A demanding ride with plenty of steep hills through mesmerising scenery.
Spending an extra day to visit Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) is highly recommended. Preikestolen can be included in day three, given that you are willing to get up early in the morning. The route is approximately 100 km, in addition to a four-hour hike to and from Preikestolen. The mountain may be snowcapped in early April, and if that is the case, I will design an alternative trail for you.
Day One: Biking a total of 89 km.
The bike ride starts at Sola Strandhotell. You will bike alongside the magnificent Jæren coastline before heading inward towards Høg-Jæren. As you reach Undheim, the route starts ascending in direction of Bue. You will then bike along E39, before veering off towards some pretty narrow, but lightly trafficked Southwestern style Norwegian roads. The scenery becomes increasingly captivating. Gloppedalsura, the largest scree in Northern Europe, is located at the crest of the hill. Make sure to equip your bike with headlights, as you will have to pass through rather dark tunnels. You will spend the night at Byrkjedalstunet; an idyllic site at the beginning of Hunnedalen. If you are not feeling knackered yet, you can hike up to Maudal. The trail rises considerably and has many twists and turns along the way. The starting point is near the hotel. The valley, a green oasis enclosed by towering mountains, is about 4 km away. You can order plunge baths outside if you wish.
Included: A welcoming baggie with freshly baked goods and a 0.5 liter soda, special meal of the day for dinner, and breakfast. Everyone will get the chance to prepare a packed lunch for the next day.
Day Two: Biking a total of 62 km.
Today's stretch starts at Byrkjedalstunet and continues towards Gilja and Dirdal, a lush, green valley surrounded by towering mountains. When you get down to the water, you will climb a sharp hill on the outside of the tunnel. In Oltedal, you will bike through the centre of town, after which you will face a proper challenging hill. You can buy food at Gjestal spinneri (Gjestal spinning mill), which is located on top of the first hill. When you arrive at the top, you can just roll on down to the ferry that will take you to Songesand. Departure is at 13:55. The ferry ride will offer a spectacular view of Lysefjorden, and you will even get to check out Preikestolen from the bottom and up. Be sure to get off the ferry at Songesand. At this point, there will be a steady rise up towards an elevation level of 600 meters above sea level, which will give you a great tour through the mountain, before heading downhill towards Årdal and Høiland Gard. In Årdal, there is a gas station where you can get hotdogs, hamburgers and other baked goods. There is also a grocery store in close proximity, about 2 km away. You will be provided with a basket containing breakfast and foods to barbecue for however many days you wish to spend here. If you are still feeling energised, there are plenty of challenging hikes in the area for you to check out.
Included: A breakfast basket and foods to barbecue.
I would recommend hiking to Preikestolen. If you are not feeling up for it, book an extra day so you can have more time to relax. The distance from Årdal to Preikestolen Mountain Lodge is 38 km. The hike from the mountain lodge and up to Preikestolen is about 2 hours each way. Be sure to to bring good shoes. Alternately, you can start the bike ride towards Preikestolen Mountain Lodge bright and early in the morning and spend some time there before heading back on a relatively shorter route towards Sola Strandhotell. Whichever option you choose, you need to keep an eye on your watch to make sure you have enough time before letting me know which one you prefer.
Trip without the hike to Preikestolen: 102 km including ferries.
Today's stretch runs from Høiland Gard to Sola Strandhotell. When you come to Tysdalsvannet, dazzling Norwegian scenery can be discovered. Bjørheimsbygd will provide you with a tough physical test, in the form of a steep hill at an elevation level of 200 meters above sea level. As you reach the peak of the mountain, you will get a fabulous view of Høgsfjorden and Jørpeland. You continue along the beautiful Høgsfjord in craggy terrain. First to Oanes, where you take the ferry over to Lauvvik. The trip then continues along the narrow, sloping roads towards Hommersåk. From Hommersåk you continue biking towards Sandnes before progressing onto the last leg of the bike ride towards Sola Strandhotell, where you will have access to lovely spa treatments. Remember to leave the hotel no later than 18:45 if you plan on taking the ferry to Denmark.
If you want to hike to Preikestolen, you need to wake up early and bike the 38 km to Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. From there you can make your way up to the top and enjoy the view before heading back down to the mountain lodge. Be sure to bring a packed lunch.
Included: Access to the wellness centre at Sola Strandhotell. (Massages etc. Must be pre-ordered and paid separately, though).
The trip has now come to an end, and I hope you have had a wonderful yet physically demanding experience! I will come outside and gather all the equipment you have borrowed, and say goodbye at approximately at 18:15. Departure from the hotel will be at 18:45 if you are planning on taking the boat.