Stavanger – the turkey that voted for Christmas

From oil centre to energy capital, how this wonderful city is pivoting to the future despite the current energy riches. The surf capital of Norway, with some of the most iconic Norwegian fjords on its doorstep, a gorgeous centre and thriving nightlife, Stavanger is a hidden gem for meeting and incentive events.

The deep pockets of the Norwegian state have been filled by the hydrocarbons that lie under the waters to the west of Stavanger. But arrive in Stavanger and look around, there isn’t any sense of this being the capital of the oil and gas industry – no oil industry plaques on office buildings and no 10-gallon hats, even the knocking sound of the internal combustion engine is dying out. The headquarters of the industry are located inland, away from the wonderful centre of Stavanger, and but for an industrial dock across the water from Stavanger centre and a museum to chart the history of the industry, the city appears a beautiful urban centre with cyclists, artwork, water, and sunny terraces.

Pulsating downtown

Stavanger packs so much into its compact centre, from the utterly adorable streets of the Old Town to the vibrant waterfront and onto the profusion colours on Øvre Holmegate, (translated as colour street) which doesn’t under-deliver on its name. Street art adorns walls throughout the centre of Stavanger, adding a further splash of creativity and magic. This is a centre that is easy to walk – the dream scenario for any event. Evenings and nights are bustling, and the waterfront comes to life with numerous terraces creating a wonderful nightlife atmosphere.

Surf’s up

To the south of the city lie beaches of staggering beauty, unspoilt and natural. The beaches are as pristine as they come and host the biggest surf community in Norway – Stavanger is Norway’s surf capital. Groups can learn to surf, stand up paddle when the waves flatten, kite surf, or enjoy numerous other beach sports. Cycling and hiking trails follow the coast south, offering ways to explore the region.

Green revolution

Beneath the surface, the city is part of a pivot away from fossil fuels, lining up the opportunities of the green energy revolution. The region is home to cutting-edge innovation to support this gargantuan repositioning. Event programmes can incorporate visits to these innovation hubs as well as meetings in incredible conference and seminar venues. 

The oil capital of Norway is moving away from the black stuff at great pace, yet even today, the city has barely any visible signs of its industrial economy. The picture-postcard central streets, the packed bars and restaurant terraces, the golden beaches – nothing points to heavy industry. Instead, Stavanger offers a stunning, compact, and increasingly sustainable destination for meeting and incentive events.

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