As you may know (or not), I’ve lived in Norway for one year with a lovely Norwegian family. I went to a Norwegian school where I was the only exchange student, had to learn the language all by myself, took part in typical Norwegian activities and got fully immersed in the culture.
One of those typical Norwegian activities was (and still is) hiking.
Hiking through rain, through wind and when we were lucky through a lovely autumn breeze that pushed us forward step by step.
Norwegian nature is harsh. Tripping over loose rocks, a big wave that splashes all over you if you’re standing too close to the sea. These things have happened to me not once, not twice, but multiple times.
Norwegian nature is not for the weak (I really don’t like to use this word but you have to realize that you shouldn’t be in a bad shape if you want to go hiking there) and if you’re not prepared well, she’ll smash you.
One of my favorite hikes in Norway is the hike to Preikestolen (close to Stavanger). If you’re interested in doing this hike (or any other- not extremely difficult – hike in Norway), keep on reading because I’ll give you some advice!
One of the first things you’ll need is, yes, money. We’re talking about Norway, not South East Asia.
Once you’ve got some money, go to Stavanger; the oilcapital of the country and consequently the richest city of Norway (which also means the most expensive one…).
Rent a car in Stavanger. If you’re not rich, try to avoid staying in hotels, take a tent instead. Camping in Norway is amazing! And you’re allowed to camp wherever you want to, this is called the allemannsrett. However, there is one thing you should never forget; LEAVE THE AREA EXACTLY AS YOU FOUND IT. I repeat; EXACTLY AS YOU FOUND IT. Nature all over the world is being polluted all. the. time. So it’s extremely important to keep this rule in mind. Don’t leave food, ripped clothes, garbage. Try to leave the nature like it was before you arrived. Meaning; don’t break branches of trees when it’s not necessary, don’t pull out grass etc. If you end up doing stuff like this, the whole population of Scandinavia will hate you (and me and many other nature-loving-people too). You wouldn’t want that, right?
Okay, so you’ve found a car, everything seems to be alright and you’re ready to go to Preikestolen!
Go to the harbour and take a ferry (bring your car). Get off the boat in Tau and from there it’s quite easy to drive to Preikestolen. It will take you 2hrs though.
Rumours say that there should be a bus from Tau to Preikestolen but I’ve never figured out if there’s actually one or if it’s just a… rumour.
Try to avoid going on weekends and if you really only can go during the weekend, go on Saturday. Sunday is turdag (walking-day) in Norway which means that all the Norwegians get out of their house and go hiking. You don’t wanna be there when it’s very crowded.
Leave in the morning. Around 8/8:30 is ideal (if you’re leaving from Stavanger center). It will take you around 2 hrs to get there.
The hike itself took us 2,5hrs. However if you’re not used to hiking, it might take you half an hour or 1 hour more – which is perfectly fine as the nature is very nice there.
Once at the top, most people stay around an hour to enjoy the beautiful view en to eat some food energy food:
Nuts, black chocolate, fruits, brown bread with cheese (avoid meat as it can get bad when the sun shines on it during the hike) and water. A LOT of water.
In Norway it’s perfectly okay to fill up your water bottle in a river. Keep in mind though that this only counts for RIVERS, water with a CURRENT, moving water, whatever you want to call it. Still water is dirty, don’t ever drink it! On the way to Preikestolen there are no rivers so make sure that you took enough water for the whole day.
Rogaland (the county where Preikestolen is) is very rainy so be prepared at all times. Take your raincoat and raintrousers and, of course, waterproof hiking boots with trekking socks.
Wear a light wool longsleeve and on top of it a fleece and on top of that your raincoat. Wear running tights under your raintrousers.
Wearing a neck scarf is highly recommended.
Even if it’s very hot in the city, it might be a lot colder and windier in the mountains.
Last but not least; did I convince you to do this hike? Yes? Great! Here’s some more advice; go in late Spring or early Autumn. The ice has already melted by then and it won’t be too hot (which sometimes is the case if you go in summer) and it will be less crowded!