WEIGHT: 47 kg
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To get ahead of the crowds which will be converging on Norway's fourth-largest city next year, when Stavanger shares the title of European Capital of Culture with Liverpool.
With a population of just ,, it is compact, easy to explore and holds great charm — all of which sounds unlikely given that this is also the oil capital of Norway. There's a great mix of the new and the old here: you'll see plenty of huge ships and tankers in the harbour, yet this tiny city also contains the greatest number of wooden houses in northern Europe.
And there's a wealth of things to do: Stavanger boasts 26 museums and galleries and is the gateway to especially fine fjord country. The ferry terminal 1 is at Strandkaien, an easy walk to the city centre. Airport buses 00 47 51 59 90 60; www.
Ryanair ; www. Kystbussen buses 00 47 ; www. Given the high duties in Norway, and the fact that the country is outside the EU, many travellers consider it worthwhile to invest in alcohol; you are allowed 1l of spirits, 2l of wine and 2l of beer.
The one drawback of Stavanger is expense: all that oil money means that this is not a cheap city to visit. If you pay a little more you can expect high standards. The Thon Hotel Maritim 4 at Kongsgaten 32 00 47 51 85 ; www.