Brønnøysund, Norway

Brønnøysund and the bridge to the Torget island, seen from Mofjellet Photo: Wikipedia/Upnorthosl

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Overview

Visitors approaching Brønnøysund from the sea can have a splendid opportunity to get a glimpse of the Vega Archipelago World Heritage Site before arriving to this Norwegian port. It depends on the ship’s route, of course, but for passengers on board a cruise ship it will be hard to miss the unique archipelago.

The Vega archipelago consists of some 6,500 islands and islets, spread over more than 385 square miles/1,000 square kilometers. The result: outstanding preconditions for animal life in various forms – not least birds. Numerous greylag geese, barnacle geese and cormorants, but, above all, eider ducks. It’s not a coincidence that the islands off Brønnøysund for a long time have been at the center of eiderdown trade.

Just south of Brønnøysund is another quite unique island: Torget. Not part of the Vega archipelago, Torget has become famous because of the Torghatten mountain. The hole that pierces right through it gives it a distinct character.

There’s a legend about how the hole in the mountain came to be. According to this myth, the wayward troll Hestmannen tried to catch Lekamøya – the daughter of another troll. When he couldn’t catch Lekamøya, the bad-tempered Hestmannen decided to shoot her instead. Fortunately, a benevolent troll king threw his hat between the two, stopping the arrow. The hat was petrified into the Torghatten mountain. Torghatten is a must-see for many visitors to Brønnøysund.

The town itself, with its approximately 5,000 inhabitants, is situated smack dab in the middle of Norway, with the North Atlantic as its closest neighbor. Although the nearby islands are at the center of attention for many of those who visit this small town, Brønnøysund itself is located on a peninsula.

Brønnøysund Airport connects the town with the capital city of Oslo, as well as with Bodø in the north and Trondheim in the south. Another important means of communications here is Hurtigruten, which calls daily in the port.

Brønnøysund in winter shroud Photo: Wikipedia/Clemensfranz

Brønnøysund For Cruise Passengers

Cruise ships dock close to the town center. Tourist information is available some 165 feet/50 meters from the pier, at the center of Brønnøysund.

Do Not Miss

  • Torghatten is the name of the mountain with the peculiar-looking hole, a result of sea erosion during the ice age. The hole is 525 feet/160 meters long and 115 feet/35 meters high. Walking the prepared pathway to the hole takes about 30 minutes. Torghatten is situated on the island of Torget, some 8.7 miles/14 kilometers south of Brønnøysund. Torget was important during the Viking Age, both as a trading place and as a base for chieftains.
  • You will find the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre on the island of Toft, some 4.8 miles/7.7 kilometers from Brønnøysund. This development centre for Norwegian fish farming and marine life is open for visitors, providing a fascinating insight into this industry. Fish farming is important to Norway: most of the salmon consumed in the world has been farmed here.
  • The Vega Archipelago was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2004. The most convenient way to experience the islands is on a guided tour. The archipelago is an ideal place for bird watching. Don’t miss the Museum of the Eider Ducks in Nes, a museum that chronicles the eider trade on Vega.
  • During the Second World War, Brønnøysund was occupied by German forces who built a coastal fort at Skarsåsen. Combine an open-air experience with a history lesson and go exploring in the trenches and tunnels.
  • Close to the Velfjorden, Nevernes Havn gives an insight into the coastal heritage of the Helgeland region from the 16th century to the present day (Brønnøysund is a part of the Helgeland region). Right next to the Nevernes Havn (which translates to Nevernes Harbor), you will find the Nævernes Gaard. This converted barn houses a World War II museum as well as a banquet hall.
  • With a large number of islands in close proximity to the town, and a good range of ferry services available, island hopping is popular among Brønnøysund visitors. Island hopping can be combined with cycling on the various islands. Bikes can be rented at the tourist office in Brønnøysund.
  • Brønnøysund and the surrounding area is well-suited for a range of activities associated with water, such as kayaking, boat tours, and fishing.
  • Hildurs Herb Garden is the only wine-and-herb garden in North Norway. With more than 200 plants, the garden might have the ability to surprise visitors: There are many plants that can be successfully grown even at this latitude.

Shore Excursions

Various shore excursions can be available from Brønnøysund, many of which will take in one or several of the sights listed above under Do Not Miss.

Getting Further

It’s 535 miles/865 kilometers to Oslo, Norway’s capital. Trondheim is the nearest major city: 235 miles/375 kilometers away.

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