But really, we’re burying the lede with this one, as no conversation about Stavanger (be it on tourism, culture or commerce) can be had without mentioning the sticky, black liquidised elephant in the room. Stavanger is Norway’s oil capital and comes with everything you’d expect of such a spot, namely dizzying wealth, glimmering buildings and prices that aren’t too far off the heights of those monoliths. Stavanger isn’t quite the most expensive city in the world, but it isn’t far off.
Truth be told, it isn’t really possible to explore Stavanger on a budget, but those with deeper pockets than most will feel lucky to enjoy its energetic waterfront and charmingly respectful awareness of its own history, best displayed in the preserved town centre and detailed museums. Of course, the two worlds collide in the form of the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, Stavanger’s most popular and one that is visited by almost 100,000 people on an annual basis.
Stavanger is a very old city with an extremely modern heart, and that juxtaposition brings its own curious charm to the intrepid explorer. The theme of Stavanger’s reign as European Capital of Culture in 2008 focused on the concept of an open heart, a clear indication of this city’s approach to art, business, culture and life. Also, there’s something about the word ‘Stavanger’ that really gets the juices flowing. Just us? Seriously, say it with us….