In today’s guest blog, Carmen Cristina Carpio shares some of her favourite sights from around the Stavanger Region in Norway.
Are you considering Scandinavia for your next trip? Well then I recommend that you consider the Stavanger Region. Located on the West Coast of Norway, in the Norwegian fjords, this region offers a wide array of reasons for you to visit.
Here are my top five:
1) A gastronomical hotspot in Norway
Located just below the 59th parallel, bathed by the Gulf stream, the Stavanger Region has coolish summers and warmer winters. The area of Jæren, found in this region, is also referred to as Norway´s food pantry. It boasts the most fertile land in Norway with about 20,000 people working in the industry. Dairy products like the well-known Jarlsberg cheese, eggs, meats and vegetables are produced in Jæren. Every year Stavanger hosts Gladmat, the biggest food festival in Scandinavia – around 250,000 visitors from all over the country gather for this event every year.
2) Home to magnificent nature
During your visit to the Stavanger Region you can go from sea to mountains, experience the fjords and always be surrounded by stunning postcard views. The main attraction in the Stavanger Region is Preikestolen, a.k.a. Pulpit rock, a plateau located 600m above the breathtaking Lysefjord and one of the most impressive look-out points in the world according to Lonely Planet. Another top attraction in the region, and one you may have already heard of, is Kjerag: a boulder wedged between two rocks 1,000m above the fjord.
3) A wide cultural offer
Together with England’s Liverpool, in 2008 Stavanger was designated European capital of Culture, on that occasion with the slogan ‘Open Port’. There were more than 100 events going on in the region, drawing big-name international artists such as Mariah Carey and M. Rogers. The project involved the entire community from the professional theatre and symphony orchestra to amateur choirs and bands. There are also plenty of cultural events such as festivals and concerts to attend year-round. MaiJazz Festival attracts local and international visitors every year; it entices jazz aficionados, as well as people who enjoy good music and a great atmosphere. Then there’s the International Chamber Music Festival which gathers internationally-recognised world-class musicians. As most of the concerts take place in some of the main venues of the region, this will delight your senses in magnificent settings.
4) Longest pristine beaches in Norway
With 11km of beaches, this area of Jæren boasts the longest stretch of shoreline in Norway. All along the coast you’ll find yourself surrounded by gorgeous landscapes. In addition, this is also a perfect spot to enjoy outdoor activities – if you love surfing, then take your board and enjoy the best spot for surfers on the West coast!
5) Explore the history of the Vikings
Norway is also well known for the Vikings. From about 800 to 1100AD the Vikings had large settlements in the Stavanger area. The Viking age has been widely associated with brutality and looting but it’s important to mention that the Vikings were not only ruthless warriors but also wise traders, men of law, poetry and artistry. It was in Hafrsfjord that Harald Hårfagre (Fairhair) fought a battle that united Norway into one kingdom in 872AD and about 11,000 Vikings fought here. You can visit the Swords in Rock monument made by local artist Fritz Røed which is a symbol of peace. Legend has it that when Vikings were not at war they would leave their swords standing in the ground like you see in the picture.
Carmen Cristina Carpio, 34, has lived in her native Ecuador for most of her life and works in the tourism industry in Stavanger, Norway, where she now lives. She has travelled extensively around South America and has spent many summers backpacking around Europe where she stayed in HI hostels along the way. Check out her blog, Visit Ecuador and South America, here.