This is a brief introduction to a boat trip on the Lysefjord in Norway, from Lysebotn at the end and past nearly abandoned farmsteads along the fjord, and with a view up on the mighty cliffs of Kjerag and Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock).
The Lysefjord in south-western Norway is a perfect example of a Norwegian fjord: Steep mountains, rough scenery, spectacular views, a lot of weather. It also serves as a superb hiking ground for numerous trips. (A version of this article in Norwegian contains more information and pictures.)
(Denne beskrivelsen er også inkludert i den norskspråklige delen av Sandalsand.)
What to discover
The Lysefjord is 42 km long with towering mountains falling nearly vertically over a 1000 metres into the sea. You can hop on and hop off the regular boat and the tourist ferry, which runs in the summer season.
Description in a tourist brochure: “The village (of Lysebotn) is now abandoned and the houses are used as holiday homes. On the site here the base jumpers are discussing their activities and the mountain climbers are preparing themselves for the battle against gravity and their own weaknesses in the steep walls of Kjerag. At the ferry quay tourists from all corners of the world are waiting for transport. All of them looking forward to meet the real, dramatic and magnificent Norwegian nature.”
Lysebotn at the bottom end of the fjord
Lysebotn is presented more in a later article, as is the stop at Flørli. The other stops featured in the video below used to be the landings of homesteads along the fjord, some situated high up on the mountain sides. All farms are now only used for recreational purposes. The ferry makes the only realistic way of getting to these places, unless you want to climb over the mountains as we did. The exceptions to this are Lysebotn at the end, Forsand in the beginning of the fjord, and Songesand in the middle – they are all connected by road to the world outside.
Places along the fjord
Flørli is the first stop after leaving Lysebotn. There is an old power station here, now functioning as a museum. The new power station is set 200 metres inside the mountain. At Flørli one has the option of hiking over the mountain to Vinddalen, or simply taking the world’s longest wooden staircase (4,444 steps) up a mountain. According to CNN the stairs are among The world’s scariest stairs.
Kallali, or Kallalid, is our next stop. There used to be permanent residents here, but nowadays only weekend or holiday vacationers in one of the cottages or abandoned houses get off here. Coming up next is Songesand with a road connection. Then we visit Brattali (literally “steep hill”) and Bakken. After these stops the boat takes us to the Pulpit Rock, or more precisely 604 metres below it. Actually that visit is kind of disappointing.
The rock is hardly visible even in good weather, and I suppose tourists having seen the pictures of it must feel saddened to come here. This is a fact: The Pulpit Rock is best seen from the top.
Our boat took us to Forsand where we got off. It continued further out the fjord. There are also speedboats that take passengers on excursions into the Lysefjord from Stavanger. Just to repeat: You will also get to Lysebotn by car over the mountains from Sirdal in Vest-Agder county in the summer. The tour Stavanger – Sirdal – Lysebotn by car, and then ferry back to Stavanger, must be the recipe for the perfect “Norway in a nutshell round trip”. If you get to Sirdal, you will be close to Setesdal during in summer, another Norwegian highlight. This is a beaten trail amongst road trippers in Norway.
This article was originally published in 2012 and the video is based on clips from 2010. I’m planning an update based on a recent trip, but here you will first get updated links to transport providers on the Lysefjord, as of 2018. Note that advance booking is important, preferably as early as possible. Therefore I include necessary links below.
Kolumbus is the supplier of public transportation in Rogaland county. They offer a daily route with a so-called combination boat between Stavanger and Lysebotn all through 2018. This is basically a catamaran with space available for 12 cars (no motorhomes or buses). Between Lauvvik in Sandnes and Lysebotn there are four daily departures, both ways. Travel time is 70 to 90 minutes from Lauvvik. The boat will make stops on the landings described above, as needed. Price example for the journey between Lauvvik and Lysebotn: Passenger car with driver and one passenger costs NOK 441. Booking. Timetable.
Visit Flåm offers a tourist ferry between Lauvvik in Sandnes and Lysebotn in 2018, but only in the period 1.6 to 16.9. The trip takes two hours each way. It is a traditional ferry with plenty of space for cars and even bigger vehicles, including motorhomes and buses. The boat stops at Songesand and Flørli. It spends time on all sights along the fjord, more than the Kolumbus boat.A brochure is distributed and over the loudspeaker we listen to stories about places we pass along the way. A passenger car with driver and passenger costs NOK 1150. A car package costs NOK 1300 and includes five passengers. Booking. Timetable.
Rødne offers a speedboat service to and from Stavanger. It goes to (below) the Pulpit rock and makes no stops. The price per adult is NOK 520, while a family package costs NOK 1400. There are two to three daily departures and the round-trip takes three hours. This is popular with cruise passengers. Booking.
All entries and videos in this series
(1) The fjord by boat
(3) Preikestolen – The Pulpit Rock