Munkebu Hut Hike + Munken, Lofoten Islands

The Munkebu Hut hike on the island of Moskenseøy in Norway’s Lofoten Islands is a magnificent full day outing if you combine it with a hike up Munken. The hike, located in Sørvågen just a few kilometres from the end of the E10 in Å, is one of the top hikes in the Lofoten Islands. I highly recommend it – but on a clear day, so you can enjoy the phenomenal views, especially from the top of Munken. You’ll be hiking above the Arctic Circle!

From Munkebu Hut you can opt to do the hike up Hermanndalstinden – the highest peak on the island of Moskenseøy and/or the hike up Munken which is what we did.

It is possible to spend the night in the Munkebu Hut, but you’ll need to be a member of the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT). They operate 550 cabins across the country. Here’s a link to Lofoten Turlag. You must pick up the key during the tourist information’s opening hours in Reine and prepay. The hut comes fully equipped and can handle about 15 people. 

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The incredible view from the top of Munken – and you can see the Munkebu Hut by the lake from here

Finding the trailhead for the Munkebu Hut Hike 

The primary trail to Munkebu Hut and Munken starts in the parking lot in Sørvågen. See the map with the location below.

The turnoff to the parking lot as you’re driving west towards Å is the third road on the right after you pass the large lake in Sørvågen, a sign that says Holmen (it goes left but you want to go right) and several mailboxes. Follow the road a few hundred metres to a fork. Stay right to reach the parking lot.

At the parking lot there’s a form to fill out with your car’s license plate, address etc. The cost is 50 Norwegian Kroner (about $6.25 Canadian) – and cash is easiest. There is no time limit to park. They do say that camping with caravans in the parking lot is forbidden. We did the hike on a Sunday – and had no problem getting a parking spot.

If you get there and the parking lot is full, there is the option to park close to the lake, indicated on the map below. That will add some extra walking.

Location map for the Munkebu Hut – Munken hike

                                                     

Munkebu Hut hike summary

Distance: 10 km return

Elevation gain: Approximately 410 m or 1,345 feet for Munkebu Hut and 797 m or 2,615 feet for Munken.

Time needed: 2 – 3 hours one way to Munkebu Hut plus another 50 – 70 minutes one way to the top of Munken; we spent about 6 hours hiking in total but allow up to 7.5 hours return for both.

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Weather forecast: Munkebu Hut area

Best time to do the Munkebu Hut hike: On clear days, May through September.

Don’t forget: Pack a lunch and plenty of water. There is a Joker grocery store in Sørvågen if you decide spontaneously to do the Munkebu Hut hike.

Carry cash: We found cash was easiest to pay for parking – not just for this hike – but on any of the hikes in the Lofoten Islands where there was a parking fee.

Toilets: You’ll find them at the car park.

Dogs: Yes, on a leash. Dogs are not permitted in Munkebu Hut.

The Munkebu Hut hike starts in the town of Sørvågen

Munkebu Hut hike description

You are best off starting the Munkebu Hut hike via the parking lot on the west side of Sørvågvatnet, the large lake you pass on the E-10 in Sørvågen. There is a sign in the parking lot directing you to the trail to the Munkebu Hut.

Look ahead to the waterfall below Stuvdalsvatnet – and pick out the trail to the right of it. That’s where you’re headed. Continue up a hill, passing the waterfalls to reach a view of Lake Stuvdalsvatnet. The grade of the trail eases as you hike around the lake’s eastern shore. At the top of Stuvdalsvatnet you’ll find a couple of cabins – that I assume are owned by locals. There is a boat, and it looks like a tempting place to swim on a hot summer’s day, but there are signs saying that it’s forbidden.

Signage pointing to Munkebu in the parking lot
Waterfalls at the start of the trail to Munkebu Hut
The trail passes by a lake with private cottages
Lake Stuvdalsvatnet is a beauty

Chain section on the trail to Munkebu Hut

Continue on a trail that heads steeply up the hill. Fortunately, there are chains to make this section of the hike to Munkebu Hut easier. This is the section that could get nasty if wet as the rock doesn’t offer much if any traction. You may be able to get up – but it’s always harder coming back down. 

A steep section of smooth rock that would be slippery when wet

After the steep section of chains, the trail follows a wet section but there are lots of rocks around, so we had no problem keeping our feet dry. Some of the rock was smooth and lovely for walking. Along the way look for small cairns and even the painted letter “T” to ensure you’re on the right path.

We never had any problems route finding on this trail. Over the last few years with the increase in the number of hikers, extra signage has been added.

Lumpy hiking above the lake
A nice stretch of easy hiking towards Munkebu Hut
Looking back towards the start of the trail from a large cairn – notice the network of ponds mid-photo
At this sign you make a sharp right hand turn and start climbing – just 2.3 km to go on the Munkebu Hut hike

After passing a small pond, follow the eastern shore of Tridalsvatnet. The views along this section were highly enjoyable. Turn right at the sign and start hiking up a steeper rocky slope, looking for the path of least resistance. There are a few cairns around to keep you heading in the right direction.

At the top of this section of trail there’s a great view of the bridge between Moskenes and Reine and a small ridge you could climb – that would offer superb sea views.

Note the trail and the person on top of the minor ridge
View of the bridge between Moskenes and Reine

There’s a small climb up towards Djipfjordheia and then a lovely quick descent down to Munkebu Hut. The huts appear as two small red blotches some distance out, but you’ll be there in no time.

No one was staying in the hut when we arrived, but you could peer in the windows. The interior looked clean and nicely kitted out. We chose a flat rock by the lake to enjoy our lunch before heading out on the hike up Munken Peak.

Grand views in an open area on the hike to Munkebu Hut – notice how easy the trail is to follow
It’s a quick descent down to Munkebu Hut

The hike up Munken from Munkebu Hut

The hike up Munken looks impossibly steep from Munkebu Hut but once on the trail all is revealed. Note that the South Top part of Munken is for climbers and not hikers. The North Top is hiker accessible and falls about 30 m short of the South Top.

Go behind Munkebu Hut and pick up a well-worn trail that heads up towards the rocks pictured below. The small lake outside the hut will be on your right. The trail climbs the hill, very steeply at times, but the views spur you on. In no time Munkebu Hut will look like miniature houses beside the lake.

The trail switchbacks in places up the mountain to reach several ponds. They are a good place to stop and catch your breath.

The final push to the summit is steep, but it’s short so you’ll be on the summit before you know it. When you top out, look for the South Top to your right. Then take a wander over the large North Top, appreciating the vistas from different angles. If it’s a warm, windless day, it’s an incredible place to hang out. The Munken hike is obviously best when you can take advantage of the views from the sea to Hermanndalstinden.

Should you be hiking Munken under less-than-ideal conditions – like rain, mud and fog – I’d suggest poles for balance and beware the cliffs off the east face.

There’s a well worn trail up Munken that climbs up from Munkebu Hut
There are many steep sections on the hike up Munken so pay attention to your footing
Splendid mountain scenery everywhere you look from Munken
There’s a large flat area on the North Top of Munken with 360 degree views
The colour of the water and the jagged peaks let you know you’re in the Lofoten Islands
Grand scenery coming off Munken including a view of Hermanndalstinden

Preparing for the Munkebu Hut hike

The hike to Munkebu Hut is straightforward in good weather – but if it’s rainy, there are rocky sections with chains that would be very slippery. If you’re not comfortable with that, save the hike for a dry day. If the fog rolls in, route-finding could also be an issue – and who likes hiking a mountain in the fog?

Always remember to pack the 10 hiking essentials and let someone know where you’re hiking and when you expect to finish.

There are no permits required for the Munkebu Hut hike, but if you do plan to stay in the hut, be sure to prepay and get the key. 

Pack out whatever you pack in, including toilet paper. Women might like the pee cloth available on Amazon. 

Please practice Leave No Trace principles.

The smooth rock section on the Munkebu Hut hike can be problematic on a rainy day

Where to stay nearby

The Lofoten Islands get busy in the summer, especially on weekends so I think you want to minimize the amount of time you’re driving.

There are loads of campervans, but we explored with a tiny car and a stay at a couple of different spots on the Lofoten Islands. If you’re planning to do a lot of hiking, I think you’ll find some of the best hikes are in the Reine to Ramberg corridor. I’d recommend staying somewhere in this area for many days, and then move to another for more hiking. I’d also suggest booking way in advance to get the exact dates that you want.

Some ideas include the following spots.

The Tide Hotel in Sørvågen is rated as fabulous.

Holmen Lofoten is rated superb. It comes with an onsite restaurant and bar. 

Closer to Reine is Olstind in Sakrisøy, rated exceptional.

Olenilsøy Cabins in Reine are rated as fabulous.

We stayed at Modern Rorbu Ryten 1 and did all are own cooking. It was very peaceful and we loved looking out over the water. It wasn’t fancy, beds were small, but the main rooms were spacious.

This area was a 3-minute walk from our rental place in Sund

Final thoughts

I hadn’t read anything about the Munkebu Hut hike before we visited the Lofoten Islands – but I am so thankful we did it – largely because it wasn’t too far a drive from where we were staying. It truly is an outstanding hike and the scenery is something else. I love my hiking in the Canadian Rockies but to see the panoramic view of the mountains and the ocean is a real treat. 

If you’re anywhere near Å or Reine, set aside a day to do the scenic Munkebu Hut hike – and if weather permits, I highly recommend a climb up Munken for the views.

What a landscape on the final approach to Munkebu Hut

Other things to do in Norway – and Europe

If you’re visiting Norway for the first time, be sure to read Attractions in Norway for the First Time Visitor.

Another great hike with a low effort – high reward in the Lofoten Islands is the Offersøykammen Hike.

Likely the most popular hike in the Lofoten Islands (though the crux of the outing is getting a parking space), Reinebringen rewards with a workout and outstanding views of Vestfjord along with the fishing villages of Reine and Hamnøy.

Are you a fan of multi-day hiking trips, but you prefer to stay in hotels? The Via Alpina in Switzerland offers fabulous scenery, one heck of a daily workout and creature comforts at night.

Need a great hike in the winter months? Head to Mallorca and tackle parts of the GR221. Valldemossa to Sóller was the highlight of our week long trip.

If you’ve always wanted to visit the South Bohemian region of Czechia, then you’ll want to include these 10 stops on your trip.

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