Lonely Planet Writer

Hordes of baffled tourists are showing up in this small Norwegian town thanks to a Google Maps error

An error in Google Maps has been causing hundreds of tourists searching for a famous cliff to show up in Fossmork, a small Norwegian town nearly thirty kilometres from their intended location, much to the amusement of the local people.

The cliff face of Preikestolen in Norway
Preikestolen in Norway is a popular spot for adventurous tourists. Image by Leo-setä / CC BY 2.0

Unintentional visitors to the town have been showing up whilst searching for Preikestolen, also known as Preacher’s Rock, a famous cliff that rises 604 metres above Lysefjorden and offers stunning views of the area. The site has grown to become a well-visited tourist spot, attracting approximately 200,00 people each year and is particularly popular with photographers. However, the error in Google Maps has been bringing tourists straight to the bridge that leads to Fossmork instead of Preikestolen.

While the town is not far away as the crow flies, it is divided from Priekestolen by the fjord and is approximately 40 minutes away by car. Tourists that finally do reach the cliff may find themselves out of time, as the hike up usually takes a couple of hours.

Fossmork and Preikestolen are approximately thirty kilometres away from each other by car.
Fossmork and Preikestolen are approximately thirty kilometres away from each other by car. Image by James Gabriel Martin

On the bright side, while Fossmork may not be the intended destination for many tourists, it does offer some nice views of Preikestolen from a different angle. Some of the town’s residents have even begun lending their binoculars to visitors for a better view.

Speaking to the paper Stavanger Aftenblad, local resident Gunnar Bøe said that he sees the comical side of the situation and enjoys meeting the visitors. “It’s quite funny. We get to speak with Chinese and Japanese people, and there was an American that wanted to buy a cabin. He thought the place was fantastic”.