Read on for the ultimate guide to the best day trips from Stavanger, as recommended to you by a local.
When I first decided to move to Stavanger, I knew that the region would keep me busy for ages, and so far, I haven’t been disappointed! It’s been almost 2 years since I moved to the Stavanger region and I’ve used every Easter vacation since, to rent a car and explore more of what my adopted home has to offer in terms of nature, views and history.
Fortunately, I also get to visit so many of these places in my job as a tour guide - seriously a dream come true!
The following list contains 27 day trip destinations from Stavanger to help you plan your vacation in the city. They’re all listed according to their location, from north to south, and you can easily either combine several places off this list to create your own road trip itinerary, or you could even try to see them all if you’re visiting Stavanger for about a week.
Trust me, each and every one of these places is worth a visit!
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Rennesøyhodnet is a hike on the island Rennesøy, which offers fabulous views of the Stavanger region from above. Granted, the drive up there is a little tricky for anyone suffering from motion sickness or fear of heights (I had to endure both), but trust me, it’s worth it!
The hike itself is pretty easy with only a few sections that require you to go uphill, and once you’ve made it to the top, you can even see as far as Stavanger if the weather is clear.
2. Utstein Monastery
Utstein Monastery is the best preserved monastery in Norway of medieval times and situated a mere half an hour from the city centre of Stavanger. The monastery is located in super scenic surroundings (we spent an hour by the fjord just to sunbathe and relax when I visited the place off-duty with my boyfriend), and comes with lots of medieval history, fascinating architecture and even a ghost story!
The church at Utstein, for instance, is the only one in Norway with the tower between the choir and the nave, and it’s also the only one that has resonance chambers built into the wall, which create magnificent acoustics. The old kitchen of the monastery then, features the oldest sink and waste water system in Norway, and, fun fact, the window in there used to be covered by the bladder of pigs instead of glass...
You see, I could spent an entire article telling you all the little details that I always tell cruise guests when visiting, but the bottom line is: you just HAVE to visit Utstein when you’re in Stavanger!
3. Fjøløy Fort
Fjøløy Fort is situated just a 5-minute drive from Utstein and should totally be on your itinerary when exploring the northern part of the Stavanger region as well. The fort was originally built by the German military in WWII and later renovated and modernized by the Norwegian military in the 1950s and 1960s.
Now that forts like these are no longer needed, Fjøløy Fort has become a popular place to visit by anyone who’s up for a little scenic hike and picnic with a view.
4. Fjøløy Lighthouse
Fjøløy Lighthouse is located just a stone’s throw from the fort and while you usually can’t go inside, you’re free to climb the tower for an even better view of the North Sea (or just the mandatory Instagram shot).
5. Tungenes Lighthouse
Another lighthouse, but this time one you can actually visit, is Tungenes. Built in 1828, the lighthouse is now used as a museum, cultural centre and art collection, that you can visit every day in summer, from 12 pm to 4 pm, and otherwise on Sundays at the same time.
Do you love the coast as much as I do? Then you should totally board the ferry or express boat and make your way to the island of Kvitsøy. Situated just an hour’s boat ride from Stavanger, Kvitsøy really is a hidden gem of the North Sea.
Whether you’d just like to go for a hike to take in the views or rent a cabin via Airbnb and actually spend the night there, Kvitsøy won’t disappoint!
Not a member of the Airbnb club yet? Sign up here and get 350 NOK in travel credit as a gift from me!
7. Viste Cave
Not too far from the city centre of Stavanger, you can find the old cave at Viste. Vistehålå, as the cave is called in Norwegian, is a 9-meter deep cave from the Stone Age that served as the home for 25 hunter-gatherers at a time.
Archaeologists also found the 7500 year old skeleton of the so-called “Viste boy” in the cave - the remains of a 15-year old which are said to belong to the oldest human remains that were ever found in Norway.
8. The City Islands
A quick 15-minute boat ride from downtown Stavanger, you can find Stavanger’s so-called city islands - a mini-archipelago in the fjord with some truly hidden gems to discover! One of these gems is the gorgeous island Lindøy, where you can find some super scenic hiking trails and viewpoints.
While the island is gorgeous even in the midst of winter, summer is definitely an even better time to visit as you’ll be able to take a dip in the ocean and have a picnic afterwards... oh those hazy lazy days of summer!
Another gem of Stavanger’s city islands is Sør-Hidle, where you can find the botanic garden Flor og Fjære. Now, when I say “botanic garden”, what I really mean is “exotic palm island in a Norwegian fjord”. That’s right, Flor og Fjære is a really unique place that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Stavanger in the summer months!
You don’t have to be into mountain hiking to enjoy the fjord, though. Lysefjord is equally gorgeous as seen from a fjord cruise - or, even better, from a canoe. Yes, that’s right - you can go on a canoe trip on the Lysefjord!
Right at the end of Lysefjord, you can find the scenic village of Lysebotn. Used by many hikers as the basecamp before heading to Kjerag, Lysebotn itself is actually also worth exploring on its own as the village has plenty of hiking trails to offer.
You could, for instance, head to the “King’s stone” or to the “Cold Cave” up on the mountainside. The hike to visit both just takes about 2,5 hours in total and chances are that you won’t run into another single soul during your hike - the true beauty of exploring Norway! Or would you rather stand in line at Pulpit Rock?
A short drive south of Stavanger and close to the airport, you’ll find Domsteinane - a reconstructed stone circle with Viking runes.
Did you know that there are 70km of sandy beaches at the Jæren coast in total?
It would probably be impossible to visit each and every one of the beaches we have here in the area (though, it’s a challenge I’ve totally taken upon myself), so here are some of my favourites that I think you should definitely visit:
Solastrand is the closest to Stavanger as it’s situated right next to the airport. The beach itself is 2,5km long and a heaven for windsurfers and anyone who’s interested in WWII, as you can still find old bunkers scattered around the beach.
Next to the beach, you can also find the golf course, as well as the beautiful beach hotel Sola Strand Hotel .
Hellestø is also pretty close to Stavanger but definitely a lot more of a hidden gem compared to Solastrand. It’s a bit tricky to actually find a spot in the dunes that’s shielded from the wind (I’ve tried!), so it makes total sense that Hellestø is where the annual kiting festival of the Stavanger region takes place.
Due to dangerous currents it’s also not the best beach for swimming, but it sure makes for a scenic beach walk!
Borestrand is the ultimate windsurfer’s paradise, situated south of Stavanger near the little town of Klepp. In 2017, the Euro-Championship in windsurfing was held here and you can find the best windsurfing conditions there in autumn.
There’s a surf school if you’d like to learn how to windsurf, and also a camping site and toilets nearby. Be aware if you’re planing to go for a swim at the beach, as there are dangerous currents!
Orrestrand is by far my favorite Jæren beach! It stretches over 5km and is the longest sandy beach in all of Norway, yet there’s few people who even know about the beach and even fewer who are visiting.
Picture a beach with sand dunes and grass that goes all the way to the horizon - pure bliss!
Brusand beach is one of very few Jæren beaches that are accessible by public transport from Stavanger. The train station is only about 1km away and there’s also a campsite with cabins right next to the beach, in case you’d like to stay longer.
Make sure to also check out #24, as the so-called “Hitler’s Teeth” are also situated in Brusand and something you shouldn’t miss when you’re in the area!
If you’d like to go on a hike that isn’t as crowded as Pulpit Rock, but that still provides a stunning view of the Stavanger region from above, Dalsnuten is a must! Situated close to Sandnes, Stavanger’s neighboring community, the hike to Dalsnuten takes approx. 2 hours (4km one way) and is one of the easier hikes you can do in the area.
Another hidden gem of Sandnes can be found at the tiny village of Bersagel. You can only get here by car, or on foot from Hommersåk where the express boat stops (it’s a 10km hike, one way, though). The narrow, curvy mountain roads leading to Bersagel aren’t for the faint-hearted, but you’ll be rewarded with the cutest little fishing village by the fjord!
You can also find the cutest little event venue at the pier of Bersagel; namely Naustene, which is a former fishing factory turned into party location - in case you’re planning to get married or celebrate a birthday when you’re headed to Norway!
19. Rogaland Arboretum
A short drive south of Sandnes, near the town of Ålgård, you can find Rogaland Arboretum, which is a botanical garden out of the ordinary. The entire area is 7 hectares large and features several ponds, rivers, forests and flower gardens.
Entrance is free, but parking costs 40 NOK.
20. Månafossen Waterfall
East of Stavanger, in the mountains of Frafjord, you can find this stunning waterfall. Månafossen is the highest waterfall in the Rogaland region of Norway and makes for a very rewarding climb (yep, it’s more a climb than an actual hike) up the mountain.
A quick drive from Månafossen, you can find another hidden gem in the mountains - the old dairy factory turned candle factory and hotel at Byrkjedalstunet. I come here around once a week during the summer with cruise guests, and still haven’t gotten tired of the place and views!
The hotel rooms at Byrkjedalstunet are all situated in reconstructed farmhouses from the local area, so I’d highly suggest staying here for a night after a day of exploring the mountains and valleys of Frafjord and Dirdal.
Another reason to make your way to Byrkjedal has got to be Gloppedalsura - a boulder field from the last Ice Age that’s more than 100m long and that features boulders as large as cars and even buildings! I can guarantee you that you’ve never seen anywhere like it before!
23. Kvassheim Lighthouse
Making our way further south from Stavanger and back to the Jæren coast, one other gorgeous lighthouse you don’t want to miss is Kvassheim! Built in 1912, the lighthouse now functions as a museum (yes, you can even visit the actual tower!), and it’s open every day expect for Saturdays in the summer, from 11 am to 4 pm.
You can even stay here for a weekend if you’re traveling as a group - a dream come true!
24. Hitler’s Teeth
Close to Brusand beach, a short drive south of Kvassheim Lighthouse, are the remains of a boulder fence of WWII - the so-called Hitler’s teeth. Workers from Stavanger and Egersund have been forced to erect this fence in order to protect the German military from fiends potentially making landfall at the beach (of course, this never happened).
Have you ever heard of the “troll’s penis” in Egersund? This funny looking rock formation got banned from Google Maps, but I’m showing you how you can get there anyway in this article.
It’s a pretty easy hike with absolutely stunning views of a landscape that’s been created thousands of years ago. Plus, the hike to Trollpikken on a normal day (as in, not a public holiday) is also way less crowded than Pulpit Rock - a win win in my book!
26. Helleren i Jøssingfjord
The old farmhouse at Jøssingfjord almost burnt down in a recent wildfire (climate change can already be noticed in Norway as well!), but luckily the fire brigade managed to save it, so that many more people get to experience this heritage. The two buildings were first built in the 1800s (though, historians agree that people first settled here already in the 1500s).
The large rock provided shelter from the elements and to this day, the rooftops of the two buildings aren’t waterproof - there is simply no need for this!
Helleren can be visited anytime of year and it’s also possible to enter the buildings - make sure to read the rules that are posted at the parking lot, though!
Last, but certainly not least, if you’re driving down to see the Helleren houses, you also have to stop in Sogndalstrand - one of Southern Norway’s most picturesque seaside villages!
Take a stroll along the harbour, eat some ice-cream in the sun or get that perfect Instagram shot in front of the wooden buildings. Sogndalstrand really is the perfect day trip destination from Stavanger on a sunny day!
Further links about the Stavanger region
Stavanger Travel Guide - 7 Things NOT to do when visiting
Summer in Stavanger - All about our culinary festival Glad Mat
7 easy hikes in Stavanger
All about the Viking Market in Stavanger
Where and how to find the best street art in Stavanger
Away from the crowds: How to explore Stavanger like a local
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