Norway’s Pulpit Rock Hike

Also known as Pulpit Rock, Norway’s Preikestolen is the region’s biggest tourist attraction. A cubed cliff 604 meters (1,982 feet) above the Lysefjord, Preikestolen is known around the world for the photographs of tourists dangling their feet over the ledge. Whether you choose to engage in that daring activity or not, the Pulpit Rock hike is a worthwhile activity in itself. The 625-square-meter (6,724-square-foot) top of Preikestolen is almost entirely flat, a remarkable natural feature that just so happens to present its visitors with spectacular views along the sparkling Lysefjord.

Allow around two hours each way for the hike, which starts from Preikestolen Mountain Lodge and should only be attempted by those with a reasonable level of fitness. Some clambering up rocks is necessary, along with a couple of steep inclines, which can be tricky when the weather is poor, so consider the weather forecast before you book a trip. Needless to say, if you don’t cope well with heights, this probably isn’t the trip for you.

Norwegians will tell you the hike is straightforward, but what’s easy for a Norwegian can be challenging for those who didn’t grow up with the Nordic terrain on their doorstep. If you choose the hike, take a packed lunch and plenty of water, and allow more time than you expect. Alternatively, there’s no shame in picking a relaxing fjord cruise over the hike!

tourists gather atop Preikestolen after the infamous Pulpit Rock hike
The top of Preikestolen is almost entirely flat, a remarkable natural feature that just so happens to present its visitors with spectacular views along the sparkling Lysefjord. Photo © Oksana Byelikova/iStock.

Getting to Preikestolen by Public Transit

From central Stavanger, take the car ferry (as a walk-on passenger) to Tau, from where you can pick up a connecting bus to Preikestolen Mountain Lodge (Preikestolen Fjellstue). The timetable varies by day and by season, but generally there are at least three ferry departures before 11am.

The ferry-bus round-trip combination ticket offered by Tide Reiser (tel. 55 23 87 00, Apr.-Sept.) can be bought for 300kr from the tourist information office in Stavanger or on the ferry itself. Note that the ferry to Tau leaves from the Fiskepiren pier, east of central Stavanger, and not the main Vågen harbor. Be sure to allow plenty of time to catch the last return bus from the lodge at 5pm (Apr. and Oct.) or 9pm (May-Aug.).

Getting to Preikestolen by Car

With your own transport, take the car ferry to Tau and make your own way to the mountain lodge. Expect to pay 150kr one-way for the car ferry plus 52kr per additional passenger, and a further 100kr for the lodge’s parking lot. Following the 35-minute ferry journey, it should take a further 30 minutes to reach Preikestolen Mountain Lodge, clearly signed off route Rv13, 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) southeast of Tau.

Getting to Preikestolen by Cruise

Rødne Fjord Cruise (480kr) offers a three-hour cruise, available year-round but with limited departures October through April. From May to September, daily departures leave Vågen harbor at 10am, with an extra noon departure during July and August. While this cruise gets you up close and personal with the waterfalls and caves of the Lysefjord, the view of Preikestolen from below is nothing to write home about. That said, this is still a relaxing and enjoyable way to see one of Norway’s most naturally beautiful fjords.

From mid-May to August, you can choose to depart the cruise at Oanes, at the narrow mouth of the Lysefjord, and be transported by bus up to the mountain lodge to start the hike, and by bus back to Tau for the public ferry afterward. This eight-hour option costs 780kr, but you have to factor in an additional 52kr per person for the ferry back from Tau. Although expensive, this is a great option to combine the Preikestolen hike with a longer boat trip, but the ferry-bus combination ticket from Tide Reiser is much better value for those who are most keen on the hike.

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