Stavanger, Norway cruise holidays
Stavanger is a former European Capital of Culture, and it’s not hard to see why. The city is heaven for culture vultures, boasting an impressive mix of museums, galleries and events celebrating Norway’s rich heritage. The gateway to Norways spectacularly scenic fjordland, Stavanger is also a town with its own rich heritage as it is regarded as the 'Cradle of the Vikings'. This small city celebrates its lively heritage dating back to 872 when Viking King Harald Hårfagre founded the Kingdom of Norway in nearby Hafrsfjord. But there’s more to the Vikings than pillaging and plundering. As you’ll find out, these bearded warriors were pioneering explorers, canny traders, skilled craftsmen and artful storytellers with a dark sense of humour.
During their 250-year rule, Vikings sailed to Britain, France, Spain, Italy and North Africa – and journeyed overland through Russia and to modern-day Turkey and Iraq. The area of Rogaland has several sites of archaeological interest, while museums and exhibits in Stavanger bring Viking culture to life. Look out, too, for the Swords in Rock monument on the site of an epic battle. Three giant Viking swords (symbolising peace, unity and freedom) mark the spot and celebrate the unification of Norway.
Your ship will dock right next to Gamle Stavanger, the old quarter, with its collection of 200-year-old white-painted wooden cottages (considered national heritage monuments in their own right), 12th century cathedral modelled on Winchester Cathedral, markets, craft stores and art galleries.
Breathtaking natural beauty, crashing waterfalls and head-spinning vertical drops (600m from the flat-topped Pulpit Rock or Preikestolen) can also be found about Stavanger. For an equally dramatic but less perilous photo op, head for the Swords in Rock or Sverd i Fjell monument at the edge of town, commemorating the 872 battle of Hafrsfjord, which led the victor, King Harald Fairhair, to create Norway as one kingdom. Three vast bronze swords stand firm in the rock at the water’s edge. Then head to find out about more Viking antics in Stavanger’s Museum of Archaeology.
Please note snow based shore excursions are not available on autumn cruises.