Fjord Norway is a region of contrasts, from dramatic rock formations at Kjerag, Trolltunga and Preikestolen, to cascading waterfalls and bustling coastal towns. We have compiled a list of Iconic Hikes, combining the best of natural wonders and activities in our region. On this tour you will also find some well-kept secrets such as Himakånå and Trollpikken, and the chance for a detour along Norwegian Scenic Routes in Jæren and Ryfylke. No matter where you are on this route there is always something to catch your eye, and we hope to surprise you with a thing or two that you may have never seen before!
Egersund – Kjerag, 127 km, 3 h 15 min
Your journey starts on the south-west coast of Fjord Norway in Egersund. Join a city walk to learn the story of how Egersund has transformed from a modest Stone Age settlement to an influential port during the Viking Age, and finally into the lively coastal town you see today. While visiting Eigersund and the Dalane region, you are also in the heart of Magma UNESCO Geopark, a designated unique geological area with lunar landscape which has formed the way of living in the region for millennia. Stay for a couple of days to try a range of activities from guided hikes to abandoned mines, GPS treasure hunt and geobike, or visit lonely lighthouses and cultural heritage spots such as the mysterious houses at Helleren.
A mere 2 km drive outside of the center lies the starting point for the hike to a nature attraction that is well on its way to world fame, a simple but potent rock formation that the tongue-in-cheek locals have named Trollpikken. Its translation will become quite clear as you approach the top of the hill and get a good view of the phallus-shaped rock formation! Symbolism aside, the hike to Trollpikken is less challenging than Kjerag and Trolltunga, with gorgeous landscape of rolling hills and mountains.
Well on your way to Lysebotn and Kjerag, consider a mid-way resting stop at Byrkjedalstunet. The traditional hotel also has its own candle workshop and outlet, producing hand-made quality candles in what was once an old cheese factory. At Sirdal Høyfjellshotell you will find the perfect, peaceful mountain atmosphere to rest up before or after the hike to Kjerag, and the village of Lysebotn also has several options.
The hike to Kjerag starts at the parking lot in Øygardstøl. Do remember to make time for a photo stop of the impressive Lysevegen road, with its 27 hair pin bends descending from the top of the valley down to the fjord and Lysebotn village. Kjerag is a challenging route for hikers in good physical condition, with three steep ascents and a minimum duration of 5 hrs. Luckily, the view that you dreamed of while scaling the hills is worth every drop of sweat. The vertical granite wall below your feet towers 1000 meters above the Lysefjord, and nearby the plateau you will find Kjeragbolten. The enormous boulder wedged between a mountain crevasse reminds us of the power and playfulness of nature.
Kjerag – Stavanger, 90 km, 1 ferry (ferry crossing takes 2 h 30 min), 3 h 30 min
After the hike to Kjerag it is time to relax on the ferry from Lysebotn to Lauvvik. As the ferry glides through the Lysefjord past waterfalls, farms with grazing goats and rock formations, you may also see seals drowsing on the smooth rocks. Your next iconic hike is easily spotted from the deck, the impressive Preikestolen plateau is carved out from the mountainside 700 meters above you. Mid-way you will sail past Flørli, a small village with no road connection and home to the world’s longest wooden stairs. With a name like Flørli 4444, it’s not difficult to guess how many stairs there are to the top!
The harbor city of Stavanger boasts 3 Michelin guide restaurants, bringing produce from the region’s lush farmlands and fresh seafood to your plate. After a well-deserved rest, we recommend a stroll through the streets of Stavanger’s Old Town, or perhaps a detour to the white sandy beaches and lighthouses along the Norwegian Scenic Route Jæren.
Stavanger – Preikestolen, 62 km, 1 ferry, 1 h 30 min
After the ferry Tau followed by short drive to Preikestolen Mountain Lodge, you will find the well-marked path to the Preikestolen plateau. As you approach the top on a trail rising through a birch forest and steep terrain, your instincts will tell you when you are close to the plateau. Whether you are hiking on a sunny day or in the light summer rain, or at sunset to catch the first beams, the character of Preikestolen changes from one day to the next. The color palette of the Lysefjord can be anything from glimmering turquoise hues to deep blue, but its beauty is unchanging. Preikestolen Mountain Lodge offers different style lodgings as well as activities such as ziplining, abseiling, stand-up paddleboard and canoe rental, and you can also find accommodation in nearby Jørpeland or Tau.
Ryfylke – Haugesund, 190 km, 1 ferry, 4 h
Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke takes you through an everchanging landscape littered with architectonic masterpieces, history and natural attractions on your way to Haugesund. Before you leave Jørpeland, make sure to stop by the impressive Solspeilet sculpture that has earned the nickname “The Norwegian Stonehenge”. Admire the Bronze Age petroglyphs at Solbakk before fast forwarding to the Renaissance with a visit to Årdal Church. While waiting for the ferry at Hjelmeland, climb up to have a seat in the peculiar sculpture representing the world’s largest Jæren-style chair, a homage to local design traditions. Nearby Spa-Hotell Velvære by fjord will be happy to take care of sore feet with a massage or spa treatment.
As you stroll along the harbor in Haugesund with the fresh ocean breeze from the North Sea, try to imagine the long ships of the Viking kings who once chose this area as their royal seat. At Avaldsnes you can walk along the reconstructed houses of a typical Viking farm and be greeted by shieldmaidens and Norse gods at Nordvegen History Centre.
Just an hour’s drive outside the center lies a well-kept secret, until recently best known by the locals. The peak of Himakånå may seem modest compared to Trolltunga and Kjerag, at a mere 357 meters above sea level, but the view from the top of the will quickly change your mind. From the peak you have a panoramic view of Lysevatnet lake, the Nedstrandsfjord and farm hamlets surrounded by deep green forests.
Haugesund – Odda, 132 km, 2 h 15 min
Half-way between Haugesund and Odda lies one of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, and a real test of strength for your legs. The impressive Langfossen waterfall is the fifth highest in Norway, and the best way to experience this natural wonder is to climb the old path to the summer farm Langfosstølen, where farmers transported cattle and dairy goods in bygone times. Scaling the steep path surrounded by oddly-shaped birch trees you will reach the summer farm, where small river pools promise a refreshing bath. The hypnotic sound of cascading water comes closer and closer, and as you finally reach the top of the waterfall, it’s time to let tired legs have a rest and enjoy the view of the Åkrafjord and Folgefonna glacier in the distance. At Åkrafjordtunet nearby you can restore your energy with a traditional meal, and if you are visiting on a Wednesday in July or August, don’t miss the fjord cruise from the quay at Teigland. In 2019 a new visitor center will welcome travelers with views to the fjord and waterfall.
Odda offers several accommodation options before and after the hike to Trolltunga. Our most famous hike is also one of the most challenging, and experts recommend getting an early start to safely make the 10-12 hr. hike to the plateau and back within daylight hours, and a good night’s rest afterwards. Norwegian folklore has it that trolls that were caught by the sun’s rays would turn into stone, and we can easily see why the rock formation lead people in the olden days to think of a careless and defiant troll, sticking its tongue out to the sun. High up above lake Ringedalsvatnet, stubborn patches of snow clinging to the ancient peaks, and even sturdier vegetation color the grey mountains with hues of green.
Odda – Bergen, 134 km, 1 ferry, 3 h
Almost at journey’s end, we recommend a stop by Steinsdalsfossen waterfall just outside of Norheimsund, where the trail from the parking leads you behind the cascading curtain of water. If you are still up for a hike, Bergen has seven city mountains to choose from, or you can let the Ulriksbanen cable car and Fløibanen funicular do the job of bringing you to the city’s best viewpoints. Either way, don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage site Bryggen and its colorful row of historic houses, and the chance to taste local treats at the Fish Market.
The local tourist offices can give you good and useful information.