We were staying in Stavanger when we decided to hike this mountain. It was a drive of about 2 hours, probably a bit less. Even if you don’t make it to Preikerstolen, the mountain views along the way are breathtaking. Huge mountains dwarf picturesque red, wooden houses and dark blue lakes. The moody skies provide a touch of dramatics to the already spectacular scenery.
I totally fell in love with Norway which isn’t a surprise given I grew up in The Lake District, UK but I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful it would be and the effect this would have on me. We have since started looking at Norway for more holidays and a possible place to live.
Norway is level with the Shetland Islands (if you’re British) and so it is unlikely to ever be scorching. With this in mind and how quickly the weather can change, it is best to take a mix of clothes.
Just as we got to Preikerstolen, it started to rain!! Yes, so far we’d been saved the embarrassment of wearing our lovely rain coats, sadly no more! Hiking Preikerstolen was cold (even with the exertion of climbing), we wore lots of thin layers which were easily removable but it was still quite cold if you sat still for too long!
I recommend a mix of short and long sleeves with light cotton materials.
Preikerstolen is one of Norway’s most popular tourist hikes receiving approximately 200,000 visitors a year. If you climb it during the day and in the summer months, it is BUSY. To get around this and because Norway doesn’t really get dark during the summer months, you could hike it during the night, camp at the top and watch the sun rise. I have seen some exquisite photos of the sunrise from the summit and I’d love to do it myself.
Preikerstolen is like a beginner’s introduction to hiking in Norway being only 3.8km each way. The mountain itself which is also called Pulpit’s Rock, sits 602 metres above Lysefjorden. Formed 10,000 years ago, it is a relic from the ice age!
Parking in either or the two car parks costs 100NOK per day which is equivalent to 10 euros, although the attendants leave at 5pm. We were forced to park in the second car park which is slightly further down the mountain as the first was full. We arrived at 10am and struggled to find a parking space in the second one. I suggest getting there early or late when the crowds have gone.
The start of the walk is relatively flat with some boardwalks over boggy areas to gently ease you in.
However, it soon becomes pretty steep. The pathways are clearly marked out and the rocks have been deliberately laid as a pathway but it is quite steep. Our children aged 13, 8 and 6 years managed well. They really enjoyed jumping from the rocks and to encourage them we had a few stops and snacks.
We made up snacks with raisins and cashew nuts, bananas and apples and salad rolls for lunch. It didn’t weigh much at all. We also took two flasks of cold water.
It took us 1hr 50 minutes to climb and 1hr 45 minutes to descend. We didn’t climb very quickly, we stopped frequently for photos and to admire the view – which is spectacular. We also didn’t take our walking boots which was foolish and we climbed up wearing trainers.
There are lots of very beautiful views along the way, including lakes and wild flowers. If you’re brave enough, you can swim in the lakes but brace yourself, it’s not exactly tropical!!
Climbing with kids can work one of two ways. Either they beat you to the top in record time and you’re mortally embarrassed or you take it slow and encourage them. We chose a combination of the two. Wherever possible they ran ahead and had great fun climbing and jumping but we stopped for snacks too.
At times the pathway can become VERY narrow and if you suffer from vertigo it’s probably wise NOT to look down!! At some points you will need to jump over cracks and luckily there’s a small bridge connecting two parts where crossing no rocks are possible.
The view from the top is magnificent however and this is a big HOWEVER, you can fall off! If you are of a nervous disposition don’t go near the edge lol. I won’t lie, I am not the best with heights especially when the drop is 600 METRES!! I was worried about the kids but before we left we set some ground rules which helped my anxiety about taking them up.
- You don’t go near the edge without us
- Absolutely NO jumping or running
- Best to sit down quietly
We explained to them that if they fell over the edge they would die. It’s not a nice explanation but I think it’s quite vital they understand the consequences.
If you’re brave enough to sit on the edge, good for you, but I was only brave enough to lean over. PHEW.
I should probably tell you now that there is a crack in the rock. I am reliably informed that over time this part of the rock will fall off however it isn’t likely to happen for a few thousand years yet!