Norway is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest countries on earth. The fjords alone are worth the trip. But, fortunate for all those making the excursion to this mystical place, that’s just the starting point of what all this country has to offer.
One of the most beautiful fjords that is easily accessible by car or boat is Lysefjorden. I’m sure it won’t be that long at all before Apple starts using some of the stock photos that are taken here in their next OS system. Anyways, this was our first destination during our excursion through Norway. We chose it because of the foretold beauty, but also for being adjacent to two of Norways most well known hiking destinations, Kjerag and Preikestolen.
Airports: Stavanger is going to be the closest to Lysefjorden, while Oslo, the capital, is likely to be the cheapest. Drive times: Stavanger (2.5 hours) Oslo (7 hours). Bergen is also an option – lovely town and worth a visit (6.5 hours).
Boats/Ferries: There are a number of ferry services that you can use. The best location to start is by flying into Stavanger. A few of the ferries offer car transportation. Here are two links to reputable companies: https://lysefjorden.com/tourist-ferry-3/ and Visitnorway.com
Driving: If you are American, like us, or any countryman/woman that drives on the “right” side of the road, you are in luck. The Norwegians drive on the right, however, obtaining an automatic will be challenging during peak season and almost certainly more expensive. Make sure to book ahead. Nonetheless, driving through Norway is a fantastic way to see the country, various fjords, lovely churches – stave churches, and plenty of waterfalls.
One word of caution: Norway takes speeding, even one Km or Mile over the speed limit, incredibly seriously. I’m talking steep fines, jail time, and license suspension. DRIVE UNDER THE SPEED LIMIT AT ALL TIMES. There are also cameras scattered on the roadways and especially the tunnels. And if you think, “oh, I’m from another country. They’ll never find me.” NOPE – they will find you faster than Liam Neeson found those bad guys in Taken. NO SPEEDING.
We flew into Oslo and drove the 7 hours to Lysebotn. It was AMAZING. Be prepared to make frequent stops, as you will likely drive up and down some amazing landscape, as well as pass by historical places. One of the places we stumbled upon was an old Stave Church. We had no idea at the time, but there are only 28 of these types of churches left in Norway. Most of the Stave Churches are over 900 years old. They obtained their name from the way that they are constructed, and from the use of large pine timbers supporting the structure. Despite their age, you can still smell a rich scent of cedar when walking in the church.
After stopping at the Stave Church, as well as half a dozen waterfalls, we made our way to the entrance of Lysebotn, a lovely town at the bottom of Lysefjorden. As you get closer to the fjord, the roads will become narrower, and you’ll likely encounter sheep grazing. Use caution, as there are lots of hairpin turns and sheep have a mind of their own.
At the top of Lysebotn there is place to get food. It will also serve as one of the primary parking spots for your Kjeragbolten hike. Try to get here early, as the parking lot can fill up quickly. There is a parking fee, but if you go up the road away from the restaurant, you can find free parking alongside the road. Just be ready to walk an extra mile or so to the trailhead.
Places to stay:
Here’s one of the best things about Norway: You can literally camp anywhere so long as you are 500 ft from a house/cabin or structure. Also, if you want to stay in the same spot for multiple nights and it’s clear that someone owns the land, then you will need permission to stay multiple nights. Here is a link with a bit more information: My recommendation, find yourself some super dope camping site, like I’m talking adjacent to a cliff with an insane view, and then hunker down for the night. Shoot, might as well cowboy camp if there is no bad weather on the way. The sky and the stars will not disappoint you.
As for places to stay, I’d recommend two places:
- Lysefjorden Hostel: We stayed here and it was great. Breakfast was included. It’s certainly not luxury, but it has really everything you need before your hike. They even have a place to do laundry. We chose this place because of how close it was to the trailhead, as well as the spectacular views of Lysefjorden. Plus, you’ll have a chance to experience one of the craziest roads made by man. See the bonus section at the bottom of this post.
- Flori 4444 Hostel: located half way in the fjord, this hostel has received high priase for being a wonderful location to start your hike as well as a good location to see the surrounding beauty. There is also a tram system that makes for a short fun hike.
The Kjerag Hike
- Distance: approximately 12 km
- Time: 6-8 hours
- Difficulty: challenging
- Time of year: June to September
- Elevation gain: 570 Meters
- Kjerag Boulder Elevation: 984 Meters
- Sturdy hiking shoes
- Day backpack
- First aid kit
- Rain jacket
- Hiking pole
- Camera for those once in a lifetime pics
- Gloves (for gripping chains)
You’ll start your journey in Øygardstøl Car Park. The cost for parking is 200 Nok. Here there are bathroom facilities, and a restaurant for food and beverages.
There are two steep climbing sections during the hike, and the first is at the very beginning from Øygardstøl Car park. There are numerous sections with assistant chains. I’d strongly recommend utilizing these when they are present, especially in wet conditions. The rocks are quartz and granite base, which often makes for a very slippery surface when wet.
After climbing approximately 200 meters, you’ll reach a relatively flat area called, Little Stordalen. If you wanted to pitch a tent on the trail, this would be a good spot. There were several areas that were being used by hikers.
Next up, you’ll ascend a steep 130 meters to the top of Stordalen. You should start to have some beautiful views of Lysefjorden from here.
After Stordalen, you’ll approach the second steep section of the hike. This is your last major climb to reach Kjerag’s peak. Once you summit, you’ll enjoy a relatively flat walking area with flowing granite. The last walking stretch is as refreshing for your legs as it is for your eyes as they gaze at the amazing beauty of Lysefjorden.
The approach to Kjeragbolten is through a small stream, which likely helped create the natural phenomenon of the suspended boulder. Do exercise extreme caution when stepping out onto Kjeragbolten. No one has fallen yet and we’d all like to keep it that way. The boulder has room for 1-2 people.
Once you reach Kjeragbolten, stay as long as you can. Take plenty of photos and videos………This is a moment worth capturing. Or, just enjoy the moment – you do you.
After soaking in the moment, you’ll make your way back the way you came, but certainly with more awe and adrenaline than you had before. Honestly, my heart rate increases just thinking about the experience.
Make sure to look over to your left as often as possible. The views are amazing, and if you are lucky, you may even witness some base jumpers.
OK, if this doesn’t beat that wimpy little road in San Francisco, Lombard Street…..well then I don’t know what does. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the road double backs on itself because there’s a tunnel that goes underneath one of the sections. Yep, this road was worth the drive just to say you did it. Plus, Lysebotn has lovely views.
Hope you all found this helpful. Please let us know if we missed something 🙂