Exploring Preikestolen - the Pulpit Rock
There is nothing quite like climbing to the top of the legendary Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). As you stand on Norway's famous viewing platform, you'll be simply spellbound by the magical landscape that unfolds far into the distance.
Where is Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)?
Let's start with the basics. Where exactly is this must-see natural attraction? Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is situated in the municipality of Forsand in Rogaland county in Norway.
The famous mountain plateau sits 604 metres above the stunning Lysefjord, a 42 km fjord in southwestern Norway. Lysefjord and Preikestolen attract thousands of visitors every year. And honestly, it's very easy to see why!
What is Preikestolen?
What exactly is the Preikestolen? What can you expect to find once you make that unforgettable climb to the top? Well, Preikestolen is a unique rock formation that has been formed over thousands of years. It is a cliff that has an approximate 25 by 25-metre plateau. The flat surface of the rock is said to be one of the best viewing platforms in the world. There is no denying that the view of the Lysefjord is quite simply breathtaking! We believe that Preikestolen has truly earned its ‘world-class’ status.
How was Preikestolen formed?
Even though we’ll try not to get too scientific here, it’s important to know how Preikestolen came to be. Let’s rewind over 10,000 years ago. The frozen ice in deep in the crevices of the mountains began to melt. This was the beginning of the end of Norway’s landscape as it once was. The mountainside began to crack and crumbled into the depths of the Lysefjord. This natural process reshaped the dramatic landscape into what it is today, leaving behind the 604-metre plateau that towers proudly on the edge of the fjord.
Visiting Norway? Well by now, you will know that you simply MUST experience the majestic Preikestolen. There are different ways to experience Preikestolen. You can take a fjord cruise and see Preikestolen as you sail along the Lysefjord. But, honestly? Hiking is the best experience. Only then will you understand the indescribable feeling that you get when you stand on Preikestolen itself.
Hiking to Preikestolen
It's time to grab your hiking boots! If you want to set your sights on the beautiful scenery that's on offer you're going to have to work for it.
The Preikestolen hike starts at Preikestolen Fjellstue (Preikestolen Mountain Lodge). It’s estimated that the 6 km climb will take around 5-6 hours to complete. Although, most people complete it in less. Needless to say, you will cover hilly terrain, tackling steep climbs and uneven rocks. As you ascend, you will pass through pine forests and sections of narrow pathways. The route itself is well sign-posted with wooden posts and rock piles marked with the letter ‘T' (red).
It can get very busy in high season so be prepared to share the Preikestolen walk with other tourists. When you get to the top it’s time to reach for the camera. The plateau is a spectacular Pulpit Rock lookout point for admiring the deep blue waters of Lysefjord. The surface area is not fenced, so take care near the edge.
You'll want to take a break when you're at the top. Rest up and refuel before you start to make the journey back down! Be careful as you follow the meandering footpath back down.
This hike will leave you breathless in more ways than one. Every step and every bit of effort to reach the top is 100% worth it. There really is nothing like it.
Getting to from Stavanger to Preikestolen
Most people who are planning to hike to the top of Preikestolen stay in Stavanger. It’s the closest city to the trail meaning that you can grab a few extra hours of sleep. You’re going to need it! There are a number of different ways to get to the beginning of the route at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge.
Ferry and bus
In peak season, between March and September, Go Fjords can get you from Stavanger to the Preikestolen. We run ferries from Stavanger to Tau followed by bus transfers from Tau to Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. Visitors will have time to explore and complete the hike before making the return journey. Read more about the Go Preikestolen tour here.
Ferry and car
From Stavanger, it is possible to get the car ferry across to Tau. Once at Tau, it is then a 25-minute drive on the Rv13 National Route.
The car ferry price is around 182 NOK and visitors will also have to pay 200 NOK to park at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. It is worth noting that car parking can become a challenge over the summer months due to the high number of visitors.
What you need to take
There is nothing worse than setting off on a hike and realising that you are wearing the most uncomfortable clothing. You don’t want something like that to spoil your day.
Make sure you think about the clothes you are going to wear and take the correct equipment with you. Don’t get caught out by the ever-changing Preikestolen weather! Even in the summer months conditions can rapidly change. It’s recommended that you take the following items:
- Good shoes. Ideally, you should wear hiking boots for maximum support.
- Warm clothes. Bring extra layers of clothing with you, including waterproof clothing.
- Food and water. Stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up.
Whether you’re going on a guided hike or exploring alone there are a few rules you should stick to when it comes to safety.
Take the recommended equipment
Simple precautions such as wearing the appropriate footwear will reduce the risk of an accident the Preikestolen walk. Make sure you have the right equipment before setting off.
Check the weather forecast
You’re probably aware by now that the weather in Norway can be unpredictable. Check the weather forecast on the day of your hike so you wear the right clothing. If very bad conditions are predicted, you might want to reschedule.
There are no barriers or railings on the hike so be wary when walking on narrow pathways. When you are taking photographs on top of the mountain plateau don’t stand too close to the edge.
Go at your own pace
Climbing Preikestolen in Norway is moderately challenging. It’s important to complete the walk at your own pace. Make sure you take a rest if you feel you need to.
Fjord cruise to Preikestolen
If hiking isn’t your thing or you’re unable to climb to the top, a fjord cruise is still a great way to experience Preikestolen and Lysefjord. Our sightseeing boats depart from Stavanger and cruise along the Lysefjord past Preikestolen.
The lower deck of the catamaran has panoramic windows and there is also an open viewing deck. This means that there’s plenty to see! As well as the stunning Preikestolen, watch out for the variety of wildlife you’ll see on the trip. Golden eagles, peregrine falcons, goshawks, porpoises and seals are common spots throughout the summer months.
Fun Facts about Pulpit Rock
- Hyvlatånnå, which translates as ‘planed tooth’ was the original name for Preikestolen
- It was the gymnast, Thomas Peter Randulff, who gave Preikestolen its name. While sailing on the Lysefjord is noticed the unique rock formation and informed the captain that it looked like a pulpit
- Preikestolen is an international star. In 2017, Tom Cruise visited the famous attraction and filmed an action-packed scene that features in Mission: Impossible - Fallout
- In August 2018 there was a special screening of Mission: Impossible - Fallout at the top of Pulpit Rock. The screening was attended by 2000 people
- Over 300,000 people visit Preikestolen every year
- There are over 66,595 Pulpit Rock hashtags on Instagram which just goes to show how picture perfect it really is
The popular natural attraction is a must-see when you visit the Fjord Norway. Join Go Fjords on one of our amazing tours and experience Pulpit Rock for yourself. Book a Preikestolen tour here.