In Vesterålen, the emerald green islands in the middle of the Gulfstream, you feel the presence of the Atlantic everywhere. This is hence the place to see the Midnight Sun over the open sea,
The air in archipelago of Vesterålen has that smell of salt, you hear the endless crying of lovesick seagulls and it’s all fresh and green in summer. The weather is a lottery of mysterious mist covering the cliffs, silver rain and sudden outbursts of summer heat and nice weather. Midnight Sun is therefore far from guaranteed. However, if you stick around for a few days and discover all the beautiful places in Vesterålen, chances are pretty good. Here we have some suggestion for seeing the Midnight Sun in Vesterålen.
Bleiksstranda is a mile-long beach
A kilometre and a half of white sand surrounds the village of Bleik. Here you can walk barefoot, write your name in the sand, sit down in the grassy areas nearby and look out into eternity. And the Midnight Sun. Turn your eyes to the left, and see the conic island of Bleiksøya, or turn around and see the midnight sun being reflected in the windows of the compact little village. Bring a good jacket, and do nothing at all.
Mount Måtinden has that fantastic view
The mountains on the island of Andøya are not particularly high, but they are definitely rocky and steep. A good route up from the village of Bleik is feasible for most people with normal walking skills, and from 408 metres altitude you can see the entire coast of the Andøya Island, the cone of the birdcliff of Bleiksøya and the Midnight Sun.
Mount Vetten allows you to see Vesterålen like on a map
A relatively easy hike is Mount Vetten. From an altitude of 467 metres, you see loads of landsmarks. In the east, you see Vesterålen’s highest mountain, the Møysalen. The Hadsel bridge is also easy to point out. The iconic silhouette of the Gaukværøy Island right beneath you, and in the south, the Lofoten Islands tower like a wall. However, nothing blocks the view of the Midnight Sun in the north.
Hovden is a peaceful place at the end of the road
Sometimes you should follow the road to see where it end. Nowhere is this more true than in the Vesterålen Island. Hovden is a tiny village along the outermost coast, with a little port sheltered by a breaktwater, colourful houses spread across fields and heather-clad cliffs, fish racks and three different beaches. Come here to sit down and look out, you need nothing more to relax.
The Queen’s Route is a 15 km Midnight Sun hike
The Queen’s Route is a hike connecting the two villages of Nyksund and Stø. It consists of two paths, one in the hills high above the ocean, the other following the sea. We recommend to start with the high route, and then finish off with the Midnight Sun on the beach. This trip takes a fair bit of planning, and you should be in regular shape.
Nyksund is where the mind gets some rest
The village of Nyksund was once destined to abandonment. People moved to more sheltered locations. But the village got a new lease of life when escapees from the rat race sought refuge in this village facing the open Atlantic. Now, there is new life in the old houses, and you can walk the narrow lanes and up on the hillsides to see the Midnight Sun mirror in the quiet port inside the breakwater. There is no hassle to do anything here, the locals are of the relaxed and un-commercial kind. There is a little bar in the village where you can rest when you’ve seen the sun.
The Storm Cave is your Midnight Sun shelter
For a bit of dramatic landscapes, head to the westernmost point of the island of Hadseløya. Here the steep mountains and pointed peaks of southernmost Vesterålen and the Lofoten Islands tower in the south, the open ocean is out to the left, and you see the sun above the lower hills of the Langøya Island in the north. Here a cave has been dug out to provide shelter from storms. Bring some hot drinks and wait for the sun here, the cave provides shelter and is open to all.
How do I see the Midnight Sun in Vesterålen
This varies slightly, depending on the latitude. In Stokmarknes, in the south of the archipelago, the sun shines from the 23rd of May to the 20th of July. In Andenes, at the far north of the archipelago, it lasts almost a week longer, from the 20th of May to the 23rd of July.
Theoretically, yes! All Vesterålen is well inside the Arctic Circle. In real life; no. Vesterålen has a dramatic landscape of mountains and fjords, and at numerous locations around the islands mountains block the view. Ask the locals for direction, more often than not they will direct you to the outer rim of the islands where you see the sun over the open sea.
Oh no! Vesterålen is found in the middle of the Gulf Stream, and rain, even snow and slate in late May or early June, fog and mist are all a possibility. However, after a grey day, the sun often manages to work its way through the mist
Visit Vesterålen has a website full of suggestions.
Summer is when life is lived
Summer is a time to enjoy life in Vesterålen. The all-important fishing in the villages along the outer coast happens mainly in the winter, meaning people in general are less busy than usual. The children enjoy a long school holiday, bed time is less of a thing and all the light makes everyone more energetic.
Why do people fish at night?
One might wonder why people in Vesterålen prefer to go fishing at night? Is it just an excuse to stay up late and enjoy the fact that it never gets dark? This of course explains a lot of it. But in good weather, the land and sea breeze can make the sea choppy on a sunny afternoon. As the temperatures cool down in the evening, that breeze calms down and the evenings and nights turn quiet.
There is nothing like a bonfire. On a good day, driftwood and planks are gathered at the beach, sausages are grilled on sticks, or fish drawn in a pan with water fetched from the sea. The coast in Vesterålen is sandy beaches, cliffs and pebbles, lined with the lush vegetation of summer. When the Midnight Sun comes out, the shore is where you find the locals. The kids run around, since bedtime is a thing for winter, and grownups just enjoy the light and the good weather.