For those interested in learning more about the Norwegian history and culture, Vesterålen offers three primary attractions. As the birthplace of the Hurtigruten, Stokmarknes on the island of Hadseløya has a small museum dedicated to the company that has transported post, cargo and people along the Norwegian coastline for over a century. The second is the Sculpture Landscape Nordland project which comprises of 33 maritime themed sculptures which are installed in communities throughout the islands and include ‘The man from the Sea’ in the region of Bo; ‘Eye in Stone’ at Lodingen and ‘Days and Night’ in Hadsel.
This archipelago of four islands, linked by tunnels and bridges, and thousands of islets is a delight to explore at any time of year. During the winter months the mountain peaks, rural countryside, rolling hills, tiny hamlets, towns and sandy beaches are bathed in darkness and covered with a dusting of snow. The sun does not rise above the horizon here from 4 December to 9 January but, when it returns it brings with it an array of colours – pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, greys, blues and purples - which are mesmerising to observe.
This is the time of the fishing activity, of potential sea storms and of the Aurora Borealis all of which add to the magical appeal of the destination. Daylight hours increase rapidly throughout the spring until the time of the Midnight Sun when the sun does not set below the horizon (23 May to 22 July). To best experience this natural phenomenon head to the north coast of the archipelago or take a hike in the mountains and enjoy the scene from above.
Vesterålen is renowned for the abundance of wildlife attracted to the archipelago and is a nature lover’s and photographer’s paradise. Look up and you might see a Golden Eagle, White Tailed Eagle, Gannets, Puffins, Kittiwakes, Shag, Common guillemot, Arctic Skua or Fulmar. Take a boat trip to see sperm whales, humpback whales, minke whales, killer whales, pilot whales, Atlantic white-sided dolphins and harbour seals.
Enjoy a leisurely drive in search of Moose and Reindeer, or head inland to one of the many lakes and rivers to fish for salmon and trout. With road and ferry connections to the Lofoten archipelago, direct flights to Oslo and to Tromsø, Vesterålen is an ideal as a one-centre destination or as part of a longer multi-centre break.