Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Strand, Norway

Preikestolen

This "preacher's pulpit" once used for pagan ritual, is home to a new, and dangerous ritual. 

When the glaciers carved Norway out of the living rock, the ice giants must have created Preikestolen with BASE jumpers in mind.

This unusually shaped, massive rectangular cliff rises 604m above Lysefjorden. The name Preikestolen translates to Preacher’s Pulpit or Pulpit Rock. It is situated almost at exactly the opposite side of the fjord from another well known natural oddity Kjeragbolten rock, and in close proximity to the city of Stavanger.

The top of the cliff is almost a perfect square, 25m by 25m wide, and nearly flat, which makes it a perfect platform for BASE jumping. In ancient times the cliff might have been used in pagan religious ceremonies, perhaps as a place of sacrifice. Preikestolen is also a favorite hiking destination.

The hiking trip from the closest parking place takes about two hours. The trail starts at 270 meters above sea level and climbs to 604 meters. The total elevation difference of only 334m is a bit misleading as the path climbs up and descends numerous ridges. Still, it is comfortable hiking experience not requiring any special skills and preparations.

With almost 300,000 visitors each year it can become a bit too crowded at times.