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5 must-see places above the Arctic Circle

Highlights of the north
Take a hike around the clock at Senja, dive into Blåisvatnet lake, or simply kick back and enjoy the majestic scenery at Andøya. Here are some of Northern Norway’s hot spots.
A man standing on the tip of a mountain in the midnight sun at Senja
Midnight sun at Senja.
Photo: Steffen Fossbakk

    In recent years, The Lofoten Islands have attracted great attention on social media. Pictures of steep mountains, deep fjords and the midnight sun have made people want to drop everything and book a ticket to the archipelago located far above the Arctic Circle.

    In addition to the world-famous Lofoten, Northern Norway is home to several other photogenic destinations – only with fewer visitors and more space.

    The Norwegian nature photographer Steffen Fossbakk has travelled all over Northern Norway and captured many of these scenic destinations on his camera. Today, Fossbakk has more than a hundred thousand followers on Instagram, and every week he shares new shots of the region’s wild and untouched nature.

    But where to go? Luckily, Fossbakk is happy to share some of his favourite destinations, where you can seek your inner explorer and enjoy photogenic nature and a feeling of exclusivity.

    Northern Norway is the largest region of mainland Norway, however, Fossbakk does not need to travel far from his home in Finnses to find stunning locations for his photography. Some of his favorite spots are located just a stone's throw away, at Senja island - midway between Lofoten and Tromsø.

    “Nicknamed the fairy tale island, this paradise has become a new favourite among people all around the globe. Steep mountains, beautiful fjords, wildlife and a fascinated history makes Senja one of Norway’s hottest spots to visit”, he says.

    Even though Senja is an up-and-coming destination among travellers, you are guaranteed more space for yourself here than many other popular destinations in Norway. Senja is actually Norway's second largest island (after Hinnøya) and covers more than 1,500 square kilometers.

  1. 2. Andøya island

  2. This might surprise you – the picture below is actually not captured at Hawaii. This tropical beach is located far above the Arctic Circle, at the island of Andøya in Vesterålen.

    “The island is an incredible destination for those who like easy hikes with amazing views”, Fossbakk says.

    During summer, you are welcome to choose from a wealth of trails for hiking and biking, or you can spend the day sunbathing at one of the white beaches along the coast.

    Sunny days in Andenes🌿

    Et innlegg delt av Steffen Fossbakk (@seffis)

  3. 3. Blåisvatnet lake in the Lyngenfjord region

  4. The intense colour makes Blåisvatnet perhaps Norway’s most picturesque lake, but some might say it doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.

    “The lake is one of the hidden gems of Northern Norway. A combination of clay and fresh glazier water creates a blue colour you’ve never seen before”, says Fossbakk.

    Blåisvatnet is located in the Lyngenfjord region, close to the Finish border. The region’s epicentre is the 90-kilometre-long Arctic mountain range, Lyngsalpene. Here, you will stumble upon striking contrasts and attractions at both high and low altitudes.

  5. 4. Vesterålen

  6. The area is often referred to as “Lofoten’s little brother”, but that doesn’t mean Vesterålen is a pushover. Let us introduce you to the kingdom of whales.

    The archipelago of Vesterålen is the only place where you are almost certain to see whales on even short trips. During summer, you can also get a glimpse of the mighty sperm whales in the middle of the night because of the midnight sun.

    Vesterålen offers everything from white beaches and idyllic farmlands to craggy mountain peaks rising from the sea. In other words, the landscape gives you an ideal opportunity for an active holiday.

    Some attentive readers may have noticed that Fossbakk previously in this article recommended Andøya island, which is actually located in Vesterålen. However, Vesterålen is made up by several islands which are all worth visiting.

    Endless roads of Vesterålen🌿

    Et innlegg delt av Steffen Fossbakk (@seffis)

    5. Sommarøy island

    If you are looking for summer vibes, you should plan a trip to the small island of Sommarøy (which literally means “summer island”). Here, you are surrounded by beaches, crystal clear water and untouched nature.

    Enjoy your day in a kayak exploring the fjord and picturesque surroundings, or take an easy hike to the viewpoint overlooking Sommarøy.

    The island is only an hour drive from Tromsø, and you can either stay in a Rorbu – an old fishermen's cabin – or book a room at the comfy Sommarøy Arctic Hotel.

    Photo: C.H. / Visitnorway.com

Find your Arctic summer destination 

Hot spots in Northern Norway
Andøy is the northernmost municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Vesterålen archipelago. The main island in the municipality is… Read more
Perhaps Norway's most picturesque lake. The bright blue color is a wonderful sight, both in reality and on Instagram. Do you dare to jump into the… Read more about the Lyngenfjord region
Blåisvatnet lake
Go kayaking and hiking in the midnight sun, or skiing and dog sledding under the northern lights. Or simply kick back and enjoy some of the most… Read more
Senja and Central Troms
If you are looking for simple ways to bring the summer vibes, you should plan a trip to the small island of Sommarøy (which literally means “summer… Read more
The archipelago of Vesterålen is a place characterized by contrasts, from white beaches and idyllic farmlands to craggy mountain peaks rising… Read more
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