Stavanger is one of the oldest cities of Norway and many remnants of human settlement in the area date back to the Viking Age. All the more reason to stop obsessing with Pulpit Rock for a moment and have a closer look at the city and its history itself!
Often overlooked by tourists coming to visit, Stavanger actually has an abundance of Viking culture to offer - there are old gravestones with runic inscriptions, the former residence of Harald Fairhair at Utstein, and, of course, several monuments paying tribute to the Battle of Hafrsfjord.
The biggest and for most people probably also most interesting attraction when it comes to experiencing Viking culture in Stavanger however, has got to be Hafrsfjordkaupangen!
This Viking market takes place at the famous Hafrsfjord each year in June and might be reason enough to visit the city for a couple of days if you're interested in getting to know Norway's Vikings!
The Battle of Hafrsfjord
The market is strategically organised at the bay Møllebukta at Hafrsfjord, just 6 km outside of Stavanger where you can also find the monument of the three swords. It was at exactly this fjord where 11000 Vikings fought in the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872 AD, when Harald Fairhair managed to unite Norway in one kingdom.
The battle also is somewhat of a love story and a saga I pretty much tell guests on my tours every time, whether they're visiting Viking heritage or not:
Stavanger therefore is often called the "birthplace of Norway" and you can find monuments commemorating Harald all over the region - starting with the remnants of the former Harald Tower at Ullandhaug and ending with Haraldshaugen in Haugesund.
The three swords at Møllebukta in Stavanger's quarter of Madla are also built to commemorate the battle and thus, the perfect place to host a Viking market and travel back in time!
Hafrsfjordkaupangen is an annual Viking market where you can find dozens of stalls with Viking handicraft, jewellery and fashion, as well as Viking reenactors presenting Viking music, sagas, weapons and games.
It's something for all ages and gives you the opportunity to not only get to know Norway's Vikings first-hand and learn more about Viking culture, but also to be a Viking for a day yourself - if you want!
You can, for instance, try archery or dress up in Viking fashion.
The highlight of the market however, is definitely the mock-fight between two rivalling Viking clans in the arena.
Basic Information About the Viking Market
The market usually takes place on the third weekend of June and entrance costs 100 NOK. The ticket is valid for the entire weekend, so that you can visit more than once. Parking is available at the shopping mall Amfi Madla, from where you can take a shuttle bus to Møllebukta.
If you're staying in the city centre, you can take bus 16 to Madlaleiren. It's a short walk from the bus stop to the market ground.
For more information, visit the Facebook page of Hafrsfjordkaupangen!