The rough cliff of Preikestolen (engl. Pulpit Rock) is probably the most known landmark of Norway – and one of the most photographed, too. What makes it so famous is that you have a marvellous view over Lysefjord while standing 604 meters above sea level. However, perhabs you did not know that you cannot just drive there. You need to do a little hike before you reach the cliff. In this article, I cover all the information you need before starting the hike to Preikestolen, a special advice on the best time of the day to leave, a series of photographs from the hike and a personal recommendation for a gorgeous hotel in the loveliest setting in Norway. Excited? Here we go…
Details of the hike to Preikestolen
Duration: 2 + 2 hrs (we needed less)
Length: 8 km (round trip)
Ascent: 350 m
Main hiking season: April – October
If there is snow in the mountains, it is not recommended to do the hike to Preikestolen. Check the weather report before you go, and be prepared for changing weather.
Bring enough water, something to eat, sturdy shoes and a camera. You may wish to bring an extra set of warm clothes, even in summer.
The trail is well marked by the red Ⓣ (tourist route) or, alternatively, just follow the crowd of people. There are no shops along the way, so buy some snacks or beverages at the kiosk on the lower parking (“Preikestolen Fjellstue”). If you run out of water during the hike, I have seen people filling up their bottles on the small stream you will encounter on the way.
How to reach the Pulpit Rock?
- by car (like us): There are two parkings at the beginning of the trail at Preikestolen Fjellstue (“mountain lodge”). We were charged 200 NOK as a parking fee (an outrageous price for just a parking spot! 😠)
- by bus: From April to September, there is a bus connection from Tau to Preikestolen Fjellstue.
- by hitchhiking: We took some hitchhikers on the way back, who have also hitchhiked to the mountain lodge the day before, so that’s definitely an option too.
My boyfriend and I reached the parking at around 3pm in May. We needed 1.5 hours to reach the top and 1 hour to reach back at the parking (= 2.5 hrs versus the official 4 hrs). Be aware that the congestion might slow you down, so even if you are a quick walker, you might not break a new record on this path.
Inform yourself about the time for sunset and then follow my advice:
I have heard from people who started the hike to Preikestolen early at sunrise and then had to wait 45 minutes in line at the top for one picture! 👉 Always do what people don’t expect.
The hike to Preikestolen in pictures
Now that you know all the basic information about the hike to Preikstolen, I want to tell you what motivated me to write this post: I wanted to show you the gorgeous landscapes of Norway and make you fall in love with mother nature (again). It would be my wish to see you plan your next outdoor activity right after finishing this article. It doesn’t need to be Norway, there must be many wonderful places outside your backyard. Just get this urge back to go out into nature!
The way to the top is very pretty and you can take stops on the way (or the way back) if you like. You can even take a dip in the deep blue lakes. Or pitch your tent for the night.
Is the cliff safe?
Yes, it is. Atop the cliff, there is an almost flat plateau of approximately 25 by 25 metres (it’s huge). I actually was surprised that there was no white marking indicating to not go any further towards the cliff from here. So if you are brave enough, you can dangle your legs over the sides. (I did and it really did not feel scary.)
How – the heck- did it get such a perfect, horizontal cut?
“The mountain plateau was most probably shaped by the expansion of ice some 10 000 years ago. Water that froze in the crevices in the mountain broke loose large edged blocks of stone that the ice glacier brought along on its course.”
On the pictures, the Preikestolen looks like this idyllic “only you and mother nature” kind of a place. However, Preikestolen is not unknown to most visitors in Norway. In fact it’s one of Norway’s icons and so you can expect to share the plateau with many other tourists:
You can take your picture from different angles: from the waiting queue with you as a close-up, from the position where the boy in the white t-shirt with black stripes stands (see picture above) or from a ledge even further away.
If people treading on each others toes annoys you, just climb a bit higher and have a stunning view over the plateau and the fjord:
After the hike to Preikestolen
For the way down, we took the same trail back as we came, which is – I believe – what most people do. However there seem to be more trails (see other options here).
Preikestolen signified the end of our Norway round trip. We had to go to Oslo and eventually back to Sweden to return our rental car. The distance from Preikestolen to Oslo is around 6 hours. We could have driven all night to Oslo, but instead we decided to call it a day at this small peaceful village in the middle of nowhere: Årdal. Through an AirBnB that was already full for the night, the owner Synnøve invited us to her hotel with one of the loveliest views we enjoyed while being in Norway.
The hotel (highly recommended):
Høiland Gard Gardshotellet
4137 Årdal i Ryfylke
Conclusion: Is it worth going to Preikestolen?
Preikestolen (and I am surprised to say this) has been one of the highlights of our trip to Norway. All the people “in our way” did not spoil the experience at all. It is not the road less travelled but it is a unique experience to stand at a 604m high cliff and still feel safe! I can highly recommend this hiking tour.
The only thing that bothers me, to be honest with you, is the overpriced parking fee at Preikestolen Fjellstue. In fact, it makes me really upset! I mean if it was an entrance fee, okay, but what they provide is a spot on a gravel ground. Has anyone of you tips for alternative parking solutions? Maybe a combination of a parking in Tau or Jørpeland and then taking a bus? I saw some cars parking on the side of the road of Preikestolvegen. Is that a legit option?!
Have you been to Preikestolen? What are your special tips to newbies? Write your experiences in the comments below 💗
P.S.: I did not receive money to mention any names here. The hotel recommendation is based on a genuine stay. We found it by chance and I didn’t want to deprive you of this gem.