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At the most unbelievable places,
... and in the tiniest spaces...
Norway's coast is dotted with cosy and picturesque fishing villages.
Today many of them are transformed into a blissful haven also for tourists, where you can enjoy first-class seafood straight from the sea ...
... and embrace the slow-paced life and stay in a traditional fisherman's cabin, called rorbu or sjøhus.
And when the sun sets during winter, the harbor might get a stunning backdrop by the auroras, or midnight sun in summer.
The fiskevær also offers plenty of activities in the surrounding areas.
Kayak between islets and skerries ...
... go hiking for fantastic views, or take a coastal walk.
Which Norwegian fishing village would you like to visit?
The people of Norway have a long and rich history of living from and with the sea. The seasonal fishing of skrei (The Arctic cod) is the reason people were able to survive so far north. Stockfish (dried skrei) was Norway's most important export item for hundreds of year, and you can still sense the "smell of money", as they put it in Northern Norway, from the stockfish that hang on the racks in many of our operative fiskevær, small fishing villages.
The growing fish trade with European countries made trading cities and a broad range of fiskevær appear along the Norwegian coastline, especially along the Western coast of Fjord Norway and, most widespread, in Northern Norway.
Read more about how the skrei built Norway.
In old times, there were often no other roads but the sea. Therefore, you find many of the most famous fiskevær in very unique and pittoresque places, close to the fishing fields, and on islands and in remote places that it can take a while to drive to, but that used to be situated in the middle of the "sea road".
This was particularly important when the fishermen had to row their small wooden boats out to the fishing grounds, before the steam boats and small motorized fishing vessels, sjarker, became the normal, and were able to go further out.
During the skrei season, the small fishing village of Henningsvær in Lofoten could look like this:
The tiny fiskevær provided simple housing for both locals and seasonal fishermen coming from all over the country, who lived off the wondrous open sea. But you can also find some stately væreierboliger, the houses where the væreier, the trade lords, lived, and ruled over basically everything, from the store and the lodging, to the fishing grounds and the harbour facilities, often even the church! Their power ceased gradually, but many were still prominent until the 1970ties.
Their houses were often white painted, because this was the most expensive colour. The other houses were often painted ocre yellow or red, as these colours were much cheaper. You will still find this mix of colours in many typical Norwegian fiskevær.
Today, it is also very popular to stay in one of the refurbishes fisherman's cabins, called rorbuer.
Fishery is still an important part of many fiskevær, but today, many of the traditional fishing villages have gained new life thanks to tourists and creative people that have moved there, opening eateries, galleries, hand craft shops and soulful places to stay.
From Southern Norway through Fjord Norway and all along the coast to Kirkenes in Northern Norway, you'll find charming, authentic fishing villages worth visiting. Some are perfect if you are looking for the luxury of silence and relaxation, others are perfect for adventure-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. Many also host different kind of festivals, from poetry and jazz to rock'n roll!
What they all have in common is the location by the sea, close to the fishing grounds and natural harbors. Foodies that are fond of local specialities will find out there's lots to satisfy your taste-buds with along the Norwegian coast, mostly based on fresh fish and seafood.
Or maybe you will catch a fish yourself? We have a sexy (!) little trick for improving your fish luck!
You find most of Norway's most famous fishing villages in Northern Norway. The typical photographed landscape motifs with red rorbu cabins nestled beneath mighty mountains is to be seen everywhere, and lots of evidence of Northern Norway's skrei fishing heritage.
Sample traditional fiskesuppe (fish soup) or bacalao, skrei (the arctic cod) prepared in many different ways, king crab, and of course you must try real tørrfisk, stockfish. The lamb meat in this area is also particularly tasty.
Here are some of the most popular fiskevær:
Here, you can visit fiskevær after fiskevær! Henningsvær is probably the most famous and iconic fishing village, filled with hip cafes, restaurants, independent shops and world class art galleries, like the renowned Kaviar Factory. Add yoga classes, a sauna visit or a festival at Trevarefabrikken, and join a climbing course at Klatrekaféen.
Kabelvåg, Ballstad and Stamsund are also popular places to stay and do activities like hiking, fishing and kayaking. Furter out, you find the famous fiskevær of Nusfjord, which actually is a cosy and living fiskevær museum, and further out the instagram-friendly villages of Reine, Sørvågen and Å. In Kabelvåg and Å, you can also find interesting museums describing the history of the fishing villages.
It is also highly recommended to take a boat trip (free if you don't bring a car on the ferry!) to the fiskevær in the small islands of Skrova, Røst and Værøy, all very authentic and with a thriving fishing industry.
Has got one of the most unique fiskevær in Norther Norway: Nyksund. From being one of the most important fishing villages in the 20th century, Nyksund became a ghost town after World War II. However, in the last years a group of idealistic Germans blew life into the village again. Today, this small and quirky community of just a dozen habitants have several good restaurants, art galleries, places to stay and even a recording studio. It has a very creative and hip vibe found nowhere else, and is a popular place for remote workers and digital nomads.
Stø is another important and small fiskevær in Vesterålen, where you can join a whale safari. You can also go whale watching from Andenes, which is more like a small fishing town with a lot of other things going on and a space centre. Skipnes and Tinden are tiny gems, and nice to visit during summer, while Myre is a more modern fishing port.
A short drive from the city of Bodø, you find the old trading post of Kjerringøy, with a great museum and beautiful surrondings.
If you take the express boat between Bodø and Sandnessjøen longer south, you can also visit several tiny fiskevær along the Helgelandskysten coast, like Fleinvær, Støtt, Vega, Lovund, Myken and Træna, to name a few.
Check them out in this article:
In Senja, you should visit the unique fishing village of Husøy, a very active local community tucked together on a tiny island surrounded by dramatic mountains. There are also several other beautiful fiskevær scattered around the wild island, like Mefjordvær and Hamn.
Outside Tromsø, a trip to the white beaches and cosy restaurants at Sommarøy is not to miss, where herring export is the big business. Havnnes Handelssted is Norway’s northernmost trading post which is still in operation, situated at the island of Uløya by the Lyngenfjord.
To experience the fishing villages in remote places in Troms and Finnmark, you should take a trip with Hurtigruten, that passes through many of them, for example Havøysund, Kjøllefjord, Berlevåg and Honningsvåg.
From Honningsvåg, you won't miss Skarsvåg in Finnmark, the world's northernmost fishing village. Explore the treeless landscape on a snowmobile, go fishing for giant king crabs on a RIB boat, and take a trip out to The North Cape and Knivskjellodden, the northernmost point in Europe.
Along the Trøndelag coast you also find some old, well preserved fiskevær on small islands far out in the sea, like Sør-Gjæslingan, that was the biggest fiskevær south of Lofoten in old times. You can take an express boat here during summer and stay for the night. You can also stay in a rorbu on tiny Titran on the island of Frøya, and take the local boat over to Mausundvær and head for some nights in Mausund, one of Central Norway's biggest living fiskevær.
Are you visiting the western coast of Norway? Look forward to local specialities like clipfish (dried and salted cod) and bacalao. These dishes is strongly associated with these certain coastal areas, as many of the fishing villages experienced a major boom due to clip fish production, especially the Møre region in the Northwest.
You feel like you're driving straight out into the Atlantic Ocean as you make your way to the tiny fishing village of Veiholmen, which is connected to the main island of Smøla, by road and bridges. Veiholmen is equally beautiful on a sunny summer day as on a stormy day, and watch the sea eagles hovering overhead.
You can also come here by boat from Trondheim or Kristiansund:
In the ocean gap at the far end of the Romsdal coast you'll find Norway's southernmost living fishing village, Ona. On the tiny island you'll find a small café, pottery and handcraft workshops, nice fishing spots and a white beach. The most famous attraction is the lighthouse Ona Fyr from 1867.
Two other fiskevær close by are also very popular with tourists during the summer months. Visit the small village of Bud, close to Molde, and the island of Grip, where you can take the ferry from Kristiansund.
Further south, there are also plenty of other charming and buzzing coastal villages along the coast, all the way from Bergen to Lindesnes and Oslo.
They possess a bit different kind of charm, thanks to a milder climate, with glittering sea, warm skerries and white wooden houses in narrow streets. Eat prawns in the sun, and try freshly grilled mackerel. Mmm!
Take a closer look at them in these articles:
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