Surrounded by islands off the southwest coast of Norway, Stavanger is well known for its majestic natural beauty and rich culture that seamlessly blends old traditions with modern life.
Expats moving to Stavanger will find themselves in one of the most picturesque Norwegian cities, where industry and family life peacefully co-exist.
Living in Stavanger as an expat
Stavanger rose to fame as Norway’s oil capital, and expats often relocate to Stavanger to work in the city’s oil and gas as well as renewable energy sectors. The city boasts a thriving job market, where newcomers can secure opportunities in a range of industries, including tourism, food manufacturing and fisheries.
With the fjords to the south and the ocean a stone’s throw away, the lifestyle in Stavanger is concentrated around outdoor activities. Foodies and culture buffs will also enjoy living here, owing to the vibrant culinary and street art scenes in Stavanger.
Expats who prefer a cosmopolitan life will also not be left wanting for anything. There are plenty of opportunities for retail therapy or dancing the night away at a local bar or pub. Getting around in Stavanger is also fairly straightforward, as the city boasts a comprehensive and reliable public transport network.
Cost of living in Stavanger
The cost of living in Stavanger is incredibly high, but lucrative salaries from the oil industry tend to make up for this. Stavanger is a compact city, so expats will find that accommodation in the city can be eye-wateringly expensive and difficult to find. Utilities will also set expats back significantly due to the continuously changing electricity prices in Norway.
Expats will pay a pretty penny for public transport, but price-conscious commuters can purchase monthly tickets to minimise costs. While getting around on public transport isn’t cheap, driving is prohibitively expensive and largely unnecessary in Stavanger. Those who choose to own a vehicle will have to budget for the steep petrol prices.
Fortunately, the lifestyle in Stavanger is largely focused on connecting with nature and the outdoors, which makes for budget-friendly entertainment.
Families and children in Stavanger
Expat parents will love raising their children in Stavanger. Much like the rest of Norway, Stavanger is built around family life. Public education in Stavanger is exceptional, and it is free of charge. While Norway’s public schools offer excellent facilities and teaching standards, expats should note that the primary language of instruction is Norwegian. Nonetheless, Norway offers language tuition lessons for non-native speakers, so expat children have an excellent chance of successfully adapting to their new environment.
Parents who would like their children to learn a globally recognised curriculum with English as a first language can enrol their children in one of the three international schools in Stavanger and neighbouring city of Sandnes. These schools offer the International Baccalaureate programme. Owing to the large expat population in the city, space at international schools is limited and fees tend to be high.
Climate in Stavanger
The weather in Stavanger is defined by cool summers and mild winters, thanks to the city’s temperate maritime climate. December to February marks the winter period, where temperatures can drop to freezing and snow can fall. Expats should be sure to pack their umbrellas and prepare for lots of rainfall and humidity during the summer.
Expats moving to Stavanger can truly find the best of both worlds: modern conveniences and facilities, but with unspoilt natural landscapes and rich traditions to boot.
►Read Areas and Suburbs in Stavanger to help start your house search in your new city
►See Healthcare in Stavanger for information on hospitals in the city
"Stavanger is beautiful. Gorgeous landscapes are around every corner, from the fjords to the ocean to the countryside. It’s generally a clean city and it’s well equipped with walking and bike paths."
Learn more about moving to Stavanger in our interview with Canadian expat Jay.
Are you an expat living in Stavanger?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Stavanger. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.