It’s a typical Stavanger day outside, rainy and windy, even for the summer. I am sitting inside drinking a cup of coffee and “kos” myself as I write to you about this beautiful town on the west coast of Norway that is our home now. “Kos” is one of my favorite words in Norwegian, it’s one of those words where translation doesn’t capture its entire meaning. It’s a feeling of enjoyment, warmth and coziness at the same time.
We asked you for tips about the places we are going to visit but about Stavanger we want to share ours with you.
Start by a walk in the town’s cobblestone streets, the harbor and Gamle Stavanger (the old town) where you will feel like you are in a real life doll houses’ street. Buy yourself a portion of freshly caught and cooked shrimps directly from the boat and enjoy them sitting by the water.
When you need a break from walking, head to Kanelsnurren for a taste of the local pastry with the same name. These cinnamon buns are a local specialty and believe me, you will enjoy them.
The following day take a trip to Lysefjorden, home to one of the main attractions of the region, the Prekestolen or “Pulpit Rock”. You can take a boat trip along the fiord and see the pulpit rock 600m above the water or do as the locals and take a hike to the top. It takes approximately four hours there and back but the views are definitely worth it.
Norwegians are very connected to nature and outdoor activities are completely embedded in their daily lives; bicycling trips, winter sports and hikes to the mountains are common activities on the weekends. Even living in the city center, you can find multiples areas for long walks among nature.
Prekestolen, the Pulpit Rock
Views from Prekestolen
If you enjoy hiking and want to take it to the next level then take a trip to Kjerag, a boulder that sits impressively at 1.000m above sea level stuck between two cliffs. Base jumpers throw themselves from this point and the hike is getting more and more popular. It takes approximately six hours both ways and it will challenge your courage to stand on it once you get to the top.
Kjerag boulder and view from the top
The summer is also the time to see waterfalls at its most intense peak. The snow melts and travels down the mountain creating spectacular views. Take a day trip north of Stavanger and enjoy the fury and beauty of the many waterfalls, like Furebergfossen and Langfossen.
If you are into more relaxing activities, you can enjoy the day at one of the many sandy beaches around Stavanger, like Sola beach. The beaches in the west coast of Norway are quite beautiful, and especially because the weather rarely allows for it, spending a day at the beach is a special event around here.
At the end of the day head back to town for a dinner at one of the many restaurants in Stavanger. The city really comes to life on weekends and I advise you to book a table in advance. Try the burgers at Døgnvill, some of the local dishes at Phileas Fog or have a more fine dining experience at Renaa Matbaren. There is something for every palate and wallet.
Although the summer, with over 20 hours of daylight, is the favorite part of the year for many to visit Stavanger, the winter is my favorite season. This is when you really experience “kos”. If you choose to visit in the winter, definitely take a trip to Sirdal, the closest mountain area. Here you can spend your days skiing or taking cross-country ski walks along the many snow paths carved each winter.
If that is not for you, build a snowman or enjoy an afternoon of dog sleighing, there is plenty to keep you busy.
Activities in Sirdal
I promise you will never forget the fairy tale views of snowy mountains and frozen lakes. The silence after a night of heavy snow in the mountain is overwhelming and going outside the cabin the morning after is an experience you will always carry with you.
Views of Sirdal
And you might be lucky enough to sight the Northern lights. Although quite south geographically, Stavanger is still within reach of the lights and if you find a very dark area, in the mountain or close to the city, you might just get that experience on your list as well. We have no picture for them yet, they are still on our bucket list.