Iconic Hikes in Fjord Norway
Stavanger – Egersund – Sirdal – Preikestolen – Odda – Etne – Stavanger
- By car
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 spectacular hikes in our region. This tour suggestion is perfect for the active people exploring the fjords by car. In addition to well-known destinations, you will also find some well-kept secrets such as Himakånå and Trollpikken. Along the way you will have 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!
Stavanger – Egersund, 75 km, 1 h 30 min
Your journey starts on the south-west coast of Fjord Norway in Stavanger, which will be the base of this tour. We recommend warming up for the hikes to come with a stroll through the old town, a charming quarter with white, wooden houses. Stavanger is the place to treat yourself; three of the restaurants in town are listed in the Michelin Guide, and two of these have been awarded a star each.
A mere hour’s drive south along the coast lies Egersund, the starting point for the first hike. Driving along the Norwegian Scenic Route Jæren will take slightly longer, but the extra time is well spent with beautiful sights of sandy beaches, lighthouses and lush farmlands. 2 km outside of Egersund town 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 a gorgeous view of rolling hills and mountains.
Egersund – Sirdal, 97 km, 2 h
As you drive towards Sirdal and Kjerag, the landscape changes from a flat, coastal landscape to dramatic mountains and cliffs. Both of our two next iconic hikes are in the Lysefjord, where the mountains are so high and steep that some hamlets are still only available by boat. Preikestolen and Kjerag are impressive cliffs, where the path leads to stunning views of the Lysefjord and the surrounding mountains from several hundred meters above the fjord. If you are visiting outside of summer season, local guide companies have specialized in all-year tours with necessary equipment. In the summer, off-the-beaten path tours will take you along hidden trails to magnificent viewpoints. Perhaps an overnight trip with camping in the wild or a sunrise hike is your next adventure?
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. 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.
Sirdal – Preikestolen, 95 km, 1 ferry, 2 h 30 min
After the hike to Kjerag it is time to relax on the ferry from Lysebotn to Songesand, while the boat glides through the Lysefjord past waterfalls, farms with grazing goats and rock formations. This crossing has a limited amount of spaces for vehicles and is recommended to book well in advance. Your next iconic hike is the impressive Preikestolen plateau, carved out from the mountainside 700 meters above fjord level. After the ferry to Songesand followed by a 1-hour 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 – Odda, 196 km, 1 ferry, 4 h
From the Lysefjord, head north on Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke. This route takes you through an everchanging landscape littered with architectonic masterpieces, history and natural attractions. After a short ferry crossing from Hjelmeland to Nesvik, stop by the beautifully designed Høse bridge in Suldal, or head straight to Energihotellet in Nesflaten for a local-food lunch. Another highlight before reaching Odda is Røldal stave church, one of the oldest stave churches in Norway with beautiful ornaments.
Odda offers several accommodation options before and after the hike to Trolltunga, alternatively you can book your stay in Tyssedal. Our most famous hike is also one of the most challenging. 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. The path to Trolltunga is usually free of snow from June – September, but the exact dates vary from year to year. It is not considered safe to hike to Trolltunga by yourself outside of the summer season, even for experienced hikers. Luckily, Trolltunga Active has snowshoes, skis and knowledgeable guides ready to take you on an adventure any season.
Odda – Etne, 72 km, 1 h
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. If you are up for a challenge, join Åkrafjorden Nature on one of Norway’s toughest Via Ferrata climbs to Kyrkjeveggen.
Etne – Himakånå – Stavanger, 174 km, 1 ferry, 3 h 30 min
If you have time to slow down and spend an extra night or two, Haugesund has many stories to tell. 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. An hour’s drive from either Etne or Haugesund 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. Just over two hours’ drive with a ferry crossing from Arsvågen to Mortavika brings you back to Stavanger, where there is still a lot to explore if you are not headed home straight away. Perhaps a combined fjord, tropical garden and dining experience to the island of Flor & Fjære is next?