Lysebotn Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, and Where to Eat

Lysebotn is an idyllic Norwegian village located at the end of the Lysefjord, and brings in over 100,000 tourists each summer. This small village is not a tourist attraction in itself, but serves as a base for some of Norway’s most incredible hiking areas!

You’re going to want to visit Lysebotn is you want to hike in the famous Kjerag mountains, get your photo taken at Kjeragbolten, or maybe even want to go BASE jumping from the steep mountainside.

Kjeragbolten 2
Kjeragbolten. Photo published with permission.

We’re going to be taking a closer look at all things related to Lysebotn in this article, including where to stay, how to get to Lysebotn, and of course the best things to do in Lysebotn.

Lysebotn general information

The small village of Lysebotn is something special. It’s only home to about 6 to 10 permanent villagers, but the entire village transform into a crowded tourist town during the summer season.

When the summer hiking seasons begins in June, hundreds of seasonal workers and over 100,000 tourists make their way to this little village.

You will find a few different places to spend the night and a couple of options of places to get something to eat, but it’s still a very tiny village even when the summer season is at its peak.

Lysebotn. Photo by Falk Lademann / CC BY 2.0.
Lysebotn. Photo by Falk Lademann / CC BY 2.0.

The busiest place in Lysebotn is the harbor where the ferry arrives with new hikers and other tourists.

One of the best things about Lysebotn is the incredible nature. It’s surrounded by steep mountains on both sides, and it’s a perfect example of the Norwegian fjord landscape that has made it to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

That said, very few people visit Lysebotn without the intention of going on nearby hikes. Lysebotn is really a kind of base camp for hikers, so I don’t recommend it as a tourist destination unless you are planning on going hiking in the Kjerag mountains.

Kjerag is popular among hikers, as well as people base jumping.
Kjerag is popular among hikers, as well as people BASE jumping.

Where to stay in Lysebotn

Despite being a small village with under 10 permanent residents, there are surprisingly many places to stay in Lysebotn. Below are a few options if you’re looking for a place to spent the night. In addition to the ones listed below, there are a few small B&B options as well.

As with all popular tourist towns in Norway, be prepared to book early to even be able to get a room on your desired date, and also be prepared to pay a pretty penny for the accommodation.

Lysebotn seen from Øygardstøl.
Lysebotn seen from Øygardstøl.

Lysebotn Tourist Camp

Lysebotn has a campsite that is very popular with hikers, and much like other Norwegian campsites, you can rent a places to put your tent down. In addition to just getting a place to put your tent, you get access to toilets, showers, a barbecue area, a small kitchen areas and access to a nearby store.

You do not need to book in advance, and there will always be free spots for tourists looking to pitch their tent at the campsite.

The prices are pretty nice, and you pay 110 NOK for a tent, plus 75 NOK per adult per day.

Kjerag Lysebotn Camping & Resort

Kjerag Lysebotn Camping & Resort has 6 different cabins for rent, at 990 to 1950 NOK per night. They house between 2 and 5 people, so it’s a great option if you want some privacy or don’t bring a tent with you.

The small cabins are on the campsite area, and you get access to all the other campsite areas such as the barbecue, showers and more. It even has electricity and free wifi!

You can book a cabin by sending them an e-mail.

Kjerag Lysebotn Bed & Breakfast

Kjerag Lysebotn Bed & Breakfast has 30 rooms that can be rented, for prices between 1,300 and 1,600 NOK per night. The rooms themselves are pretty nice, so it’s a good option if you want more comfort than in a tent or in a small cabin.

One of the great things about these rooms is that they include breakfast, giving you a great start to your hiking day in Kjerag!

You can book a cabin by sending them an e-mail.

Hauane B&B

Hauane B&B is a bed and breakfast at an old farmhouse, and they offer both single and double rooms for 990 NOK or 1090 NOK per night, including breakfast.

One of the best things about staying at Hauane is that they have access to a private sauna, which is really amazing when you get back from a long hike in the evening!

Book your stay at Hauane B&B here.

Lysefjorden Tourist Cabin

Lysefjorden Tourist Cabin is a cabin owned by the Norwegian Tourist Association, usually just referred to as DNT. The cabin has lots of different rooms, including a few dormitories for those who want a cheap and easy place to spent the night.

Booking to Lysefjorden Tourist Cabin can be done at their website by clicking here. Expect to pay 575 Norwegian kroner for a single bed in the dormitory, or 1,900 NOK for a couple to rent a small, private room for the night.

Anyone can book a room at Lysefjorden Tourist Cabin, and you do not need to be a DNT member for this one like many other DNT cabins.

Wild camping in Lysefjorden

Norway allows for anyone to pitch a tent anywhere outside of used areas, but it’s not particularly easy to find a suitable place to go wild camping in Lysefjorden.

To legally pitch your tent, you need to find a place that is defined as “utmark“. Utmark can be translated to “unfenced land”, but there are few to none areas down in Lysebotn where you can pitch your tent.

The best option is to follow the river upstream a bit outside the city. There are some good places to pitch a tent once you get a bit outside the village, but it’s a bit of a walk from downtown Lysbotn.

Do not pitch a tent on any agricultural fields!

Another option is to pitch the tent somewhere up in the Kjerag mountains. There are literally thousands of amazing camp areas there, but you obviously won’t be able to get access to the amenities of Lysefjorden if you go up in the mountains.

The mountain pass to Lysebotn. Photo by Zairon / CC BY-SA 3.0.
The mountain pass to Lysebotn. Photo by Zairon / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Where to eat in Lysefjorden

There are not that many places to get a good meal in Lysefjorden, but there are a few options.

The only real restaurant in Lysebotn is Olavs Pub & Bistro, which is located on the campsite grounds. Despite that, it’s open to both campsite guests and non-guests.

The restaurant serves regular restaurant dishes, and turns into a pub at night.

Another place to get your food is at Kjerag Cafe & Restaurant, better known as Ørneredet (The Eagle’s Nest – Yes, they really named it the same as a certain dictator’s summer house). This unique restaurant is located 640 meters above the fjord, with an incredible view down towards Lysebotn.

It’s an incredible place to eat your dinner, and well worth the ride up the 640 meters to get there! The restaurant is located very close to where you begin the Kjerag hikes, so it’s worth stopping by before or after hiking.

Ørneredet over Lysebotn provides an incredible dining experience with an extraordinary view! Photo by Jos Jelier / CC BY 2.0.
Ørneredet over Lysebotn provides an incredible dining experience with an extraordinary view! Photo by Jos Jelier / CC BY 2.0.

It’s also worth noting that there are no regular grocery stores in Lysebotn, so you can’t just go and buy food to eat either.

There is a small kiosk that sell some food and snacks at the camping area, so you can definitely buy some hot dogs and hamburgers to make a barbecue, or some easy hiking food to bring along for the next hiking adventure. But this kiosk has a very limited selection compared to regular grocery stores.

What to do in Lysebotn

So what do people do when visiting Lysebotn? The short answer is hike or extreme sports! Lysebotn is known to be among the best places for BASE jumping in the entire world, and you will see lots of people in wingsuits and with parachutes jumping down from the mountain towards the village.

Most people go to Lysebotn to hike in the incredible Kjerag mountains though, but there are also a few other options of things to do in Lysebotn.

Stone cairn at Kjerag on the way up to Kjeragbolten.
Stone cairn at Kjerag on the way up to Kjeragbolten.

Hiking in Kjerag (Including Kjeragbolten)

The number one thing to do in Lysebotn is to get up to Øygardstøl (at the top of the hairpin road) to start hiking in the Kjerag mountain area. You can get to Øygardstøl by bus (there are plenty of buses from Lysebotn to Øygardstøl), or by car. Be prepared for the 300 NOK parking fee if you want to drive your own car though!

There are lots of different hiking trails from Øygardstøl, including a hike that takes you to the famous Kjeragbolten as seen on the photo below. Don’t worry, Kjeragbolten is considered 100 % safe to stand on, but there are usually long queues to get your photo taken on the bolt.

Kjeragbolten 1
Kjeragbolten. Photo published with permission.

The hike to Kjeragbolten is considered to be challenging, and takes between 5 and 6 hours in total.

It’s possible to book a guide to accompany you in the Kjerag mountains and to help you get to Kjeragbolten.

Many tourists are satisfied by spending a full day hiking, but it’s fully possible to bring your tent to make it a multi day hike. The Kjerag mountains are vast, and there are plenty of hiking trails to follow for multiple days.

Experience the incredible hairpin bend road

When you’re in Lysbotn, you definitely want to experience the incredible road up the mountainside with its 27 hairpin bends! It’s not as well-known as the famous Trollstigen, but I really like this hairpin bend road myself, and both the view and the drive itself is spectacular!

It’s best experienced as a passenger, so you might want to ride the bus. There are multiple bus departures from Lysebotn up the road daily.

If you’re feeling up for a challenge, consider renting a bike and bike up the incredible road that has an ascension of over 650 meters.

The road to Lysebotn is filled with 27 hairpin bends!
The road to Lysebotn is filled with 27 hairpin bends!

Enjoy the fjord

Lysbotn is at the base of the incredible Lysefjorden, one of Norway’s many amazing fjords. And just like all other fjords, you have the opportunity to do some water sports, go fjord fishing, or go on a day cruise.

Fishing at the ocean shore
A man fishing in the ocean. Note, this is not from Lysebotn. Photo published with permission.

Some other activities that can be done in the fjord includes renting kayaks, canoes, SUP boards, pedal boats, water skis, wakeboards and more. SBK Base rents out all these things.

BASE jumping in Kjerag

Kjerag is famous among extreme sport practitioners, and it’s a BASE jumper’s paradise. You will see lots of people wearing parachutes, wingsuits or other basejump equipment on sunny and cloudless days, and many will even land on the field next to the restaurant in town.

Base jumping at Kjerag mountains. Photo by Xof711 / CC BY-SA 3.0.
BASE jumping at Kjerag mountains. Photo by Xof711 / CC BY-SA 3.0.

I don’t recommend anyone spontaneously doing a BASE jump while visiting Lysbotn, but it’s a great place for a BASE jump if you’re into these kinds of things.

Many consider Kjerag to be one of the best BASE jumping spots in the entire world, but it’s obviously still a dangerous sport. There are fatalities from BASE jumpers who jump down from Kjerag, so it’s absolutely not risk free to do something like this.

Check out the video below for a quick introduction to how BASE jumping at Kjerag is like.

Rent a bike

You can rent both regular bikes as well as mountain bikes from SK Base, which will allow you to go biking in the Kjerag mountains, or attempt the challenging ride between Syrdal and Lysbotn.

How to get to Lysebotn

Lysebotn is located about 3 hours from Stavanger, but it’s actually a bit difficult to get there.

The easiest way to get to Lysebotn is to ride the public bus from Stavanger to Lauvvik, then get on the public passenger ferry from Lauvvik to Lysbotn.

The ferry is operational all year round, and departs either twice or thrice daily.

There are also cruise ferries that goes directly from Stavanger and even Bergen to Lysebotn, but these are far more expensive than riding the bus and getting on the public ferry.

MS Lysefjord. Photo by Hesselhaker / CC BY-SA 4.0.
MS Lysefjord. Photo by Hesselhaker / CC BY-SA 4.0.

You can also get to Lysebotn by car, but only during the summer season. The road typically opens in June, and stays open until sometime in October. The drive from Stavanger is roughly 3 hours, and includes some rather challenging driving over the Syrdal mountain.

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