Norway, Preikestolen hike: everything you need to know

Preikestolen hike

Preikestolen, or the Pulpit Rock in English (some call it Preachers Rock as well) is a cliff overlooking the picturesque Lysefjord in the southern part of Norway. It is on the bucket list of many people and, I guess, Preikestolen hike alongside with Trolltunga are two of the most famous in Norway.

The Pulpit Rock is relatively not far from Stavanger (I hope you have time to see this amazing city, I have a one day guide for it), the oil capital of Norway. The cliff is 604 meters above the water level and offers spectacular views of the nearby mountains and Lysefjord, the fjord below it. The top of Preikestolen is flat, which makes it a perfect panoramic deck.

Preikestolen hike | View of Lysefjord from Preikestolen
View of Lysefjord from Preikestolen

I saw so many pictures of Preikestolen online, and I knew that if I went to Norway, I would certainly hike it. The best thing is that my boss lives close to Stavanger, so I was destined to do the hike 😊

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Below I give some useful info on Preikestolen hike. I hope it will help you to plan your trip 😊

How to get from Stavanger to Preikestolen

Well, frankly, I was taken up there by car so I did not have to think about it 😊

I still think that the best way to get to Preikestolen is by car: put the GPS coordinates and drive. If you can rent one, go for it.

But if for one reason or another you can’t do it, there is a way to get to the trail by public transport. Just keep in mind that it is not available all year round, only from April till the end of September. I have found a company Go Fjords that offers this route and tickets online. Another place to buy tickets is at the tourist information center in Stavanger.

So, how does it work? First you take a ferry from Stavanger: the pier is close to the Oil Museum. The ferry will take you to Tau pier, from where you will have to take the bus. This bus will get you to the beginning of the trail at the mountain lodge. And it is the same way back. Click here and here for timetables, a thorough map and tickets. The ride with the ferry and bus takes about 75 minutes one way, so consider this planning your trip.

Preikestolen hike | Ferry to Preikestolen
This is how the ferry looks like. It is not the one at Stavanger pier, we took another way, but it will be very much like this one. The lower ‘floor’ is for cars, and once you are in, there are stairs up to a cozy place with chairs.

What you need to know: your ticket does not offer seat reservation. It means that if the bus is full when you arrive at Tau pier, then you have to wait for the next one. And I have read somewhere that it is necessary to print two copies of tickets as you will have to hand them to drivers. Not sure, if it is still applicable, but better safe than sorry 😊

If this seems too complicated, remember that you will need to take the ferry even if you rent a car. I am not sure about the price, I think it is about 200 NOK for one car, and it should be paid on board. People pay on board too, there is no need to buy tickets anywhere.

But if you don’t want to deal with this hassle, and prefer it organized by someone else, so you can just enjoy it without any worries, there is a guided hike with hotel pickup from Stavanger.

Preikestolen hike

The hike itself starts at the mountain lodge (more about it below). The distance to Preikestolen from there is about 4 km and the elevation is about 330 meters.

Frankly, the hike is not easy, at least, it was not for me. Unfortunately, it is not flat 4 kilometers, no! You will have to climb up steep stone stairs many times, and these stones are slippery when it rains. Some stairs have higher steps, others are lower.

Preikestolen hike | Stone steps at Preikestolen
Stone steps at Preikestolen

The locals told me that these stone stairs had been built by Nepalese Sherpas recruited to restore the old paths. They did a good job, and now the locals say that it has become a very easy hike, it is not challenging for them anymore. But it is challenging, for unprepared people, definitely.

These stone stairs alternate with flat surfaces, but there is not much of flat there, so be ready for that. But the views along the trail are totally worth the effort!

Getting to Preikestolen from the mountain lodge takes about 2 hours, but, depending on your fitness, it might take more. Getting back is easier, so I would estimate around 4 hours for the hike itself. There are signs along the trail showing what distance is left so you can know for how long more you have to struggle 😊

Preikestolen mountain lodge

The mountain lodge is quite famous as it is the only place to stay and have a meal at Preikestolen. In case you decide to spend a night there to do an early hike, this is your only option.

The hotel is known for its delicious food (I confirm, it is absolutely true 😊) and offers spectacular views of Revsvatnet Lake.

Preikestolen hike | View of Revsvatnet Lake from the mountain lodge
View of Revsvatnet Lake from the mountain lodge

But that’s not all! If you come unprepared, you can rent missing equipment here. They have hiking boots, pants, jackets, walking sticks, kayaks (in case you decide to explore the waters nearby), etc. Just check their website for more details.

In case you travel by car, there is a parking area at Preikestolen mountain lodge. It is quite big, but it is not free: I think the cost is about 200 NOK.

Useful info about Preikestolen hike

Below I put some useful info I learned along the way. Hope it helps 😊

– The hike is free, you will have to pay for getting there and back only.

– Make sure you are back before it gets dark. There are no lights along the trail.

– Preikestolen hike is unguided. It means that the bus drops you at the mountain lodge parking and you are on your own. Don’t worry, you will not be lost: the trail is marked by red letters ‘T’ (the first letter of Turistforeningen, tourism association) and there will always be people hiking Preikestolen, so just follow them.

Preikestolen hike | The red 'T' letter
The red ‘T’ letter on the stones

– Weather in Norway changes quickly. I saw it changing from cloudy to sunny and then to rain like in 10 minutes. If it is possible, wait for nice weather. Trust me, you don’t want to go up all that way and see only clouds.

Preikestolen hike | Preikestolen trail
The trail when it rains

– Take water and snacks with you for a picnic on top, better in a backpack so that your hands are free. I think the last place you can buy them is at the mountain lodge where the bus will drop you.

– There are no toilets along the hike trail.

– I can’t stress enough how important is what I say next. Wear comfortable sturdy hiking boots: the trail can be slippery, and you will need something with tight grip. Wear warm water- and windproof clothes: it can be really cold and windy on top, and you will be wet completely if it rains. I was one of those people who thought that this part of preparation is not important, but it is.

– It is not the easiest hike, so if you are not trained enough, take it slowly, rest when you feel exhausted. Don’t look at others, this hike is a piece of cake for Norwegians.

– The best time to do Preikestolen hike is in summer. The weather is nice, and the trail will be less slippery. And it will not be very cold. After going to Preikestolen personally, I honestly can’t imagine anyone hiking it in snow. I know that there are people who do it, but, I guess, you must be very fit or a very experienced hiker.

– And camera, don’t forget your camera 😊

In case you decide that the hike is too much for you, search for Lysefjord tours with boats. In this case you will see Preikestolen from below. Of course, this is going to be very expensive, but the views are worth it 😊 There is an autumn guided hike from Stavanger that includes a cruise of Lysefjord and the hike itself.

My impressions about Preikestolen hike

I have a confession to make: I am not a hiker 😊 I live in a flat country, and I can easily walk 15 kilometers without blinking, but on a more or less flat surface. Frankly, when I went to Norway, I did not know what to expect. I knew I would hike Preikestolen, but having no idea about it, I brought with me canvas shoes and a light jacket! Silly me 😊

My hosts – my dear boss Elling and his wife Marta (big thanks to them!) – prepared me as much as they could. They provided me with sturdy hiking boots, waterproof pants and jacket. Before Preikestolen hike we went to Dalsnuten (324 meters) and to Månafossen waterfall. Dalsnuten was very easy, and hike to Månafossen was a bit harder but doable, so I was sure I was ready for Preikestolen. My God, how wrong I was 😊

I hiked Preikestolen with a group of locals. Unfortunately, the date could not be moved, and it was cloudy and rainy that day. While we were waiting at the mountain lodge to start the hike, the weather changed rapidly from cloudy to sunny and then to heavy rain. I just hoped that the sky would clear as I wanted to see the fjord, not clouds only.

The hike starts with an ascent. I mean, you should start panting immediately, right? 😊 Then a flat path follows, but it ends quickly, and steep stone stairs show themselves. I hated these stairs with every fiber of my soul 😊 Somewhere mid-way to the top I stopped and said to my companions: “Shooting me here would actually be more merciful than making me go up all that way!”

One stone stairway changed another, and every time I was told that it was the last one. After they said this for the third time, I stopped believing them 😊 Frankly, these were the longest and hardest 4 kilometers in my life 😊

Preikestolen hike | Stone stairways to Preikestolen
My favorite stone stairways to Preikestolen
Preikestolen hike | Views at Preikestolen
I call this view ‘almost there’ 🙂

My legs were aching because of these stone stairs, and at one moment I even stopped paying attention to the nearby beauties of nature. My only thought was to get to the top 😊 But the trail is beautiful! Just take time to rest and contemplate it.

Preikestolen hike | Views along the trail to Preikestolen
Views along the trail to Preikestolen

The last 300 meters of the trail were not better. There were not any steps, just steep ascent. Thank you, Roar, for dragging me up and not giving up on me 😊

Anyway, by a miracle, I made it to the top 😊 Luckily, the sky cleared a bit, and I could see the fjord. I would be really upset, if, after all this effort, I did not get to see it!

Preikestolen hike | Lysefjord

Preikestolen hike | Lysefjord
Lysefjord
Preikestolen hike | View from Preikestolen
View from Preikestolen

And about the locals: a lady in our group told me that she hiked Preikestolen with her kid on her shoulders AND she was heavily pregnant. I had just one question: “Why? Why on earth would you do that?” But, as I said, this is an easy hike for them.

Getting back was much easier, but it started raining heavily. These waterproof pants and jacket proved to be useful. When we were back to the lodge, I swore that I would never hike Preikestolen again.

Preikestolen hike | Preikestolen cliff
Preikestolen cliff itself

And you know what? I will do this hike again, in a heartbeat. But I would choose a day with better weather 😊 But there is an advantage in bad weather: there will not be many people on top 😊

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Preikestolen hike | Pulpit Rock Norway hike | Hiking the Pulpit Rock | Preikestolen, Norway

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