Stavanger has some of the best museums of all the port cities of western Norway. But if you want to skip all of them, you can spend your time in the great outdoors, as locals do during their all-too-short summer. Even if you have to miss some of the town's attractions, try to spend some time along the banks of Lysefjord. What we like to do is spend a day along Lysefjord and view Preikestolen. After arriving back in Stavanger in the late afternoon, you can walk the cobblestone streets of Gamle Stavanger and have dinner in one of the city's many good restaurants.
In summer Stavanger is made for walking. The best hiking jaunt is the 4km (2 1/2-mile) walk to Pulpit Rock -- see Preikestolen.
If you want to combine sports with your sightseeing, you can pick up many specialized books and maps at the tourist office that will guide you through a vast area, including the rolling hills of the Setesdalsheiene and hundreds of little islands and skerries (rocky islets) of the Ryfylke archipelago. The tourist office can even arrange for you to stay at one of three dozen cabins in the area, costing from NOK350 to NOK400 ($70-$80/£35-£40) for a one-room unit with a hot plate and refrigerator.
Fishermen flock to the Suldalslågen, the longest salmon river in western Norway, lying north of the center of Stavanger. Salmon season lasts from July to September. The best fishing lodge is at Lindum, Lakseslottet Lindum N-4240 Suldalsosen (tel. 52-79-91-61). Call for information if you're interested in renting a cabin or camping facilities.
The best golf is found at the Stavanger Golf Klubb, Longebakke 45, Hafsfjord (tel. 51-93-91-00), a lush woodland and landscaped park with an 18-hole championship international course.
Finally, call Fossanmoen, N-4110 Forsand (tel. 51-70-37-61), if you'd like to go on horseback-riding jaunts while seated on Iceland ponies. These trips take you through some of the scenic wonders of this vast fjord country. Depending on what you're in for, rides can last from 1 hour to all day. Prices range from NOK500 to NOK1,000 ($100-$200/£50-£100).