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The southwest coast of Norway is home to Stavanger, an exciting coastal city with a flourishing port and excellent shopping and nightlife. One of the largest cities in Norway, it can claim to trace its routes back to a first settlement around the time of the ice age, although it’s grown considerably since then and continues to evolve with international appeal. The city enjoys a relatively mild climate all year round, making it a popular destination for tourists on the hunt for a Norwegian experience without the harsh weather that can envelope the north.
Stavanger occupies a peninsula that’s surrounded by fjords, mountains and outstanding scenery on all sides. Vibrant and modern, it boasts attractions that are both exciting as well as cultural, and visitors to the city have a plethora of activities to choose from. The locals are proud of their maritime roots, and many adventurous activities take place on the sea. But if you’ve had your fill of the water for a while and want to try something on land, here are some great ideas to consider when you disembark at the port:
Lysefjord: No trip to Norway can be complete without a close-up view of a fjord, one of the most unique natural wonders of the world. Carved through the landscape by ancient glaciers, their dramatic landscapes have been attracting visitors to Norway for years. The Lysefjord is an enjoyable day out and doesn’t have to be viewed from the water. There are plenty of opportunities for trail hiking and cycling, as well as a 4x4 trip to some of the highest parts.
Norwegian Petroleum Museum: This unusual exhibit is one of the world’s only museums dedicated to the history and development of gas and oil. It demonstrates how it’s collected, processed and used, and offers some interesting and unusual facts you might not have known about before you go.
Norwegian Children’s Museum: This fully interactive child-friendly museum takes you on a journey through the past, delighting adults with a trip down memory lane and kids with the games and toys available to play with. There are climbing and crawling exhibits, tunnels and mazes to enjoy. Fun for the whole family.
Stavanger is large enough to support modern malls like the Arkaden Shopping Centre located not far from the port. Home to modern shops and high street stores, it’s a good location for getting your shopping and souvenirs picked up in one place.
The centre of Stavanger is littered with charming shopping streets, local boutiques and pretty craft outlets. A local trade in this part of Norway is glass blowing, and there are several stalls here where you can watch the artisans at work before buying some decorative objects to take home with you. The Sjokoladepiken chocolate shop sells handmade chocolates, while Gjesdal is an outlet for candles, locally knitted sweaters and other woolen items.
The restaurant scene in Stavanger is very international, thanks to its multi-cultural population and regular influx of tourists. Close to the harbour there are some exciting fish restaurants where you can eat al fresco, dining on large buckets filled with freshly steamed mussels and sautéed prawns with a mayonnaise dip. The harbour front is also home to several food and wine festivals that are held throughout the year, and if your cruise ship is likely to be docking at Stavanger, take a look to see whether any of them are going to be held while you’re there. The Garlic Festival is a popular weeklong celebration of the pungent bulb, with restaurateurs serving up as many dishes as they can focusing on this favourite ingredient.
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