After doing a very brief research (google images) on the things to do in Stavanger and seeing all the amazing pictures of the cliffs; I just knew I had to do them! A long weekend in Stavanger seemed like enough time for a hike or two. Preikestolen or also called the Pulpit Rock was the closest one.
A 604 meters high steep cliff formed by melting glaciers at the end of the Ice Age. Now, claimed to be one of the Norway’s most famous mountain hikes. Unsurprisingly, as it offers a truly breathtaking view over the Lysefjord. Mother nature, I bow to you.
They say the way you spend New Year’s eve is the same way you’ll spend the rest of the year. Well, I spent it abroad, in the rain. And that’s exactly how my year looked so far. Whenever I went on a trip it was raining. I assumed it will still be summer in Norway at the end of August. I was wrong. The weather forecast was against me. I knew one thing. Nothing will stop me from hiking Pulpit Rock. Rain or no rain, I set off my journey.
How to get to Pulpit Rock from Stavanger?
During my trip I stayed in Stavanger, a small city located in South Western Norway. It was a cheap flight destination from the UK. Also very convenient to go to the Pulpit Rock from there. I think that’s the main reason why tourists choose it to visit. The easiest and quickest way is to get a ferry from Fiskepiren port to Tau, and then a bus from Tau to Preikestolen parking. I opted to go with the tour operator Tide Reiser. They offer ticket for 320NOK online or 350NOK if you purchase at the port from their booth outside. The ticket includes both, ferry and bus fare with an open return (as long as it’s on the same day). There are frequent hourly departures and the journey takes overall about an hour until you reach the final destination.
There are also other companies which offer fjord cruises that take you right at the bottom of the Pulpit Rock. For me personally, nothing beats the long, sweaty hike and that burning determination to get to the top. You know all the effort and anticipation will pay off at the finish line. There’s no greater satisfaction than when you look down from the top and tell yourself YOU MADE IT!
Ready, set, hike!
As soon as I stepped out of the bus, the miracle has happened. The rain stopped! What a perfect timing. Now quickly reach that top before heaven opens again!
The hike is 8 kilometres long and takes about 4 hours up and back. It has a medium difficulty grade, meaning good if you have some experience hiking in similar environment, but if you don’t – worry not.
The trail is very easy to follow right from the beginning. It starts off with steady uphill. Soon after, you get lost in in the beauty of wild forest nature. Small waterfalls, lakes, wooden bridges and rocky pathway look like somewhat taken from a set of fairy tale movie. The trail is mainly narrow with some wide open space sections, which many people treat as a good break area. As I got there just after 1pm, I was battling my way through to the top to make sure I catch the last bus (around 7pm). However, if you have some time on your hands, these are great for some picnic, meditation or even yoga.
As you go on, some sections get steeper and some parts go across rough hilly terrain. The trail is very rocky. There are high and small steps you will need to climb up. There are no fence or barriers anywhere, so be careful and mind your steps! The trail is very straight forward and hard to get lost. If you’re a lone hiker you shouldn’t have any difficulties with getting to the top of the Pulpit rock. The trail is marked with signs every few kilometres.
As you climb your way up, beautiful views will start to reveal in front of you. If you like me, you’d stop for a picture or dozen. About half way to the top, the fjord will start to perk in. There will be few lakes on the way offering serene and peaceful views. It’s so unwinding and relaxing, even though you might be sweating and struggling to catch your breath.
When you get to the top, first of all – WELL DONE! You made it! The view will take your breath away (if you still have any left). The fjord coming from a very end with light blue colour, and turning dark blue the closer it gets to the rock. The composition of colours makes it mesmerising to look at. It’s one of those places where you feel on top of the world. You could easily spend there hours just sitting and staring. Unfortunately, not in my case. As soon as I got to the top, it started raining. Wet hair was not the only problem in taking nice pictures in the rain. It very quickly became foggy, so I had to snap as many pictures as I could before the view partially disappeared. Though it was still majestic. Oh, misty eye of the mountain below…
On top of the Pulpit Rock, there are many tourists trying to capture some Instagram worthy pictures. There is even a queue to have a popular ‘standing at the end of the rock, while someone is taking a photo from the other side’. I’ve decided to go for my all-time favourite ‘seating back’ pose. My only advice is… don’t look down 🙂
How to prepare before the hike to pulpit rock?
There are several things you will need when hiking Pulpit Rock;
- Sporty/ hiking outfit – Yes, number one is a good outfit. I’ve seen a guy wearing a blazer. Trust me, you don’t want to do that. You want something comfortable. Don’t overdress though. During the hike you’ll get quite warm. However, a warm sweater or a hoodie is always useful, as it might be cooler when you reach the top.
- Good hiking boots – shoes with good grip are recommended. Although, I wore normal trainers and these were fine too. It was raining on my way back, but the rocks are quite rough and not that slippery. There are some very high and small steps you need to take, so it’s best to choose footwear that’s suitable for such surface.
- Raincoat or waterproof jacket – Even if the weather forecasts sunny day, the weather conditions can change quickly and are rather unpredictable. Especially on top of the rock.
- Packed lunch and at least one bottle of water – four-hour hike may not seem that long. However, you burn a lot of calories and you need food as your energy source. Besides hiking on hunger is not fun. And you will definitely get thirsty.
- Camera/ mobile phone – pictures or it didn’t happen, right? Seriously though, you wouldn’t want to miss capturing those beautiful views. Camera is mandatory above all 😉
Who is this hike for?
I’ve seen different type of people from alone backpackers, groups of tourists to elderly couples and families with toddlers. Basically, this hike is for anyone. You don’t need to be in top shape. Having skipped gym for almost two months I wasn’t in my best condition, yet I found the hike quite enjoyable and easy.
When is the best time to visit Pulpit rock?
Summer season which lasts from April to October is the best time to visit Pulpit rock. This is the peak season for tourists. You still might get rainy day like I did, but it’s not cold or windy. The hike is not recommended in the winter. The weather conditions can make it that much more difficult and dangerous when there is snow and ice. Also, you shouldn’t start your hike too late. You don’t want to hike in the dark.
Why you should hike to Pulpit Rock?
Hike to Pulpit Rock is an incredible experience. The satisfaction you get from getting to the top and those views are incomparable. I strongly recommend doing it, if you ever have a chance. If you already did, please share your experience with me! I’d love to hear your story and how you found it… also hope the weather was much better than mine!