The nature hike to the Norwegian’s iconic landmark, Preikestolen, is a must-do for local and international tourists. This rock, also known as Pulpit Rock or Preacher’s Chair, is a major tourist destination for its breathtaking view.
The Pulpit Rock stands 604 meters above the Lysefjord, one of the most spectacular fjords in Norway. When you finally get to the top of this rock, you will understand why people refer to it as “the world’s most amazing viewpoint”.
A trip to Norway is worth it and fulfilling if you get to the Pulpit Rock and enjoy the spectacular views. Add it to your to-do travel list, and we will tell you what to expect when you get there in this article.
Location of Preikestolen in Norway
Preikestolen is located in the county of Rogaland, Norway. The closest urban settlement is Stavanger. Here is where most tourists spend their nights and enjoy local cuisines at the various restaurants throughout the city. This is the 4th largest city in Norway, just 25 miles east of the mountain that hosts the infamous Pulpit Rock.
You can also get to the Pulpit Rock from Oslo, Bergen, and other cities. We will discuss more on this later in the article.
Origin and Popularity of the Pulpit Rock
The Pulpit Rock is believed to have been formed centuries ago due to frost erosion that washed away all loose soil on the rock. The result is a conspicuous cliff standing high overlooking the Lysefjord. The result of frost erosion led to one of the most spectacular sceneries in Europe, which shows nature’s architecture at its best.
Preikestolen is a popular tourist attraction destination in Norway, drawing local and international tourists. Tours started around 1896, with just a few paying visitors going up to the Pulpit Rock. This was because of the relative inaccessibility and lower popularity of this iconic landmark.
Although its fame and popularity slowly grew over decades, the Preikestolen really came into the limelight when featured in the Mission Impossible Fallout, starring Tom Cruise. Interest skyrocketed following the scene where Ethan Hunt climbs the face of the cliff towards the end.
Though the movie’s setting was Kashmir (Indian and Pakistan Border), travelers to Preikestolen had no hard time identifying it. The unique rock can never be confused with any other natural feature on earth!
The number of visitors to Pulpit Rock has only been growing ever since the movie’s release. According to the 2019 statistics, over 350,000 tourists visited Preikestolen that year. The number is expected to be higher in the following years, but there is no official report yet.
Your trip to Norway will be one-of-a-kind if you like the wonders of nature. After the Pulpit Rock hike, you can spend a few more days enjoying other spectacular views at Kjeragbolten and Trolltunga. So, the trip comes as a complete package of nature’s marvelous creations.
Hiking the Pulpit Rock
The Preikestolen hike is the most common activity in Norway that attracts tourists from far and beyond. It is the only way to get to Pulpit Rock. So, you have to pay attention here to know what to expect when you finally face the challenge.
You can hike Pulpit Rock in the morning or evening. The time you choose depends on your schedule or your preferences. What you should know is that it is a moderate hike. However, you will have to face the steep gravel trails which can make it a little tricky underfoot.
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Hiking Trail to Preikestolen
This iconic hike in Norway involves walking along a 2.5-mile trail to Pulpit Rock from the trailhead. A round trip hike will see you covering around 5 miles.
Experienced hikers can make a round trip hike in about 3 hours, excluding the time you take at the top of Preikestolen. But for the less experienced, you can expect at least 4 hours. The latter should be the case if you are hiking Pulpit Rock with kids or just want to take your time viewing different tree species along the way.
The Pulpit Rock hike starts a few meters from the parking lot. That is where the trailhead begins with a straight course and a gentle ascend.
But before you embark on this moderate hike, ensure you respond to any call of nature at the facilities in the parking lot area. You will not get any rest stops along the hill trail or at the Preikestolen.
The ascent along the hill trail gets steeper and steeper until you reach Pulpit Rock. As reported by previous hikers, the climbing involved walking through a steep gravel path that opens up to steps. These steps were recently constructed by Nepali Sherpas and are similar to those found on mountainsides in Nepal.
It is easy to go through the first section of the steps, which opens to the flat ground of this hill trail. As you continue your Pulpit Rock hike, you will come across a wooden bridge over a wetland. It is the first place where you can rest and gather more energy for the steep climb ahead.
Features Along the Preikestolen Trails
There is a lot to see along this hill trail to Pulpit Rock. From the wet area with a wooden bridge, climb the next section with stairs, which is also the steepest. If you make it (which we wholeheartedly believe you will), you open up to a vast open area called Tjødane. This area has three small lakes and an emergency shelter.
You can call the phone number on the wall if you need any help, and you will get the response and assistance you need.
Your Pulpit Rock hike continues past the lakes. You can go to Preikestolen plateau using the cliff trail or Pulpit Rock following the hill trail. Since our interest is to get to the top of Preikestolen, we will take the latter option.
This is the last section of the trail. You need to be cautious because it can be steep and slippery during the rainy season. If you come to this place during the main hiking season, you will start seeing people after you cross over the bridge. That tells you that your destination is now nearer than you thought. You only need a short hike along the cliff before you get to the top of Pulpit Rock.
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How it Feels to Be at Preikestolen
The Pulpit Rock hike ends when you finally get to the top of the cliff. You can spend about an hour on it, just admiring the spectacular views over the Lysefjord and taking photographs for memories.
The crowd is unavoidable when you visit Norway during peak season. You will meet other hikers already at the top of Preikestolen enjoying their best moments. Just join them in appreciating the work of nature and experiencing the best moments presented by Pulpit Rock.
Pulpit Rock is the absolute definition of natural beauty. It is without a doubt one of the world’s most spectacular viewing points.
You will be wowed by what you see and might never want to leave. But since camping is not allowed at Preikestolen, you will have to come down at some point.
Safety at the Pulpit Rock
It is possible to get absorbed in the excitement that you forget about your safety. That should not be the case when you get to Pulpit Rock Preikestolen. Remember, it is a cliff rising over 400 meters above the Lysefjord. A fall to the base is almost certain to be fatal!
Deaths have been recorded at Preikestolen in the past. Visitors who take it too far to the edges have been victims. Therefore, ensure you stay at a safe distance and keep an eye on your kids. You cannot afford to be careless or engage in stupid activities. If you fall, you will probably die.
Fortunately, the Pulpit Rock has a wide surface with plenty of room to accommodate all sensible visitors. Your picnic on the rock should end without any incident.
Just don’t walk too close to the cliff edges if you are afraid of height or have any underlying health conditions. And if you are close to the edge, be super aware of your footing – and don’t screw around!
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What You Need for Pulpit Rock Hike
The difficulty level of the Pulpit Rock hike is moderate. However, it can get more challenging because of the hilly terrain and weather elements. It may look like an easy hike at the trailhead, but don’t be fooled. It gets harder to climb due to elevation gain. Therefore, pack the following for the best hiking experience:
- Snacks, water, and possibly lunch because there are no shops and restaurants along the trail.
- A rain jacket or just in case the weather changes for the worse.
- Winter clothes to put on once you get to the top of the Pulpit Rock because it can be extremely cold up there.
- A walking stick or poles. Though not necessary, it will help you on your return hike on the steep steps.
- Sturdy hiking shoes that can handle the rough trail.
The Best Time to Visit Preikestolen
A good Pulpit Rock hike can happen all year round. However, there are better times to do it than others. The preferred times of the year are from June through September when the trail is dry and less risky.
However, that is also the time when most people visit Preikestolen. Schedule your hikes on weekdays or late in the evening to avoid the crowd.
Otherwise, you can visit the Pulpit Rock in August and be ready to face the wet trails to the Pulpit Rock itself. A pair of waterproof hiking boots may ensure your safety and make hiking easier.
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How to Get to Preikestolen
Your Pulpit Rock hike starts at Preikestolen Fjellstue or the Preikestolen Basecamp. Getting to the rock itself is now easier than it used to be before the road or trail was constructed all the way up. Also, the Stavanger Trekking Association built the cabin Preikestolhytta which served visitors.
Today, visiting Preikestolen has become easier because of more facilities at the Base Camp, including the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge, a café, and an activity center.
You can get to Preikestolen by public transport, your own car (or rental car), train, or taking flights. Let’s break it down for better understanding.
Public transport means getting a bus from Stavanger to the Preikestolen Base Camp. Fortunately, you have many options to consider for your convenience.
Tourists to the Pulpit Rock used to take a car ferry from Stavanger to Tau and a connecting bus to Preikestolen trailhead. The train is slow and not as many people use it nowadays.
You no longer have to follow that route because the new tunnel road between Stavanger and Tau opened in 2020. You can simply take a direct bus from Stavanger to the trailhead.
If you visit Norway during the high season, you can choose between two bus companies; GoFjords and PulpitRockTours. Alternatively, you can use a combination of Lysefjord cruise and Pulpit Rock Hike. There are tour operators that offer this route.
It can be problematic to use public transportation during the low season. You have to take a local bus, number 100, from Stavanger to Jørpeland, then connect to the trailhead by a taxi bus. This may not be a better option than booking a guided tour, which will also showcase highlights along the way.
You can get to Preikestolen trailhead in style if you have your own car, be it personal or a rental car from Stavanger. The route will take you through one of the world’s longest undersea road tunnels; the Ryfast Tunnel (also known as the Ryfylke Tunnel).
From Stavanger, take the sub-sea tunnel to the island of Handbag. You will emerge on land at Tau, where you can drive to the trailhead. There are two parking spaces at the base camp, but one near the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge is the recommended option.
However, using your own car comes with disadvantages. You will have to pay a fee to use the Ryfast Tunnel and a parking fee at the car park at Preikestolen trailhead. The charges vary from time to time. Therefore, find out the current rates so that you don’t get surprised when you finally get there.
But if the fees may bother you, consider other alternatives. You can choose public transport or a tour company.
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If you have a little more on your budget during your Preikestolen hike, hire a tour guide. You will also evade the parking fee, cost of gas, and car rental!
Most Preikestolen tours have their own transportation. They will pick you up from your hotel in Stavanger and bring you to the trailhead. They also help you through the hike to Pulpit Rock and back and drive you to your hotel room once again.
Using Pulpit Rock tours is the best choice for convenience and when you want to stay at Stavanger. Fortunately, they are available all year round, and schedules are flexible. Also, they are the best option for a day trip to Preikestolen if you want to learn more about the site.
Getting to Preikestolen by Air
Depending on where you are coming from, you may need to use an airplane. The Stavanger Airport Sola is the nearest to Pulpit Rock. It is well connected to other airports in Norway and other countries with different airliners servicing the route. You may need to check if there is a direct flight from your country of origin to this airport or if you will require connecting flights.
Once you arrive at the airport, you can use the airport bus to take you to the city center. You can then choose your preferred option to get to the Preikestolen trailhead.
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Accommodation Near the Pulpit Rock
Where to spend your night when you visit Preikestolen depends on your plan. Fortunately, there are accommodation services right at the railhead offered by the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge.
Consider the following recommended hotels in Stavanger for the best accommodation services:
Preikestolen Mountain Lodge
Many tourists who want to experience this one of the most popular hikes worry-free choose the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. It is the closest you can be to this tourist destination.
All guest rooms at the lodge have private bathrooms fitted with showers and toilets. There is also a fireplace and meeting room facilities on-site. You can also access spectacular views of Refsvatnet Lake right from this restaurant.
Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel
Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel is the traveler’s favorite because it offers a spectacular view of Norwegian fjords and mountains. It has a free gym on the top floor that makes that possible.
The conveniently located hotel is also located just a few minute’s walk from Stavanger Central Station.
Smarthotel Forus is a cost-effective yet reliable hotel in Stavanger for tourists who want to experience the Pulpit Rock hike. It is located close to Kvadrat Shopping Center and just a walking distance from downtown and Airport Sola. The hotel offers free parking, spacious rooms, and free wireless internet – and it’s funky-cool as all heck!
The hotel also has on-site restaurants and bars, and Sola Gold Club is just a 10-minute drive away.
Comfort Hotel Square
Staying at Comfort Hotel Square comes with other advantages apart from comfortable beds and location in the city center. It is a walking distance of lake Breiavatnet, where you can also go to catch a breeze.
The hotel offers free wireless internet services and a well-equipped gym for guests.
Scandic Royal Stavanger
Scandic Royal Stavanger is another option for accommodation services. It is located a walking distance from Stavanger Central Station and a 15-minute-drive from the airport. You will enjoy the sauna, pool, and jacuzzi on site.
Staying at the Preikestolen Base Camp (or Hiker’s Camp) allows you to start the Pulpit Rock hike in the morning. However, you can also consider commuting from Stavanger. This is where most tourists come from every day to Pulpit Rock Preikestolen.
How Much Time Do You Need for Round Trip Pulpit Rock Hike?
The average time it takes to get to the Preikestolen from the trailhead is 1.5 hours. That means you will need about 3 hours to cover the round trip. However, you might take 4 hours to do the 5-mile hike to and from Pulpit Rock if you are not an experienced hiker.
Can You Go with Kids on the Preikestolen Hike?
Yes. If your kids enjoy hiking activities, there should be no problem making it to Preikestolen. However, it is not the best spot for first-timers. The rough terrain and steep slopes can prove difficult for them.
Can You Camp at Preikestolen?
No. Camping at the Pulpit Rock is not allowed, but you can camp before getting to the Preikestolen plateau. However, you have to prepare for the harsh weather conditions in this area. The ground can be wet, and it can get windy and snowy if you visit Pulpit Rock in winter.
Can You Visit Preikestolen in Winter?
Yes, but winter is not the best time for a Pulpit Rock hike. The weather can be too cold and the trail too snowy to walk through. The slippery trail presents dangers unless you have waterproof hiking boots.
How Much is The Entrance Fee at Preikestolen?
You will not be charged anything for the Pulpit Rock hike. You can go up to the top without any charges. However, you will need to pay parking fees if you have your car at the Preikestolen Base Camp. Also, the Ryfast tunnel road is not toll-free. Therefore, you should carry cash.
When Can You Hike Preikestolen?
The peak season is usually in the summer months, beginning from June through August. But you can visit Preikestolen from April to October or even all year round if you are up to the challenges that weather throws at you. The temperatures at Pulpit Rock go below freezing point in winter, and there is limited daylight. These factors will ruin your hike because of poor trail conditions.
Is Pulpit Rock Hike Worth it?
Yes, but it largely depends on what you are looking for in your hike. The Pulpit Rock Hike gives you the most spectacular view of the Norwegian fjord. If you need more thrilling hikes, consider a tour of Trolltunga and Kjeragbolten.