Rising 600 meters above the Lyesfjord, the views from the top of Pulpit Rock—also known as Preikestolen—are said to be some of the best in all of Norway. After seeing countless pictures of Pulpit Rock ‘repinned’ on Pinterest, we knew this was one adventure in Norway we had to experience for ourselves.
We arrived at the Pulpit Rock car park early in the morning, hoping to beat the crowds of fellow tourists also off to discover the iconic Norwegian landmark. Unfortunately we would have no such luck. Pulpit Rock is an extremely popular day hike—especially when that day falls on a warm and sunny holiday weekend. As we mentioned in our post about traveling Norway on a budget, attempting to see the sights over Easter was not the best planning on our part.
So sharing the hiking path with masses of other people was certainly not ideal. We constantly had to stop to wait for those ahead of us to finish chitchatting in the middle of the trail. And then there were the adolescents that kept bumping into us from behind as they tried to race to the top. Though the hike was beautiful, it was at first difficult for us to appreciate the surrounding landscape with so many other people in it!
(Dan’s good at capturing images at the right time. It was actually much more crowded than it looks!)
Had we been prepared for the crowds, perhaps they wouldn’t have bothered us so much. Regardless, we did eventually get into the groove of hiking in a group, refusing to let something as silly as people deter us from enjoying our trek.
Two hours and a steep climb later, we arrived at the top of Pulpit Rock. Putting up with every single last pushy person was more than worth it in return for the views that awaited us.
Though we don’t necessarily have a fear of heights, we don’t particularly enjoy dangling our extremities off the edges of cliffs, either. But at Pulpit Rock, that’s exactly what everyone does—and it certainly makes for some stunning photos. It took us a while to warm up to the edge of the rock. First we ate a sandwich a few feet back. Then we inched a little bit closer to help some girls take photos of their heads dangling out over the deep void. And then before we knew it, we were peeking over the edge ourselves, combating the feeling of vertigo that threatened to overwhelm us.
People will do a lot of stupid things for a good photo. We saw a few handstands on the edge, and just watching the antics was enough to fill us up with butterflies. Yet astonishingly (and thankfully) there have been few fatalities from the rock. For a destination that receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, that’s pretty good.
When we finally began our return hike, we felt a surge of accomplishment rush through us—not from reaching the summit of the cliff, but rather from pushing ourselves closer and closer to its edge. There are plenty of metaphors about life and adventure that we could aptly tie in here, but instead we’ll just leave you with this quote. I think it sums it all up quite nicely:
Getting to Pulpit Rock
Pulpit Rock is most easily accessible from the city of Stavanger, about a one-hour drive from the Pulpit Rock car park. We drove ourselves to Pulpit Rock so we could turn the hike into a larger weekend road trip along Norway’s southern fjords. The drive from Bergen to Stavanger and back was extraordinary and one we would highly recommend. If driving, the ferry from Stavanger to Tau costs NOK 133 for the car and driver; NOK 44 for each additional passenger. The ferry departs regularly, around 28 times per day. Parking at Pulpit Rock costs NOK 100, though we saw many people get out of this fare by parking down the road.
Alternatively, bus travel is possible and popular. You’ll still have to take the ferry from Stavanger to Tau. From Tau, buses continue to the Pulpit Rock car park, but only between May and September, and on weekends in April. During other times of the year, the bus from Tau will take you to the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge, 9 km from the Pulpit Rock trailhead. From here you can walk or take a taxi to the trailhead. Check for updated bus timetables here. It’s also possible to purchase a joint bus and ferry ticket with a company called Tide, which is said to be less expensive than purchasing the tickets separately. (NOK 236 if purchased separately, NOK 200 if purchased jointly.)
*Note: this was the most up-to-date information we could find online and from asking others who have taken public transport to Pulpit Rock. Be sure to check for current prices and timetables.
It is only recommended to hike Pulpit Rock between April and October. At other times the trail can be snowy and icy, making conditions unsafe.
There is no fee to hike Pulpit Rock.
This is a hike, not a walk. Wear good athletic shoes and warm clothing. Also take along plenty of water and a lunch to enjoy from the top!
Would you dangle your feet out from the top of Pulpit Rock? What’s the most vertigo-inducing thing you’ve ever done?
Amazing hike. I really want to go hiking in Norway! The views are worth the extra effort!
Angela Travels recently posted…Kayaking the Doubtful Sound
Now that we’ve been hiking in Norway, I don’t know how we will go anywhere else! Definitely worth the effort :)
Oh wow, yeah, the views definitely look worth it!! I would totally dangle an appendage or two over the edge!
Amanda recently posted…Volunteering at Elephant Nature Park: What’s It Like?
Haha as long as it’s only one or two ;)
People do handstands on the edge?!? I’d be content just to sit there and take in the incredible view!
Heather recently posted…Friendship and Chocolate in New York City: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
People are seriously ridiculous! Haha it took sooo much courage for us to sit on the edge!
I don’t have a fear of heights either, but just reading about people doing handstands on the edge made me cringe! It is indeed impressive that there have been hardly any fatalities: maybe it’s that wonderful Scandinavian attitude of freedom mixed with responsibility surrounding everyone that makes people more sensible somehow!
Sam recently posted…Gourmet Vegan Berlin: La Mano Verde
I bet you’re right! I do really respect the Scandinavian attitude towards nature, and the belief that it shouldn’t be ‘fenced in’. Hopefully tourists will continue to respect Pulpit Rock to keep it that way!
WoW what a stunning place, definitely a hike I would love to do one day.
A shame from the crowds but then again clearly for a reason everybody wants to do this hike. Amazing photos !
Freya recently posted…Luxury Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
Thanks Freya! I don’t think we realized just how lucky we were with the blue skies, either!
I’m pretty sure the height would do me in. I agree about the photo ops though! Good on you!
Penny Sadler recently posted…Postcard from Mud City: Visiting Calistoga, California
Everything in Norway is amazing but the pulpit rock and the views it offers are simply jaw-dropping. Thanks for this wonderful post and bringing my memories back :)
Hitch-Hikers Handbook recently posted…Travel Photography Competition – week 87
Thanks so much! Yea Pulpit Rock lived up to all the hype, IMO. So glad we were able to bring back some memories!!
You guys ended up with some great photos :) this looks like a beautiful hike. I know the feeling about trekking heel-toe with hundreds of others. That was what it was like for us during our day hike at the Samaria Gorge in Greece. It’s hard to appreciate the wilderness and silence od nature when people are literally bumping into you!
Glad you were able to still enjoy it.
Dariece @GoatsOnTheRoad recently posted…Voyaging Around Vineyards – What You Need To Know About Wine Tourism
Thanks so much Dariece! Interesting to know about the hike in Greece. We’ve never been there, but would love to go one day!
The views from the top are amazing! Great place to relax and read a good book :)
JP Chartier recently posted…The Road to Nowhere & Everywhere
Thanks so much! Yea definitely a great spot to camp out for a bit :)
Wow! Truly fantastic pictures, I’d say well worth the pushing and shoving ;) That’s another ‘experience’ to add to my growing list!
Thanks Liz! Pulpit Rock is definitely worthy of the hype, and even a bit of pushing and shoving :)
Great pics! Been reading your blog, but I haven’t seen this post before now. Just a quick tip from a local (or ex local), if you are ever going back or someone else reads this ..regarding:
“We arrived at the Pulpit Rock car park early in the morning, hoping to beat the crowds of fellow tourists also off to discover the iconic Norwegian landmark.”
You can stay in the area, and start the hike at early early morning. Then you will have the place to yourself — beautiful! Even in the holidays. Also, in the summer you can hike in the evening, as the sun sets at 11PM. We took some pics on our hike, hope you don’t mind me adding the URL here: http://nextstopnorway.com/the-pulpit-rock/ Those were taken just before Easter, and we were pretty much alone.
Evan recently posted…Nuart 2014 in Stavanger: Art in the City like You’ve Never Seen
Thanks so much for your insider advice! Great photos, thanks for sharing!
Wow Im impress.
I am hiking up Pulpit Rock next Wednesday on the start of a fun adventure break with friends. I have to say I love the outdoors and the idea of this hike and the views it promises, however….I do suffer from vertigo and have a serious problem with acrophobia! my stomach is knotting and causing a little nausea just thinking about it….and I am sitting at my desk at work!! I am still very excited and as much as I know I will make it to the top, I also know that I have to accept I may not make it to the edge. Some great posts on here and good tips!
Hope you had an amazing time! If you get a chance hop back over and let us know how it was experiencing Pulpit Rock with vertigo :)
I’m going there next summer and I’m so excited reading your post! Geez, people did handstand!? I would love to see that though. Like you, I think it will take some time ( a lot of times) for me to move inch by inch to the edge, or maybe I won’t even reach the edge. I have phobia with heights, but I would love to face it in pulpit rock. :)
Thanks for sharing your stories and your encouraging words, Casey!
May recently posted…Vertical Exploration
I was up there today with my familiy. We woke up early to avoid the quew. On the top we had beatifull weather and climbed up on the top behind, where we had a good meal. My kids got the new Preikestolen / Pulpit Rock medal that I’ve made. Next time you are comming here, you schould get one: https://www.facebook.com/Preikestolen-medaljen-1534631926844378/
Hi, Gard! Thanks for sharing! That looks awesome! What a great story to go with it, as well. :-)
I was planning to go there and can you tell me is it dangerous I want to double check
Nope! Just don’t be too crazy near the edge ;)
Woa. Nice couple and stunning place. I hope I would be there one day with my beloved guy. ^^ Could you tell me if there’s any essential thing I need to prepare before?