Espen Tollefsen’s family art collective Atelier Nøss is located on the outer side of the Andøya island in Vesterålen – the side that faces the open sea.
The art photo collage by artist Espen Tollefsen shows his own family at their place Atelier Nøss on the Andøya island: Sister Siri, Espen himself, mother Åse, father Gunnar, and wife Heidi Marie Kriznik.
“There is a special clarity to the light that you don’t find in mid-summer. The pre-summer and pre-autumn are fantastic times that one should not miss”, Tollefsen argues.
As one of the longest countries in the world, Norway is packed with exciting places to go and both brand new and historic places to stay, many of which are fully booked in high season and in some cases nearly a year in advance. But if you move your plans a week or two back or forth, there are still usually rooms available in the lesser visited periods.
“The fact that the Whale Safari in Andenes is open practically all year round has helped other businesses like restaurants and hotels to be able to extend their availability way beyond the traditional high season”, Tollefsen says.
“A great trend is that even small shops and services that used to be open only in the high season now keep their doors open almost all year round”, Tollefsen says enthusiastically.
“Our local grocery store closed down several times before new owners took over the business and changed it into Nordmela landhandleri, which in addition to basic goods offers a great variety of local food and other delicacies. They also serve food and drink you can enjoy in the store or as takeaway”, he says.
“Speciality places like that are becoming increasingly popular all year round by a new type of tourists who are genuinely interested in local life.”
In 2016, tourism at Norwegian hotels increased by 12 per cent, a huge jump for the second year in a row.
65 per cent of this growth happened in the high season, during the three summer months.
July is by far the peak season, followed by August and June. In May and September, less than a third of the hotel rooms were occupied compared to the high season.
Over the last years, Norway has experienced a noticeably more important increase in the number of foreign travellers than its neighbouring Scandinavian countries.
Frequently visited Norwegian destinations all report similar reasons to go right before or right after the crowd.
Lene Lunde at the Stavanger Region tourist office says that her area benefits from a mild climate all year round. And even just slightly outside of the high season, locals seem to have more time for visitors, and accommodation rates are usually lower.
“To tell you the truth, you will often get more dramatic photographs and films off high season, and I can tell you that some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets can be seen from Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) or other hiking goals in the low and pre-peak season”, she confides.
There is an array of things to do outside of the high season, on Andøya, in the Stavanger area, and many other places: “You can enjoy activities like RIB, SUP, surfing, fjord cruise, and hiking all year round, and every season offers great local food experiences. Concerts and festivals are happening non-stop regardless of seasons, and the museums are always open”, says Lene Lunde of the Stavanger Region.
Andøya pre-summer resident Espen Tollefsen adds: “We have two types of bike tourists here: Those who are slightly exhausted, and those who still have a lot of energy left. It depends on the season, whether they have had headwind or tailwind”, he laughs.
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