On an exploratory trip in Vesterålen

There is always something new around every corner and over the next bridge crossing to another island here in the Vesterålen archipelago. White beaches, perfectly sculptured mountain tops and endless sea views take your breath away. Small museums and galleries celebrate the fishing and fisheries culture and heritage while newly established centres of interest concentrate on modern day industries such as aquaculture and space travel.

Round trip
2014-06-1912:25 visitvesteralen.no

Andøy

Andøy lies in the north of the region. On the west side of the island, along the new National Tourist Route, we find galleries, the charming village of Bleik and north Europe’s longest (2.5km) white sandy beach. Off the coast lies Bleik Island, home to an eagle colony and breeding ground to more than 80,000 puffins. The coastal path to Måtind provides for a perfect mountain walk.

Andenes (admin. centre in the region) has a number of attractions, sights and landmarks. These include the Polar Museum, the Whale Centre, the lighthouse and the space ship Aurora. Whale safaris are on offer from Andenes either in a RIB or on a much larger boat. In the summer there is a ferry service to Gryllefjord in Senja.

Known as the folklore borough. Bø Museum at Vinjesjøen is all about myths, folklore and story telling. You can enjoy the magical mystery trail and learn about the fascinating local history. Not far from the museum, looking out to the mouth of the fjord, stands Culture Landscape, Nordland’s statue «The Man from the Sea».

Festivals and market days such as the culture festival «Reginedagan» (named after local author Regine Normann) take place every summer. Bø has wonderful cycle routes and fantastic sheltered waters for paddlers. For a real, idyllic summer experience, visit Nykvåg and Hovden and their surrounding areas. Here you’ll find pathways, white sandy beaches and a teeming bird life. 

Hadsel

Stokmarknes, in Hadsel, is Hurtigruten’s (the Coastal Express) birthplace. Here, the old MS Finnmarken has been brought up on to dry land to be an exhibit in the official Hurtigrute Museum.

On the west side of Hadsel Island heading towards Melbu, the landscape features steep mountain slopes on the right and panoramic views over to Lofoten on the left. Vesterålen Museum and the Fishing Industry Museum are located in Melbu and concerts are often arranged in one of the old herring oil tanks in the harbour. The «Summer Melbu» festival is a highlight in the region’s cultural calender. With a relatively low treeline, Hadsel Island is ideal for both experienced walkers and those who prefer just to enjoy the wonderful views. A guided tour to Mt. Møysalen, selected as Norway’s finest scenic experience, is highly recommended for anyone who wishes a longer and a little more demanding mountain walk. The majestic Trollfjord, known for it’s narrow entrance and steep mountain walls, lies furthest south in the rural borough of Hadsel.

Sortland

Sortland, also known as «the blue town», after an idea of local artist Bjørn Elvenes, serves not only as the commercial centre for Vesterålen but also houses a number of galleries, photographic exhibitions, a brand new culture centre and a museum. Artscape Nordland’s statue «Ocean Eye» stands on the quayside, in the centre of the town. Just a few kilometers away from the centre, in Kvalsaukan, one can get a taste of local Sami culture and meet the charming reindeer «Lillebror». The aquaculture centre in Blokken focuses on fish farming and breeding. For those who prefer the mountains and fjords, there are numerous signposted pathways of varying degrees of difficulty throughout the rural borough

Øksnes 

The fishing borough of Øksnes has much to offer families, nature lovers and culture enthusiasts alike. The historic fishing village of Nyksund has become a main attraction in the region due to it’s special architecture, relaxed atmosphere and excellent restaurants. The active fishing village of Stø is also worth a visit with attractions such as sea fishing and both bird and whale safaris.

«Dronningruta» (the Queen’s Route) is a pathway that runs between the two villages. This 5 - 8 hour long round trip is considered to be one of the most picturesque and varied walks in the region, wandering up into the mountains and back down to the sea to follow the coastline. Further west in the borough lie a collection of islands known as Øksnes Vestbygd. The express boat provides a daily service between the main islands. Many choose to ’hop’ from one island to another while others simply take a round trip on the boat to really enjoy the Vesterålen archipelago.