The city of Stavanger in southwestern Norway is characterised by a pleasant combination of bustling city life and wild coastal landscapes. Officially founded in 1125, the year the Stavanger Cathedral was completed, Stavanger has been home to settlers ever since the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. During the Middle Ages, the city became an important fishing port, and in the 1960s the discovery of oil in the region led to a booming offshore oil industry that still exists today.
But the main draws of this city are undoubtedly the natural and cultural attractions that abound here. One of these is the world famous Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), a 604-metre-tall cliff that rises above the picturesque Lysefjorden. To get there, you can hop on a ferry to Tau and drive up to the parking area. The hike from there to the top will take about two hours each way (don't worry - it's very worth it!)
The actual city itself makes for a pretty photo opportunity as well. In Old Stavanger, winding cobbled streets meander past white wooden houses, their walls adorned in blossoming flowers and climbing vines. Pop into one of the independent shops to stock up on hand-crafted pottery and other goods. If you're doing a cruise around the area, the cruise ship terminal is right next door, giving you easy access to this charming area.
Stavanger is also the gateway to the incredible natural beauty of the surrounding area. If you're planning to visit the fjords of Norway and the wild beaches along the Jaeren coast, this city is a great place to use as your base.