Stavanger, Norway may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but as the saying goes you get what you pay for. The city of 130-thousand people that made its riches from the oil industry is nestled amongst the breathtaking fjords, and is the gateway to famous Pulpit Rock which is considered one of the most breathtaking views in the world.
The city oozes charm in every sense of the word, from the perfectly-preserved wooden homes that dot the hillside to the peaceful parks and lively waterfront. For those lucky enough to visit, here are five of the best spots for photography in Stavanger.
Easily one of the most colourful streets you’ll ever come across, Øvre Holmegate is comprised of a few blocks in the city centre lined with shops, restaurants and cafes painted with just about every hue in the rainbow.
Nicknamed “Stavanger’s Notting Hill,” the district is a fantastic spot to stroll through on a sunny afternoon, or at night when twinkling lights turn on overhead.
It may not be as colourful as Øvre Holmegate, but Gamle Stavanger is equally memorable. This old part of the city is protected by a conservancy, as it’s home to Europe’s highest concentration of wooden houses.
The beautiful rows of detached homes that wind up the hillside date back to the 18th century, yet you wouldn’t know it based on how well kept they are. Even more fascinating is that the approximately 200 houses in the area are all painted white, save for distinguishing features like brightly-painted doorways and window boxes.
Vågen (The harbour)
Stavanger’s waterfront is one of the most bustling spots in the entire city, thanks to the cruise ships that sail in during the summer months and deposit throngs of tourists onto its boardwalk. The promenade is lined with brightly painted wooden wharf houses, which once served as storehouses for goods like logs and salt. They’ve since been converted into bars and restaurants, which overflow with people enjoying the view while tucking into Norwegian specialities like fiskeboller and reinsdyrstek.
Keep an eye out for the green roof of the Varberg tower which pokes out from behind the buildings, and has great views of the surrounding city.
The Norwegian Petroleum Museum
A museum dedicated to the offshore drilling industry may not sound like the prettiest spot, but head outside and you’ll be in for a treat. Adjacent to the building is a playground fashioned out of materials related to oil production—and it turns out they’re all rather colourful!
Walls are tagged with bright graffiti, pipelines refurbished so they’re safe to crawl through, and vibrant orange buoys now serve as a makeshift bouncy ball pit. Snap some shots, then channel your inner six-year-old and play in the park.
While Stavanger isn’t a particularly crowded city, it can get busy when the cruise ships come in. Escape to Breiavatnet, a small, shallow lake just steps away from the city centre. A walking path loops around the water which comes complete with a fountain, and families like to gather near the pavilion to watch the many swans, ducks and seagulls that call Breiavatnet home.
As a bonus, the historic Stavanger Cathedral which dates back to the Middle Ages is nearby, and just a few blocks north you’ll find the Tuscan-red Sankt Petri kirke.
Have any photogenic spots to add to this list? Share them in the comments below!
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Globe Guide explored Stavanger in collaboration with Viking Cruises.