Destination Harstad official travel guide
Official touristinformation for: Harstad, Kvæfjord, Bjarkøy, Tjeldsund, Skånland.
The city of Harstad enjoys a beautiful and strategic location on Norway’s largest island close to Lofoten, Vesterålen, Narvik, Tromsø and Bodø. The landscape around Harstad and the surrounding region is extremely beautiful and varied, comprising everything from high mountains and wonderful views, deep valleys and a broad choice of marked hiking trails to fantastic sandy beaches in the archipelago.
There is a lot of offer in this region so we have published some round-trip suggestions, suitable by public transport or in your own car.
Bring your family, partner, colleagues, grandparents or whoever you like with you. This route is easy to cycle and is both traffic and family friendly. The Harstad region is situated in an area that, in relation to the outer coast, is fairly sheltered from wind and extreme weather. However, the season is still variable.
Before you begin on the actual cycle route Harstad-Grytøy-Bjarkøy-Krøttøy, we recommend you visit the Trondenes Historical Centre. This is the place to learn the history about Tore Hund and other Vikings before you go to Bjarkøy, which was his chiefdom. On the way from Harstad out to Stornes, you will pass Røkenes Manor, where there is a golf course and gallery. Just beyond here, you will arrive at the first ferry, which will take you across to the majestic island of Grytøy. Here, you will cycle in a landscape of high mountains and fertile pastures.
After an exciting leg, you will reach the next ferry, which offers a 30 minute sea voyage across to the saga island of Bjarkøy. While on the island, you will experience an idyllic archipelago, historic places, an untouched coastal nature and rich agricultural areas. The ferry also connects with the island of Sandsøy, if you would like to explore there.
If you are continuing from Bjarkøy to the island of Krøttøy, you need to go on board the express boat from there. On Krøttøy, you won’t find any cars racing past, making it an ideal place for the whole family. You will also find wonderful sandy beaches to enjoy on a warm summer’s day or just to explore on the beach..!
From Harstad on Norway’s largest island, this trip goes southwards through historical and beautiful Tjeldsundet. Just after crossing the Tjeldsund Bridge, you will arrive at Sandtorgholmen Hotel. You can take a break here and savour delicious home-cooked food, freshly brewed coffee and North Norwegian hospitality at its finest!
After a rest, continue driving southwards until you reach LOFAST, which is Lofoten’s mainland connection. It passes through completely uninhabited and untouched nature and, with just small intervals in between, you will experience both mountain and coastal scenery. After crossing the sound of Raftsundet, you will be on the island of Ausvågøya in Lofoten. From here, the road leads towards Fiskebøl and Svolvær. The nature here is majestic and wild – this is the realm of the white-tailed eagle.
Svolvær is the capital of Lofoten and is an artistic town as well as being one of the country’s most important fishing harbours. The town has a host of art galleries, an ice sculpture exhibition and a war memorial museum containing an impressive World War II uniform collection.
On the return trip to Harstad, we recommend driving along the Gullesfjorden, crossing the fjord by ferry and driving via the municipality of Kvæfjord. This is a particularly beautiful area on Hinnøy, which shows the contrasts in Northern Norway. The municipality is also known for its extremely sweet and delicious strawberries and Norway’s national cake, the Kvæfjordkaka.
Guided tours along Lofast are available year-round for groups by advance booking.
Experience a two-hours round trip by the boat MS Stjernøy who takes you between Harstad and the off-shore islands.
The boat calls at the islands of Kjøtta, Sandsøy, Bjarkøy, Krøttøy and Senja.
During summer, the boat goes into the Sundsvoll Strait, where the main attraction is the bird cliff where almost 10,000 kittiwakes nest ear year.
Tickets may be purchased on board or at Harstad Tourist Office.
Look at www.tromskortet.no for timetables, or ask at the tourist office.
HURTIGRUTEN – the World’s most beautiful voyage
There is one nature-based adventure after the other on this trip. We depart Harstad in the morning, and travel out of the Vågsfjorden towards Vesterålen and Lofoten, passing through the narrow and shallow Risøyrenna and stopping in Stokmarknes, home of the Hurtigruten Museum. It is soon time for the highlight of the trip for many as we try to make a detour into the spectacular Trollfjord (late April – mid September). The rock walls are so close to us that we can virtually touch them. The first leg of the tour concludes with the approach to Svolvær.
Duration: 22.5 hours
Departure from Harstad 08:30am - Arrival Svolvær 6.30pm
Departure from Svolvær10pm – Arrival Harstad 6:45am
Set aside a day and take a journey in the Viking’s footsteps!
This tour starts at the Trondenes Historic Centre, where the local history, with a particular focus on the Viking and Medieval eras, is portrayed through original artefacts, a multimedia show, specifically composed music, sound and smell.
The visit to the Trondenes Peninsula concludes with a cultural heritage trail, where you can amongst other things see boathouse tofts which previously housed the ships of Chieftain Asbjørn Selsbane. A map of the trail is available at the museum shop at the Trondenes Historic Centre.
The trip continues out to the island of Bjarkøy – the realm of Tore Hund. On the large farm mound at Øvergård stands the small Ole Ottesastua building, which dates from 1870. There is much to indicate that this has been the home place of Tore Hund himself. Ottesastua can be opened year-round upon enquiry to the South Troms Museum, where you will receive a map and information about the comprehensive cultural heritage trail on the island of Sagaøya.