Standing a few of feet from the edge of Pulpit Rock, 604 metres above Lysefjord, I’m posing for the iconic photo, feeling on top of the world – and my heart pounds with the thrill of it.
The two hour hike in the summer (or winter it seemed) rain to get up here was absolutely worth it.
In a country that is super expensive for Australians to visit, the hike to Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen, in Norway is free to do, which comes as a welcome change. Pulpit Rock is one of Norway’s most popular attractions and is about an hour out of Stavanger drawing over 200,000 visitors every year.
The rock itself is only 25 by 25 metres and sits at 604 metres above the Lysefjord.
The hike to the plateau takes about four hours return including some time at the top. The starting spot is around the mountain lodge, Preikestolen Fjellstue, which offers accommodation and meals, plus public toilets, parking and a kiosk to prepare for the hike.
Note that there are no facilities along the trail. From here, the hike is 3.8 kilometres each way, with a 330 metre altitude climb. As there is no road to Pulpit Rock, the only way to get up and down is by hiking.
Steps are built in the roughest areas with a rocky trail making the hike okay for most people. There are a lot of hikers around, so you always feel safe.
Due to limited daylight, it is not recommended to climb in the winter months, so the best time to visit is from April to October, however be sure to check the weather reports so you can dress appropriately. Even if it’s summer, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be warm.
At the top, an observation I made was that there were no railings. Norway, apparently, is the land of trust and common sense. In Australia, there would be warning signs and fences all around to stop you from getting too close to the edge. In Norway though, it’s entirely up to you to figure out what is safe and what isn’t.
People took photos with their legs dangling over the edge. Very daring – too much for me though. Don’t get me wrong, I did get close enough to the edge to feel a thrill, but I didn’t have the courage to hang off the rock – my poor little heart was pounding enough as it was.
To get the iconic shot on Pulpit Rock, people had formed an orderly line so that everyone could have a photo by themselves at the edge. So very polite – there is still hope in the world! All was going well until, oh, no, did someone just try to skip the orderly queue? That didn’t last as everyone in the line yelled at him to get to the back of the queue. There’s always one.
Some tips for climbing Pulpit Rock:
- Bring food and water so that you can have a picnic up the top and really enjoy the views.
- Even in the middle of summer, it can be super cold. Check the weather report so you can prepare for it.
- Wear decent shoes – sneakers are fine. In our group, someone turned up in sandals… not the best idea.
- Don’t be disappointed if it’s foggy up the top, apparently it’s quite rare for it to be completely clear.
- If you can climb Mount Lofty in Adelaide, you will be fine on this hike.
- Go at your own pace.
- Use your common sense up on Pulpit Rock and be very cautious when nearing the edge – it’s 604 metres high.
Have you climbed Pulpit Rock or any other magnificent rocks around the world?
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