Hiking to Preikestolen - The natural square

Kai Bonsaksen | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Preikestolen is literally translated in English as ''the preacher's chair'' and is a famous hiking destination for Norwegians. Actually it's of the most prominent places for hiking in Norway. The spot is also famous for enthusiastic hiking tourists from Europe because of its square shape. Preikestolen is naturally shaped like a square.

For the hiker, I have stories about Trolltunga, Jotunheimen, Innerdalstårnet, Hardangervidda, and Folgefonna as well.

Why is it popular?

The appeal of the chair might be that most things in nature have a circle kind of shape. Examples are flowers, berries, planets, and stars. This Preaching chair has clear edges like a human construction rather. Another appeal is the accuracy of the square shape. You'd maybe expect a rectangular shape at best while this cliff pretty much is shaped 25 m wide and 25 m long.


From the chair to the water there are 604 meters. Lysefjorden is the name of the fjord under the cliff. Preikestolen has a crack in between the mountain and the chair. It reminds us that beautiful things don't last forever. To this day, no serious predictions are made for this rock to fall. For a gift from Preikestolen, you have air in a bottle that is a bought by a lot by Asian tourists.

Why there's no fence on the top

Norway as a nation is known to have a humble respect for other people's work. Why we are like that might be because of a social contract law called ''Janteloven'' which says ''You shouldn't think that you are something''. Mixed with pride of natures natural creations and this humble respect makes it wicked for us to modify such an object. We can renovate a building without concerns. However, renovating nature itself when it made itself a place of huge interest becomes instinctively wrong in a way. When it comes to danger, the path up to the chair is way more troublesome. Accidents on top of the cliff are not a concern. The cliff is based on common sense. You don't want to fall down? You don't jump or slip. The fence would also take away the responsibility of common sense. Norwegians might actually take offence to a fence being built.

Movies up here

The National Geographic show called ''Vikings'' has a scene of Ragnar who is on the top of the cliff, and Tom Cruise and the Mission Impossible crew have footage from Preikestolen in Mission Impossible 6!

The surface on top is almost flat. The flatness inspired skateboarders from the area to create a skateboard video on top. Helicopters brought skate objects and materials to the top of the chair to make a video called ''Turf'' that was released in 2007.

Nature is responsible for the shape with the help of the ice age 10 000 years ago. The huge ice blocks from the ice age broke off when it became warmer and the huge blocks that were forming the cliff fell down.

Little effort

Hiking up here is not a long path. You'll walk 3.9 km to reach the cliff. This is also the appeal for folks eager to hike to a cool place. A type of hiking spot with a quick and easy reward.

If you're into paragliding and base jumping, this cliff probably seems like the most suitable spot in the world for that. You'll get to run a lot on a flat surface with a lot of space and see the incredibly startling beauty of Norway. You might find cliffs like this in Spain, France, and Germany, only without the fjords and the Norwegian touch.

How to get here

The spot is very well marked. You can easily hike alone. Signs of where to go are quite well thought out. When walking up they put signs which show the distance that you have walked so far and how much is left. A path with wooden bridges and paths have been created. It's safe to walk during summers, but during the winter it can be very slippery. Take your boots and extra socks and something warm in case of weather change. Because of the position of the mountains with the fjord in between, the rain will pour down on you pretty hard. Shops on top with food don't exist. You won't hear ''Coca-cola, cerveza, 5 euro'' from anyone either. Bring your snack pack if you like eating. You have camping, a hostel, and a hotel close to the chair. You also have the option to sleep in your tent where you please as long as you're not bothering people. It takes you 1.3 hours to reach the Preikestolen basecamp from Stavanger.

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