Cruising Norway: Exploring Stavanger Bay and beyond

In our latest feature, Peter Cumberlidge explains why Stavanger Bay is the perfect starting point for boaters interested in cruising Norway

Stavanger harbour

The word ‘Stavanger’ has quite a harsh sound, and somehow you expect its harbour to be hectically industrial and discouraging to pleasure boating.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Yachts and motor boats come and go among all the ferries, coasters, tugs and supply ships that use the port.

The city waterfront is a vibrant mix of traditional houses, converted wharves, smart apartments and café terraces.

There are several marinas for visiting boats near the old quarter of Stavanger, a warren of cobbled back streets, neat timber cottages and cheerful flowerbeds.

Stavanger visitors berthsThe harbour suspension bridge is a striking feature and below it the yacht club marina has views of all the comings and goings, especially the ferries which land nearby.

The liveliest berth is at the head of a north-facing dock called Vågen, which has visitor pontoons opposite a row of restaurants and a popular disco.

This is a fascinating billet for boat watchers, especially in the early mornings when glitzy multistorey cruise ships edge in.

Right on the harbour outside Vågen is a stylish glass-fronted building with what seems like part of an oil rig attached.

The award-winning Norske Oljemuseum tells the buccaneering tale of Norway’s highly profitable oil industry, from the first wildcat prospecting in the 1960s right up to the present and the astonishingly high-tech prospect of remotely operated gas rigs on the sea bed.

Anyone with an interest in ships and the sea will find this imaginative exhibition completely absorbing.

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