Norway is known for it’s stunning scenery and nature including its fjords, waterfalls and mountains. What better way to explore Norway than to do some hiking and road tripping!
I spent a week there all up and flew into Stavanger from London on Sunday 2nd September and flew back out from Ålesund to London the following Sunday.
We based ourselves here for 3 nights. This was a good base for us to do the Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten hikes. We stayed at an Airbnb right near the ferry port which meant a mere 5 minutes walk to the city centre. The town is small so can easily be done within a day.
When we arrived on the Sunday, we strolled and explored the city. The city has some great street art and colourful streets as well as older, traditional buildings. We went to Gamle Stavanger which is a historic area with mainly restored wooden houses. For dinner, we went to Døgnvill Burger and their burgers were on point!
Take note that most things are closed on Sunday here. We were lucky to find a supermarket that was open to get ingredients to make our sandwiches for the hike the next day.
After our hike to Pulpit Rock, we got back to the Airbnb and had a shower and got ready then headed back into town with Rob. We got a snack at Godt Brød – I had a jam and custard pastry and then we checked out some of the shops.
For dinner, we went to 26 North. We shared the mixed platter which was fish and chips, ham with waffles and moose mini slider then Fatty and I shared the beef and duck breast with risotto. All was very good! We then went to Hanekam for a drink but we were all exhausted and decided to call it a night early as we had another long hiking day to go!
Preikestolen Hike (Pulpit Rock)
We didn’t have a car at this point but getting to Preikestolen by public transport was easy. We got the 7:30am ferry to Tau and then caught the 8:20am bus, that came as soon as we arrived, to the carpark of the start of the trail. It costs 400 NOK when paying on the ferry, otherwise, booking online prior is cheaper.
We started the hike at 8:55am and it took me an hour and five minutes up. It is around 4km one way up to the top (so 8km roundtrip). The views from above which is 604m above sea level are stunning! You have views over Lysefjord and across the mountains are spectacular. We enjoyed the views for an hour, taking photos and eating our lunch and kvikk lunsj (Norwegian version of a kit kat). We then headed back down which took me around 50 minutes.
This hike isn’t overly difficult but there are some inclines here and there so you still need a general level of fitness. It is also best to be prepared with some warm clothing, snacks and lunch.
I am a fast hiker in general so although it took me 2 hours round trip, they recommend you factor in 4 hours for this hike.
We drove 2.5 hours from Stavanger to get to the carpark of Kjeragbolten. The hike is 10km round trip and is classified as a black hike so it’s difficult. It’s not an easy hike as there are three steep inclines and the terrain can be difficult to walk on at times. It took me 3.5 hours return trip (excluding the break at the top) but they say to factor in 5-7 hours return.
We started the hike at 9:20am and I was feeling a bit sick from the car ride but pushed through the first section which is definitely the hardest part. You are basically climbing rock faces at certain points and need to use the ropes and pull yourself up with your hands and use some arm strength as it is very steep.
It went down hill and flattened out again before the second incline. Before the third incline, there was some beautiful lakes with fresh water. The third incline was very steep and you were using the ropes again to pull yourself up at times. After the three inclines, it flattens out again and the walk gets substantially easier.
You then reach a point where there are rocks and you can see the boulder ahead. I reached this point around 11:10am which was less than 2 hours from when we started.
We relaxed here for an hour. Most people will stand on the boulder and get photos taken (which I did) and I would say it’s relatively safe as it’s quite wide. However, if you are generally nervous or not confident with heights, I advise you not to go on it. We also enjoyed the views whilst eating our lunch and of course, had kvikk lunsj. It started to get busier so as I always say, try to start the hike as early as possible!
We made our way back and it was a lot easier except for some of the steep inclines down where you have to be careful. We reached the car park again within 1.5 hours.
This was my favourite hike as it had changing scenery and had more difficulty than the other hikes I have done. The weather was perfect as well, which made the hike easier than if the weather conditions were not in our favour (for example if it was raining, it would be very, very slippery and some parts would be dangerous).
After we got back, we stopped by at an Asian grocery store and picked up shin ramen and made it at home. We were all craving it and were ravenous!
Rob, Fatima and I flew from Stavanger to Bergen in the early morning so we said our goodbyes to Davina. We arrived at 8:30am and picked up the car then headed to the city centre of Bergen. We had breakfast at Klosteret Kaffebar and I had the beef and bacon meatball dish with fried egg and salad which was tasty.
At the produce markets, we had salmon sashimi at the fish stand. It was so fresh and delicious! We went to Baker Brun and shared a boller with chocolate inside and had an apple muffin. We also went to Trekroneren to have a reindeer hot dog. When in Norway…
We then drove to our Airbnb which was at the original carpark the start of Trolltunga near Odda.
On the day of the hike, Rob and I got up at 4:20am to get ready. As we wanted to go to the upper car park (which was opened in 2017 and allowed us to miss 4km one way – or 8km return), we decided to move the car at 5am to the gate. By this point, there was already 2 cars ahead of us. We drove up at 5:50am and started the hike at 6:05am. The cost to park here is 600 NOK (£56 or $102AU – it’s not cheap but it was worth it!)
As it was still dark, we actually got lost the first kilometre as we were following these two girls. Lesson learnt – walk in light and don’t rely on others! It’s generally well marked to Trolltunga as long as you follow the “T” signs.
The first 1.5 to 3 kilometre mark was probably the hardest for me. After that, it flattened out and then turns to slight inclines and declines. It start raining around the 5km mark but it was only light. We arrived to Trolltunga (10km later) at 9am so it took us around 2 hours 55 minutes up (even after back tracking since we got lost). We had to wait around 15 minutes to get photos. Afterwards, we quickly ate our lunch and made our way back down as it was getting cold and drizzly again. Another 10km down and we were back down to the carpark at 12:25pm and by then, it started pouring. I was so relieved to finish just as it was pouring!
Again, this hike isn’t overly difficult but at 20km, it’s fairly long. It took us around 6 hours all up return but if we had to do the extra 8km from the original car park, it would have taken us an extra 2-3 hours. If you want to use the top car park and miss the 8km, I would highly recommend getting to the start of the original car park and lining up by 5:30am (even earlier during peak season of June-August) as there is only space for 60 cars.
From Odda, we drove 2.5 hours to Flåm. We stayed a night in this small village. We had dinner at Ægir BrewPub which had a viking theme and was a cosy place. We had a beer and we shared the fish and seafood soup, spare ribs and pork shank. We ate a lot especially as we deserved it after our long hike today!
The scenery in Norway is just out of this world. Doing this roadtrip and driving from Flam to Hjelle, it allowed us to see scenery that we couldn’t by just visiting a city.
We stopped by Geirangerfjord which is one of the largest fjord areas. We relaxed at the view point and soaked in the beauty of the place.
We stayed a night in a small little town called Hjelle. It was a stunning place to stay as our hotel was right on the water. We arrived at around 6pm so went for a walk and then had dinner at the hotel. The area didn’t have any restaurants so eating at the hotel was really the only option, however they served a 3 course meal dinner which was fantastic. The entrée was a fish cream soup, main was a pan fried plaice with potatoes and vegetables and dessert was a pavlova with fresh berries, cream and raspberry sorbet.
Our last stop of our Norway trip was Ålesund, a port city with art nouveau buildings. We arrived around 1pm and went up to Fjellstua to see the amazing panoramic views across the city, archipelago as well as the mountains. For lunch, we went to Lyspunktet Café and had the beef burger with bacon which was so good! We walked around and explored the city.
For dinner, we went to Kapp Tapas & Meat and we had a glass of wine each and shared the tapas platter. It came with a variety of food including a meat and cheese platter, meatballs, prawns, pizza, salmon salad and pork belly. The portions were super generous and it was delicious!
Norway is a beautiful (albeit an expensive) place but I would recommend this to everyone! It was so nice to catch up with my Sydney friends on this trip and do three different and amazing hikes.
This hiking and road trip holiday is just what I needed to escape London and be back to nature. I am so keen to start doing more active and hiking holidays in other parts of Europe.