Lysefjord with Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten
Last update July 2018, long weekend trip
Nearly every Norway traveller has seen pictures of Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten as two of the magnificant hiking trails in Norway. And as it was a long weekend in May and the weather fantastic, we got in the car and headed west to the Lysefjord.
Our first trip in Norway
The long weekend at the Lysefjord was actually our very first travel to a proper Norwegian fjord. The 7 hours drive from Oslo really paid off as the road via Notodden, Kongsberg, Heddal, Dalen and Valle is really scenic and makes you curious what comes around the next corner.
And the last bit, the serpentine road from high up down to Lysebotn gives you the right impression what a hiking paradies this is.
We booked us in a marvellous bed & breakfast in Lysebotn, an old, but renovated and very cosy farm. We got the tiny one-room-cottage next to the stable, ideal for couples looking for some romance... But the main house and the rooms there were also comfortable and decorated with some historic furniture.
Main house of the Lysebotn B&B
Kjeragbolten - Testing your courage
It is just one reasonably big step forward and you stand on top of the Kjeragbolten, the famous ball-shaped rock squeezed in between two steep mountain walls next to the Lysefjord.
But this last step is quite something because below that rock, which looks surprisingly small from close, there isn't anything for a few hundred meters.
From Lyseboth we had a couple of options on how to spend the next days, but we had already decided to hike to Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten as well as to enjoy the fjord scenery from a ferry.
The weather was stable, so there was nothing stopping us.
To get to the starting point of the Preikestolen we needed to drive a bit so we got up early. Arriving at the parking area at the Preikestolen fjellstue, we realized that this is indeed a popular tour: many and all kinds of people were heading into the same direction and up the mountain.
First through woods on normal hiking paths, then partly a bit steeper over big rocks where you needed to use your hands here and there. Funny to see how some tourists crawled up the rocks as they obviously had expected this to be a walk in the park for which you would not need even basic hiking equipment: we saw people in sneakers, normal leather shoes and even one woman with kind of high heels! She probably did not make it to the end.
Shortly before you reach the famous plateau, there are 2-3 narrow corners to manage where you should not be afraid of heights.
Having passed this, the main attraction lies directly ahead of you: the preikestolen, a 30m wide mountain plateau reaching maybe 20m into and over the fjord, offering an amazing view over the impressive Lysefjord.
Here, you really feel how the abyss tries to suck you down. Everybody, except a few people without any apparent self preservation, crawled on their bellies to the edge to peak over it and 600 meters straight down to the fjord. And even that is not easy and gives you a shiver.
On the way back we took the ferry to Lysebotn down the Lysefjord. So we had the chance to enjoy the whole scenery and the Preikestolen plateau from a different perspective, and much more comfortable.
Kjeragbolten part II
Back to the Kjeragbolten: the hike up there starts at a parking lot at the upper end of the serpentine road and is really steep, but not for too long. You will anyhow do lots of short stops because of the stunning view down to the Lysefjord and the steep mountains on the other side.
After an initial climb, you hike quite comfortably for an hour or so until you come around a corner and see this rock, that sits between to parallel mountain walls and looks like it could drop any minute.
When we were there, we observed several people approaching the rock from the side, which is no problem at all, but then not finding the courage to do the last step onto it. On pictures it looks easy and as if it would not be such a big deal, but it is a different story when you are there.
Not sure whether it was in moment of courage or madness, but we made it, the big last step forward, although with quite wobbly knees. And back again really really quickly.
The crazy guys 300m further ahead found such profane things probably very boring: they wore flying suits and just jumped off the cliff, one after the other. The next day we met a bunch of them in a little cafe in Lysebotn where they watched the videos they made during their jumps. We felt old.
The legend of the Preikestolen
There is a crack between the Preikestolen mountain and the plateau. People say that the day the 7 sisters (see Geirangerfjord) get married to 7 brothers from the Lysefjord area the plateau is going to break away from the mountain and fall into the fjord.
Lysefjord means light-fjord in Norwegian. And this fjord really lives up to its name: When the sun comes out and shines onto the fjord, it lightens up the water and make it shine in the brightest blue colour.
Distances from Oslo
400 km / 7 hrs by car
Scenic route: E134 - 45 -9 via Kongsberg, Notodden, Heddal, Dalen and Valle
Kjeragbolten, 4-5 hours
Preikestolen, 4 hours (in high season it will be quite a busy trail, still worth it)
Overnight stay we can recommend
Stop at the Heddal stave church right after Notodden; one of Norway´s nicest
Do not start the hike to the Kjeragbolten when it is wet, it will be extremely slippery
For both trips, you need good hiking shoes
Click on the map for opening the right clipping in google maps in a new window