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Hiking Preikestolen: What to Expect, Getting There and Top Tips

May 3, 2023
11 Min Read
Pulpit rock in Norway seen from above
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Hiking Preikestolen: What to Expect, Getting There and Top Tips
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October 20, 2023
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Planning a hike to Pulpit Rock in Norway?

Here is a complete and up-to-date Pulpit Rock guide with all the information you need to start planning your hike. Discover the best time to visit, a detailed guide on what to expect on the trail, Preikestolen parking information, and many more tips you won’t want to miss!  

How do you get to Pulpit Rock, beat the crowds, and make the most of your hiking experience? Read more to find out!

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Overview of Pulpit Rock Hike in Norway

Pulpit Rock, also known as Preikestolen, is one of the best hiking destinations in Norway. It is a steep cliff overlooking the beautiful Lysefjorden, and the platform resembles a church pulpit, hence the name Pulpit Rock.

Thanks to the dramatic views from the summit, along with the accessible trails, the Pulpit Rock is a must-visit destination for adventure seekers and is one of the most beautiful places in Norway. 

Pulpit rock in Norway

How Difficult is the Hike to Preikestolen

The hike to Preikestolen is moderately difficult and requires some prior trekking experience. It's around 8km in distance, with a total elevation gain of about 500 meters. Depending on the season, trail conditions and weather patterns can change.

Tip: Always check the weather forecast before hiking Preikestolen.


A wooden path surrounded by trees in Norway

In general, the hike up to Pulpit Rock usually takes about 2 hours for an average hiker, and the round-trip journey will take roughly 4 hours. You should allow at least 5 hours to complete the Preikestolen hike. With 5 hours you can take your time to enjoy the views along the way and hike with a steady pace to ensure your safety. 


In our experience, we hiked in the summer taking a 2-hour hike up in the morning and a 1.5-hour descent. We only stayed at Pulpit Rock for about 30 minutes due to the foggy weather and colder air at the top. So our Preikestolen hike time was 4 hours in total.

A path made from boulders surrounded by trees

Best Time to Hike Preikestolen

You can hike Preikestolen all year round but the hiking season is from May to October. The best time to hike during the busy months is early in the morning or later in the afternoon, but expect some crowds nonetheless.

If you’re planning to hike during the winter and spring months, the weather can be very unpredictable and the trail conditions can be quite demanding. Keep this in mind as you will need special equipment to hike and a guide might even be necessary in some months.

Read: Best Time to Visit Norway

Tip: Have all the necessary equipment and supplies ready before hiking Preikestolen.

A fjord in Norway

How to Get to Pulpit Rock

Car: This is the most convenient way to reach the start of the Preikestolen trail. We recommend getting there by car as it will give you a head start before the rest of the crowd starts to arrive. Rent a car now!

Bus: To get to Pulpit Rock by bus, you first need to reach the city of Stavanger. There are many buses that head towards Stavanger from other main cities in Norway such as Bergen and Kristiansand. 

From Stavanger to Pulpit Rock, you can take a direct express bus to Preikestolen basecamp and start your trek from there. Book your bus now!

Pulpit rock in Norway seen from above

Plane: The fastest way to reach Pulpit Rock, especially if you’re coming from Oslo, is to fly to Stavanger Airport (SVG). You can rent a car from the airport or take a taxi to the main center. From Stavanger, take the direct bus to the start of the Preikestolen hiking trail. Book your flights here!

Tours: For the most hassle-free experience, consider booking a guided tour that includes pick-up and drop-off at Preikestolen. Book this highly rated Pulpit Rock guided hike tour today!

A fjord in Norway

Preikestolen Parking

There are two parking spaces at Preikestolen labeled as upper parking and lower parking on Google Maps. The lower parking is the main parkade and you'll be directed to the higher parking lot once it’s full. 

The parking fee costs approximately 24 USD for a regular-sized car, 10 USD for a motorcycle, and 75 USD for larger vehicles. Parking is straightforward and you can pay your fee at the machine before exiting the parking lot.

Both of the parking spaces will connect you to the Pulpit Rock trail, but you’ll gain more elevation if you start at the lower parking lot. You’ll find facilities such as restrooms, an information center, a place to fill up your water bottles, and a cafe. 

Note: There are no restrooms along the trail so make sure you use the facilities before starting your hike. 

A parking lot at the Pulpit rock surrounded by trees

What to Expect on Preikestolen Hike

Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is a well-known destination in the southern part of Norway, and it's definitely on every traveler's Norway bucket list. You've probably seen some photos of this mind-boggling landmark before, but what makes the hike so popular is that it’s super accessible and doable for inexperienced hikers. Not to mention, the breathtaking views on your way up are unmatched. 

But what exactly is this hike like, and what can you expect if you decide to commit to the 4 hour trek? Let us break it down for you. 

Two people walk past a cafe on their way to Pulpit Rock

The Trail 

The trail up to Preikestolen starts at the visitors center, where you can rent the necessary gear such as walking poles and proper footwear. 

After the visitors center, you are met by a steep slope that makes you wonder about what’s to come. Luckily the trail gets easier after the first slope and alternates between flat areas, wooden paths and boulders grouped together into massive stairs. The main theme of this trail appears to be a combination of relatively easy flats and steep inclines. This makes it quite pleasant to hike as you have plenty of time to catch your breath after each climb. 

Two people walk on big boulders in Norway

The first half of the hike doesn’t have spectacular views yet, as you mainly walk through the forest and in between rock walls. 

However, the hike is pleasant to walk and well thought out. The combination of paths and boulder stairs make it an enjoyable experience. This path was rebuilt with the help of Nepali Sherpas, and it shows.

A man walks on a path made of boulders surrounded by trees

The last part of the hike is mainly flat and presents you with some of the most amazing views over Lysefjord. From here, you’ll make your way to the Pulpit Rock along steep cliffs and wooden bridges. After conquering this last part of the hike, you’ll be met by the stunning cliffs of Pulpit Rock. 

Tip: If you’re scared of heights or don’t feel comfortable walking along these steep cliffs, there is an option to go around them by following the “Hill-trail” instead.

Two people walk on a path on the side of a cliff
Two people hike towards Pulpit rock, Norway

Pulpit Rock

Once you arrive at Pulpit Rock, take your photos and peek down into the vast emptiness underneath you. But be careful on the edge. The Norwegian government believes that the wilderness shouldn’t be changed by man made structures, so you won’t find any fences at the cliffs of Pulpit Rock. 

Pulpit rock in Norway seen from above

We found that Pulpit Rock was best enjoyed from above, so we climbed up a bit higher to get a birds-eye view of the surroundings. This climb was quite tricky and required some caution. The views, however, were well worth the extra effort.

Pulpit rock in Norway seen from above

After spending roughly half an hour at the top we made our way back down to the parking area. The way down is the same as the way up, but this time not as taxing on your calves. Be careful of your ankles though, as the big steps down can be easily underestimated. 

Roughly an hour later, we arrived back at the visitors center. Here you can get some coffee and reflect back on your experience.

A wooden sign with a fjord in the background.


It is no secret that Preikestolen is one of the most popular Norway hikes. And this shows in the amount of people that it attracts each summer. 

The busiest months are June, July, and August because of long daylight hours and milder weather conditions. 

People enjoy the view of Lysefjord in Norway

We visited Preikestolen in July and started hiking at 6am. Even though we encountered other hikers, the trails were quiet on our way up. So make sure to start early, preferably before 8am. 

Despite starting so early, there were few people on the trail, and the longer we stayed at the summit, the more people began to arrive. We descended around 9am, and we were met with crowds of hikers going up. It was quite crowded, which could potentially ruin your experience. 

Lines of people make their way up to Pulpit Rock, Norway

We’ve also heard from other hikers that you can beat the crowd by starting later in the afternoon. Just keep in mind that there are time stamps at the beginning of the trail that indicate the time after which you should not begin the hike. You can also find the suggested times at the Preikestolen official website

People enjoy the view of Lysefjord in Norway

What to Prepare for Hiking Preikestolen 

  1. Proper clothing: Preikestolen weather conditions can change quickly, so have the proper clothing depending on the season that will keep you comfortable and safe during the hike. 
  2. Proper hiking shoes: Sturdy shoes with good traction are necessary to tackle the uneven terrain and potential wet conditions.
  3. Extra set of clothes: Temperatures can drop rapidly, and rain is common. Bring extra clothes to keep you warm and dry in case of unexpected weather changes. 
  4. Food and water for the hike: Bring enough food and water to stay hydrated and energized. Additionally, having some snacks at the top while enjoying the stunning scenery is an experience on its own.
  5. Winter equipment: The trail can be slippery and treacherous during off- season so proper winter equipment is essential for safety. You can rent crampons and torches and even hire a guide at the information center.
  6. Hat, scarf, and sunglasses: The wind and sun, especially at the top, can be brutal, so protect your face and eyes.

People walk on a big boulder flat

Where to Stay

In Stavanger

There are plenty of accommodations you can choose from if you’re hiking Pulpit Rock in Norway. As most people are doing day hikes from Stavanger, here are some of the most highly recommended places to stay in the city:

Tip: Check the bus departure times heading back to Stavanger so you can time your hike properly and avoid missing the last bus

Near Preikestolen

If you decide to hike Pulpit Rock in the afternoon, we recommend staying somewhere near by after your hike. Here are some other hotels you can book within close proximity to the beginning of the trail. 

Tip: Book your accommodation well in advance as Preikestolen is a popular destination and rooms get booked quickly. 

Steep cliffs with Pulpit rock in the background.

We decided to stay at a campsite when we visited Preikestolen. We set up our tent near Liarvatnet which is about 20 minutes drive from the trail. The location near Pulpit Rock was ideal. Additionally there are some smaller hikes you can do nearby, and some great spots to have a swim.

We also learned that you can camp close to the Pulpit Rock peak. However, you should not set your tent on Preikestolen itself for obvious safety reasons. There are a few small lakes scattered around that are surrounded by plenty of trees which are good options for setting up your tents. 

Note: Don’t ruin the pathways for other hikers. Set your tent a decent distance away from the trail. 

Rock formations seen from above in Norway

Is Preikestolen Hike Worth it?

Preikestolen hike is a moderately difficult hike and a good option when you’re in the area. During the summer months, the crowds on the way to the top, however, can ruin the experience. 

Steep cliffs with Pulpit rock in the background.

We would say that the hike is worth it if you leave early in the morning, just before sunrise. This way you can enjoy the beautiful nature by yourself and you can hike the trail at your own pace without being rushed by other people. 

If you don’t have the possibility to leave early in the morning we recommend having a look at other lesser known trails in the area. After all it’s not only about the destination, but even more so about the hike itself.

A man waves the Norwegian flag with Lysefjord in the background.

Other Activities Nearby

Wondering where to head next after climbing Preikestolen? Here are some additional activities in the area you can enjoy. 

1. Stop at Høllesli Viewpoint

This is a great alternative for a breathtaking view of Lysefjorden from a lower point without hiking Preikestolen. Getting to the viewing platform is also easy as it has great accessibility from the parking lot.

2. Continue to Lysebotn

After hiking Preikestolen, continue to Lysebotn village, which is located at the eastern end of the Lysefjorden. Most travelers stay here before hiking Kjeragbolten or driving the famous Lysevegen road with its 27 hairpin bends.

3. Take a Lysefjorden Fjord Tour 

For a more relaxing experience, join a fjord cruise and enjoy the view of Preikestolen and Lysefjorden. Here are some of the most popular fjord tours you can book. 

A fjord in Norway

And that’s the complete and updated Pulpit Rock hiking guide in Norway.  

We hope that this guide will help you plan your trip in one of Norway’s best hiking spots. Remember to plan ahead, be prepared, and hike responsibly. Hiking Preikestolen is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity you won’t want to miss, and this guide will ensure that you have the best experience possible!


Let us know if we missed anything in the comments section below.

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