Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Flights land at Stavanger International Airport at Sola, 14km (8 1/2 miles) south of the city center. SAS Scandinavian Airlines Norge (tel. 91-50-54-00) flies between Oslo, Bergen, Kristiansand S, and Stavanger. Widerøe (tel. 81-00-12-00) flies from Bergen to Stavanger. These airlines also serve Stavanger from London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Aberdeen, Scotland. A taxi from the airport to the city center goes for NOK200 to NOK250 ($40-$50/£20-£25).
By Train -- Direct trains from Oslo require seat reservations and take 8 hours, traveling via Kristiansand S. A one-way fare costs NOK846 ($169/£85). About three trains per day arrive from Oslo in Stavanger, and there is one overnight service. For rail information, call tel. 81-50-08-88 or visit www.nsb.no.
By Bus -- There is no direct bus link between Oslo and Stavanger. However, Nor-Way Buss Ekspress (tel. 81-54-44-44; www.nor-way.no) runs a bus service between Oslo and Kristiansand S, taking 5 hours and costing NOK310 ($62/£31) one-way. From Kristiansand S, you can continue on another bus to Stavanger, taking 4 hours and costing NOK355 ($71/£36).
By Boat -- From Bergen, Flaggruten (tel. 51-86-87-88) runs an express catamaran to Stavanger, taking 4 1/2 hours and costing NOK680 ($136/£68) for a one-way trip.
By Car -- Because of the jagged coastline of western Norway, access by car from Bergen to Stavanger requires a 149km (92-mile) detour, incorporating high-speed motorways and three different ferry crossings. It usually takes 6 1/2 to 7 hours to drive to Stavanger from Bergen. Access in the east from Kristiansand S is much easier. You continue west from Kristiansand S until you reach the end of E18.
You can get all sorts of visitor information at Stavanger tourist Office, Domkirkeplassen 3 (tel. 51-85-92-00; www.destinasjon-stavanger.no). From June to August it is open daily 7am to 8pm; September to May Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturday 9am to 2pm.
Most of Stavanger's attractions lie within an easy walk of the historic harbor. Vågen Gamle Stavanger, the old town, is on the western side of Vågen. Ferries to the United Kingdom leave from this point. This historic harbor is now a colorful marina with two sailing ships at anchor and a fish market held daily until 4pm.
Ferries to Haugesund and Bergen depart from the eastern part of town, across a body of water known as Byfjorden.
In the center of Stavanger, to the immediate north of the train station, is a large pond called Breiavann. Both the bus and train stations lie on the southern side of this pond, about a 10-minute walk from the main harbor.
Most of the historic central core of Stavanger is walkable, which is about the only way to get around unless you take a taxi. The historic town is filled with narrow streets and pedestrian walkways. If you don't have a rented car, you'll find that local buses fan out to the suburbs, including such neighboring communities as Sola, the site of the airport. Fares start at NOK30 ($6/£3). For more information, call tel. 51-51-65-30.
If the weather is fair and you'd like to use a bike to get around, you can rent one at Nordsjøvegen, Vågsgata 22 (tel. 51-66-20-95), costing NOK85 ($17/£8.50) per day. If you'd like to do more extensive biking, go to the visitor information center and request a Sykkelkart or cycling map of the area.
For a taxi, call Norgestaxi Stavanger at tel. 08000 or Stavanger Taxicentral at tel. 51-90-90-90.
Stavanger is called festival city, or festivallryen, and celebrations take place all year. For complete listings at the time of your visit, ask at the visitor information center . Spring's best festival is MaiJazz, beginning the second week of May, when internationally known musicians come to Stavanger to perform top-quality jazz. Around mid-June the Great Norwegian Humor Festival takes place, with well-known artists performing. There are revues, street entertainers, and shows for children. The International Chamber Music Festival occurs in mid-August, an event that attracts some of the world's most acclaimed classical artists to Stavanger. Some 20 concerts are staged within the course of a week. The Stavanger Wine Festival, beginning in mid-March and lasting 10 days, celebrates all things grape.