Soaring mountains, deep fjords and incredible rock formations – the natural beauty of Stavanger and the surrounding regions make an ideal destination for an adventurous break.
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If you’re feeling the call of the wild, you’ll find plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors in the southern part of Fjord Norway. You can paddle through crystal clear waters, hike to iconic peaks with breathtaking views or simply enjoy the majesty of nature while tucking into traditional Norwegian cuisine.
As Stavanger is less than two hours by plane from London, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and stress of city life – even for a weekend. Here’s what to do while you’re there.
Hike to the top of Preikestolen
Overlooking the Lysefjord, Preikestolen – or Pulpit Rock – is one of Norway’s most famous hikes. It’s pretty easy by Norwegian standards, and only takes around four to five hours to complete. Start in the morning and take the full day to really appreciate it. The weather can change quickly, so make sure you bring a few layers and a packaway waterproof coat in your day bag.
The best way to experience it is to join a guided trip. As well as having someone with you who knows exactly where they’re going, you also get to hear stories and legends about the area. If you want to avoid the crowds, book onto a guided sunrise hike. Complete with headlamps to help you guide your way, you’ll reach the top of the rock just as the sun starts to peek over the water.
Balance on the Kjeragbolten
If you fancy something a little more challenging, hike up to the Kjeragbolten. Wedged in between a crevasse of the mountain high above the Lysefjorden, the five metre square boulder has seriously breathtaking views – and makes a very cool spot for a photo opportunity, if you’re feeling brave. The hike itself isn’t for the faint-hearted, either. Spanning 11km, it takes at least six hours and has an ascent of a whopping 800 metres.
While you can tackle it alone, we recommend booking onto a guided tour for the best experience. As well as keeping you safe, your guide will be able to show you their favourite hidden spots and the perfect places to snap a selfie. They also have great stories to share, helping to keep you entertained as you tackle the climb.
Hire a car and take on the iconic round-trip hikes
The incredible fjord and mountain scenery surrounding Stavanger is a dream for hikers, and there are plenty of round-trip circuits you can easily reach from the city. As well as the two we’ve already mentioned, four of the most iconic hikes – Trolltunga, Langfossen, Himakånå and Trollpikken – all sit off the road between Bergen and Egersund.
Advanced hikers will enjoy the challenge of Trolltunga, which ends at a rock that sticks out like a troll’s tongue 700m above Ringedalsvatnet lake. It’s a long and hard path, but if you want something a little easier try Himakånå. Known locally as “Trolltunga’s little sister”, this rock sits 357m above sea level and the path is far more family-friendly.
Fans of waterfalls will love a trip to Langfossen, which spills dramatically 612m down the mountainside. You can enjoy a picnic at the base, or hike up the steep path beside it for incredible views at every step. Finish with a trip to Trollpikken, and don’t forget your camera. As well as views that come straight from a Tolkein novel, the rock itself is iconic as it looks like a great big phallus.
Go kayaking in the fjords
The fjords look breathtaking from above, but it’s hard to beat the feeling of gliding through the water in a kayak. Although the waters are tranquil, rowing through them is still a fantastic workout. Stop on one of the beaches along the fjord for a picnic lunch.
If you’ve never kayaked before, book in for a tour. As well as training from expert guides, they’ll also join you in the kayak to give it a bit more stability – and give you some company during your trip. See Preikestolen from below on the Lysefjord Kayak Tour – you might even spot some of the friendly seals that live in the waters. Or, if you fancy a core workout, give the Frajfjord SUP and kayak tour a try and enjoy paddle-boarding through the incredibly calm waters.
Cruise through Lysefjord
A more relaxing way to enjoy the incredible scenery of the fjord is to embark on a fjord cruise. The boats have sheltered cabins with panoramic windows, and a sundeck outside ideal for warm weather. There’s also a kiosk on board that sells refreshments, so you can enjoy the view with a glass of wine or beer. As well as seeing Preikestolen jutting out above you, you’ll also learn the legend of Vagabond’s Cave and get the chance to taste pure mountain water from the Hengjane Falls.
If you want to see Preikestolen from above and below, you can make your trip more active by combining your cruise with a hike. After exploring the fjord, the boat drops you off at Forsand where you can hop on a bus to the trailhead. Afterwards, it’s a short ferry trip from Tau to get back to Stavanger and your hotel.
Climb the Flørli stairs
Another unique outdoor adventure is a hike with a difference – the Flørli stairs. One of the longest staircases in the world, it has a whopping 4,444 steps. This takes you well above the tree line, so you get the perfect view of the Lysefjord and the Preikestolen together. The wooden stairs follow the water-gates which supply the hydropower station, ending at the Ternevass dam at the top.
If you don’t want to walk back down the steps again, there’s a 100 year old trail which winds back down the mountainside. This was once used by the navvies who built the dam, and takes you back down to the quayside. There’s a small art gallery and café here, where you can enjoy a well-earned snack after your climb.
How easy is it to get to Stavanger from London?
In a nutshell, it’s super easy! Stavenger is less than two hours from London, making it the ideal destination for a weekend escape.
|London Heathrow||Fly direct with SAS||1hr 50|
|London Gatwick||Fly direct with Norwegian||1hr 40|
|London Luton||Fly direct with Wizz Air||1hr 40|