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Moving to Stavanger

Surrounded by islands off the southwest coast of Norway, Stavanger is well known for its majestic natural beauty and rich culture that seamlessly blends old traditions with modern life.

Expats moving to Stavanger will find themselves in one of the most picturesque Norwegian cities, where industry and family life peacefully co-exist.

Living in Stavanger as an expat

Stavanger rose to fame as Norway’s oil capital, and expats often relocate to Stavanger to work in the city’s oil and gas as well as renewable energy sectors. The city boasts a thriving job market, where newcomers can secure opportunities in a range of industries, including tourism, food manufacturing and fisheries.

With the fjords to the south and the ocean a stone’s throw away, the lifestyle in Stavanger is concentrated around outdoor activities. Foodies and culture buffs will also enjoy living here, owing to the vibrant culinary and street art scenes in Stavanger.

Expats who prefer a cosmopolitan life will also not be left wanting for anything. There are plenty of opportunities for retail therapy or dancing the night away at a local bar or pub. Getting around in Stavanger is also fairly straightforward, as the city boasts a comprehensive and reliable public transport network.

Cost of living in Stavanger

The cost of living in Stavanger is incredibly high, but lucrative salaries from the oil industry tend to make up for this. Stavanger is a compact city, so expats will find that accommodation in the city can be eye-wateringly expensive and difficult to find. Utilities will also set expats back significantly due to the continuously changing electricity prices in Norway.

Expats will pay a pretty penny for public transport, but price-conscious commuters can purchase monthly tickets to minimise costs. While getting around on public transport isn’t cheap, driving is prohibitively expensive and largely unnecessary in Stavanger. Those who choose to own a vehicle will have to budget for the steep petrol prices.

Fortunately, the lifestyle in Stavanger is largely focused on connecting with nature and the outdoors, which makes for budget-friendly entertainment.

Families and children in Stavanger

Expat parents will love raising their children in Stavanger. Much like the rest of Norway, Stavanger is built around family life. Public education in Stavanger is exceptional, and it is free of charge. While Norway’s public schools offer excellent facilities and teaching standards, expats should note that the primary language of instruction is Norwegian. Nonetheless, Norway offers language tuition lessons for non-native speakers, so expat children have an excellent chance of successfully adapting to their new environment.

Parents who would like their children to learn a globally recognised curriculum with English as a first language can enrol their children in one of the three international schools in Stavanger and neighbouring city of Sandnes. These schools offer the International Baccalaureate programme. Owing to the large expat population in the city, space at international schools is limited and fees tend to be high.

Climate in Stavanger

The weather in Stavanger is defined by cool summers and mild winters, thanks to the city’s temperate maritime climate. December to February marks the winter period, where temperatures can drop to freezing and snow can fall. Expats should be sure to pack their umbrellas and prepare for lots of rainfall and humidity during the summer.

Expats moving to Stavanger can truly find the best of both worlds: modern conveniences and facilities, but with unspoilt natural landscapes and rich traditions to boot.

Weather in Stavanger

Stavanger, located on the southwest coast of Norway, has a temperate maritime climate, characterised by mild winters and cool summers. From December to February, average winter temperatures range from 32 to 37°F (0 to 3°C), and from June to August, summer high temperatures average from 57 to 64°F (14 to 18°C).

The city receives an average of 47 inches (1,200 mm) of precipitation per year, with the majority in the form of rainfall. Snowfall is less common, but it can occur in the winter months. Stavanger is known for its humidity, which can make the summer months feel warmer than they actually are. The region is also known for strong winds coming off the coast and through the fjords.


Working in Stavanger

Known as the oil capital of Norway, Stavanger’s local economy is largely based on oil and gas production. Expats working in Stavanger often find the city an ideal assignment thanks to the breathtaking scenery and excellent quality of life.

New arrivals from EU and EEA countries can live and work in Stavanger without a visa. Those from outside these regions will need to apply for a Norwegian work visa.

Job market in Stavanger

The energy sector is the backbone of Stavanger’s economy, and most new arrivals moving to Stavanger will likely be employed in the oil and gas or renewable energy sectors. In fact, one of Stavanger’s biggest oil companies, Equinor, runs about 60 percent of Norway’s oil and gas operations.

Stavanger’s mix of old-world charm and modern beauty, along with the more than 250 islands located off its west coast, attract many a tourist. In turn, the tourism and related service industries offer plenty of work opportunities for newcomers, especially during the busy summer months.

The city is also a world-renowned culinary hub where fishing, agriculture and food manufacturing remain key industries. Expats who have qualifications in these fields are likely to thrive in Stavanger's job market.

Work culture in Stavanger

The work culture in Stavanger, much like in the rest of Norway, prioritises work-life balance and working to live rather than living to work. Many companies offer flexibility and extended annual leave to allow employees to take care of their family responsibilities. 

Egalitarianism is another defining feature of the work culture in Stavanger. Collaboration and teamwork are highly valued over hierarchies, enabling employees to freely contribute to discussions and projects across all levels. 

Punctuality is essential, and expats should inform business associates ahead of time should they be unable to arrive on time for a scheduled meeting. Ultimately, working in Stavanger is likely to be a pleasant and enriching experience for expats. 

Cost of Living in Stavanger

The cost of living in Stavanger is high, but expats needn’t worry as salaries are usually high enough to offset costs. Norway also offers a host of social welfare benefits, which contribute to reducing the cost of living and improving the quality of life for its citizens.

Cost of accommodation in Stavanger

The housing market in Stavanger is competitive and expensive. With that in mind, accommodation is likely to be an expat’s biggest expense in the city. Price-conscious new arrivals typically search for housing in the areas and suburbs further out of the city centre. In fact, many expats opt to live in nearby Sandnes to save on costs and get better value for money in terms of property size. Convenience seekers with a few bucks to spare, however, will find a range of accommodation options in the city centre.

New arrivals should note that utility costs in Stavanger are quite hefty, particularly during the cold Norwegian winters.

Cost of transport in Stavanger

Although public transport in Stavanger is efficient and reliable, it is by no means cheap. Stavanger has an extensive bus network and commuter rail lines that make getting around fairly easy. Thrifty passengers looking to reduce their monthly travel costs can purchase monthly passes.

For those who live close to transport links, owning a vehicle in Stavanger is unnecessary. That said, expats who would like to explore the fjords further out would benefit from having a car, as would those who don't live near a bus stop. However, this option is quite pricey as petrol costs in the city are steep. Norway charges road, carbon and sales taxes which make up almost half of the price at the pumps.

Cost of groceries and eating out in Stavanger

With two Michelin-starred restaurants and a tantalising range of cuisines on offer, Stavanger is a foodie’s paradise. Expats should note that enjoying these gourmet pleasures does not come cheap, as food prices in Norway are notoriously high. Gourmands will have to budget carefully to appreciate these delights without breaking the bank.

New arrivals looking to save on fresh produce and dairy products have the option of visiting local markets and shopping at discount supermarkets. Naturally, imported goods will incur a steeper cost, so newcomers looking to get more bang for their buck are advised to stick to Norwegian products.

Cost of education in Stavanger

Education in Stavanger and throughout Norway is either free or heavily subsidised for legal residents and citizens. Expat parents with young children can send their tots to public schools where the language of instruction is Norwegian with English as a mandatory foreign language. Norway also offers language tuition classes for non-native students, making public schools a viable option for expats.

Those who would like their children to study an internationally recognised curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate programme, have the option of enrolling their children in the often expensive but high-quality international schools available in the city. Thanks to the growing expat population in Stavanger, the number of international schools in the city continues to expand.

Cost of living in Stavanger chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Stavanger for January 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NOK 13,100

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NOK 10,000

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NOK 25,400

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NOK 16,100


Eggs (dozen)

NOK 38

Milk (1 litre)

NOK 20

Rice (1kg)

NOK 26

Loaf of white bread

NOK 29

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NOK 132

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NOK 145

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NOK 140

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NOK 29


NOK 47

Local beer (500ml)

NOK 105

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant 

NOK 900


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

NOK 1.05

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

NOK 708

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

NOK 2,140


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

NOK 16.50

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

NOK 41

Petrol (per litre)

NOK 21.17

Accommodation in Stavanger

Finding accommodation in Stavanger will likely be new arrivals’ main priority. As a university city and tourism hotspot with a booming job market, Stavanger’s rental market is fiercely competitive and most expats prefer renting a home in neighbouring Sandnes. While it is not impossible to find accommodation in Stavanger, it is certainly challenging and expats should be prepared to scour the internet and different areas and suburbs to secure their dream home.

Fortunately, housing in Stavanger is generally in excellent condition, so expats are sure to find something to suit their preferences and budget.  

Types of accommodation in Stavanger

House hunters moving to Stavanger will be delighted to find that everything from converted studio apartments to freestanding family houses is available. Single new arrivals who are keen on saving often opt to rent a hybel – typically a cellar in a detached family home with basics such as a sofa bed and kitchenette. A shared house or kollektiv is a fantastic way to plant social roots in Stavanger while saving money on rent. Students and young professionals typically choose this option.

Apartments are the most popular option for young professionals and small families alike. They range in size and standard, and some offer sought-after amenities such as fitness centres and saunas. Apartments can either be furnished or unfurnished, with the latter proving the most expensive option.

Expat families in Stavanger frequently lean towards multi-room detached houses (enebolig), which may or may not come with a garden. Owing to Stavanger’s compact size, these are few and far between. Tomannsbolig (shared semi-detached houses) are also an excellent and more affordable option for those with families. This type of home will usually be occupied by two families, who will also share the laundry and garden areas. Rekkehus (rowhouses), which are also available, are probably the most charming family-style homes in Stavanger.

Areas and suburbs in Stavanger

Expats arriving in Stavanger will need to consider their budget and proximity to their places of work when deciding where to live. Those with children will also need to think about the schools in each neighbourhood, as enrolment in Norway is based on catchment areas. Stavanger is divided into seven boroughs: Eiganes/Våland, Hillevåg, Hinna, Hundvåg, Madla, Storhaug, and Tasta.

See the page on Areas and Suburbs in Stavanger for ideas on the best places to live in the city. 

Finding accommodation in Stavanger

The best place to start the house hunt is online on websites such as Finn and Hybel. Social media is also a reliable resource, as landlords often want to try to avoid the costs associated with posting their rentals on online property portals. Word of mouth can also turn up some good leads, especially for those looking to rent a hybel or kollektiv.

Those who prefer not to go it alone can hire a real-estate agent. These professionals frequently have intimate knowledge of the local property market and can find a home perfectly suited to a range of needs and specifications.

Renting accommodation in Stavanger

The rental process in Stavanger is fairly straightforward, but expats will need to ensure they have all their paperwork in order and act fast if they see something they like.

Making an application

Although not all landlords will ask for these, new arrivals will should have their ID, Norwegian Identity Number and proof of income on hand when applying for a rental property in Stavanger. The accepted proof of income is usually an employment contract or payslips.

Newcomers will have to view multiple properties, put their name on a waiting list and wait to be contacted by the landlord. Homeowners in Stavanger prefer to build relationships with prospective tenants and often choose them based on how much they enjoyed their personalities.


Leases in Stavanger are generally for 12 months and can go up to three years. The rental agreement should highlight the monthly rental fee and state whether utilities and internet connection are included. New arrivals should take a comprehensive inventory of the property before moving in and ensure that the landlord is aware of anything that needs to be repaired.

Both the tenant and landlord are required to give each other three months' notice before terminating the lease, according to the municipality of Stavanger.


Deposits are probably one of the most restrictive aspects of renting in Stavanger. Landlords require three months of rent as a security deposit as well as the first month’s rent before a tenant can move in. The deposit is fully refundable at the end of the lease should the property not be damaged beyond normal wear and tear.

Short lets

The Norwegian government has been cracking down on short-term rentals in the country by limiting the number of days landlords can rent out their homes per year and implementing strict taxation laws. This has undoubtedly affected Norway's short-term rental market, but temporary housing is still a fantastic option for shorter stays or for getting to know the city before making any long-term commitments. Though pricey, short lets are generally all inclusive.


Utilities, such as electricity and heating, are rarely included in the monthly rental fee in Stavanger. Some landlords will take care of water and internet costs, but newcomers should ensure their lease agreement clearly states who will be responsible for which utilities, as these can be quite hefty due to the city’s cold weather.

New arrivals should note that electricity prices in Stavanger are constantly changing, and the unit price is determined a day in advance based on the predicted demand and supply. Tenants typically receive two electricity bills, one from the electricity company and one from the grid company, though some users have their bills combined into one.

Bins and recycling

Most homes and rental properties in Stavanger have four bins for waste collection. Green bins are collected monthly and they are for paper. Red bins are reserved for hazardous materials and tenants will need to book collection for these, while brown bins are for organic waste and are collected fortnightly. Finally, black bins are for all other waste, including plastic, and these are also collected every two weeks. 

Organic waste bags are available for order from Stavanger's municipality at no charge for mainland residents. Those who live on islands with ferry connections will need to collect the bags themselves. Alternatively, the bags can be collected at one of the innbyggertorgene (resident's service asker), bydelshusene (cultural centres) or grocery stores on some islands.

See the page on Accommodation in Norway for more information on the rental process. 

Areas and suburbs in Stavanger

The best places to live in Stavanger

Norway's fourth-largest city, Stavanger, is a picturesque and vibrant place that has maintained a small-town feel without compromising on modern amenities. The areas and suburbs in Stavanger are divided into seven boroughs. These are Eiganes/Våland, Hillevåg, Hinna, Hundvåg, Madla, Storhaug, and Tasta.

Expats looking for accommodation in Stavanger will need to consider their budget and proximity to their places of work to make their commutes as easy as possible. Those with children will also need to think about the schools in each neighbourhood, as enrolment in Norway is based on catchment areas.

Naturally, living in the city centre will attract higher rental fees, while moving to the outskirts will be more affordable. 

Below are some of the most popular areas and suburbs in Stavanger. 

City living in Stavanger

Stavanger Sentrum

Located in the heart of the city, Stavanger Sentrum is perfect for young professionals, students and single expats looking for easy access to lifestyle amenities. Stavanger Sentrum is home to one of the city’s main attractions, the colourful street of Øvre Holmegate. Also in the area is an eclectic mix of restaurants, retail stores and museums. Stavanger Sentrum is3 serviced by reliable transport links, making for straightforward commutes.

Stavanger Øst

Known as the Silicon Valley of Stavanger, Stavanger Øst is a previously derelict part of the city that has been revived to become one of its trendiest areas. The construction of the Innovation Dock entrepreneurial arena has kickstarted the area's culture, cultivating a lively food and art scene. Stavanger Øst is home to the Michelin-star restaurant, Sabi Omakase, and the centre for street art exhibitions, Tou Scene.

Gamle Stavanger

Award-winning Gamle Stavanger is the city's historic old town that has charming, well-preserved 19th-century wooden houses and narrow cobbled streets. Culture buffs moving to this area will enjoy the plethora of galleries, boutiques and trendy watering holes. Thanks to the Stavanger Maritime Museum, The Norwegian Printing Museum and The Norwegian Canning Museum, history aficionados are also catered for in Gamle Stavanger. 

Family-friendly areas in Stavanger


Located in the borough of Hillevåg, Bekkefaret is a family-friendly suburb boasting sought-after amenities such as schools, sports clubs and nature reserves. Bekkefaret also has easy access to the E39 highway, which makes for painless commutes. The properties in this suburb are largely standalone and semi-detached houses, making it an attractive location for expats with children.


Eiganes offers a fantastic mix of detached family homes and large apartments, making it the perfect base for small and large expat families alike. Historically, Eiganes was mainly a residential neighbourhood for wealthy families, but this is slowly changing as there are now many middle-class expat families residing here. Owing to the abundance of restaurants, green spaces and cultural attractions such as the Breidablikk Museum and the Ledaal, parents will have no trouble keeping their tots and teens entertained in Eiganes.


Jåtten is a growing family-friendly area in Stavanger with access to excellent schools and outdoor activities. One of the main drawcards for residents is the picturesque hiking and cycling trail at Jåttåknuten hill. Sports lovers will revel in having the Viking football stadium, SR-Bank Arena, right in their backyard. It also has reliable rail services located next to the stadium, so getting around shouldn't be a hassle.


Home to the Brutt Lenke monument honouring Stavanger’s fallen oil workers, Kvernevik is one of the best neighbourhoods for raising a family in Stavanger. With four kindergartens, two schools and a sports hall, expat families will be well served here. Located at the mouth of Hafrsfjord, Kvernevik also offers plenty of opportunities for fitness enthusiasts and nature-loving expats to pursue hiking, fishing, cycling or swimming.

Healthcare in Stavanger

There are private and public healthcare services and facilities in Stavanger. The public healthcare system in Norway provides all residents access to comprehensive medical care – including primary, specialist and hospital care – either free or heavily subsidised by the government. This system is funded by the Norwegian government through the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (NIS), and expats who have registered with and contribute to the NIS will have access to the country's public healthcare.

Most medical expenses are covered by the NIS, but certain expenses, like prescription drugs or certain dental procedures, are paid out of pocket. The government provides a tax credit in the form of an electronic card called the Frikort (free card) after a certain annual limit – determined by income and other tax criteria – has been reached. Once the Frikort limit has been reached, the holder will no longer have to make co-payments on certain medical expenses.

Some people opt to use private medical healthcare to skip waiting lists or see specific specialists. Although private Norwegian health services are competitively priced compared to the UK and the US, expats who want private healthcare in Stavanger should consider health insurance to keep the costs more reasonable.

The main hospital in Stavanger is the Stavanger University Hospital, offering a wide range of services, including emergency care, surgery, specialised care, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and mental health. There are also a number of clinics and medical centres.

Hospitals and clinics in Stavanger

Stavanger University Hospital

Address: Gerd-Ragna Bloch Thorsens Gate 8, 4011 Stavanger

Aleris Stavanger (Clinic)

Address: Lagårdsveien 80, 4010 Stavanger

Stavanger Medical Centre (Clinic)

Address: Sverdrups Gate 23, 4007 Stavanger

Education and schools in Stavanger

Public education in Norway is excellent, and Stavanger is no exception, although there are private and international options as well. That said, there is not a longstanding tradition of private education in Norway, and private schools are not as common as in many other European countries. The population of Norway is highly educated, and many adults hold tertiary degrees.

Public education in Norway is free for all citizens, and education is mandatory for children between the ages of 6 and 16. The government sets curriculum guidelines and provides funding for schools, and each municipality administers and operates their schools.

Public schools in Stavanger

Public schools in Stavanger, known as folkeskoler, are administered by the municipalities and are free for all students. They are divided into primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools. Primary schools provide education for students aged 6 to 13 and the lower secondary schools for students aged 13 to 16. In upper secondary, from the ages of 16 to 19, students can choose between general studies – aimed at preparing students for higher education – and vocational education, aimed at preparing them for specific trades and professions.

Stavanger's public schools teach mainly in Norwegian, but there are also schools that offer bilingual education or instruction in other languages. Overall, the public schools in Stavanger provide high-quality education with well-trained teaching staff and good facilities. They also have good results in national and international test rankings.

Private schools in Stavanger

Private schools in Stavanger, known as privatskoler, are independently run and are financed mostly by tuition fees. They offer a range of educational options and can vary in terms of their curriculum, philosophy, and specialisations. Some private schools follow the Norwegian National Curriculum and are similar in structure to public schools, while others may have a more specialised curriculum, such as bilingual education, or focus on a particular subject or teaching method, such as Montessori.

Many private schools in Stavanger are religious, basing their education on the teachings and principles of a particular faith. In Stavanger, private religious schools are mainly Christian. These schools may provide religious education as part of the curriculum.

International schools in Stavanger

International schools are educational institutions that provide an international curriculum and instruction in a foreign language, typically English. These schools cater to the needs of international families, expats, and Norwegians who want their children to receive an international education. There are two international schools in Stavanger: the British International Schools of Stavanger and the International School of Stavanger. In the neighbouring town is Sandnes International School. All of them offer the International Baccalaureate and classes in English.

It is worth noting that international schools in Stavanger can be quite expensive. They also have limited seats and may have waiting lists for enrolment.

British International Schools of Stavanger

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 18 months to 18 years

International School of Stavanger

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Sandnes International School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 6 to 16

Special-needs schools in Stavanger

In Norway, special-needs education is provided by both public and private institutions. With an emphasis on inclusion, the Norwegian government tries to keep students with special educational needs in mainstream schools and in the mainstream curriculum as far as possible. The curriculum is therefore designed to be flexible and adaptable to the individual needs of each student.

Students with more pronounced special educational needs can attend special-needs schools known as spesialskoler, or alternatively they can attend special education programmes within mainstream schools. Special-needs education can also be provided in the form of support services, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and counselling, which can be provided to students in mainstream schools.

In Norway, there is a strong emphasis on inclusion and integration, and many students with special educational needs will have the opportunity to participate in mainstream activities, such as sports, music, and community service.

Tutors in Stavanger

Education is highly regarded in Norway, as it is in most other Nordic countries, and parents often supplement their children's education with private tutoring. Expats often hire tutors, either for Norwegian language lessons or as extra academic support for their children as they get used to the move. Superprof and Varsity Tutors are two notable tutoring companies in Norway.

Lifestyle in Stavanger

Stavanger is known for its unique blend of traditional and modern culture. The lifestyle in Stavanger is generally considered to be relaxed and comfortable, with a strong focus on outdoor activities and a connection to nature. The city is surrounded by breathtaking mountains, fjords and beaches, and it attracts many tourists every year. As the Norwegian energy industry's hub, the city also attracts a healthy population of expat professionals.

Stavanger has a bustling hospitality industry and is home to a vibrant food scene, with a mix of traditional Norwegian and international cuisine. The seafood is particularly notable, with fresh fish and shellfish readily available. The city is also known for its craft breweries and distilleries, offering a variety of local beers and spirits.

There are numerous cultural events in Stavanger throughout the year, including music festivals, theatre productions and art exhibitions. The city is also known for its annual cultural festival Gladmat, which is one of the largest food festivals in Scandinavia.

Shopping in Stavanger

Shopping in Stavanger offers a variety of options for both locals and visitors. That said, Stavanger is one of the most costly cities in the world, and this reflects in shopping prices. Most shops in Stavanger are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm, and on Saturdays until 4pm. Some shops are open on Sundays, but there are fewer pickings.

Recommended shopping areas in Stavanger include:

City centre

The city centre is the most popular shopping area in Stavanger, with a variety of shops, restaurants and cafés. The main street, Strandkaien, is an ideal starting spot. Visitors will find everything from high-end fashion to souvenir shops here. The area is pedestrianised, providing easy access to clothing, jewellery and gift shops, as well as supermarkets and department stores.


The area around Breiavatnet Lake is perfect for finding unique and local boutiques. Here you can find a variety of clothing, accessories and home decor items, many of which are made by local artisans. There is a good mix of shops, including both high-end fashion boutiques and more affordable shops. There are also many small independent shops selling handmade crafts, clothing and jewellery.

Kvadrat Shopping Centre

Although it's located in neighbouring Sandnes, Kvadrat is one of the most popular shopping centres in the Stavanger region. It offers a wide range of shops from high-end fashion to electronics, as well as a cinema and a food court. It's one of the largest and busiest shopping centres in Norway. Kvadrat Shopping Centre is modern and offers a good mix of chain and independent shops, and the food court has a wide range of options, from fast food to sit-down restaurants.

Fish market

The fish market is an ideal location to find fresh seafood, including fish, shellfish and crustaceans, as well as to find freshly prepared seafood to eat. Visitors can also pick up a variety of other products, such as cheeses, cured meats and fresh fruits and vegetables. It's an ideal place to explore and work up an appetite before finding something delicious to eat.

Eating out in Stavanger

Stavanger offers a wide variety of dining options for expats and visitors, from traditional Norwegian seafood, reindeer and moose dishes to international cuisine.

Stavanger is known for its fresh seafood, and there are many seafood restaurants in the city. Visitors can find traditional Norwegian seafood dishes such as fish soup, fish cakes and smoked salmon, as well as more modern dishes like sushi and seafood pasta. In addition to seafood, there are also many restaurants that serve traditional Norwegian meat dishes such as reindeer and moose meat. These dishes are often served with traditional side dishes such as potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam. Alternatively, visitors can try gulost, a brown Norwegian cheese made from cream and whey that is typically served as a dessert with waffles or as a topping for bread.

There are also international restaurants in Stavanger, serving a wide variety of cuisines including Italian, Chinese, Indian and Thai.

Nightlife in Stavanger

Stavanger offers a plethora of nighttime activities for expats. The city boasts a variety of bars and pubs, clubs and dance venues, music venues, cinemas and outdoor activities that cater to a wide range of interests.

One popular option for expats in Stavanger is to visit bars and pubs that serve traditional Norwegian beer and cider. These establishments provide a social atmosphere where expats can interact with locals and other expats. They offer a comprehensive selection of beers, cocktails and other drinks, and often have live music or DJs on weekends. Another option for expats is to visit the clubs and dance venues in the city centre. These venues often feature a mix of local and international DJs and live acts, and are known for their lively atmosphere.

For those who prefer a more low-key night out, there are cinemas in Stavanger and Sandes showing the latest films. Stavanger has a thriving coffee culture, with many cafés and coffee shops offering a wide variety of coffee blends, teas and pastries.

Finally, Stavanger also offers several opportunities for night owls to engage in outdoor activities at night. For example, taking a walk along the waterfront or visiting a viewpoint to see the city lights can be a pleasant experience. The city has parks and nature reserves that are open during the night and offer beautiful views of the city, and one can also take a boat tour to see the city lights from a different perspective.

Outdoor activities in Stavanger

Stavanger offers a wide range of outdoor activities for expats to enjoy. Beautiful natural landscapes, including fjords, mountains and beaches, flank the city and provide ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and experience the region's natural beauty.

Hiking is a popular outdoor activity in Stavanger. There are several mountain ranges and fjords that are perfect for hiking and offer spectacular views of the fjords and the sea. Additionally, outdoor areas such as the Botanical Garden and Vaulen Beach Park are not to be missed. These gardens and parks offer a peaceful and relaxing environment for expats to take a stroll, have a picnic or simply take in nature.

Another popular activity in Stavanger is fishing. The region has many rivers, lakes and fjords that offer excellent opportunities for freshwater and saltwater fishing. Expats can fish for salmon and trout in the rivers or cod and pollock in the fjords. For those who enjoy water sports, Stavanger offers a variety of options including swimming, kayaking and sailing. Expats can take a dip in the sea or in one of the many lakes surrounding the city, or take a kayak or a sailboat out to explore the fjords and the coast.

Lastly, for those with an interest in wildlife, Stavanger and its surrounding areas offer several opportunities for bird watching and wildlife safaris. Expats can take a guided tour to see indigenous fauna in their natural habitats and learn more about them.

See and do in Stavanger

Gamle Stavanger

This historic district is made up of well-preserved wooden houses and cobbled streets, offering a glimpse into the city's past. Visitors can wander through the area and explore its many charming shops, cafés and restaurants.

Stavanger Cathedral

This historic stone cathedral from the 12th century is a symbol of the city's rich history and cultural heritage. It is considered one of the best-preserved medieval stone cathedrals in Norway and is open to visitors throughout the year.

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum

This museum is dedicated to showcasing Norway's oil and gas industry, including its history, technology and impact on the environment. Visitors can learn about the industry through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities and multimedia displays.

Stavanger Maritime Museum

This museum is dedicated to showcasing the city's history as a centre for maritime trade and fishing. It features exhibits on the history of the city's maritime industries.

Valberg Tower

This tower offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, including the fjords and mountains. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for a breathtaking view of the area.

Breiavatnet Lake

This scenic lake is surrounded by parks and picnic areas, making it a popular destination for outdoor recreation. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride along the lake's shore, or relax in the park and enjoy a picnic.

The Iron Age Farm

This open-air museum features reconstructed Iron Age homes, offering visitors a glimpse into what life was like in Norway during this time period. The museum also features exhibitions and hands-on activities that showcase the skills and crafts of the Iron Age.

What's on in Stavanger

Stavanger Symphony Orchestra's Summer Festival (June)

This festival features a range of orchestral and chamber music performances, as well as opera and dance productions, showcasing a range of musical styles and genres.

Gladmat Food Festival (July)

This popular food festival showcases the best of Norwegian cuisine, with a range of food stalls, cooking demonstrations and other culinary events. Visitors can sample traditional Norwegian dishes, as well as a variety of international cuisine, and learn about the local food culture and history.

Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival (July/August)

The chamber music festival takes place in the summer months and features a wide range of classical music performances, including chamber music, orchestral concerts and recitals. It attracts top musicians from around the world and offers a unique opportunity for music lovers to enjoy a diverse array of musical styles and genres.

Stavanger Cultural Festival (August)

The Stavanger Cultural Festival celebrates the city's rich cultural heritage and diversity. Visitors can expect a range of cultural events, including music and dance performances, art exhibitions, and cultural activities, as well as a variety of food and drink stalls.

Stavanger International Film Festival (October)

The film festival features a selection of international and Norwegian films, as well as workshops, panel discussions, and other events. Visitors can expect to see a variety of film genres, from independent and experimental films to blockbuster hits, and enjoy a unique opportunity to explore the world of film.

Getting around in Stavanger

Getting around in Stavanger is straightforward and convenient for expats. The city has a well-run bus system and a well-maintained and extensive road network. There are also ferries that connect Stavanger with other coastal landmarks.

Public transport in Stavanger

The public transport system is considered reliable and efficient, and there are plenty of bus and ferry routes to choose from. Buses and some ferries can be paid for with a prepaid Kolumbus card.


The bus system is operated by Kolumbus, under supervision of the Rogaland County Council, and the extensive bus network connects the city centre with residential neighbourhoods, shopping areas and popular landmarks. The buses are modern and comfortable and have low-floor access to make boarding and disembarking easier.

The buses run every day, with reduced service on Sundays and public holidays. The schedule and routes are available online on the Kolumbus website as well as on their mobile app. The fare can be paid in cash, by bank card or using a prepaid Kolumbus card.


Stavanger's train station is conveniently situated in the city centre right next to the main bus terminal. This is the terminus of the Stavanger–Oslo route, which meanders the southern coast of Norway over the course of eight to nine hours. There is also a popular route between Stavanger and Sandnes with a train every 15 minutes.

The train and bus schedules are coordinated to ensure efficient travel between the two modes of transport, and the two fares were made identical for passengers' convenience.


Ferries in Stavanger are an important mode of transport for the residents of the city and surrounding areas as well as for tourists visiting the region. They provide a link between the city centre and the nearby islands, which are popular destinations for outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing. There are a few ferry private ferry operators, but there are also ferries operated by the public transport company Kolumbus.

The ferries can transport both passengers and vehicles, which makes it convenient for those who want to explore the islands by car. They are also equipped with facilities such as restrooms, seating areas, and vending machines. Some ferries also have a restaurant or café on board.

Taxis in Stavanger

There are a few different taxi companies in Stavanger, and they all charge high fares. Additionally, surcharges may apply during off-peak times. Taxi fares are set both by distance and time. Taxis can be hailed on the street, or passengers can phone ahead to book one. Taxis can also be booked by an e-hailing app.

Besides taxi services, expats can use ride-sharing services like Uber and Bolt in Stavanger. The local ride-sharing apps like Getaround and Moveabout are widely used and worth trying out.

Driving in Stavanger

Driving is a common mode of private transportation in Stavanger due to the city's excellent road and motorway infrastructure. The majority of people in the city and surrounds commute by car, and there are a variety of parking facilities in the city centre and throughout the area. Traffic can become an issue during peak hours, so it is crucial to plan ahead and leave extra time for travel at these times.

It is worth mentioning that Norway has stringent driving regulations, including a 50 mile-per-hour (80km/h) speed limit and a 0.02 percent alcohol limit, with strict fines for violating traffic laws.

Cycling in Stavanger

Kolumbus also offers shared e-cycles which are docked at or near bus stations. These can be accessed through the Kolumbus Billett mobile app. Passengers can use these bicycles for free for up to 15 minutes as long as they have a valid public transport ticket. Outside of that, e-bikes can be rented.

Stavanger has safe and well-developed cycling infrastructure, and a comprehensive map of the cycling routes can be downloaded from the city's website. Notably, cyclists and pedestrians will have to share the path at times. The city of Stavanger has a strong cycling culture, with annual events hosted by its cycling clubs. The city also hosts the annual Vasaloppet, a cycling race on the nearby island of Rennesoy.

Walking in Stavanger

Walking in Stavanger is a popular way to explore the city and surrounds. There are extensive sidewalks and pedestrian-only streets, and the historic old town is an excellent place to stroll around and window-shop. There are several parks and green spaces to visit as well. The surrounding fjords and nearby islands have many walking and hiking trails as well.