Lisa Owen

Be in awe of nature’s beauty hundreds of metres above a fjord in Norway’s south west.

Pulpit Rock Norway

Perched high above the Lysefjorden is one of Norway’s most famous hiking spots and viewpoints. The unique flat square shaped plateau was formed when the edges of a glacier reached the cliff, broke off sections and left behind what is now known as Pulpit Rock in English or Preikestolen in Norwegian.

During summer, you can hike up to the viewpoint or there’s the more relaxed option of just seeing the rock from below on a fjord cruise.

Getting to the Pulpit Rock trailhead

There’s a couple of options to reach the Pulpit Rock trailhead from Stavanger. You can take the organised fjord cruise option and then be dropped off to independently do the trail, or simply use the public transport option of a ferry from Stavanger harbour to Tau and then take a bus up to the trailhead.

I chose the fjord cruise option through Rødne Fjord Cruises. On the expensive side but everything in Norway is – this option costs £70 and runs from mid may to mid September. The cruise leaves from the Stavanger port at 10am daily. You’ll be taken on a 90 minute cruise from Stavanger along the Lyseforden and get the chance to see the Vagabond Cave, waterfalls streaming into the fjord, and Pulpit Rock from below.

Cruise from Stavanger

Those who want to hike Pulpit Rock get dropped off at Oanes and then take a bus for about 20 minutes to reach the trailhead. To get back to Stavanger, take the bus to the Tau ferry terminal. The bus is included in the cruise option, but you have to buy a ticket for the ferry to get back to Stavanger.

On the trail

The Pulpit Rock trail is well visited and I found it to be a fairly easy walk – but I do a lot of hiking.  The first section is mostly flat with a few boardwalk sections, then you start heading up. There’s a few steep but short sections then it’s undulating for the rest of the walk.

Boardwalk Pulpit Rock 

People of average fitness will take about an hour to reach the top. It’s not a long walk but there can be a lot of people on the trail and some sections are only one way so there’s often traffic jams slowing you down.

Pulpit Rock Trail

Once you’re at the top there’s a couple of viewpoints – a viewpoint of the fjord below and Pulpit Rock from the side, as well as from above if you’re happy to do a bit of rock scrambling.

Pulpit Rock Lookout

The hike is only recommended between April and October. Unless you have a guide, it’s not recommended to do the hike in winter and early spring when there is snow and ice, and the track may be slippery.

The best base to do the hike from is Stavanger in Norway’s south east. You can fly into Stavanger, take a train from Oslo, or a bus from Bergen.

Stavanger is a small town with a couple of highlights, but most people tend to use it solely as a base to explore the nearby fjords – but it’s worth at least a half day there to explore.

The old town is interesting to wander around for a couple of hours. The area around the Stavanger Cathedral is made up of streets dating back to the 18th century which now house a number of boutique shops, cafes and restaurants in a mix of traditional and colourful buildings.

Stavanger town

For good views of the harbour, visit the Stavanger Cathedral – which dates back to medieval times.

The picturesque harbour also houses a number of historical buildings and waterfront restaurants to dine at if you have the cash to spare. Behind the first row of restaurants, you’ll find a couple of pubs.

You might also want to check out Svard I Fjell – Swords in the Rock – located about a 30 minute walk from the city centre or a short bus ride. The 10 metre Viking sword sculpture is built into the rock next to a fjord and commemorates the Battle of Hafrsfjord that united Norway under one crown.

Lake Mosvangen is also nice to walk around. You can stay right next to the lake at the Hostelling International Stavanger Mosvangen Hostel.

This is definitely not a party hostel – it’s pretty quiet but has a kitchen, laundry and large common room. Rooms are very small though so be prepared to get close to your roommates.

Things To Know:

  • Regular hikers will find the Pulpit Rock trail fairly easy. There are some rocky and steep parts but it’s very well maintained and easy to navigate. You can do the hike independently between April and October.
  • The Pulpit Rock trail gets very busy in July and August. Try and get there as early as possible to avoid traffic jams on the trail.
  • The weather in Norway can change from hour to hour. Bring a raincoat in case of rain as well as spare socks and ziplock bags or a raincover for your bag to protect cameras and phones. There’s no food or drink facilities at the trailhead so make sure you bring water and snacks with you.
  • Stavanger is accessible by train or bus from Oslo or Bergen or you can do the combined Lysefjorden cruise and Pulpit Rock hike as part of a Norway in a Nutshell tour.
  • Watch out for the seagulls near Stavanger’s harbour – they will swoop in and take food straight out of your hand. One seagull almost took my eye out as it swooped in for my cinnamon scroll.
  • Stavanger is an oil city and therefore prices are very high. But don’t let that deter you – Norway is a country you should visit at least once.

 

Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 40 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @_thelittleadventurer Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia  

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.

 

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