If you stay on your own island in the outer Vesterålen archipelago, with your own lighthouse, you’ll have plenty of time to relax and reflect — unless you are hit by a spectacular storm or the Northern Lights break out into a shimmering display.
There can’t be many places that are as far off the beaten track as this lighthouse on Litløya, meaning “little island”, in outer Vesterålen. To get here, you have to cross the open sea in an open boat, then climb 300 steps from the shoreline. Its remoteness has made Litløy Lighthouse a destination for travellers who prefer peace and quiet to a hectic itinerary.
Once a bustling fishing village, the island now lies empty
The light first shone at Litløy Lighthouse in 1912, and it was manned until 2003. However, the tiny island was a bustling fishing village until World War II, and from 1890 there were reported to be 890 seasonal fishing residents. Unfortunately, things went downhill for the village after the war, and in the 1950s, the last people moved out. A short cultural walk will show you the remains of the houses, some Iron Age graves and Stone Age cairns.
There are uninterrupted views to the north west to see the aurora borealis
The main activity on Litløya is having your breath taken away by the visual sensations around you. Your gaze takes in mountains, endless ocean, and the tiny lights of the distant settlements after dark. You can’t help a sharp intake of breath when the Northern Lights flame up in the north west. If you have your camera ready on a tripod, you’ll be able to capture the green rays against the black silhouette of the island of Gaukværøya.
Sit in awe at Mother Nature’s ferocity
When rough weather sweeps in along the Gulf Stream, Litløya is a safe observation post in the eye of the storm. Bathed in the glow from the fireplace and cradling a hot drink, you can watch the special effects of the Atlantic through the windows. But it’s rarely cold here; the temperature on Litløya tends to stay just above freezing throughout the winter, and snow is almost unheard of here.
Polar twilight is a colourful affair at the lighthouse
For a few weeks in midwinter, the sun is below the horizon at midday. However, from this low southern angle, the Polar dawn is full of colour, from gold to delicate pink, to deep blue. The winter fishing starts after Christmas, and over the last few years, the boats have caught their quota within casting distance of the pebbles of Litløya.
The Summer has it all for nature enthusiasts
Uninterrupted views to the north mean plenty of midnight sun from the middle of May to the end of July. On light summer nights, there’s a perfect place for barbecues on a viewpoint high above the sea. You can borrow a rowing boat and head out from the shore to fish for pollock. Or if you want to get closer to the wildlife, get into a kayak; sea eagles, puffins, cormorants, gulls and gannets breed in this area. Killer whales and seals are also a frequent sight. Gaukværøy island, with its 300-metre (1000 ft.) climb, or the islets where the gannets breed are all easy to reach by boat.
Rooms provide panoramic views
Artwork in your room? The main decoration in your room is the view of the northern edge of the Lofoten Wall and the endless horizon. A light, neutral and clean decor is the perfect aide to rest and relaxation. It’s only in the lounge that the simplicity is broken by small exhibitions of works by local artists.
Home-cooked locally sourced food is included
Meals are included when you stay at Litløy Lighthouse. Fresh fish from Vesterålen, flavoured with home-grown herbs, crab that you may even have caught yourself, nettle quiche made from the island’s surprisingly tasty weeds, and berries or rhubarb from the garden for dessert; the home-cooked, organic menu could only have been made here.
Staying at Litløy Lighthouse is the wilderness retreat we all need
A two or three-night break at Litløy Lighthouse is the perfect way to spend a few relaxing days in the middle of a longer holiday in the archipelago. Contact the lighthouse, and they’ll be happy to arrange your accommodation, food, pick-up and even a boat trip if you’d like one. Autumn or winter storms may delay the outward or return trip, so it’s best to have a flexible schedule with flexible airline tickets between September and March.
For all the information you need about Visiting Vesterålen including Litløy Lighthouse, simply check out the Visit Vesterålen webpage.