Glorious fjord kayaking through some of Norway's most iconic scenery
Lysefjord lies just an hour from Stavanger, cutting its way from the sea into the Norwegian mountains. This is an ideal area to explore by kayak, giving you the freedom to explore the beautiful landscapes at your own pace and, if you wish, to take extra time to include some of Norway's most dramatic and popular hikes.
From the start point at Forsand, it is 42km along the fjord to Lysebotn. You can choose to paddle all or part of this distance, returning either by ferry or extending your trip to return by kayak, covering a total distance of around 84km!
Lysefjord offers good possibilities for wild camping during your trip, with some lovely beaches. Photo: FE.
You can also extend your tour by beginning your paddle tour from Jørpeland rather than Forsand. From there it takes two days to kayak through a wonderful landscape of islands and beaches to reach the fjord.
Wild camping and wildlife
There are a number of good spots to camp wild during your kayak tour down the fjord, and camping and cooking equipment is available to hire.
There is also a "proper" campsite at Sognesand, where you can choose to stay for a night either in tent or even rent a room!
As well as being scenically spectacular, the Lysefjord area is rich in wildlife, and you have good chances to see seals and eagles in the area during your tour.
A kayak adventure for experienced paddlers only
Kayaking in Lysefjord is not suitable for beginners. Requirements to participate are:
- You must be an experienced kayaker, feeling confident and comfortable in a range of weather conditions including challenging wind and waves.
- You must know and be practised in rescue/self-rescue techniques, to be able to right and re-enter the kayak in the event of a capsize. There may be no suitable landing spot nearby to bring your kayak ashore if you capsize and you must be able to re-enter the kayak on the water. Between May and September, typical water temperature in the fjord is around 15-20 degrees C, but can be very cold in spring and autumn.
- To use a single kayak (K1) during the tour, you must hold a current certification in rescue skills from a suitable kayaking body (NPF, BCU, ACA, EPP or other recognized National Kayaking Association) and show evidence of certification on arrival. NB: Single kayaks will only be issued to persons with appropriate certification.
- Persons using double kayaks (K2) do not require formal certification but must still possess a suitable level of kayaking experience and knowledge of rescue techniques.
You should be prepared for a range of conditions during your tour, from calm water and clear skies to strong wind and waves. Photo: FE.
Paddle back or take the ferry!
Time required to kayak the full length of the fjord one way (42km) will vary depending on factors such as wind and weather conditions and your own fitness and ability, but typically 2-4 days from Forsand (not including any additional days you may to add for hiking).
From the end of fjord, at Lysebotn, you can take the public ferry (with your kayaks) back to Forsand.
Alternatively, take some extra days to return by kayak along the fjord and enjoy the beauty of the landscape from a fresh perspective.
Add a day or two to your tour to climb Pulpit Rock and/or Kjerag
There are a number of hiking trails along the fjord, including possibilities for climbing Kjerag during the tour itself, and Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) at the end of your tour before departure.
- Both these tours can be done self-guided and have well-marked trails. Information on hiking will be given at the start of your tour. For safety reasons, Kjerag can only be hiked self-guided between June and September (you should join a guided hike to do the Kjerag tour outside this period). You will need to bring good hiking boots and warm clothes (at any time of year) if you wish to hike during your tour, and hiking poles may also be useful.
- Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is approx. one third of the way down the fjord, but cannot be done during the kayak tour itself, as starting the hike from fjord level is not appropriate. If you would like to climb Pulpit Rock as part of your trip, this can be done at the end of the tour, provided you end your tour at Forsand. From Forsand, a transfer to the start point for the hike can be added as an optional extra (see under "Prices > Optional extras"). Shuttle buses then run between the end point and Stavanger for onward travel. This fairly challenging hike takes around 4 hours in total, with a distance of around 8km. More than 300,000 visitors hike Pulpit Rock each year - you will not be alone!
- Kjerag lies further along the fjord, just a few km before reaching Lysebotn. The hike is demanding, takes around 6-10 hours in total and is around 10km long.
Pulpit Rock (top) and Kjerag (bottom) offer wonderful opportunities for hiking in connection with your tour. Photos (clockwise from top left): 1:Region Stavanger BA/Terje Rakke/Nordic Life 2011; 2: Eduardo Grund/regionstavanger.com; 3,4:Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS/www.fjordnorway.com
NB: You will normally need to arrive in Stavanger to overnight there the day before your tour, before taking the bus to Jørpeland or ferry to Forsand (see options below) on your start day.
The total distance covered during your tour is very flexible. Unless you are returning by ferry back along the fjord from Lysebotn, there is no requirement to paddle the full length of the fjord. If you are returning by kayak, you can choose to paddle as much or as little of the fjord's length as you wish. You can also, if you prefer, take your kayaks on the ferry from Forsand to Lysebotn at the start of your tour and then kayak back up the fjord.
The length of the fjord is 42km. If paddling the full length of the fjord from Forsand to Lysebotn and returning to Forsand by kayak, total distance covered will therefore be around 84km.
Any hikes you may wish to do during your trip, including the ascents of Preikestolen and Kjerag, are not a part of your tour and are undertaken entirely at your own risk. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are suitably equipped, have appropriate information and take appropriate safety precautions during your hike.
Starting Your Tour
Start time is normally between 09.00-10.00 but can also be later by arrangement. Please let us know in advance which start point you are choosing and what time you plan to arrive so that suitability can be confirmed. Bear in mind if paddling early or late in the season that daylight hours are limited. You should ensure you start in good time to paddle to a suitable camping spot with plenty of daylight to spare.
Please also specify on booking whether you wish to return your kayaks at Forsand (the most common option) or paddle all the way back to Jørpeland (requires extra 2 days) to end there.
Start kayaking from Forsand:
This is the most popular option, especially if you have only a few days for your tour. Forsand is reached by public bus from Stavanger to Jørepland (55 mins) followed by either bus, taxi or transfer (20 mins) to Forsand depending on available connections. You will begin kayaking directly into Lysefjord, maximising your time to explore the fjord and, if you wish, do some hikes along the way.
You collect your equipment at the kayak centre in Forsand and have an information briefing, before beginning your kayak tour into Lysefjord.
You will normally end your tour back at Forsand, but can also choose to kayak on and return your equipment at Jørpeland (requires extra 2 days).
Start kayaking from Jørpeland:
There is a second kayak base at Jørpeland, which is very convenient to reach by regular, direct bus (55 mins) from Stavanger.
This is a particularly good option if you are planning a longer tour, with a lovely landscape of islands and beaches along the way.
Add an 2 extra kayak days to paddle from Jørpeland to Forsand to continue the tour in Lysefjord.
You will normally end your tour at Forsand, but can also kayak back to Jørpeland to end there if you prefer (requires extra 2 days).
Continuing Your Tour
Approx. 7km into the fjord from the start point at Forsand, this is the first suitable camping spot to spend the night.
There is a toilet here, and this can be a great option for your first night if you have started later in the day or wish to take it easy during your tour.
Around 14km further on, Sognesand lies around halfway along Lysefjord.
This is a remote area, with camping facilities and even rooms at at Sognesand Camp (additional charge payable locally if you wish to camp or stay there) and a cafe.
Across the other side of the fjord from Sognesand, approx. 3km away, lies the village of Flørli.
The water drops 740m here from lake Flølivatnet to the fjord, making it an ideal spot for hydroelectric power production. It is the second highest hyrdoelectric fall built in Norway, and has 4,444 wooden steps built along the rails which were construction to transport the building materials. If you're feeling energetic, you can climb these to ascend around 740m for a wonderful view, taking about 2 hours.
This is a good spot for camping.
Kjerag (optional hike)
Around 10km further along the fjord, you reach the start point for climbing Kjerag.
You will need to allow a full extra day if you wish to do this hike, camping nearby before and after the tour. The hike in total takes around 6-10 hours.
Continuing another 4km or so, you reach the end of the fjord at Lysebotn, with a number of connections each day back to Forsand and onward to Stavanger.
Kayaks are carried on the ferries for an additional charge (typically around 140 NOK, about £13).
Alternatively, you may wish to add extra days to return by kayak along the fjord and enjoy the landscape from a different perspective.
At Lysebotn there are camping facilities, a grocery store and tourist information.
Ending Your Tour
Once back at Forsand, whether returning by ferry or by kayak, you clean and return your equipment before taking the bus to Stavanger for onward travel.
Alternatively, you can continue your tour to finish at Jørpeland (add 2 extra kayak days to paddle to Jørpeland) for bus to Stavanger.
End times are 09.00 to 17.00 by arrangement. Please discuss on arrival what time you intend to be back at the kayak centre so that suitability can be confirmed.
Pulpit Rock (optional hike)
If you wish to climb Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) in connection with your tour, this can be done on your end day, provided you end your tour at Forsand. Transfer from Forsand to the start point of the hike can be added as an optional extra, and shuttle buses run from the end point to Stavanger. The hike in total takes around 4 hours. You should plan your end time and onward travel arrangements appropriately if you wish to include this hike.
NB: It is not appropriate to do the Pulpit Rock hike as part of your kayak tour down the fjord. Starting from fjord level, the hike is extremely demanding, taking at least 10 hours or so, and there is no appropriate camping spot. You would also need to lift the loaded kayaks, which are very heavy, out of the water onto the quay.
Dates & Prices»
Start any day by arrangement between 1st March and 28th November* (latest end date 30th November).
Minimum duration 3 days/2 nights, extra days optional.
*The main season for kayaking is May to September. For kayaking earlier/later, you should have additional experience and bear in mind that the water in the fjord will be very cold and you should be prepared for generally more challenging conditions during your tour.
Minimum duration is 3 days/2 nights. You are welcome to extend your trip with additional day(s) to allow time for hiking or to return along the fjord by kayak rather than taking the ferry. If planning to hike either Preikestolen or Kjerag during your tour, a full extra day will be required for each of these hikes. Price for extra days includes kayak and camping/cooking equipment as for the main tour.
NB: To use a single kayak (K1) during the tour, you must hold a current certification in rescue skills from a suitable kayaking body (NPF, BCU, ACA, EPP or other recognized National Kayaking Association) and show evidence of certification on arrival. Single kayaks will only be issued to persons with appropriate certification.
|Single Kayak (per kayak)|
|3 days/2 nights||GBP|
|4 days/3 nights||GBP|
|5 days/4 nights||GBP|
|6 days/5 nights||GBP|
|7 days/6 nights||GBP|
|Each extra day >7 days||GBP|
|Double Kayak (per kayak)|
|3 days/2 nights||GBP|
|4 days/3 nights||GBP|
|5 days/4 nights||GBP|
|6 days/5 nights||GBP|
|7 days/6 nights||GBP|
|Each extra day >7 days||GBP|
|30-60 minute safety briefing before tour (per group)||GBP|
|2-person tent (any duration)||GBP|
|3-person tent (any duration)||GBP|
|5-person tent any duration (any duration)||GBP|
|Sleeping bag||Not yet offered|
|Foam sleeping mat (any duration)||GBP|
|Camping stove (any duration, one gas included)||GBP|
|Fishing rod (any duration, fishing licence not required)||GBP|
|Transfer from Forsand to Pulpit Rock hike on departure day (per group)||GBP|
- 30-60 minute safety briefing before tour: Recommended for all participants. You should be an experienced kayaker for this tour, but a safety briefing before your trip will give you greater confidence to kayak in the Norwegian fjords. Duration 30-60 minutes, covering safety considerations during the tour and a review of rescue techniques. Please note: This safety briefing is an ideal introduction to the tour, but is not a substitute for showing proof that you know self-rescue techniques, which is a requirement for hiring single kayaks.
- Tent: Tents normally used are Helsport Fjellheimen Superlight.
- Camping stove: Trangia-style cooking stove (includes pans for cooking) with gas, suitable for 2-3 persons per stove. Additional gas is available to purchase at the kayak centre if required. NB: Please bring own camping plates/cutlery, washing up liquid, scrubbing sponge, etc.
- Transfer from Forsand to Pulpit Rock hike on departure day: If you are ending your tour at Forsand and wish to hike Pulpit Rock before onward travel, transfer is available from the kayak centre at Forsand to the start point of the hike. Please specify transfer time on booking. From the end point of the hike, shuttle buses run back to Stavanger. The hike takes around 4 hours in total, and you will need to end your kayak tour early on the last day to allow ample time to complete the hike and for onward travel connections.
What's Included »
- Sea kayak and all necessary equipment including paddles, buoyancy aid, splash skirt and safety equipment for rescue (bilge pump and paddle float). Double kayaks are typically Boreal Design Esperanto. Single kayaks are Boreal Design Inuksuk, Prijon Marlin Pro, or Seabird Design HV.
- Map and information about the area including suitable camping spots and facilities such as cafes en route.
- 10 litre bag for drinking water. You can fill up drinking water at cafes or other locations along the fjord, or from waterfalls.
- Wetsuit: Wetsuits are not normally provided, but if conditions are cold during the spring or autumn, wetsuits are available to borrow free of charge. Normally, wetsuits are not required for this tour. Typical water temperature in the fjord between May and September is around 15-20 degrees C.
- Drybags: Drybags are not normally provided. The compartments of the kayaks are watertight and under normal circumstances bin bags, etc, will be fine to protect any items in the kayak. However, if you have sensitive equipment or wish to have drybags during your tour, these are available to borrow free of charge.
- Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
- Food: You can purchase provisions in Stavanger before travelling to the start point. Alternatively, there is a grocery (closed on Sundays) near the start point in Forsand. You will also pass some cafes and restaurants along the route. Detailed information will be given as part of your tour documentation.
- Ferry from Lysebotn back to Forsand (if required): Tickets are purchased locally on board. Kayaks can be carried on the ferries, cost typically around 140 NOK (about £13) per kayak for Lysebotn to Forsand.
Good To Know »
Conditions in the fjord can be very challenging, with the potential for strong wind and waves and limited places to land ashore. Typical water temperature in the fjord between May and September is around 15-20 degrees C, but in spring and autumn the water can be very cold.
The tour is suitable for adult experienced kayakers only (min. 2 persons, min. age 18).
All participants must be confident paddlers with previous experience of kayaking in a range of weather and wind conditions.
Participants must know rescue/self-rescue techniques and be able to right and re-enter a kayak while on the water in the event of a capsize. Persons using single kayaks must have a current certification of training in rescue techniques.
For more information, please see under "Description".
What makes this "Hard"?
Weather conditions in the fjord can change very quickly at any time during the season, from flat calm and clear skies to strong winds of 7-10m/s or more, waves and rain.
The water can be very cold if kayaking early or late in the season. The fjord is flanked in many places with steep-sided rocks, which may mean it is difficult to find a nearby landing spot in the event of difficulties.
NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.
Ticks and TBE:
Note: Ticks occur mostly in grassy areas.
As in the UK and other areas, there are ticks in the Nordic forests which can carry diseases such as Borrelia. You should check for ticks at the end of a day in the outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible by pulling the tick out straight, carefully and slowly, with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Ensure that you do not leave any of the insect's mouth parts attached to your skin. Wash the bite area with soap and water. In the unlikely event that you feel unwell or notice anything unusual around the area of the bite in the coming days, consult your doctor.
As in large areas of mainland Europe, in some small, localised areas of the Nordic countries (mostly in the Stockholm Archipelago), the ticks are known to carry TBE, or Tick-borne encephalitis, and locals spending extended periods in affected areas often choose to vaccinate themselves. For more information and latest updates, please see Zecken. For current advice on TBE and inoculations for the area you are visiting, please consult your doctor or see Travel Health Pro.
For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".
A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.
NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.
Preparing for your trip:
For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.
This experience is ideal for groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This provider has a written environmental policy.
Getting There »
See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!
Detailed information on travel will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.
NB: Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.
Fly to Stavanger. Travel by public ferry or bus from Stavanger to Forsand or bus from Stavanger to Jørpeland (approx. one hour) depending on the chosen start/end point for your tour (please see under "Itinerary" for details).