This hike is described as emblematic of the Moskenes island – so don’t miss it! Make sure you’re prepared for a full day of hiking in the mountains and allow yourself plenty of time to soak in the dramatic landscape.
Soon you’ll leave the wooded slopes above Sørvågen behind to follow an undulating route over large tracts of exposed bedrock (occasional metal chain handrails are provided to help your ascent), and grassy/rocky paths with wonderful views towards the sea. The route weaves its way between a myriad of lakes to reach a mountain hut on the shore of small mountain lake nestled in the shadow of Munken’s jagged spire (this route finishes on the lower top at 770m, rather than the higher peak, 797m, to the south accessible only by climbing). Here the path swings right and follows the shoulder of the corrie up to the lower top of Munken via rocky paths and some boulder fields. After a long and steady ascent the views from the summit (770m) are your well-earned reward! Retrace your steps to Sørvågen to finish the days hike or take in a small variation to descend via the other corrie wall.
Parking: For today’s hike drive south from Reine on the E10 and park in the village of Sørvågen. In Sørvågen look out for the Matkroken (grocery shop) on the right-hand side of the road. There is parking for the hiking route signposted from the next crossroads (Holmen is signposted up to the right). Park in the car park with the public toilets in front of the Sørvågen Vannverk (water works) building.
Today’s hike takes you to the north top of Munken (770m), although not particularly high the latitude here means you’ll experience alpine conditions and weather that can change unexpectedly. There can also be some lingering snow fields depending on early season conditions, if you are not comfortable crossing snow fields you can make your way around them safely or decide to turn back if they are too large to pass around safely. Check the forecast before heading out on your walk, and make sure you are prepared with raingear, multiple warm layers, hat, gloves and buff. Take enough food and water for a full day on the trail.
The route itself is crosses a variety of terrain making this an enjoyable and interesting hike, if at times quite challenging. The route varies from well-marked gravel and grassy/boggy paths, then crosses small sections of boulder field as you near the summit – take care and move slowly here to help avoid slips. Throughout the hike there are sections where the route isn’t a path but follows stone cairns, painted red T’s, and signposts for Munkebu (a small hut below the top) across exposed bedrock. The rock is usually grippy but can be slippery where it’s been polished by the feet of many walkers or during/just after rain. At 1.8 km into the hike you’ll encounter the first metal chain handrail to assist your ascent on the exposed bedrock if needed, there are a couple more to come further along also.
Points of Interest
The mountain at its highest point is 797m, the south top (reachable only by climbing and not included in this route) makes for an impressive companion as you rest and enjoy the view from the north top (770m). From the summit of Munken you’ll have views over to Reinebringen, and the jagged ridge of Stolva, as well as unrivalled views over the fjords of Moskenes.
Perched on the edge of the mountainside below the tops of Munken, Munkebu Hytte is a popular overnighting spot for those wishing to immerse themselves in the spectacular landscape in back-to-basics accommodation. The hut, like others on the islands, is owned by the Lofoten Turlag (a branch of the DNT – Norwegian Trekking Association) and sleeps around 15 people on sleeping platforms and bunks. A key is needed for access. Imagine watching the sunrise from the platform of the hut …
This remote mountain environment is rich in wildlife, from soaring sea eagles, low-flying grouse and ptarmigan to jumping mountain hare and the jaunty chirping skylark. Keep a look out and you never know what you might see!
Food & Drink
There are a few places to eat and get refreshments in Reine; the Reine Rorbuer (Classic Norway Hotel) has a great restaurant serving delicious local cuisine. Alternatively, there's the Bringen Cafe, Vertshuset Lanternen Bistro opposite the convenience store, and the convenience store which sells a selection of groceries for a packed lunch, pastries, coffee and tea, along with a small selection of hot takeaway foods. Alternatively, you can pick up provisions en route from the Matkroken grocery store or Joker convenience when driving through Sørvågen if needed.
Although this isn't a long hike you'll experience mountain conditions and weather, and the ascent makes this a full days of activity. Remember you're in the Arctic Circle - so make sure to bring waterproofs, warm layers, hats, gloves, and a buff for warmth. Stiff-soled walking shoes or boots are recommended along with walking poles to help take the pressure off your knees on the descent!
Make sure to bring plenty of water, and food (lunch and snacks) for completing the walk as there is nowhere to restock or fill your water bottle en route.