In June this year, some colleagues and I decided to plan a hytte-to-hytte hiking trip in South-Western Norway. There were 3 landmarks in particular that the team wanted to hike to – Preikestolen, Trolltunga and Kjeragbolten – aka the Norwegian Rock Stars, however as Trolltunga is further up north (closest city: Bergen) and I had already completed it in 2019, we agreed to skip on that. Instead we focused on Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten, which were around the Lysefjord region. If you’re looking to explore the beautiful Lysefjord region for about a week, here’s a quick and dirty guide that could help with your planning!
- Use UT.no – it’s your best friend
We were out backpacking from 2-8 June 2023. Give or take the first and last days for some allowance in the nearest city Stavanger, spending ~4-5 days in Lysefjord is a good amount of time. In total, we covered about ~40km, with >1500m of gain, starting and ending at Preikestolen Fjellstue (basecamp), and staying in 2 DNT hyttes (both manned and unmanned) in between. Below you’ll find our full route:
Stavanger > bus to: Preikestolen Fjellstue > hiked: Preikestolen > Preikestolen Fjellstue > hiked to: DNT Bakken Gård > hiked to: Bakken Kai > ferry to: DNT Lysefjorden > hiked: Kjeragbolten > DNT Lysefjorden > ferry to: Oanes > taxi to: Preikestolen Fjellstue > Stavanger
We planned our entire trip using UT.no. You can toggle to see attractions/landmarks, summer trails and hyttes. Remember to save/screenshot the maps for offline use in case you lose reception. We had intermittent reception when hiking through Lysefjord, though the path is quite clearly marked out. Difficulty wise, UT.no had said the route between Preikestolen Fjellstue and Bakken is demanding, and it surely was! Norwegian terrain is quite rough, so be prepared with proper hiking gear (more below).
Visitnorway.com is also a good website to reference for inspiration!
- Closest city: Stavanger
The closest city to Lysefjord is Stavanger. We flew by Norwegian air from Copenhagen Lufthavn to Stavanger Lufthavn – it was a direct flight and it’s wonderful knowing such a beautiful place lies just 1hr+ out from Copenhagen! If you’re looking for a good challenge that won’t stretch yourself too thin, our route was very manageable and had a good balance of hiking, amazing views and resting.
- Best time to go: May – October
As many guides out there say, the best period to hike this is between May to October. We were blessed with an entire week of sun and blue skies in early June, so much so that even locals were surprised!
These hikes (particularly the Preikestolen hike) were already filled with people when we arrived. Peak season in July and August could see even more footfall, so I really encourage late May/early June, as going too early could also be a little dangerous too. There was snow still present on our trails especially at Kjeragbolten.
- Accommodations: Preikestolen Fjellstue and DNT hyttes
Norway is famed for their cozy hyttes, and I’m so glad we experienced living in their hyttes! Even though we started and ended our tour at Preikestolen Fjellstue (basecamp), we made it a point to stay in these Norwegian hyttes in between. The concept of the unmanned, trust-based hyttes is really cool. You would need to book them in advance on DNT.no or on the DNT app, and can even get a cheaper rate if you have a DNT membership!
With the membership, they costed us between 300-500 NOK pp/night (depending on whether they were manned or unmanned), which I think is pretty reasonable, considering Norway’s pricey accommodation prices. Do check if breakfast is included and whether you can pack lunch. We frequently packed our breakfast for lunch to have as sandwiches during our hikes. Some unmanned hyttes in the mountains also do not have showers, so check beforehand if this is something you’re particular about.
At DNT Bakken Gård, there were no showers and we were told to shower at the river if we wanted to (we didn’t as it was hike in itself to get there already). So we had a dry shower with wet wipes. We also needed to draw water from the well, and I found that really fun! But I understand that maybe this is not for everyone, so get ready for the primitive experience especially if its unmanned 🙂
I had most of my usual summer hiking gear. Proper hiking shoes with good grip and activewear are a given. The weather in Norway can also change fast. You can get an idea from my gear list detailed in point 3. of my Walker’s Haute Route post here, and adjust according to your own preference.
6. Review of main hikes
A. Preikestolen: ~8km long, 4-6 hours round trip depending on breaks/photos, a good challenge but manageable to most. There were people young and old hiking this. It was crowded already, even in early June!
B. Preikestolen Fjellstue to DNT Bakken Gård: ~11.4km long, we barely saw anyone on trail, as this was VERY challenging. The terrain is rough, filled with quick ascents and descents as seen from the elevation profile below:
The estimated time that UT.no indicated was 6 hours, but you need to multiply it by a non-norwegian multiplier of 1.5 to make it 9 hours if you have a pack and are not local to the area. Please don’t make the same mistake as us…do take the height profile on UT.no seriously. (Seriously!! Norwegian terrain is no joke!!). The path while well-marked out, was narrow and steep in both ascents as well as descents. You might need to clamber at some points – fun to some – not so fun to others. You have been warned 😀
C. Kjeragbolten: Compared to the Preikestolen Fjellstue to DNT Bakken Gård hike, Kjeragbolten was very manageable. It states that it is very demanding, but it was more mentally demanding than physically demanding, due to the need to use metal chains provided to pull yourself upwards during ascent in the beginning. That was kinda scary but you get used to it and past it fast.
We also had shorter hikes here and there but those have been excluded. I personally like using Komoot to discover trails.
We skipped Flørli. If you’re unafraid of heights and endless steps, you can consider taking up the challenge of Flørli.
- Make time to take the passenger ferry!
Experiencing Lysefjord by ferry is also something worth making time for! Book in advance with Kolumbus.no. The ferry stops at the quays at Lauvvik, Forsand, Bratteli, Bakken, Songesand, Kallali, Flørli, Håheller and Lysebotn. As stated on the visitnorway website, departure times are approximate and the ferry only stops on certain stops if there are passengers/goods to or from the stop – which is why it is crucial to book in advance especially if you’re coming from a more remote area.
- Remember to check back on the UT.no website for any warnings or alerts!
Have fun, leave no trace and most importantly – stay safe <3
View my full Lysefjord gallery here!