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Destination: direct flights from London and Manchester to...Stavanger; an unusual weekend break

I dare to assume that Stavanger wasn't the first destination that crossed your mind when the wild idea of a long weekend getaway with your loved one or your friends took root in your head. Perhaps Paris came to mind, but that's predominantly inhabited by the French who speak exclusively French. Or maybe Amsterdam, but all the hotels there are booked solid with English-speaking bachelor parties.

However, there are direct flights from London and Manchester to Stavanger. And there are solid reasons for that. After reading this article, you'll understand precisely why a long weekend in Stavanger is a brilliant idea. Let me guide you.

Stavanger Airport is just a half-hour drive from the city center. Here, you pick up the electric car you reserved (you'll need it later, you'll see). Then, you drive to where you'll be staying. I have four options for you, catering to different price ranges but all equally fantastic.


  • Eilert Smith: One of the most unique hotels in the entire country for a hundred reasons. Here, you can have breakfast served in your room if you wish. This world-class breakfast comes from the kitchen of Re-naa, Norway's only 2-Michelin-star restaurant. Everyone working here has elevated hospitality to an art form. Something you must experience at least once in your life. The top floor of the hotel features a breathtaking suite with an exclusive view of the city and the coast. If that's a bit much, as I can imagine, the other rooms are also of absolute world-class, with breakfast in bed, of course.

  • Utstein Kloster Hotell: Just outside Stavanger, a short half-hour drive away. This historically rich hotel has all the elements you'd expect from a hotel in a typical Norwegian setting. Beautifully situated on the coast, you have numerous options for outdoor activities here. Kayaking, cycling, paddleboarding, or relaxing in the sauna for two.

  • Villa Madla: If you want it all to yourself, without the interference of hotel staff, Villa Madla is an excellent choice. As one of the most stylish and architecturally attractive buildings in Stavanger, it's a place you won't easily forget. I mean, your private pool, your sauna, and a spectacular sea view. Bring your friends.

  • Hotel Victoria: Elegant sophistication encapsulates the essence of Hotel Victoria. Every element here is meticulously curated – from the exquisite rooms to the outstanding and incredibly attentive staff, not to mention the splendid breakfast and beyond. In terms of the overall package, this may well be Stavanger's finest hotel, perfectly tailored to suit every taste. Additionally, its central location ensures that everything is within easy walking distance. If you find the aforementioned options a bit too niche, then this is unequivocally your best choice.


  • Re-naa: The culinary highlight of the entire Norwegian west coast. Words fall short, even for a blogger, to describe the magic the chefs use to conjure up the most extraordinary dishes. For ordinary mortals like me, this is a 'once-in-a-lifetime' experience. I mean, 2 Michelin stars; there are only 413 restaurants worldwide with the same status.

  • Eg&Du: A delightful place for lunch. The fish soup is fantastic, but my personal favorite is the pickled fish dish. The service is excellent, the ingredients are mostly local and outstanding, and the prices are more than reasonable.

  • SÖL: The menu here varies from day to day because access to local ingredients also varies. The flavors are honest and sophisticated, all in a tastefully decorated restaurant in Scandinavian style. The dishes are often inspired by Nordic cuisine. Honestly, I'd prefer to dine here. The service is excellent, the dishes without exception of high quality, and the prices are excellent considering what you get in return.

  • Matmagasinet: Social eating at its best. Primarily a wine bar, the dishes they serve are comfort food at a high level. Especially if you're with a group, this is a particularly nice and casual place to eat and drink through the evening. Matmagasinet is a bit outside the center, but it's always busy. That is to say, particularly popular with the locals, and that's often a good sign.

  • Also worth mentioning are: Restaurant K2 (beautiful food, beautiful ambiance), Sabi Omakase (the most incredible sushi you'll ever taste), Fisketorget (for seafood lovers), and Bakernes Paradis (a wonderful cozy cafe with a bakery; it doesn't get more Norwegian than that).


  • Preikestolen: Of course, this is one of the major attractions of the Stavanger region. And for good reasons. The 40-minute drive there is already spectacular, but the view after the climb is unparalleled. You might want to pray for clear skies because with dense fog, it might be advisable to postpone your visit for a day. Make sure to bring decent shoes (and a guide). Hiking boots are not necessary, but your simple Adidas sneakers might get wet or muddy.

  • Gamle Stavanger: This is the oldest part of the city. The beautiful old seaman's houses now house many galleries and small shops. Whatever the weather, this neighbourhood exudes tremendous charm and makes you acutely aware that you are indeed in Norway.

  • IDDIS Graphic Museum: As a big fan of graphic design and printing art, I couldn't resist recommending this. It's a beautifully designed but small museum where you get a nice impression of the most iconic graphic design that every Norwegian feels nostalgic about. There are also fantastic exhibitions by contemporary graphic designers and artists. Additionally, the museum is housed in a wonderful fusion of industrial heritage and contemporary architecture.

  • Sauna: When you're in Norway, you owe it to yourself and the Norwegians to go to the sauna at least once. In recent years, the sauna culture here has experienced a true renaissance, resulting in a multitude of incredibly fun saunas in almost every city. In Stavanger, you can choose between Damp or Røkt (a bit rougher 'round the edges; but that's how I like it). As a fervent sauna-goer (I do it every week), I've become addicted to the natural 'high' you achieve when you jump from 80 degrees Celsius directly into the cold seawater. At some point, you don't feel what's warm and cold anymore, and that unleashes something in your mind. So if you've had a few too many beers and wake up without energy on a Sunday morning, go to the sauna, and you'll be back in shape after an hour. Speaking of too many beers...


  • Øvre Holmegate: Stavanger's nightlife street where it's lively both during the day and in the evening. My favorite places for a drink are Hanekam and BlygeHarry. Beyond that, it's all up to you. In this small street, there's something for everyone.

  • Espier Bar: Go here for an aperitif. A cocktail or two, preferably just after sunset so you can still see a bit of the city and the view. Besides the excellent cocktails and stylish decor, you come here mainly for the view.

  • Pjolter&Punch: They shake the most legendary cocktails here. In fact, if you could take a master's course in cocktail preparation, I think everyone would graduate cum-laude.

  • The Irishman: I probably don't need to explain this. And since I'm a big fan of old-fashioned pubs, this had to be on the list of recommendations.

Of course, I've left many places and attractions unmentioned, thereby doing great injustice to the respective entrepreneurs. But this is a blog where, based on my own experience and taste, I try to inspire you, not least to ensure you have an unforgettable time in Stavanger. May the weather gods be in your favor and book your flight to Stavanger not too long from now.


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