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Pinch me. Is this place real or am I dreaming?
Staggering mountains. White sandy beaches. Incredible wildlife. A space center, and, um... a very cool public toilet!
Norway’s Scenic Routes offer many surprises if you explore them a little more closely.
Join us on a tour around Andøya and get tips on the top experiences on the island!
First, we have to zoom out a bit.
Andøya is located in the far north of Vesterålen in Northern Norway.
So how do I get there?
Widerøe has direct flights to Andøya from Tromsø and Bodø and international connections to Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes, just two hours away. In summertime, the airline Norwegian has direct flights from Oslo to Andøya.
Hurtigruten calls at Risøyhamn in Andøya twice per day all year round. In summertime, there is a daily ferry connection between Andenes in Andøya and Gryllefjord in Senja.
There are also bus connections from Sortland, Lofoten, and Narvik.
Rent a car at one of the airports, or rent a bike at one of the local hotels. The 58-km route is perfect for cycling, with no major climbs, and offers an exciting and varied coastal landscape.
The route runs along the west coast of the island, between Andenes in the north and Bjørnskinn in the south.
We start at Andenes, Andøya's biggest town.
If you've planned to go on a whale safari (which you definitely should!), Andenes is the point of departure.
Northern Norway, and Vesterålen in particular, offers some of the best whale watching in the world, with a high probability of seeing whales!
Back on land ...
Close to Andenes, we'll take a little detour off the scenic route... to space!
The island is home to Norway's only permanent rocket range, Andøya Space.
At the Spaceship Aurora Visitor Center you can experience what it's like to launch your own rocket and learn all about the fascinating northern lights!
Our next stop is Kleivodden, a rest area at the foot of some very steep mountains.
From here, you get some pretty amazing views over Bleik beach, the cone-shaped Bleik island and the endless ocean horizon.
Pass through the dark in the only tunnel on Andøya ...
... and arrive by this white sandy beach!
Bleikstranda is more Lord of the Rings than palm trees and tropical temperatures, and is the ideal place to photograph the northern lights in winter or the midnight sun in summer.
From Bleik beach you can see the triangle-shaped island called Bleiksøya.
The island is a bustling bird sanctuary, and home to one of the largest puffin colonies in Norway! See it up close on a guided safari trip.
Look out for white-tailed eagles on these tours too!
The same people also offers fishing trips. Deep sea fishing is a true Northern Norwegian adventure!
If you have time and the weather permits, bring a packed lunch up to Mount Røyken, the mountain that towers over Bleik.
It doesn't require very much energy to reach the top, and you'll get splendid views of Bleik beach, the charming village of Andenes, and the flat cloudberry marshes.
If you want to do more hiking, walk the 9-km-long Coastal Trail from Bleik to Stave.
The trail winds through marshy areas, rocky shorelines, beaches, and mountains ...
Måtind mountain is the highest point on the coast. This is the spot where you get the best views.
Once you arrive at the village of Stave, you can head straight to the steaming hot pools and beach saunas at the campsite, while listening to the waves. An experience that is guaranteed to soothe both body and mind!
This next highlight is worth a visit even if you don't have any business to take care of;)
Norway has some of the world's most epic restrooms, including this one at Bukkekjerka, where the one-way mirror lets you enjoy panoramic views of the sea (all while comfortably seated).
Don't miss this small lighthouse, Børhella fyr, just a short walk from the car park.
You can see the beautiful winding road in the background!
Before rounding off your trip on the south-west side of the island, make sure to visit Marmelkroken. This rural nature resort offers comfortable accommodation, delicious dining, and exciting activities.
Its architectural tidewater shelter allows you to enjoy the Arctic nature in any weather. You may even spot some Arctic birds!
You should explore a bit of the east side of the island, too!
At Dverberg, you will find the cutest shop and café called Alveland, 'Elf Land, specialised in natural products, handmade soaps, and delicious, freshly baked cinnamon buns.
Back in Andenes, remember to stop by the iconic landmark, the Andenes Lighthouse. At 40 metres high, it's one of the tallest lighthouses in Norway!
Andenes also offers shops, restaurants, and accommodation for a good night's sleep!
Want more road trips? The Scenic Route on Senja is just a ferry ride away!
Discover more fun activities in Vesterålen, and see where you can rent bikes.
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