A world of Nordic adventures awaits
TEXT: ALYSSA NILSEN
Whale safari under the midnight sun, hikes in lush green hills, randonee skiing on snow-covered mountain tops or sailing into narrow fjords – with Visit Vesterålen, you can experience all these things and more.
In the Norwegian archipelago, north of the Arctic Circle, you will find the region of Vesterålen. Despite its location in the far north of Norway, the climate is maritime and relatively mild even in winter, making it the perfect location for adventures all year round. Visit Vesterålen offers a wide range of experiences, from nature and wildlife safaris under the midnight sun in the summer, to the opportunity of seeing the magical northern lights in the winter. And if you would like to get a little closer to the beautiful natural phenomenon, you can visit Andøya Space Center and join a virtual mission on Spaceship Aurora to explore the northern lights up close.
For those wanting an active holiday, there are 159 marked hiking trails, sports diving, and nature safari with the possibility of spotting various birds and animals like puffins, white-tailed sea eagles or moose. Vesterålen is also one of the very few places in the world where you can go on whale safaris all year long, giving you the opportunity of a once-in-a-lifetime experience under the midnight sun.
As well as all of this, Vesterålen has several mountains that are rounded and slightly more accessible than elsewhere in Norway, making them ideal for hiking or biking, even for inexperienced visitors. “We recommend that people delay their sleeping pattern,” says tourism director Astrid Berthinussen. “Biking under the midnight sun gives a completely different experience than what you get during the day. It’s a different kind of calm, and you get to see all the wildlife that is in hiding during the day.”
This summer, international stage race Arctic Race of Norway will also be coming through Vesterålen. Dubbed ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Bike Race’, day three will start in Sortland and end up in Stokmarknes.
Another essential part of Vesterålen is its Sami population, with its rich history and culture. The local family gives visitors a chance to learn about and experience the Sami culture, listen to their joik, hear their story, and taste traditional Sami meals. You can also meet reindeer up close and even go reindeer sledging in the winter time.