - and the Viking past of one of Norway's oldest cities. The flower-tangled, 173 white wooden houses of Gamle Stavanger are a delightful slice of preserved old Norway, and gas lamps hang over uneven cobbled streets here. Norway’s oldest church, Domkirken Cathedral, looms up impressively, having stood since the 12th century.
Stretching from the city itself, Lysefjord is one of Norway’s most striking and picturesque fjords - drenched in Viking history and mythology. Cruise the waters, or hike to the majestic Preikestolen viewpoint, where you can look out over an impossibly vast view, from a height of 604 metres. One of Norway’s most iconic and most-visited natural sites, your heart will be in your mouth as you get as close as you dare to the stunning vertical drop down to Lysefjord. It’s a long, tough hike, so why not see it from another perspective, by soaring into the skies on an unforgettable helicopter tour.