Lovund, out in the Helgeland archipelago, is famous for both the Lundeura nature reserve and its salmon industry. Why not explore this beautiful coastal community, which is both an idyllic reminder of times gone by and a thriving modern industrial centre?
The 625 m (2050 ft) high Lovundfjellet towers over the thousands of small, low islands in Helgeland and is visible for miles around. However, in the lee of the mountain is an idyllic rural community made up of traditional Nordland houses and well-kept houses, as well as modern salmon processing facilities.
On Lovund relaxation can be found all around
We took a stroll on a beautiful early summer’s day with wonderful weather, waded out into the ice-cold water on the delightful beach, photographed traditional Nordland houses, bought ice creams from the shop and ended up at the factory. We then went for a walk along the trail on the western side, past some marked Stone Age settlements and across the heathland. In the bright summer evening, we had a delightful meal at the hotel, before we went in search of puffins. All in all, it would be hard to imagine a more beautiful, relaxing day.
Evenings are the best and most scenic time to see the Puffins
On the western side of Lovundfjellet is Lundeura, a gigantic scree slope. Here, the puffins are safe from predators and breed in holes between the rocks. A path leads from Lundeura to the settlement in about 15 minutes. We arrived there in the early evening and hardly saw a single bird. “They’re probably out fishing in the good weather,” someone said, “try again later in the evening”. And quite right they were too: at about ten in the evening, with the low sun north of Træna, the puffins arrived back in their thousands, swirling in the air over the scree slope. From a distance, they looked like a gigantic swarm of bees as these not very aerodynamically shaped birds frantically flapped their wings.
Puffins are great time keepers
The 14th April, traditionally the first day of summer, the puffins return to their breeding grounds on Lovund. They have just spent the entire winter living out on the Atlantic Ocean. However, in the spring, they flock together and, every 14th April, they return to the bird cliffs along the coast. The sight of a flock of around 30-40,000 individuals returning to their nests is an incredible wildlife experience that attracts many spectators.
From Lovundfjellet you can see the whole of Helgeland
The summit of the island is the 625 m (2050 ft) high Lovundfjellet. It takes about 2 hours to climb and the route follows the eastern side of the island. It is a steep climb, but the path is well-marked and there are no particularly exposed sections. The reward is, of course, the view from the summit, which extends from Okstindan near the Swedish border out to Træna, the open Atlantic Ocean and the entire Helgeland archipelago from north to south.
Lovund has survived the fishing community decline
Many coastal communities are suffering from depopulation and stagnation. This is far from the case with Lovund, as the island is home to two salmon farms that have breathed new life into the local community. They farm salmon along the entire Helgeland coast and then transport it to the processing plant on Lovund, from where it is shipped around the world. Since the population bottomed out at 220 during the 1970s, it has recovered markedly. Around 500 people currently live on the island, including many families and many immigrants from elsewhere in Europe, and more new homes are planned. Every day, around 20 lorries leave the island and the turnover per inhabitant is around NOK 4 million. Lovund must be one of Norway’s most economically thriving places.
Lovund offers high quality accommodation for your stay
Lovund Rorbuhotell offers modern, high-quality accommodation, but in a traditional style. The views towards Træna are incredibly beautiful on a clear day. However, it is the restaurant that holds the biggest surprise: in this beautiful setting with unfailingly polite waiters, you can enjoy a menu that includes seafood, fish and meat with perfectly matched wines. Suddenly, you become aware that Lovund is an island community with an international flavour, where old coastal traditions have been joined by global trends. However, the ingredients are very much local in origin: both the locally caught salmon and halibut are fresh off the trawler.
Getting to Lovund and Træna
Lovund is easily accessible by local high-speed ferry once a day from Sandnessjøen, where there is an airport. The Nordland Express Boat between Bodø and Sandnessjøen also connects with the ferry to Lovund. From Stokkvågen on the Fv 17 (the Coastal Route), there is a car ferry to the island. However, you should note that the road network out here is very sparse. On certain days of the week, you can also take a day trip to the neighbouring island of Træna, the outermost of the Helgeland islands, stay overnight on Lovund and visit two islands in one trip.