A flourishing port in western Norway, Stavanger dates back to Viking times. Today, its picturesque old town, complete with pretty whitewashed wooden houses and meandering lanes make it a happy place to spend a few days.
Dotted among its 18th-century dwellings, several excellent restaurants and pubs make daytime strolls and lazy evenings all the more enjoyable while, in summer, the bustling waterfront is a wonderful place to simply relax and watch the world go by. The sandy stretch of Sola Beach is also nearby, perfect for some summertime relaxation.
Stavanger is also well placed for exploring the nearby fjords and mountains, or combining with a trip south to Kristiansand. Preiskestolen – the Pulpit Rock – is the standout attraction; a granite tabletop at the summit of a precipitous 600-metre cliff, it's the place to visit for sweeping views across Lysefjord far below. Take it all in on a lazing cruise, then hit the trails on a sweat-breaking hike to the top.