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  • Writer's pictureDanae Bianco

Preikestolen with kids - what it's like to hike Norway's most beautiful trail

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

If you're a travel enthusiast, chances are you've come across a photo or video of Preikestolen. And if you're anything like me, you were likely amazed by the incredible landscape: a flat rock perched on the edge of a beautiful fjord in Norway.

Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is one of Norway's most famous landmarks. The plateau measures about 25mx25m and sits 604 meters above the Lysenfjord.

Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock, Norway

If that's not enough to convince you, just take a look at Tom Cruise and Henry Cavell's epic duel on Pulpit Rock in 2018's Mission: Impossible - Fallout 😉

When planning my Norway itinerary, Preikestolen was at the top of my must-see list. I knew I couldn't visit Norway without experiencing the breathtaking view from Preikestolen.

With only 12 days in Norway and a long list of places to visit, putting together an itinerary was a challenge. However, we managed to fit everything we wanted to do into our schedule. You can check out our itinerary here.



Lysenfjord, as seen from Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock, Norway
Lysenfjord, at the end of Preikestolen hike

Whent to go to Pulpit Rock

It is possible to hike Preikestolen year-round, but in winter there is a lot of snow and adverse weather conditions, making it challenging to hike. Therefore, it is recommended to hike the trail during the summer months, from June to August. However, even in June, there can still be snow on the path, and in August, it can already start to snow. These are also the busiest months of the year.

We went at the end of July, and we had excellent weather. The sun was shining all the time with a few clouds, and the temperature was very pleasant, ranging from 15 to 20°C. There was no snow on the trail or any of the mountains that can be seen from the trail.

In the table below, taken from the official Preikestolen website (link here), you can get an idea of how the trail is throughout the year and the number of people with whom you will share the views:

Table of weather and trail conditions monthly at Preikestolen

Where to stay near Pulpit Rock

Stavanger is the best city to use as a base for the hike, except if you have a motorhome, in which case it will be better to stay closer to the trailhead.

Stavanger is Norway's third-largest city, with a charming center and a cool vibe. We stayed in a wonderful Airbnb, a house where the hosts live and rent it out when they are on vacation elsewhere. It was located in the Byhaugen region, and we went to the city center by bus.

If you prefer to stay in hotels, there are many options in Stavanger. You can check them out here.

At the beginning of the trail, there is Preikestolen BaseCamp, offering accommodation options, including hotel and cabins.

Check hotel rates and availability here:

Hike to Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock, Norway
Stopping for a rest almost at the final strech of Preikestolen trail

How to get to Preikestolen

There are at least two ways to get to the beginning of Preikestolen trail:

1 - By car: The roads in Norway are excellent, but most of them are single-lane with many curves. Until some time ago, it was necessary to take a ferry from Stavanger to Tau and from there continue by bus (or car). However, in December 2019, the Ryfylke Tunnel (toll fee) was opened, making the trip much easier and reducing the time to around 40-50 minutes to cover the 38 km distance. There are two parking lots close to the beginning of the trail, but in summer, depending on the time you arrive, it can be challenging to find a parking space.

2 - By Chartered bus: Two companies run from Stavanger to Preikestolen: Pulpit Rock Tours and Go Fjords. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. This link has the departure times of Pulpit Rock Tours and here those of GoFjords.

Please note that this is not a guided tour. These companies only provide round-trip transportation and operate only part of the year. We went with GoFjords. The bus left from Radisson Blu Hotel (right in the center of Stavenger, next to the central station) at 10 am, arrived at the trailhead at 11 am, and left for Stavanger at 4 pm, giving us 5 hours to complete the journey. The bus was absolutely punctual on the way back.

(1) Sign reads: "the path to Pulpit Rock was upgraded by sherpas from Nepal during the seasons of 2013 -2014" (2) sign at the beginning of the trail with a map; (3) map available on Preikestolen official website.

How much does it cost to hike Preikestolen ?

The good news is that the hike to Preikestolen is free! This is definitely a relief in a country as expensive as Norway.

However, you should be aware that there are some costs associated with getting to the trailhead:

  • If you go by car: You'll need to pay the Ryfylke Tunnel toll (if you're coming from Stavanger), which costs 140 NOK (about $13.45 USD). You'll also need to pay for parking, which costs 250 NOK (about $24.01 USD). Additionally, you'll need to factor in the cost of fuel and car rental.

  • If you go by bus from Stavanger: You can take either GoFjords or Pulpit Rock Tours. GoFjords charges 450 NOK (about $43.21 USD) per adult and 230 NOK (about $22.11 USD) per child. Pulpit Rock Tours offers various ticket categories, with prices ranging from 263 NOK (about $25.28 USD) to 399 NOK (about $38.35 USD) per person.

Note that these prices were researched in March 2023 and are subject to change.

The Preikestolen trail; the second picture was taken at a viewpoint at the beggining of the hike.

The Hike to Preikestolen

As for the trail itself, it's 8 km round trip (4 km each way) with an elevation gain of 330 m. The trail is well marked with red T-shaped markers, so getting lost shouldn't be a problem, especially given the crowds. Guided accompaniment is not necessary.

The trail is generally considered to be of moderate difficulty. There are some flat stretches over wooden walkways, but most of the route is uphill on uneven stone pavement. The last few meters are on a relatively flat rock, which provides stunning views of the fjord.

The trail is mostly shaded in a wooded area, but there is little to no shade in the final section. While there are no views along the route, the trail is beautiful and very pleasant.

Just see the amount of people hiking it in a sunny day in late July

If you're planning to hike on a summer weekend, be prepared for crowds. On the day we went (the last Saturday in July), the trail was crowded, with some stretches being quite congested. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider arriving early or starting the trail later in the day (after 4 pm). Note that there are time limits for starting the trail, which vary depending on the month.

Drones are prohibited at Pulpit Rock, so don't bother bringing one.

final strech of the hike to Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock, Norway
Final strech of the hike, where you can get the first views of Lysenfjord

Can you hike Preikestolen with kids?

Yes, you can! The Preikestolen trail is free for children of any age.

My daughters were 9 and 11 years old and had some previous trekking experience, including not-so-long hikes in Tayrona National Park, Colombia; Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA; and Chapada dos Guimarães, Brazil. They could handle Preikestolen hike well, of course there was some complaints, especially on the longer uphill stretches. This was the longest and steepest trail they'd done at that time.

We saw many younger children hiking, as well as people with dogs.

It's important to keep in mind that there are no railings, ropes, or any protection along the trail (with the exception of a few meters stretch towards the end), nor at the top of Preikestolen. It's all at your own risk.

We saw many (crazy) people who sit on the edge of the cliff and keep swinging their little legs. I find it unnecessary and stupid, but if you are into it, just try to do it safely. According to the official website, 300,000 people visit the place annually, and there is notice of only one incident resulting in death in 2013.

I kept a good distance and didn't let my daughters get too close to the edge.

Preikestolen hike with kids, Pulpit Rock, Norway. Girl lying looking at Lysenfjord
You see this and think: "So this woman says she is not crazy, but look where her daughter is!!" This picture was taken a few meters before reaching Preikestolen, and despite the angle giving the impression that she was on the edge of the cliff, there was another plateau a few centimeters below where she was lying.

I don't think it's dangerous, but it's important that you keep an eye on your children. Each one knows their own children and can get an idea of how they would behave in such a situation. Keeping a safe distance from the edge of the cliff, I don't see why it could be risky.

Line to take a picture at the cliff at Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock, Norway
How much of your time is an "Instagrammable photo" worth? (the queue continued far behind the point where I took the photo)

Another surreal thing we noticed is the long queue that forms to take an "instagrammable" photo at the edge of the Pulpit Rock. To me, it seems absolutely unnecessary when you're already in the most beautiful place with the most stunning view. There are so many photo opportunities from different angles.

Preikestolen - Pulpit Rock, Noruega
How long did the person wait in line for this photo?

The photo that shows the queue and the person at the end is much nicer😂

It's usually quite windy at the top of Pulpit Rock, and when we went, it was windy but nothing extremely out of the ordinary.

If you plan to hike with kids, it's important to keep two factors in mind: (1) you know your kids and can get an idea of how they would behave on an 8km hike, mostly uphill/downhill with irregular stone steps; (2) if you got there by bus, there is a time limitation of 5 hours for the hole hike, including going up, enjoying the view, and returning. It's important to assess whether this time will be enough. Additionally, it's crucial to consider whether your kids would be crazy active enough to dangerously approach the cliff.

OBS: Pulpit Rock Tours seem to have a more flexible timetable than GoFjord, with the last bus leaving at 6:15 pm. However, it's important to check these points in advance to avoid any surprises.

For us, the 5-hour time limit was just right. It took us 4 hours and 30 minutes: 2 hours and 10 minutes to go up, about 50 minutes at the top, and 1 hour and 30 minutes to go down. We could have stayed at the top for longer, but I was concerned about the time and wanted to ensure we had enough time to descend calmly. Surprisingly, I find going downhill more challenging than going up!

Preikestolen,Pulpit Rock, Norway

What to bring

When packing for the hike, remember that there are no facilities along the trail, so bring plenty of water and snacks. There are a few points where you can refill your bottles with natural spring drinking water.

We shopped for sandwiches, fruits and snack the day before at SPAR Torget, which is conveniently located in downtown Stavanger not far from Go Fjords departure point.

And don't forget to wear appropriate footwear (trekking boots), as the terrain is uneven and can be slippery in snowy or rainy conditions.

Hiking Pulpit Rock was an unforgettable experience for our family. We highly recommend it to anyone visiting Norway, with ou without kids.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or follow us on social media for more travel tips and stories.

Instagram @danae_explore

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To find out more about Preikestolen and Norway

- Pulpit Rock Tours (tourist bus to Preikestolen)

- GoFjords (tourist bus to Preikestolen)

And now, after all these awesome tips, save this pin to your Pinterest account, so you can find this post whenever you need it!

Preikestolen - Pulpit Rock, with or without kids, all about the most amazing hike in Norway


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