The west coast of Norway is home to three very different and spectacular rock formations; Kjerag, Pulpit Rock and Trolltunga. These stone formations are extraordinary in their own right, but what has made them so famous is the ability to stand on top of them. Making it the perfect place for breathtaking photographs.
About a year ago I posted a photo of my best friend and her husband standing on top of the Kjeragbolt kissing. The photo spread like wildfire and I have no idea how many times it has been re-posted on Instagram or how many people have seen it. What I do know is that places like Kjerag are attracting more and more locals and tourists every year.
Every time I post a photo from Kjerag, Preikestolen or Trolltunga I get tons of questions from my followers about how to get there, how tough the hike is and what time of year they should go. So this article is about just that. Useful information about three of Norway's most popular tourist destinations.
Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) is probably the most famous one out of all three. It is also the most crowded. Welcoming more than 200.000 hikers every year. Over the past decade it has become one of Norway's biggest tourist attractions.
The hike itself is relatively easy and it is located fairly close to Stavanger city. Making it accessible for cruise ship passengers as well as other travelers. I used to live in Stavanger and I have hiked up to Preikestolen many times. Both during summer and as you can see in the photo above sometimes even during winter.
From Preikestolen Fjellstue the hike is 2.6 miles each way, with a difference in altitude of 1,082 feet. The hike up to the plateau takes about two hours, this of course varies from person to person. When you reach the plateau it is a flat area of about 25*25 meters, with a free fall drop straight down to the ocean. The plateau is about 604 meters above sea level.
In recent years a team of Sherpa's from Nepal have been working on improving the path up to Pulpit Rock. Making the hike more accessible to everyone as well as protecting the path from further damage and tear.
When to go
In Norway the weather conditions changes quickly, making it almost impossible to predict when the season for hiking to certain places should begin. Usually the path should be safe to walk between April- October. There will be less people in April, Mai, September and October, but the weather will also vary more and be colder than the peak season which is June, July and august.
How to get there
From Stavanger, drive to Sandnes and follow the E13 road east towards Lauvik, where you take the ferry across to Oanes. From there, follow E13 to Jøssang and turn right onto Rv529. Follow this road to Preikestolen Fjellstue, where you may park your car:
Using the parking facilities costs 100 NOK, payable on departure.
You may park overnight, but sleeping in vehicles is not permitted.
Parking is free for guests staying at Preikestolen Fjellstue or the other nearby cabins.
In the summer, you can take the ferry from Stavanger to Tau and a corresponding bus from there to Preikestolen. Ticket sales for both are available on board the ferry. Travel time from Stavanger is about an hour each way.
The return ticket is valid for two days, and is not for a specific time - you can choose the departure that suits you best.
The famous Kjeragbolt is a boulder located in the Kjerag mountain in Rogaland, Norway. The rock itself is a 5 m³ glacial deposit wedged in the mountain's crevasse. It is a popular tourist destination and is accessible without any climbing equipment. However, it is suspended above a 984-meter deep abyss. It looks scarier than it actually is. The rock is quite flat and the area you can stand on easily fits one or two people. Like you can see with my friends kissing in the first photo.
There is a marked trail from Øygardstøl to the top ; a 4-6 hours return trip, through physically demanding terrain. Remember to bring sturdy hiking boots, suitable clothes, water and food.
When to go
During winter (October - May) it is not possible to do the hike as the road is closed due to snow as well as the hike being too dangerous during winter. You probably realized that leaves us with three months, June, July and August. I went in July, it was a bit crowded but the weather was amazing and so worth it.
How to get there
Take the tourist car ferry between Lauvvik and Lysebotn before driving up the famous hairpin bends to the parking area at Øygardstøl (parking fee 150 NOK). Øygardstøl is the starting point of the hike to Kjerag. You can alternatively drive from Stavanger towards Ålgård on the E39, then turn onwards to road Fv45 to Sirdal. From here it is signposted to Lysebotn (152 km).
Between mid June util the end of August there is a bus connection to Øygardstøl, where the hike starts. The bus leaves from both Stavanger and Sandnes. After the hike up Kjerag you can return by bus.
Departure at 7:30 am from Byterminalen in Stavanger by coach. The bus proceeds to Sandnes, and then to Ålgård, Byrkjedal (with a 30 minutes stop included) and Sirdal up to Øygardstøl. Øygardstøl (Eagle's nest) is the starting point for the hike to Kjerag.
Return by coach to Stavanger at 4:45 pm, arriving back in Stavanger at 7:15 pm.
Total duration is around 13,5 hours.
Trolltunga, directly translated to "trolls tongue" is a rock formation that looks like a tongue sticking out of the mountain. This hike has been popular among locals for many years. But over the last 5 years its popularity has grown and gone global. I was there this summer and I was surprised to see that many tourists hiking this pretty tough trail, in knee deep snow.
The problem with this place and other tougher hikes in Norway is the lack of information about it. I saw people walking up late in the evening in sneakers and I do not think they knew what they where getting them selves into.
Luckily the companies working with the trail and the local government made new signs last summer. Warning tourists and hikers about how tough the trail really is and what to bring and wear for the hike. Also some of the signs along the way tell you how much longer you will be walking and if you should turn around if you reach a certain point late in the afternoon.
The hike is a red line hike. In Norway this means it has a pretty steep incline, a relatively long and tough hike that requires good equipment and being in good shape. It takes about 7-10 hours, this of course varies from person to person.
When to go
I was there this June and I walked in 2 feet of snow the entire time. It was tough, cold and long. It is recommended to hike between June and September because of weather changes and the possibility of snow. However in these months the amount of people hiking the trail can be many. So your chance of getting to the mountain by your self is not very likely. I would recommend starting very early in the morning. It is not a very good place to be walking at night.
How to get there
If you are traveling with a car you can drive to Tyssedal (6 km from Odda) on route 13. Follow signs to Skjeggedal and Trolltunga. After about 7 km you reach the parking place in Skjeggedal. Parking in Skjeggedal (200 NOK/day) or Tyssedal (100/day) (2016).
If you are traveling with local transportation there are several ways to get to Odda. From Bergen you can take Bus route 930 Bergen-Odda www.skyss.no (no booking, cash only)
From Oslo you can either choose to take the train from Oslo-Voss www.nsb.no. And from there take the Bus route 990 Voss-Odda www.skyss.no (no booking, cash only). Or you can take the Coach service "Haukeli ekspressen" Oslo-Odda www.nor-way.no (Book online)
From Stavanger or Preikestolen you can take the Coach service "The Trolltunga-Preikestolen express" (during high season) Stavanger-Preikestolen-Røldal-Odda-Tyssedal-Lofthus-Kinsarvik. www.tidereiser.com(Book online)
When you arrive in Odda you can take a Maxi taxi from Odda bus station to Skjeggedal. Which is the starting point for the hike. Daily route from June 15th to September 15th 2016 (30 min one way).
This is something that has to be addressed when I am promoting these locations. As I have written about in previous posts we have a very liberal statutory right in Norway called "allemannsretten" . We are responsible for our own mistakes, this might sound like stating the obvious, but is is very different from a lot of other countries policies. If you want to take the "crazy" photos that I have taken and many others before me be aware of the fact that people fall of. Last summer a young Australian girl fell off Trolltunga and died. Earlier that same year a Spanish tourist fell from Pulpit Rock and died. There are no safety nets or fences that keep you from walking to far out on the edge.
That being said, I love these hikes and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to experience Norway's natural lookouts.
Stay safe and have fun :)