In the UK, many believe that Liverpool is the only Capital of Culture for 2008 -- they are wrong. Liverpool shares the glory with Stavanger in Norway. Stavanger is located on the coast with a beautiful harbour and is the country's fourth largest city. However, in comparison with many other cities across Europe, it is a small city with small-town charm. It is often thought of as the Capital of Southwestern Norway and is over 900 years old!!
Norway is often associated with winter, yet the mild climate means that there are things to do all year. Norway is also green all year around not white with snow. There are beautiful sandy beaches on the North Sea Coast and deep fjords and mountainous areas to the east of the city. There is breath taking views everywhere, the best view is often considered to be from Pulpit Rock (Prekestolen), which overhangs the fjord. It is a two-hour hike to the Rock, but the views are well worth it.
Stavanger is the perfect place for a short break. The centre is intimate with narrow streets and open spaces, and much of the town is for pedestrians only. There are open-air markets where locals and holidaymakers alike can buy fruit and vegetables grown by local farmers and, surprisingly, the market runs every working day of the year!
If visiting the city for a short time, a trip to the Stavanger Domkirke must be on your to-visit list. The Cathedral, built between 1100 and 1125, has a unique appeal and is thought of as one of Norway's most beautiful medieval structures.
There are a range of museums, such as the petroleum museum in the harbour that showcases the importance of Stavanger as Norway's oil capital since 1966. There is also the Canning Museum located in Old Stavanger.
Stavanger is the perfect place to visit for short relaxing retreats along the beaches, which are also shared by the more adventurous wind surfers. In 2008 there are many additional festivals and events to celebrate the Capital of Culture status, visit www.stavanger2008.no for more information. Those thinking of moving to Stavanger would find that most properties are privately owned, and this would be a most peaceful place to live with good access to other coastal towns, such as Bergen and Haugesund.