Most people come to Stavanger for two reasons – to see the famous Lysefjord and to do one of the most iconic hikes of Norway – Preikestolen, or the Pulpit Rock.
When I first started planning our 2-week Norway trip, however, I thought that you need two days to do both – Lysefjord cruise and the Preikestolen hike.
Every guidebook, every website seemed to suggest that Lysefjord cruise and Pulpit Rock require two separate trips on two separate days. After some research and with the help of friendly people at Stavanger – Ryfylke region tourism, we found the best alternative – Lysefjord Cruise and Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) hike combination in one day with Rodne Fjord Cruise.
Disclaimer: We were guests of Stavanger Region and Rodne Fjord Cruise, but as always all opinions are our own. It’s the trip we would do again and would recommend it to our friends!
If you have more time in Stavanger, you can, of course, make these two trips separately. However, there is so much more to see and do in this beautiful region. If you can save some time (and money) by combining these two trips in one day, it leaves you more time to explore the amazing museums in Stavanger (the Norwegian Canning Museum is a must!) or do some more hiking in the area (we highly recommend Florli 4444).
Stavanger is a perfect base for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts, so if you love nature, plan at least 3-4 nights in town. Here you can find some more ideas for the best things to do in Stavanger.
Lysefjord cruise and Preikestolen hike in one day
Traveling around the Stavanger region might seem a bit overwhelming at first. For example, to get to the Pulpit Rock trailhead you need to take a ferry, a bus, and then again a bus and a ferry back. And then you still didn’t see the famous Lysefjord…
But you don’t have to worry about any practicalities if you book this combination trip, as everything is extremely well organized and explained. Here is how our day looked like.
At 10AM we took a boat from Skagenkaien right in Stavanger city center. We spent a bit more than two hours on the water sailing deep into the Lysefjord, passing some beautiful islands and idyllically located colorful houses that are so typical for Norway.
The boat is big and comfortable, it has all the facilities and a beautiful indoor setting area with huge windows on all sides, or you can choose to stand on one of the decks outside.
On the morning we visited, we had the worst weather: it was cold, it was raining, and the wind was literally blowing you off the deck, so it was difficult to stay outside all the time.
Luckily, the fjord was incredibly beautiful even in the rain, and we still spent as much time as we could outside. And yes, we needed really warm and waterproof clothing to actually be able to enjoy it.
What makes this Lysefjord cruise trip great is that the boat slows down at the most beautiful places and gives you lots of explanation about everything you see along the way. The commentary is available in several languages. There were lots of people on board on the day of our visit, but it never felt crowded.
Transfer to the Pulpit Rock trailhead
After visiting the fjord, around noon, our boat made a short stop in the tiny harbor of Oanes to drop off the passengers with the combination ticket for the hike.
Only a handful of people left the boat together with us. There was a bus waiting for us at the harbor, and 20 minutes later we were at the Preikestolen trailhead.
As I said, it was raining in the morning, but the weather forecast for Preikestolen showed dry weather in the afternoon. So instead of continuing straight to the Pulpit Rock, we decided to have a relaxing lunch first and wait for the rain to stop. And it did!
There is a lodge with a restaurant at the Pulpit Rock trailhead (Preikestolen Mountain Lodge). You can get a snack or a warm meal here, use a bathroom, refill your water bottles, or just warm up on a rainy day.
Note that food is extremely expensive here. The cheapest meal is a bowl of soup that costs 98NOK (11EUR), the main fish- or meat course costs about 280NOK (30EUR), etc. So you better pack a picnic and some snacks. Actually, these are the standard prices in Norway, except for the cities and bigger places where there is a bit more competition.
Pulpit Rock hike
The hike to Pulpit Rock is about 4km and 2 hours each way (so 8km, 3-4 hours in total). Some experienced hikers will say it’s an easy hike, but for us regular folks it definitely isn’t.
It’s a moderate hike with several steep climbs along the way, and you definitely need proper hiking shoes for Preikestolen. In dry weather, you might be ok in sneakers, but when it’s wet (and it usually is), you will need sturdy walking shoes with a good grip. The reviews from other travelers show that most people underestimate this hike.
The Pulpit Rock hike is not just about the Preikestolen itself. The scenery along the way is beautiful. And once you get to the top you will be rewarded by the most spectacular view over Lysefjord! We were extremely lucky that it stopped raining and there was no mist, so we could enjoy the view to the fullest.
After a bit less than 2 hours we reached the Pulpit Rock. It was just as spectacular as I had imagined!
Also, it was a bit intimidating! The sheer drop of this 604 meter rock is dizzying to say the least. You better don’t look straight down when you stand on the edge. And please don’t do any stupid things and stay safe!
The hike back down took us about 1h30.
You can find more detailed information about this hike in our post about hiking to the Pulpit Rock with kids.
From Preikestolen back to Stavanger
The trip back to Stavanger requires you to take a bus to Tau and then from there a ferry to Stavanger. There are several bus companies doing this trip. The bus schedule is always in line with the ferry schedule to minimize waiting times.
The ticket price for the bus with Boreal is included in the Rodne Pulpit Rock cruise and hike combination ticket. There are busses approximately every hour, so check the schedule before you start your hike so that you know when to start hiking back down. The busses and ferries run till late in the evening in summer, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the hike without having to worry.
The ferry is operated by yet another company and this is the only ticket that is not included in this trip. You have to buy the ticket on the ferry itself, and it costs 56NOK (6EUR) for adults and half price for the children.
We were back at the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge at around 6.20PM. We had to wait 20min for the next bus. At 7.30PM we were on the ferry on the way back to Stavanger. And at 8.15PM we were back at our hotel. It was a long, but a beautiful day. A great start of our two-week Norway trip!
Practical information for Lysefjord cruise and Pulpit Rock hike
- There are daily departures with Rodne from Stavanger, from May till September, at 10AM. In addition, there is an additional departure at noon in July and August.
- Plan the whole day for the cruise and Preikestolen hike. We took it easy and were back in town after 8PM. If you are in a hurry, you could be back earlier, just plan well.
- Lysefjord cruise can be done by anyone, but the Pulpit Rock hike requires good physical condition. Our kids of 6-8 years old could easily do the hike (quicker than us :)).
- Dress in layers and carry a rain jacket. Wear good hiking shoes. Pack a picnic and carry plenty of drinking water. You can refill your bottles at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge.
- For more practical information, check Rodne Fjord Cruise website.
- If you rather not worry about the practical side of planning this trip, you can also opt for a guided Pulpit Rock hike instead. In that case, do the Lysefjord cruise on a separate day.
***Read also our complete guide on what to pack for Norway in summer***
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