Torghatten – Hiking Norway’s ‘Hole in the Mountain’
Norway is renowned for its postcard scenery. The pristine landscapes of fjords and snow-crested mountains, the white traditional houses and the shimmering Northern Lights draw admirers from around the globe. Add in a sprinkle of Viking mythology and you have the perfect ingredients for a fairytale story. And yet there’s more, have you heard of Torghatten?
Torghatten is Norway’s very own mystical ‘hole in the mountain’, which of course, has its very own legend attached.
Torghatten – A unique attraction in Norway
Torghatten – Where is it in Norway?
Torghatten is found on the western coast of central Norway, on the island of Torget in Brønnøy Municipality of Nordland county. It lies just 15 km from Brønnøysund, the main administrative centre of Brønnøy Municipality. We visited Torghatten as part of our road trip north including as many of Norway’s best hikes as we could.
Torghatten or the ‘hole in the mountain’ is older than the Vikings themselves. Actually, much much older. If you follow science, during the ice-age, the continued weathering of the granite mountain opened up a hole which we can see today. The hole is huge; roughly 160 metres long (525 ft) by 20 metres wide (66 ft) and 35 metres high (115 ft).
However, the Norse legend of how Torghatten came to be, is much more enthralling…
The Legend of Torghatten
And so the story goes … When Hestmannen the troll laid eyes upon the beautiful Lekamøya, he decided that he would steal her away at night. Hestmannen mounted his horse and rode in pursuit of the one he wanted but Lekamøya fled, thwarting his attempt. All the while, the troll-king of Sømna was watching not far away.
Torghatten takes the shape of a hat with its characteristic arrow-hole; seen at sunset
As night turned to morning, the disappointed and rejected Hestmannen notched an arrow to his bow, aimed it at the desperate Lekamøya and let it fly. However, the troll-king of Sømna flung his hat in the path of the arrow causing it to be holed but it was enough to save Lekamøya from certain death. The hat fell to the ground and at that moment, the sun pierced the horizon turning everything to stone.
And so the Torghatten or ‘hole in the mountain’ legend was borne. Literally translated, Torghatten means ‘square hat’.
Video: Torghatten Hike (Sneak Preview)
Take a sneak peek of our Torghatten hike.
Map: Torghatten and Brønnøysund
To use this map, expand it using the square symbol on the top right-hand side and you will find the key on the left-hand side.
Getting to Torghatten
Fly / Drive Combo
Brønnøysund hosts a regional airport with flights to the main Norwegian centres; Oslo, Trondheim, Bødo and Bergen. If you are flying in, then hire cars are available from the airport.
If driving the main route E6 south, then the turnoff towards Brønnøysund / Torghatten is 7.5km south of the village of Strendene. If travelling north on the E6, the turnoff is 27km north of Majavatn.
From this turnoff, its 97 km to Brønnøysund plus an extra 15km to make it to Torghatten.
Norway’s coastal ferry, a combined passenger and freight service, has a total of 11 ships – 7 operated by ‘Hurtigruten’ and 4 by ‘Havila Shipping’. Brønnøysund is just one port stop of a total of 34, starting in Bergen and travelling north to Kirkenes, visiting remote coastal towns.
Where to Stay Near Torghatten
We stayed in Brønnøysund at the Corner Hotell and can recommend this establishment which includes a fabulous breakfast and wifi. If you’re looking for other hotel options then you can find them here on booking.com.
We’ve included the closest 3 camp-sites to Torghatten on the map above which are:
- Mosheim Camping Anna Jensen, Mosheim 43, 8908 Brønnøysund, Norway. Tel: +47 75 02 20 12
Skogmo Family Camping, Skomo 64, 8908 Brønnøysund, Norway. Tel: +47 90 95 75 21
Kjellsand Camping, Kjellsand, 8908 Brønnøysund, Norway
Essential Hiking Information and 3 Hiking Route Options
There are different walking routes around Torghatten, each with different degrees of difficulty and specific colour coding as assessed in Norway.
The optimal season to visit Torghatten is between May and September. There is a dedicated car park as shown on the map which also marks the start of the trail.
When considering any sort of hike, the wearing of good hiking shoes, dressing to account for a sudden change in weather and carrying adequate water is the norm.
Route 1 – Car Park to Torghatten Hole (Return)
- Hike Difficulty: Medium (Blue) (requires some hiking experience and an average fitness level)
- Hike Duration: 1-hour duration
- Elevation Gain: 100m
Route 2 – Car Park to and through Torghatten Hole, down to the sea and back around the mountain to the car park
- Hike Difficulty: Demanding (Red) (for experienced walkers with a high fitness level)
- Hike Duration: 2.5 hours
- Elevation Gain: 100m
Route 3 – Car Park to and through Torghatten Hole, down to the sea, back around the mountain, up to Torghatten peak and back to the car park
- Hike Difficulty: Demanding (Red) (for experienced walkers/high fitness level)
- Hike Duration: 4.5 hours
- Elevation Gain: 250m
From the car park, a well-maintained trail winds through some scrubby vegetation before reaching the mountain base. From here, the next 10 minutes involves a short steep walk up the stone-steps and rocks right to the opening.
Last incline from the car park before entering the hole in the mountain
At the entrance to Torghatten’s hole, looking back behind you gives impressive and uninterrupted views back to Brønnøysund.
Late afternoon views from the ‘hole’ back to Brønnøysund
Looking down into the hole, you can now realise just how big this is. This 160-metre long, 20 metre wide and 35-metre high cavern, is enormous. It’s by no means flat bottomed. From the top, you can see that the rock lip falls away to the floor of the cavern but don’t worry, you won’t have to put yourself in jeopardy as a solid stairwell following the rock wall, descends to the floor.
‘Hole in the Mountain’ with the stairway
Although we didn’t count the number of steps, we estimate that there are around 120 steps from top to bottom. The cavern floor is littered with good-sized rocks that require a bit of careful navigation. We were on the hunt and found some geocaches that were placed nearby which adds some extra excitement.
Looking out from the western end of the hole reveals a beautiful landscape. It’s just so Norwegian with the isolated red-farmhouses amongst the bottle-green, grassy fields and a backdrop of a hundred small islands.
Tip: The best photos of Torghatten’s ‘hole in the mountain’ are from the shoreline just past the farmhouses.
Great views from the western side of the hole, close to sunset
The walk down the mountain winds through small trees and rocky ground eventually passing the red-farmhouses you see from the top. Keep to the path and walk down to the shoreline. Looking back will give you the opportunity for some ‘hero’ photos right through the hole, including Torghatten mountain with the red wooden farmhouses. Perfect!
Views to Torghatten on the walk down to the coast
There are many great shots to be had … just choose your spot!
Shooting for the reflections of the ‘hole’ on the water
Hike Back to the Car Park with an Optional Hike Up Torghatten Peak
Hiking back to the car park is easy as you can just follow the gravel road which skirts the mountain base. It’s a nice flat bit of walking covering about 1.8km and is not too strenuous. You can also search for a few geocaches along the way.
Around the half-way point on this return walk is a red-arrow sign indicating the direction of the hike up to Torghatten peak. The ascent of 1.6km to the peak has a couple of steep ridges along the way but hand-rails are in place to assist with the climb. The views at the top of the surrounding landscape are said to be fantastic. Unfortunately, we didn’t do this climb.
Torghatten Hike Round-Up
There’s no doubt about it, being able to see and actually walk through mighty Torghatten, the ‘hole in the mountain’, sure was a first for us and definitely a unique experience in Norway. There are many fjords, waterfalls and quaint towns in Norway but there’s only one Torghattan.
If you have the time, then we really do recommend that you give some serious thought to including this on your itinerary. Whether a feat of Mother Nature or a Troll-King legacy, this mountain is sure to leave you with lasting memories.
Have you visited Torghatten? Tempted? Have you visited other amazing locations that have a ‘hole in the mountain’? We’d love to know so please feel free to share a comment in the box below.
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