STAVANGER – THE GATEWAY TO THE LYSEFJORD AND PREIKESTOLEN

Stavanger and Jæren is widely known for being Norway’s food basket, and it is in this area that the first people settled in Norway after the ice retreated more than 10,000 years ago. The Lysefjord, Mt Preikestolen, the beaches at Jæren and the monument Swords in Rock are popular attractions in the southernmost county in Western Norway.

Stavanger is also Norway’s Oil Capital, it was there the oil adventure began in the late 1960s when they discovered oil and gas in the Ekofisk field in the North Sea.

Region Stavanger

Region Stavanger is the official destination company for Stavanger, Rogaland and the Lysefjord Area.

Stavanger, from herring and canned goods to oil and gas

Jæren is known for being Norway’s food basket.
Jæren is known for being Norway’s food basket.

It was agriculture and fishing that made people choose to settle in the Stavanger area. Herring fishing began as early as the 16th century, and eventually became an important export item. But the herring fishing varied, there were longer periods where the herring disappeared completely.

At the end of the 19th century, canning fish balls and sprats became an important industry in Stavanger, and from the end of the 19th century until around year 1970, the city was the “capital of canning” in Norway. More than 70% of all canned goods produced in Norway came from Stavanger.

The invention of the refrigerator and freezer was part of the reason for the downfall of the canning industry. In 1982, it came to an end when the last canning factory in Stavanger went bankrupt. Today you can see memories from the golden age of the canning industry at the Norwegian Canning Museum, which is located just west of Vågen in Stavanger.

Norwegian Oil Museum in Stavanger.
Norwegian Oil Museum in Stavanger.

The oil adventure took over when the canning adventure ended. In 1969, oil and gas were found on the Ekofisk field in the North Sea and it was also the first oil and gas field to come into production on the Norwegian shelf. Since then, no one in Stavanger has looked back.

In Stavanger you will find the Norwegian Oil Museum. There you get an insight into the entire history of Norwegian oil and gas industry, from how it all started and the development right up to the present day. At the museum, you get information about how oil and gas have been formed, about the exploration and drilling process and about how oil and gas are produced.

There are a total of eight Michelin restaurants in Stavanger. The Gladmat Festival is the year’s big happening in the city, the food festival attracts hundreds of thousands of producers, professionals and foodies for a few hectic summer days.

Rogaland – the southernmost fjord county

Tungenes Lighthouse at the northern part of Jæren.
Tungenes Lighthouse at the northern part of Jæren.

Rogaland is the southernmost of the four fjord counties in Norway. The county is devided into four parts; Haugalandet, Ryfylke, Jæren and Dalane. Norway’s history begins in Rogaland. It was here the first humans settled in Norway.

Boknafjorden is the longest and deepest fjord in the county. The most famous fjord is the Lysefjord which is surrounded by well known mountains like Kjerag and Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). The hike to Preikestolen is one of Norway´s hiking icons.

Stavanger, Sandnes, EgersundHaugesund, Jørpeland, Sauda, Bryne, Åkra, Kopervik and Skudesneshavn are the ten cities in Rogaland.

The nature varies from flat agriculture landscape to deep fjords and high mountains. Well-known tourist attractions are: Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock), Kjerag, The Lysefjord, Trollpikken and the Sola Beach.

Mt Preikestolen above the Lysefjord in Ryfylke.
Mt Preikestolen above the Lysefjord in Ryfylke.

Stavanger is the “capital” of the county and a perfect starting point for seeing and experiencing the tourist attractions in Rogaland.

Most of the fjord cruises to the Lysefjord and to Flor og Fjære start from Stavanger. From Stavanger you can also take a bus to Preikestolen Fjellstue, which is the start of the hike to Mt Preikestolen, which is one of the most iconic rock formations in Norway.

Below you can read more about what you can see and do in Stavanger and the surrounding area.

Stavanger for Foodies

From Vågen, the port in Stavanger.
From Vågen, the port in Stavanger.

In Stavanger, there is a big focus on food and drinks. There are ten restaurants that have been awarded MICHELIN Stars and MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View in Western Norway (updated 2024). No less than eight of these Michelin restaurants are in Stavanger.

The festivals Gladmat and Kortreist are organized every year. The Kortreist Festival (Short Travelled Food Festival) has, as the name implies, a focus on short travelled and locally produced food products.

The Gladmat Festival is this year’s big happening in Stavanger, the food festival attracts hundreds of thousands of producers, professionals and foodies for a few hectic summer days.

Old Stavanger

Gamle Stavanger, or Straen as it is also called.
Gamle Stavanger, or Straen as it is also called.

Straen, or Old Stavanger, is the old wooden houses located close to the center of Stavanger. Old Stavanger consists of a total of 173 well-preserved wooden houses that were built from the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century.

There are galleries and museums there, the Norwegian Canning Museum is part of this area, which lies just west of Vågen in Stavanger.

It is nice to stroll along the narrow cobbled streets and look at the old wooden buildings which are decorated with flowers during the summer. At Straen you can relax, there you will have the feeling of what life was like in the old days.

Street Art in Stavanger

Street Art in Stavanger. Photo: Ståle Kanestrøm.
Street Art in Stavanger. Photo: Ståle Kanestrøm.

Creativity abounds in Stavanger, it is shown at street level where graffiti artists and other “street art artists” have been allowed to unfold and decorate buildings with great colors and fantastic works of art.

Stavanger previously had its own Nuart Street Art Festival, they now have their own exhibitions around the city.

Wandering around Stavanger and looking for works of art on the walls is like a little treasure hunt. There are fantastic treasures scattered around Stavanger, and the added bonus is that you will become even better known in the city.

MUST – Museum Stavanger

MUST stands for MUseum STavanger and is a joint online portal with information about all the museums in Stavanger. Key words are exhibitions, events and learning, and you can experience all of this in the nine museums located in and around Stavanger. At MUST’s museums you will find, among other things, works of art, objects and photographs, buildings, vessels and library collections.

These museums are part of MUST: Stavanger Museum, Stavanger Kunstmuseum, Norsk Hermetikkmuseum, Stavanger Maritime Museum, Utstein Kloster, Ledaal, Breidablikk, Stavanger Skolemuseum og Norsk Grafisk Museum. On the respective websites you will find more information about the museums and opening times.

Viking House VR-experience

Viking House in Stavanger conveys our rich Viking history using VR technology. There you can travel back to the Viking era and experience what it was like to be a Viking.

You can “join” a Viking ship at Hafrsfjord and learn about the battle in Hafrsfjord where King Harald Fairhair united Norway into one Kingdom. Viking House is located at Strandkaien in Vågen in central Stavanger.

Swords in Rock – Hafrsfjord

The monument Swords in Rock at Hafrsfjord i Stavanger.
The monument Swords in Rock at Hafrsfjord i Stavanger.

The “Swords in Rock” monument in Hafrsfjord, five kilometer south-east of the center of Stavanger in Rogaland. This is the place where the battle of Hafrsfjord took place in year 872 AD, when the Viking King Harald Fairhair gathered all of Norway under one crown.

The Viking swords are modelled on swords found in various parts of Norway. They represents peace, unity and freedom since the swords are planted into solid rock, whence they may never be removed. The monument is situated close to the road, a short walk from the parking lot.

SEASON – All Year.

The monument Swords in Rock at Hafrsfjord i Stavanger.
The monument Swords in Rock at Hafrsfjord i Stavanger.

Hike to Mt Preikestolen above the Lysefjord

Mt Preikestolen and the Lysefjord in Ryfylke.
Mt Preikestolen and the Lysefjord in Ryfylke.

Mt Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) in Ryfylke is one of Norway´s great hikes, and the view towards the Lysefjord is epic. Preikestolen is a mountain plateau raging 604 meters above the Lysefjord.

The four kilometer long hike and 330 meter climb takes 2-3 hours one way. You start at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge and follow the marked trail to the summit which is one of the best views in Norway.

Mt Preikestolen is a popular goal for both Norwegians and foreign tourists. In the high season, it can be crowded on the flat plateau that measures only 25 times 25 meters and with three of the edges going vertically straight down into the Lysefjord.

The trail to Mt Preikestolen is one of the selected National Hiking Trails in Norway. We recommend you to join a Guided Tour to Preikestolen.

Here you can see a 360 panorama from Preikestolen and the Lysefjord. At the bottom of the panorama, you will find navigation buttons that allow you to “travel” around and focus on places you want to take a closer look at. Some panoramas allow you to “jump” to other locations.

View of Mt Preikestolen and the Lysefjord in Ryfylke.
View of Mt Preikestolen and the Lysefjord in Ryfylke.

Hike to Kjerag Mountain above the Lysefjord

At 1084 meters above the fjord, Kjerag towers above the other peaks along the Lysefjord. It has become increasingly popular to walk up the path to the Kjerag Plateau.

Enjoy the view of the Lysefjord from the plateau itself , but for most of the hikers, the climax is to see and take photographs of Kjeragbolten, a round rock wedged solidly in a mountain crevice.

The trail to Kjerag is one of the selected National Hiking Trails in Norway. We recommend you to join a Guided Tour to Kjerag.

Flor og Fjære outside Stavanger

View from Flor og Fjære towards the outer part of Boknafjorden.
View from Flor og Fjære towards the outer part of Boknafjorden.

You have probably heard of the Garden of Eden. But did you know that it is located on an island outside Stavanger? You can visit the garden yourself to look at all the beauty, it’s like a little wonder.

Flor og Fjære is a wonderful place for those who love flora and fauna. You have to take a boat from Stavanger to the northern tip of the island Sør-Hidle to experience this paradise on earth.

The story of Flor og Fjære started in the 60s when the Bryn family bought the northern tip of the island Sør-Hidle in Boknafjorden, northeast of Stavanger. The family was above average interested in gardens and flowers, and three generations later the weather-beaten islet has turned into an idyllic oasis of beautiful flowers, exotic trees, trickling streams and ponds with fish.

A visit to Flor og Fjære must be booked in advance. Transport by boat from Stavanger to Flor and Fjære with return back to Stavanger is included in the booking.

Here you can see a 360 panorama from Flor og Fjære. At the bottom of the panorama, you will find navigation buttons that allow you to “travel” around and focus on places you want to take a closer look at. Some panoramas allow you to “jump” to other locations.

Flor og Fjære is an oasis on the island of Sør-Hidle in Boknafjorden outside Stavanger.
Flor og Fjære is an oasis on the island of Sør-Hidle in Boknafjorden outside Stavanger.

The beaches at Jæren – The surfer’s Paradise

Solastranden Beach at Jæren in Rogaland.
Solastranden Beach at Jæren in Rogaland.

Jæren – with open skies, wide horizons and endless seas. Kilometer upon kilometer of sandy beaches and dunes.

Jæren is widely known for being Norway’s food basket, but just as well known are the wonderful beaches that lie there in a row. The beaches are used for recreation, swimming, surfing and other activities. Remember sunscreen with a high factor. The most famous beaches are (from the north) Solastranden, Hellestøstranden, Borestranden and Orrestranden.

Boretunet is an activity center at Borestranda with accommodation, a café and its own surf school. The surf school is suitable both for those who have never surfed before, but also for the more experienced surfers.

Beach at Jæren in Rogaland.
Beach at Jæren in Rogaland.

Sola Strand Hotel is located between the dunes at Solastranden beach at Sola outside Stavanger. The hotel has 135 rooms, a first-class restaurant and Nordsjøbadet Spa. Nordsjøbadet Spa offers spa treatments and spa facilities, all inspired by the fantastic surroundings.

The Jæren National Tourist Route is a 130 kilometer stretch of road that runs through this area with its intensive agriculture in a flat, vast and well-kept cultural landscape.

Here you can see a 360 panorama from the three kilometer long Borestranden beach. At the bottom of the panorama, you will find navigation buttons that allow you to “travel” around and focus on places you want to take a closer look at. Some panoramas allow you to “jump” to other locations.

Jæren in Rogaland, well-maintained cultural landscape and beautiful beach.
Jæren in Rogaland, well-maintained cultural landscape and beautiful beach.

Fjordcruise from Stavanger to the Lysefjord

This fjord cruise from Go Fjords takes you from Stavanger to the Lysefjord and Preikestolen in Ryfylke. Here you can see the famous tourist attraction Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) from the fjord. Preikestolen in Ryfylke is a flat plateau at about 25 times 25 meters, raging 604 meters vertically above the fjord. From Preikestolen you have a magnificent view across the Lysefjord and the Lysefjordheiene mountains.

This fjord cruise starts from Strandkaien in Vågen in Stavanger. Season: See Go Fjords website. Video by Go Fjords.

A beautiful sea voyage between Stavanger and Bergen

The sea voyage between Stavanger and Bergen is a journey through beautiful coastal scenery with islands, fjords and reefs. On this ferry trip with Fjord Line you can bring your car, and the trip lasts approximately 5.5 hours.

The ferry runs along the Norwegian coast and cross the outer part of Boknafjorden and the Hardangerfjord on the ferry trip between the two fjord towns. This ferry trip can be taken both ways.

The village of Flørli

Flørli is a small roadless hamlet serviced by four ferries per day, and is best known for the old power station, the old pipes leading up to the mountain lake and, above all, the wooden staircase connected to the pipeline.

FLØRLI 4444 – Flørli has rental apartments and Flørli Historic Hostel, all with fjord view. It lies deep into the Lysefjord, close to the Kjerag Bigwalls. Flørli is popular for its 4444 steps right up the mountain – the longest wooden stairway in the world. Video by Flørli.

Tungenes Lighthouse at Jæren

Tungenes Lighthouse is now a café and a museum.
Tungenes Lighthouse is now a café and a museum.

Tungenes Lighthouse is part of the Jærmuseet Museum. The area around Tungenes Lighthouse is a popular starting point where you can walk around the beautiful coastal landscape at Jæren at the northern entrance to Stavanger. A great coastal hiking trail has been created from the Sandestranden Beach to Tungenes Lighthouse.

Tungenes Lighthouse was built in year 1828 and was closed down in 1984. Today you can visit the lighthouse and look at the exhibitions. There is also a café and a shop at Tungenes Lighthouse, see the website of the museum for more information on opening times and entrance fees. You do not need a ticket to visit the café.

The Old Tou Mill

Three well-preserved wooden mill buildings in their natural setting on the seafront at Tau, right beside the modern Tou Mill, make up the Old Tou Mill.

Trollpikken (Trolls Dick) in Egersund

Trollpikken is located near Egersund in Dalane, south of Stavanger. The name is given because it looks like a …., you know. In 2017 somebody cut off Trollpikken, but the locals managed to collect money to raise Trollpikken up again. The hike to Trollpikken is approximately two kilometers and will take you around one hour each way.

Hotels and Accommodation in Stavanger

There are a large number of hotels, accommodation and places to eat and drink in Stavanger. Here are some of the hotels in central Stavanger.

EILERT SMITH HOTEL is a high-standard boutique hotel in the center of Stavanger. Originally, the building was a warehouse from the 1930s that was built in the functionalism style. Eilert Smith Hotel is one of Michelin’s recommended hotels in Western Norway.

The restaurant RE-NAA, which has two Michelin stars, is located in the first floor of the building at the far end of Vågen in Stavanger. At RE-NAA, you literally sit around the kitchen and watch your food being prepared.

CLARION COLLECTION HOTEL SKAGEN BRYGGE is located on the wharf by Vågen in central Stavanger. Nearby, there is a large selection of restaurants and shops, and it is also a short distance to the Fish Market, the Oil Museum and Old Stavanger.

RADISSON BLU ATLANTIC HOTEL is located by lake Breiavatnet in the City park in the center of Stavanger. From the hotel, it is a four-minute walk to the Fish Market, which is located in Vågen.

COMFORT HOTEL SQUARE is only a six minutes’ walk from Vågen in Stavanger. The hotel boasts of having Stavanger’s most spectacular roof terrace.

HOTEL VICTORIA  is a venerable hotel from the year 1900 located at the outer part of Vågen. From the hotel, it is a short walking distance to both the Fish Market in the heart of Vågen and the Oil Museum in Børevigå.

THON HOTEL STAVANGER is a modern hotel located in the center of Stavanger, a short walking distance to both Vågen and the City Park with lake Breiavatnet.

SCANDIC ROYAL STAVANGER is located in the center of Stavanger, just seven minutes’ walking distance southwest of the Fish Market and Vågen. The hotel has a spa and wellness center with a pool, jacuzzi and sauna. The restaurant Roast is also part of the hotel.

Lysefjord and Rogaland – What to See and Do

FJORDS NORWAY - PREIKESTOLEN OG LYSEFJORDEN
Lysefjord.

From island kingdom and the flat coastal area on Jæren to deep fjords and high mountains; Rogaland with Stavanger, Jæren, Dalane, Ryfylke and the area around the Lysefjord are known for the mountain formations Kjerag and Preikestolen (the Pulpit rock), Trollpikken (the Troll´s dick), Solastranden Beach and Flor og Fjære.

Preikestolen is a flat mountain plateau raging 604 meters above the Lysefjord. The plateau measures only 25 times 25 meters and with three of the edges going vertically straight down into the fjord. Stay overnight in new innovative cabins while exploring the Ryfylke area. Go on a fjord safari or take a fjord cruise on the Lysefjord.

Drive Ryfylkevegen and Jæren National Tourist Routes. Flørli is located deep into the spectacular Lysefjord, at the base of the Kjerag plateau. Flørli is popular for its 4444 steps right up the mountain, the longest wooden stairway in the world. Lysevegen road runs from Lysebotn at the innermost part of the Lysefjord to Sirdal.

The Swords in Rock monument at Hafrsfjord, five kilometer south-east of the center of Stavanger in Rogaland. This is the place where the battle of Hafrsfjord took place in year 872, when the Viking King Harald Fairhair gathered all of Norway under one crown.

The Lysefjord is 42 kilometers long and 422 meters at its deepest and is located in the county of Rogaland, near Stavanger, which is a great starting point for experiencing Ryfylke and the Lysefjord, Jæren and the other areas of Rogaland.

References

Forbundet Kysten – Hermetikkens vekst og fall
MUST – Museum Stavanger

 

HOTELS - LINKS - FAQ

Here you will find an overview of recommended HOTELS in addition to SPA & BATH HOTELS and OTHER ACCOMMODATION PLACES in Western Norway. The combination of beautiful nature, activities that you can do in all four seasons and a stay at a great accommodation is unique. A stay in one of these places will do you good, both for body and mind.

There are ten restaurants that have awarded Michelin stars and Michelin awards in Western Norway. Eight of the Michelin restaurants are in Stavanger and two in Bergen. Here you will find FJORDS MICHELIN, where you will also find a list of recommended hotels in Western Norway, recommended by Michelin.

USEFUL LINKS is a list of websites with great information on Norway and the Fjords. FAQ is an overview of articles that answer the most common questions you have when planning to visit the fjords in Western Norway.

Stavanger – Map Overview