Welcome to Stavanger!
Stavanger is the fourth largest city in Norway and grew mostly due to a vibrant offshore oil industry. Oil is still the major industry for the city, which has ~125,000 residents (a bit larger than Cambridge, MA where I live!). We were visiting Stavanger to explore Lysefjord, a 26-mile-long fjord located just 16 miles east of Stavanger.
One of the most famous sites in Stavanger is Preikestolenm or Pulpit Rock, a huge 2000 feet tall cliff that rises over the famous fjord. The only way to reach the top of the cliff is to hike the 2.4 mile trail up to the top. Because it takes close to an hour to reach the trail head from the cruise ship (we had to take a bus and a boat), this hike essentially took up all of our time in Stavanger.
Bryan and I chose to hike to the top while his parents opted to take a boat excursion down the fjord. Here’s us at the trail head!
The hike is somewhat challenging in that there are definitely points where you have to hike uphill for a stretch. All in all, however, we found it to be OK. It’s billed to be a relatively easy hike, and people of various ages, including kids, hike it frequently.
The views were beautiful, and we didn’t even really mind the mist and slight rain that came every so often.
As we approached the top, it got colder. We were less protected from the wind.
It took less than two hours to reach the top, which is where you get to see the best views of the fjord. It was pretty cloudy that day, and we weren’t sure if we would even be able to see the full fjord down below.
And then – all of a sudden – there was a break in the clouds!
For only about 10 minutes, the clouds parted and we could see the entire fjord. It was stunning. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. We had heard from earlier climbers that they did not really get to see the view. The clouds had just parted when we arrived.
It’s pretty scary to stand right at the edge of the cliff. There are no guardrails to protect people from falling. Norwegian authorities felt that guardrails would largely detract from the look of the place (and I agree).
Can you see me waving in the distance?
We weren’t up there for long before the clouds started coming in. Our gorgeous view of the fjord was quickly diminishing.
And it was rainy and quite cold up there, even though it was June! Brrrrr!
After spending 15-20 minutes at the peak, we headed back down the way we came. We passed by some small lakes, wooded areas, and grassy areas as well. Rain came and went, but we didn’t really care that much. We had the right jackets, and we were warm from constantly moving.
When we finally reached the bottom, we had a tiny bit of time to admire Stavanger from the port. We heard from Bryan’s parents that the views of the cliff were stunning from the boat. Our view was different, but equally stunning in a different way.
We walked around the port area for a bit before it was time to get back onto the boat. We were tired, but it felt great to get such a workout after a whole day at sea.
As the ship pulled away from Stavanger, I couldn’t help but admire the beautiful and quiet town. I wished I had a bit more time to actually explore the city itself. Nevertheless, I have absolutely no regrets that we chose to spend the time hiking Pulpit Rock, which was very, very cool.
Next Port of Call: Bergen, Norway