Visit Vesterålen

Bird Cliff - Nykvag, Vesterålen

Although the landscapes here aren't as dramatic as those in Lofoten, they tend to be much wilder and the forested mountainous regions of Hinnøya represent a unique element in Norway's largely treeless northern coast. (The guidebook Lonely Planet describes Vesterålen).

Vesterålen Towns and Regions

Vesterålen means the balmy breeze of summer, green slopes, playfully rippling water and gentle, welcoming landscapes. Yet Vesterålen is no stranger to autumn blizzards that strip the tarmac off the roads. It also knows biting cold winters and rugged mountains.

Vesterålen's attitude is frank and joyful; at the same time scientific and adventurous. Is Moby Dick still around? Vesterålen knows the din of bird cliffs; it has room for old churches and country stores, towering cliffs, fishing vessels out at sea, abandoned villages, busy municipal centres, and pale nights spent with friendly neighbors.

The Man from the Sea is Bø Municipality's contribution to the internationally renowned Artscape Nordland. The artist Kjell Erik Killi Olsen has bolted the Man from the Sea to a rock where fishermen and their waiting families have a wide view of the sea.

Bø is the promised land for birds and ornithologists alike. The kittiwake enjoys village life in Nykvåg. In the middle of the village there is a bird cliff housing several thousands of couples. In the summer, you have excellent «seats» here for scenes of everyday life in a bustling bird colony.

In Hadsel you can conquer Møysalen, the highest mountain in Vesterålen, or capture the Trollfjord, one of Norway's most famous fjords. The Vesterålen Museum at Melbu will introduce you to the entire region. The story about the Coastal Express started in Stokmarknes where Captain Richard With founded Vesterålen's Dampskibsselskab (lit. steamer company) in 1881.

The Coastal Express Museum tells you the story of the «highway of the coast» by means of exhibitions and a multivision show of a voyage through four seasons, from Bergen to Kirkenes. Sortland is both an administrative centre, with all the facilities of a town, and the gate to a fairy tale land, Vesterålen.

There's a distinct smell of chewing tobacco at the Jennestad Trading Post. You can still envisage Knut Hamsun coming in here, a few kilometres north of Sortland. The poet from Nordland spent several periods of his life in Vesterålen. Behind its 17 metre long counter, and in its 153 drawers the old trading post at Jennestad keeps countless secrets. But you can feast your eyes, and you can touch and smell and listen.

The Øksnes islands invite you for a journey into a coastal realm. Here you will find the local store, the vicarage, the church and a an old boat yard, but you will need a boat to get here. The local ferry service runs scheduled trips around Vestbygd all year round. Out at sea, we come to the Tinden trading post, a genuine North Norwegian country store, if ever there was one, from the last century. The country store, which is worthy of preservation, is still in use.

You can join whale safaris and other exciting activities from Nyksund and Stø. Nyksund is an abandoned fishing hamlet with a very special history and architecture. Stø is a distinctive fishing village on the northern tip of Langøy.
blue city


For those studying Social Anthropology, Myre is the place to be. This wild-western-like village is very untypical Norwegian in its own typical way. Myre is a strange combination of Norwegian and American lifestyle. As a consequence, people end up with names as Bon Kåre, Steve Johan, Barry Anders etc.


Nyksund started as an attractive fishing-village in the 19th century. Later, the people got bored and Nyksund had to continued as an abolished fishing village. Today, the abolished fishing village of Nyksund is both attractive and popular. It's definitely a must-see once you visit Vesterålen.


Stokmarknes is the birth place of both hurtigruta and most of the newborn population of Vesterålen. January 1st, 2000, Stokmarknes got the title of city.


If you want to hear jazz music played inside what looks like an over sized hermetic can, Melbu is the place to be. Melbu is a rather picturesque village with a rich culture life and an alley with its very own fan club.


Despite the small size, Andenes is one of Norway's most exposed communities. Andenes is the "capital" of the Andøya island and is an excellent base for whale watching. Also, notice the use of the word "AND" (meaning "duck") in any other word.


Jennestad is the name of an old trading post 8 km west of Sortland. The trading post at Jennestad is among Nordland County's large and impressive commercial communities that were developed at the end of the 19th century. From 15 June to 15 August, it's open weekdays from 11 am to 5 pm.

It is believed that the Vesterålen region together with the, sorry to say, far more famous Lofoten region once were attached to the North American crustal plate. What we do know is that the mountains of the region are among the oldest mountains in the world.

The World's Most Beautiful Island Kingdom

Vesterålen is the archipelago north of Lofoten, now introducing herself as a new cruise destination. The group of Vesterålen comprises Andøy, Hadseløy, the western portion of Hinnøy and the northern portion of Austvågøy - with a combined area of 3268 square kilometres. The Vesterålen area offers breathtakingly unique and varied natural surroundings, a diverse abundance of fauna and birdlife, bird rocks, outdoor activities, boating, deep sea fishing, whale safaris, thriving local villages and bustling fishing communities, historical journeys and cultural monuments, ancient grave mounds, Artscape sculptures, museums, galleries, and last but not least - a hospitable and friendly population that keeps alive a vibrant coastal culture.


Welcome to Sortland - the Blue City by the Sea! The cruise ship docks at the new harbour terminal - City centre is only a short stroll away.


Versatile Shopping Opportunities: In all, there are some 250 shops and service businesses in the city.

The Blue City:

Sortland municipality's millenium celebration was marked by a resolution to paint the facades of city centre blue. The innovation has attracted attention even outside of Norway, Writings on a Field of Blue; Versesadorning many of the blue facades like an outdoor book of poetry.

The Artists' Residence:
This venerable building hosts exhibitions by a number of different artists.

Sortland Church:
A wooden church built in 1901.
baat i fjord, Vesterålen

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