Stavanger Cruise Port Guide | 8 Best Things To Do In Stavanger

Stavanger Norway

Welcome to Stavanger cruise port, nestled on the southwest coast of Norway known for its picturesque town center, friendly people, and rich cultural heritage. Stavanger proudly claims to be the Viking birthplace, where history and myth come together.

As you go east, the scenery changes to spectacular Norwegian fjords and towering mountains, among which stands out the stunning Lysefjord, home to the legendary Preikestolen, or “the Pulpit Rock”. To the south is Jaeren, an area with flat, open landscapes and extensive sandy beaches. In this post, read about:

  • Stavanger cruise port (Stavanger cruise terminal, getting around)
  • 8 best things to do in Stavanger port, including the shore excursions

Visit also our cruise port guides to Alesund, Tromso, Oslo, Bergen, Olden, Stockholm, Copenhagen

Stavanger Cruise Port

Stavanger cruise terminal is conveniently located near the historic Old Town (also known as Gamle Stavanger) and within walking distance of various attractions. Cruise ships primarily dock at the Strandkaien Quay, which can accommodate up to two cruise vessels, depending on the size.

If more ships are in port Stavanger, which rarely happens, cruise ships may dock in Mekjarvik, a commercial port located about 10 km/6 miles (a 15-minute drive) northwest of Stavanger, or they may tender.

There are no facilities at Strandkaien Quay, except for a Tourist Information Center where you can get city maps and useful information from friendly English-speaking staff. Taxis and parking for buses are available on the pier. Shops, restaurants, cafes and landmarks are located within a short walk from the terminal. There may be a Hop on Hop off bus service, however, get the latest updates at the Tourist Information Center.

Stavanger cruise port
Stavanger cruise port. Source:

Getting Around & Local Transportation

  • Stavanger is a compact and walkable city, making it easy for cruise passengers to explore its attractions on foot.
  • The city has an efficient public transportation network, which includes buses, trains and ferries, operated by Kolumbus company. You can pay for the ticket by cash, card or using a prepaid Kolumbus card. Stavanger’s train station and the adjacent main bus terminal are located in the city center, around 900 m (a 12-minute walk) southeast of the port of Stavanger. However, due to the ship’s limited time in port, using public transportation may not be the best idea for cruise passengers.
  • Ferries are a popular way of getting around, as they connect the city center with the nearby islands. Stavanger Ferry Terminal is located around 1 km/0.60 miles (less than a 15-minute walk) southeast of the cruise port. Stavanger is also a bike-friendly city and you can rent e-bikes at or near the bus stations. For both ferries and bikes, check the timetables and get more information at Kolumbus’ official website.
  • Stavanger has an excellent road infrastructure and plenty of parking facilities in and around the city. Before renting a car, make sure you inquire about the driving regulations in Norway. Check out Stavanger rent-a-car deals
  • Exploring Stavanger’s spectacular fjords, including the majestic Lysefjord, is definitely best on a guided shore excursion, with your cruise line, or in your arrangement. Explore Stavanger tours and activities
  • The official currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone, also known as the kroner (NOK). US dollars are not accepted. You can use credit/debit cards almost everywhere.
  • Some of the major cruise lines sailing to Stavanger include Royal Caribbean International, P&O Cruises, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises, Princess Cruises, Silversea, MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and TUI Cruises.

8 Best Things to Do in Stavanger Cruise Port

From the charming Old Town (Gamle Stavanger), historic Stavanger Cathedral and the city’s museums, to the iconic natural landmarks like Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten in the nearby Lysefjord, this city has something for everyone’s taste!

1. Stavanger Old Town (Gamle Stavanger)

Just a short walk from the port of Stavanger, you’ll reach Stavanger Old Town, also known as Gamle Stavanger. This historic, well-preserved neighborhood features cobblestone streets and white-washed wooden houses dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Located on the west side of Vågen in the city center, the Old Town consists of 173 wooden buildings that will transport you to the past.

The area offers a charming atmosphere for visitors to stroll through and explore boutique shops, galleries, and cafes, providing a glimpse into Stavanger’s rich maritime and cultural heritage. Housed in one of these historic houses, the Stavanger Maritime Museum showcases ship models and artifacts related to the city’s maritime history.

Explore Stavanger Old Town tours and activities

Gamle Stavanger - Stavanger Old Town
Gamle Stavanger – The view from the ship’s upper deck. Source:

2. Stavanger Cathedral

Stavanger Cathedral, located only a 5-minute walk from the cruise terminal along the waterfront, is the oldest cathedral in Norway, dating back to the 12th century. Set in the heart of Stavanger, this medieval church is a striking example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The cathedral has undergone various renovations throughout its history and features intricate details, stained glass windows, and a beautiful interior.

Check out Stavanger Cathedral tours and activities

Stavanger downtown
Stavanger downtown. Source:

3. Norwegian Petroleum Museum

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum is situated 900 m from Stavanger cruise port, right next to the ferry terminal. This modern museum provides an immersive experience with interactive displays offering a unique insight into Norway’s oil and gas industry. Visitors can engage with interactive exhibits, models, and multimedia displays that detail the nation’s development into becoming a major player in the petroleum sector. From drilling platforms to seismic surveys, each exhibit provides a hands-on experience, allowing you to understand the complexity and significance of Norway’s contributions to the global energy scene.

Explore Norwegian Petroleum Museum tours and activities

4. Lysefjord

Immerse yourself in the stunning views of Lysefjord, a 40-kilometer-long fjord located near Stavanger, renowned for its dramatic landscapes and iconic landmarks. Known as the “Light Fjord” because of its light-colored granite cliffs, Lusefjord is a breathtaking gem located in the southwestern region of Norway’s Rogaland area.

One of Lysefjord’s well-known landmarks is the iconic Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), a massive cliff soaring 604 meters above the fjord, offering spectacular panoramic views of the fjord and its surrounding landscapes. Also, don’t forget to visit Kjerag, a daring cliff that showcases Kjeragbolten—a massive rock trapped between two cliffs. Just standing on this hanging rock is an adrenaline-packed experience by itself, providing a unique and exciting view of the fjord.

When exploring Lysefjord, consider taking a guided tour. These tours often include transportation (by boat or bus), allowing you to unwind and enjoy the drive as a knowledgeable guide provides fascinating facts about the fjord and its surroundings. For those seeking a more independent adventure, renting a car is an excellent choice. The attractions mentioned above are easily accessed via hiking trails and to reach them, follow signs or use navigation apps to guide you to specific parking areas.

Explore Lysefjord tours and activities

Lusefjord, Norway
Lysefjord. Source:

5. Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen)

Daring and adventurous, this one’s for you! Take a scenic tour of Pulpit Rock, a breathtaking rock that soars 604 meters above the Lysefjord. This natural marvel provides an exciting experience and rewards adventurous travelers with breathtaking panoramic views of this beautiful Norwegian fjord.

The journey to Pulpit Rock begins with a stroll through magnificent scenery, winding between rugged terrain and lush surroundings. Once you reach the top, a visual feast of nature’s beauty awaits with the towering cliffs dropping dramatically into the fjord below, offering an overwhelming feeling of thrill. While the hike to Pulpit Rock is not for the faint-hearted, the memories made and the breathtaking beauty you’ll witness make it an absolute must for anyone wanting an adrenaline rush and a connection with the raw beauty of Norway’s natural marvels.

The best way to visit Pulpit Rock is on a guided tour, but you can also rent a car and drive there. A ride also includes a ferry portion from Stavanger to the town of Tau, from where you continue to Lysefjord. Ferries run frequently but the crossing takes about 40 minutes so be mindful of that when planning your day. Overall time you need to reach Pulpit Rock by car is about 1 hour and a half.

Explore Pulpit Rock tours and activities

Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), Norway
Pulpit Rock. Source:

6. Fjord Cruises

Take your Stavanger experience to the next level by joining a fjord cruise, which takes you on an immersive trip through cascading waterfalls and spectacular landscapes of Norway’s natural wonders. This is perfect for those of you who want to experience Lysefjord from the water and see the majestic waterfalls and local wildlife.

One of the cruise’s highlights is passing beneath the famed Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), which allows you to see this towering natural monument from a whole different perspective. Some fjord cruises may also pass by the Kjerag mountain, known for the daring Kjeragbolten, a massive boulder wedged between two cliffs.

As you navigate through the fjords, you may encounter small islands and coastal villages, providing a glimpse into local life and traditional Norwegian architecture. Also, keep an eye out for the local wildlife that calls the fjords home! Seals, porpoises, and a variety of seabirds are frequently seen on the cruise. The knowledgeable guides on board can give intriguing insights into the diverse ecosystems that flourish in these waters.

Explore Fjord cruises and boat trips

7. Jaeren

Jæren is a coastal region in southwestern Norway, known for its expansive beaches, flat landscapes, and agricultural areas. This region is conveniently located approximately 15 to 20 km southwest of Stavanger, making it easily accessible for a day trip. You can explore Jaeren’s vast sandy beaches, surrounded by dunes and lapped by the North Sea, among which Solastranden and Orrestranden are popular for recreational activities and walks.

Renowned for its historic lighthouses, the region offers outdoor activities like hiking and birdwatching amidst its diverse birdlife. Jæren has a rich cultural history, and there are historical sites and landmarks to explore, including Old farms, burial mounds, and remnants of ancient settlements. The most flexible way to reach Jaeren is by car and the journey takes around 30 minutes. You can also book a guided tour.

Check out Jaeren tours and activities

8. Seafood Delights

Savor the flavors of Stavanger’s culinary scene, which is known for its exceptional seafood options with dishes featuring fresh catches like salmon, cod, and shellfish. The city’s proximity to the abundant North Sea guarantees a seafood experience unlike any other. Local restaurants, with a focus on quality and authenticity, serve up dishes that represent the region’s maritime heritage.

For an authentic taste of Stavanger, don’t miss the opportunity to try classic dishes such as Gravlaks (cured salmon), Skjell (scallops), or Pannestekt Torsk (pan-fried cod). Pair your culinary delights with local beverages, and let the cozy atmosphere of Stavanger’s restaurants elevate your dining experience.

Explore Stavanger food tours

Visit also our cruise port guides to Amsterdam, Le Havre, Liverpool, Belfast, Reykjavik, Akureyri, Isafjordur

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