It might seem like Stavanger in summertime is full of tourists, while all the locals disappear to either their summer cabin or to Spain in search of vitamin D. However, there's actually loads going on in the city during the summer months and besides Hafrsfjordkaupangen in June, late July is a time when the entire region gathers in Stavanger again after the summer break to celebrate food at Glad Mat Food Festival and this year, also to have a look behind the scenes of the world's sailing vessels at the Tall Ships Races.
Come and join me on a little peek into these two amazing festivals, and hopefully, you'll be inspired to visit Stavanger in summer yourself at the end of this read!
Glad Mat Stavanger
"Glad Mat" means "happy food" and the festival is often described as Scandinavia's biggest food festival. While I'm not 100% sure if that is actually the case, it definitely is Norway's biggest food festival and totally beats SMAK Food Festival in Tromsø - sorry, Tromsø!
The festival takes place on four days (Wednesday to Saturday) in late July and features ca. 100 food stalls with food from Norway and from all over the world. The streets of the city are naturally quite busy at this time with about 250.000 visitors, so if you're planning to fill your belly at Glad Mat, visit during the week or come here very early on Saturday.
And if you're thinking "Norway is so expensive! Why would I head to Stavanger for a food festival if I can't afford to actually eat there?" - don't worry! Almost every stall offers Glad Mat dishes, which are special small dishes that enable you to get a taste for the cuisine on offer and that only cost 40 NOK!
So basically, you can spend an entire day eating your way around all Glad Mat dishes!
Last year when we visited the festival for the first time (by accident might I add, as it was during the time when we came to the city to search for a flat and didn't know anything about the festival just yet), we only had time to spend a few hours in the city and thus, didn't really try too much food.
This year however, we got to visit Glad Mat during the week AND at the weekend, spending a ton of money on Dutch cheese (sorry Norway, but your cheese sucks!), as well as Pakistani samosa and Spanish churros - yum!
Glad Mat 2019
Glad Mat takes place from the 24th to the 27th of July 2019. You'll find the food stalls in the city centre, most of them around the market square and pier. There are also plenty of options for vegans, vegetarians, celiacs and anyone suffering from an IBD.
You can download the Glad Mat app in your app store of choice for a detailed overview and map of all food stalls, or visit the website of Glad Mat.
Tall Ships Races
The Tall Ships Races is a sailing event with a race in Northern Europe, that has the aim to unite people and specifically the youth - no matter what nationality, gender or religion people have.
The race is hosted by different ports every year so unfortunately, the event doesn't take place in Stavanger every year but so far, the city was a host in 1997, 2004, 2011 and 2018.
This year thus, we were fortunate enough to experience the race here in the city and it was an absolute blast! There were over 60 sailing vessels in the small harbour of Stavanger, coming from as far as Russia and India just to participate in the race!
The ships all took turns in opening their vessels for the public and there were loads of food stalls around as well. Plus, the city organised evening concerts so that you could basically spend an entire day at the event.
We were extremely lucky with the weather this year as it was sunny and hot, despite the wind, so Simon and I spent the majority of Saturday just strolling past all the vessels, eating a ton of food (again) and we also got to watch the (might I add, free) concert of Dagny the night prior.
On Sunday, the ships left the harbour of Stavanger again to continue the race and even though I would have loved to see the ships sail out from Tungenes Lighthouse, I was absolutely knackered from the day before. However, my lovely blogger colleague Sina got to be there, so watch out her blog for pictures to come!
Tall Ships Races 2019
In 2019, Bergen and Fredrikstad will be the host cities of the Tall Ships Races in Norway, as well as Aalborg and Aarhus in Denmark. The ships will be in Bergen from the 21st to the 24th of July.
You can have a detailed look at the program for Tall Ships Races 2019 here.
Accommodation in Stavanger
Looking for an affordable place to stay in Stavanger during the summer?
Here are a few options that won't break the bank:
- Stavanger Bed & Breakfast - cheap B&B with quite cosy rooms, only a 10-minute walk from the city centre
- Stavanger St Svithun Vandrerhjem - a backpacker's hostel right next to the hospital (which hopefully doesn't prove to come in handy), just a 10-minute bus ride from the city centre
- Smarthotel Forus - basic and cheap hotel outside of Stavanger, but if you don't mind the 30-minute bus ride, you can really save some money here!
- First Hotel Alstor - stylish but affordable hotel at Lake Mosvatnet, only a 15-minute bus ride from the city centre