Norway has been on my bucket list for sometime and I am glad having spent five days exploring it. It is a country enriched with fjords, spectacular hikes, and breathtaking views- a perfect destination for nature infused holiday. Together with a group of dear friends, we self-organized a 5-day trip to see South Western Norway, famous for its fjords and hikes. Our trip started straight after landing at the Stavanger airport with a hike to the Pulpit or Preacher rock in Preikestolen.
Flights & Airport transfer
Stavanger was our base for the first two nights. The Stavanger airport is just outside the city and with a taxi it took us less than 20 minutes to the get to the town center (train station). The taxi trip cost us 380NOK and it was cheaper than buying single bus tickets (150NOK; 120NOK if bought in advance) as we traveled in a group of four.
Our flight was in an early morning and we wanted to do the Pulpit rock hike on the same day but check in to our Airbnb was only in afternoon. What to do with luggage? Storage lockers! The train station's waiting room (open till 23:00) has storage lockers where you can leave your luggage. It is 60NOK for a big locker for 24 hours and we easily fitted 4 backpacks in one locker. The payment for the locker is by card only. Later we saw that there were storage lockers in Fiskepiren where the ferry to Tau leaves. This was my first time using storage lockers and it was great! Easy and simple to use and most importantly it is secure.
Transfer to Preikestolen
To get from Stavanger to Preikestolen Mountain Lodge (start of the hike) you will need to take a ferry to Tau and then from Tau you will need transport to get to the start of the hike (bus/coach or drive). The walk from Stavanger’s train station to the ferry (Fiskepiren) is very short one (around 8min). The ferry leaves very frequently on weekdays (every 40 minutes) and has fewer departures on the weekend. We traveled on a weekday and got the 11:00 one. You can find the timings of the ferry here. The ferry journey is around 40minutes with enjoyable views. When the ferry arrives there are buses waiting to take you to the start of the hike (April to September season). There are two companies operating: Tide and Boreal (green bus). The bus ride is around 25minutes. The ferry is a car and passenger ferry, so if you drive you can take your car. Parking at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge is 200 NOK for a car or a camping van.
Regarding tickets, we bought Combo return ticket for 350NOK each, which included return ferry and coach. I thought that it was just simpler and actually not much more expensive than buying ferry and coach tickets separately. The combo return ticket needs to be used on your specified day but it can be used for any operating times during that day. If you want to buy tickets separately, you can buy the ferry ticket on board (120NOK return) and coach return ticket is 190NOK but I am not sure if you can buy a bus ticket on board. Ferry and bus tickets are also sold at tourist office.
Everything ran so smoothly and on time that we were very pleasantly surprised. Good start!
Hike to Pulpit Rock
The base for the hike has toilets, water fountains to fill your bottles and restaurant/cafe. The hike itself is very well marked and is very unlikely that you will get lost. Also, there are a lot of people doing the hike and it is very popular amongst families with children. It is probably the most popular hike in Norway! Not surprisingly as it is named to be one of the most spectacular viewing points in the world🌎
The track starts with some steep sections followed by down and again upwards hike. The return trip on average takes 4 hours and the hike is 6km long. The recommended season to do the hike is April to October (winter recommended with a guide). Without a saying you need appropriate footwear, the terrain is very stony. Surprisingly, we some saw people in flip-flops (!). I can not think why someone would put their feet through such an ordeal. Maybe lack of preparation?
The views going up and the top is just breathtaking! At the top you will see the photographic Pulpit Rock overlooking the Lysenfjord. Hiking to this mountain formation towering 604 meters above the fjord was an amazing experience that would I recommend to anyone enjoying hikes and nature.
Just a note that drones are not allowed at the top of the Pulpit rock but you can fly them during the hike till the top. We managed to reach the top in 1.5 hours (stopping for pictures and just to admire the views around). The hike was very busy with fellow hikers, maybe too busy for our liking but all the views were more than worth the effort.
Right, let's get to those photo snaps!
I do not want to show off but we can truly make most of the day! Surprisingly, after a very early flight (we were up from 3:00 in the morning) and 3.5 hours hike plus traveling, we still had the energy to explore Stavanger town in the evening. Probably we energized ourselves with the amazing views during the hike! Stavanger is a lovely small town with a unique charm and everything is within a walking distance. Walk the streets in the Gamble area, which has supposedly the largest and oldest settlement of wooden houses. Go and see the most colorful street in Stavanger, Øvre Holmegate, or just have a stroll around the Marina.
While we were staying at Stavanger, there was a street food festival, Gladmat. What a nice coincidence as we didn't even know about it before the trip. The Marina and the Øvre Holmegate was buzzing with different food stalls and people; of course, we tried some street food too!
What an amazing the first day of our Norway trip! Can't wait to share with you our highlights from other four days. Next stop is Day 2- hike to Kjerag! Will we brave enough to step on the Kjeragbolten??