I came to Norway for this. Back when we were working in the UK, my friend would tell me about her home in Norway, and all the hiking and mountains and fjords. One day she turned around her computer screen at our communal desk and showed me a photo of a sheer cliff, someone standing alone at the end… Miles of blue mountain ridges and a winding teal river. I had to go there.
Or, in English, Pulpit Rock.
^ There are a few ways to get to Preikestolen/Pulpit Rock. The fastest from Stavanger is the ferry to Tau, or you have to add an hour to the journey driving around the bay through the mountains. Check the time table and go as early as possible! We took the 7am ferry and it was so worth the early wake up call for the peaceful hike.
The ferry ride itself is about 30 minutes, winding between small islands. We rushed onto the deck when we saw what looked like dolphins surfacing in the water… It turned out they were Nise, a fatter, smaller dolphin more suited to the cold arctic waters.
And the hiking kept going…
The hike is steep, and even though they’ve moved the boulders into somewhat stairs in the past few years, there is still a lot of clambering involved. We saw a woman in flip flops, and boy do I pity her. You need hiking boots or at the very least, sneakers for this hike.
Completely in awe.
^ Before you quite reach pulpit rock, there is another outcropping (this is where people usually stand to take the classic photo first in this post). However, the outcropping is separated from the main path/mountain by a small canal. If you have long legs, you can jump, or like me step on a smaller stone that’s lodged in the canal, to get to the outcropping. I stood out on the edge, gazing into the fjord, legs shaking at even the slightest bit of wind. The views are unbelievable. A winding, sun-drenched fjord, but on the way back I noticed that if you look down the crack between the path and outcropping there are points you can actually see straight down. Like, 2,000 feet down. Yeah. And tons of people go out on the outcropping every day…which I don’t know if that’s supposed to make me feel more safe or not? Anyway, I got off pretty fast after this photo!
We made our way over to the actual Pulpit Rock, with these incredible views… Thank God for Norway!
We settled down for some snacks and water and watched Pulpit Rock gradually fill up with more and more tourists. Honestly, half the joy of it was just watching the lengths people will go to for the perfect selfie. I think I’ll stick to keeping 100% of my body (and phone) over land, but clearly not everyone is as much of a worry wart as me!
What an amazing day. Around 11am, we headed back down the mountain, full of adrenaline, awe, and a bit of sunburn.
Hiking Pulpit Rock, Norway in a Nutshell:
- Takes about 1.5 hours on the way up and 1 hour on the way down, at a steady pace.
- Wear hiking boots. No flip flops or high heels please!
- Aim to start to hike 9am or earlier. Yeah, I know that’s crazy early but I promise it’s worth it. People start hiking at 3am just to see sunrise, so you know by 11am it’s going to be crawling with tourists. And even though it’s fun to people watch, there’s something so therapeutic about being over the fjord in the quiet morning. Plus, it gets very difficult to navigate the hike with tons of people on the trail.
- Bring snacks!
Thank you to my amazing friend for taking me on the hike of a lifetime.