Go to content Go to navigation
Bicycling in Vesterålen, Norway - Photo: Roy Odd Schøyen
Bicycling in Vesterålen, Norway Photo: Roy Odd Schøyen

What to do in Vesterålen

Vesterålen has a lot of opportunities, whether you want to explore the islands yourself or are more interested in guided trips and safaris.

Whale safaris

Vesterålen is located on the edge of the continental shelf, where the nutrient-rich ocean is a primary feeding ground for whales. This geographical privilege makes the area perfect for whale safaris. Here one can experience some of the world's largest sea mammals at close range. From May to September, whale safaris are arranged from the ports of Andenes and Stø, both situated on the seaward side of Vesterålen. Join one of the following safaris:

Sea kayaking

All the way from the Trollfjord in the south to Andenes in the north you will enjoy sensational paddling opportunities that will give you a feeling of being at one with nature, and you can enjoy this alone as an experienced paddler or as a member of a guided excursion. You can glide calmly over a mirror like surface, or you can surf on breakers coming in from the open ocean.

If you are an experienced paddler, you can explore the seaward side of the Vesterålen islands and experience the area in all its whimsical temperament. Here you will find steep mountain walls and cliffs, well-known bird sanctuaries and challenging sea conditions. The outer side of Bø and Øksnes are very highly recommended. You can also sign up for a guided paddling excursion.

For the less experienced kayakers, there are calm fjords and skerries that are very suitable for paddling. In these areas it is also much easier to get ashore if the weather should suddenly change for the worse. The Eidsfjord and its branches, such as the Olderfjord, Mellfjord and Hellfjord, offer alternatives to the open ocean. And if you are a total novice, you can sign up for a beginner's course.

If you do not own your own kayak, or are travelling light, you can hire a kayak with all the necessary equipment from one of the following:

Nature safaris

Vesterålen is the realm of hundreds of islands which form a natural skerry landscape. The terrain varies from craggy alpine mountains to gentle, green hillsides, deep valleys, chalk-white sandy beaches and narrow fjords. In no other place in the world does the Gulf Stream come as close in towards the shoreline as it does in Vesterålen. Because of the warm and nutrient-rich ocean currents, Vesterålen is host during the summer to teeming bird life and practically unparalleled flora.

Local nature guides are ready to take you on an adventure offering close encountera with sea birds or with the lord of the forest – the elk – or perhaps a wandering herd of reindeer.

Perhaps other adventures appeal to you – what about a seal and bird safari to the Bleiksøya Bird Preserve and Anda Lighthouse, or a boat trip into the famous Trollfjord? During late autumn and early winter killer whale safaris are arranged out of Lødingen/Offersøy in the Vestfjord firth.

Contact the following companies for more information and booking:


Cycling around Vesterålen opens for magic experiences for the visitor who has sufficient time to take one day at a time. The routes are easy to cycle, with very little hilly terrain and many stretches that are practically free of motorised traffic. In other words, the roads are suitable for bicycles with a trailer and a small amount of baggage cargo.

If you need inspiration and tips on bicycle routes in Vesterålen, you can visit the tourist information in Vesterålen's cycling web pages or order a combined bicycle and touring map, as well as the cycling guide.

Contact the following companies for more information:

Fishing and boating

Some of Norway's richest fishing grounds are located in Vesterålen. Traditional fishing villages are well worth a visit, whether they are old, abandoned fishing stations or newer, modern fishing ports bustling with maritime activity.

Many visitors want to come to Vesterålen precisely for the good fishing they find here. The most common species are cod, coalfish, haddock and redfish, but it is also possible to catch salmon and sea trout or even a giant halibut.

The ice fishing season runs from February to April. Abundant lakes provide ample opportunities to catch trout and char. Fishing contests are arranged during the season. Fishing licences can be purchased locally.

Contact the following companies for more information and booking: 

Book your stay and transportation now

Best prices guaranteed by BookNorway. 

  • Cottages and cabins 
    Search among more than 2,500 cottages and cabins.
  • Hotels 
    Search for hotels at 600 Norwegian destinations.
  • Flights 
    Search all flight options to and within Norway.
  • Ferries 
    Search the widest selection of ferry lines and routes.
  • Car rental 
    Search for car rental and compare prices at more than 100 destinations.
Last updated:  2012-12-20
 - Photo: Odd Eirik Einarsen
 - Photo: Puffinsafari, Bleik
 - Photo: Bente Myhre
 - Photo: Nornet

Interest:  Canoeing & Kayaking, Cycling, Fishing, Hiking, Wildlife safari

Embed this article

Copy and paste this code into your blog/website


Bicycling in Vesterålen, Norway - Photo: Roy Odd Schøyen

What to do in Vesterålen

Vesterålen has a lot of opportunities, whether you want to explore the islands yourself or are more interested in guided trips and safaris.

What to do in Vesterålen

Source: Visitnorway


Attractions in Vesterålen

Visit the Whale Centre in Andenes, the fishing village of Nyksund, Møysalen National Park and experience the narrow Trollfjord from a boat.

Winter in Vesterålen

Try deep sea fishing under the northern lights this winter. This is one of several exciting activities you can enjoy in the Vesterålen Islands.

Whale Safari

- Whale, shouts the captain as he points eagerly in front of the ship. Full of anticipation we make our way to the gunnel and see the whale’s blow.

About Øksnes, Andøy, Hadsel, Sortland, Bø I Vesterålen

Key facts about Vesterålen

Some of the country's richest fishing grounds are located in Vesterålen.

Tourist information for Vesterålen

The tourist information for Vesterålen, situated in Sortland, is open all year round. There are also local tourist offices in each municipality.

Related videos

  • Ad
  • Ad
  • Ad
  • Ad