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As the first stage of our 3-week road-trip in Norway, the southern region offered us some wonderful surprises. Before setting off to discover the magnificent fjords and glaciers further north, a few stops were in order: Telemark county with Norway’s largest standing wooden church, the south coast road with the Lindesnes lighthouse, the friendly town of Stavanger, and finally, the must-do hike of the Preikestolen, with its breathtaking views over Lysefjord.
Norway road trip: from Suldal to Bergen (stage 02)
Things to see and do in Bergen, Norway (step 03)
Norway road trip: the southern part of the Sognefjord (stage 04)
Road trip in Norway: the northern part of the Sognefjord (stage 05)
Road trip in Norway: Sognefjellet and Jostedalsbreen (stage 06)
Norway road trip: Geirangerfjord (stage 07)
Road trip in Norway : Trollstigen and Ålesund (stage 08)
What to see and do in southern Norway?
1 | Visit the Heddal standing-wood church west of Oslo
This church is just over 1 hour west of Olso, in the county of Telemark. It’s a good first stop on the way to Stavanger, and can be extended over several days to explore the Telemark National Park.
Heddal Church is the largest standing wooden church in Norway. It was built around 1200 and is still in use today. It’s impressive because it’s in such good condition. As the first standing wooden church on our road-trip, we enjoyed being able to walk around the church without having to pay, which isn’t the case everywhere!
Parking: parking is available right next to the entrance (very well signposted) and it’s free!
2 | Stop off on the road between Oslo and Stavanger to see the Lindesnes lighthouse
After a stopover in Heddal, it’s a 7-hour drive (470km) to Stavanger via the coast. It’s been a long day, but a necessary one to start our road-trip! Although we pass through some pretty little villages and the region looks very nice, there are no points of interest to speak of apart from the Lindesnes lighthouse.
A magnificent lighthouse perched high above the ocean, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic stop.
Parking: fee payable
Lighthouse entrance fee: 50NOK/pers.
3 | Strolling through Stavanger
Stavanger is a charming port town with colorful houses and a lively downtown area. We really enjoyed wandering around the town. In 3 hours you’ll have time to discover the main points of interest.
A few ideas for your Stavanger stroll:
- Rue Ovre Holmegate, also known as “rue des couleurs”: a lively street with colorful houses and numerous cafés and boutiques.
- Old Stavanger (Gamle Stavanger): a historic district of whitewashed wooden houses and cobbled streets.
- Street art all over town: Stavanger is famous for its urban art scene. A guide is even available from the tourist office.
4 | Hike the Preikestolen
Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is one of Norway’s most famous hikes. At a dizzying 604 metres above Lysefjord, it offers spectacular views.
And when you say “well-known hike”, you’re going to have to get up very early if you don’t want too many people on the trail and at the viewpoint! We went at the beginning of June, on a Thursday morning, with a 7.30 am start time. Despite this, around twenty people were already there when we arrived at Pulpit Rock at around 9am. On the way back, it was the freeway. I can’t even imagine the summer season…
Practical information for the Preikestolen hike
- Parking: The Preikestolen parking lot is located at the Preikestolen refuge (Preikestolen Fjellstue).
There is a charge for parking: 250 NOK (approx. €25) for the day. You won’t be able to park on the road above the parking lot. I recommend you come early, too, to make sure you can park!
Please also note that the only toilets and drinking water you’ll find at the Preikestolen are at the parking lot.
- Difficulty: The hike is rated as medium. It is considered accessible to most people. The route up to Pulpit Rock presents no major difficulties. Three sections of the hike climb quite steeply, and the rest is on more or less flat ground, walking on rocks. It’s a fairly accessible hike for anyone in good health.
- Duration, distance and elevation gain: 3h-3h30 for the round trip from the parking lot, not including the break on the rock. The length of the hike is around 4 km, so 8 km round trip, with an ascent of around 500 meters.
- Weather: the route is not pleasant when it’s raining, as the rock can be really slippery. Weather conditions change rapidly, so don’t hesitate to take something to cover yourself from the cold and rain. The rock is often windy. Please note that the Preikestolen hike is only open from May to October.
Where to stay after hiking the Preikestolen?
As we’d had an early start, we were back at the car by midday. After a picnic lunch, we headed north. We stopped off in the commune of Suldal, after a 3-hour drive.
We spent the night in a very charming farmhouse, surrounded by steep hills and a lake. A real favorite for its location! The accommodation was really large, with 2 bedrooms in addition to the living room, and a very pleasant terrace. We were very well received by the owners. In short, I recommend this property.
Rental link on Airbnb: Appartement 3 pièces, VEKA, Suldalsosen avec patio
Thanks for reading!
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