Stavanger is a rather special place to live or visit. It is not like any other town in Norway. It has the charm and friendly atmosphere of a small town combined with the cultural richness and facilities of a big city. There are first class hotels and a large selection of excellent restaurants. The cosy harbour has a picturesque waterfront with colourful sea-houses and an old watchtower. Gamle Stavanger is Europe's largest old wooden settlement. The cathedral dates back to 1125.
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Gamle Stavanger (Old Town) also known as Straen, has won many preservation awards. There are 173 tiny, (almost all) white houses privately owned and used as homes, workshops or galleries.
The lively guest harbour and market place is a focal point in the town. Sight-seeing ferries buzz to and fro. The old sea-houses are bars and cafes which spill outside in the summer. This is a perfect place to sit and watch the many magnificent cruise ships which visit.
Stavanger loves festivals! The calendar includes wine, jazz, humour, Gladmat food and chamber music festivals. An annual event is the beach-volleyball world tournament when the harbour's promenade is spectacularly transformed into a beach for a week.
The Tall Ships Race was here in 1997 and again in August 2004. This is a festival worth experiencing.
Stavanger is Norway's oil capital. It will also deservedly be the non-EU European Capital of Culture in 2008. Stavanger area has a preserved Iron Age Farm, historic reminders of the Viking era, the world's deepest undersea road tunnel (until recently) as well as a modern innovative Oil Museum.
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There are ferries from Denmark and England to the terminal in the main harbour, and Sola airport is 20 minutes to the south west.
The splendid unique countryside of Jaeren and Ryfylke is right on the doorstep as well as majestic fjords, mountains and lakes. Stavanger has everything.
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