Sørøya

Last week we spent three days on the island of Sørøya. We were lucky enough to borrow our friend Suse’s Starmobil, a Volkswagen Transporter campervan. It took about 8 hours to reach the island, we took 3 ferries on the way! Here’s a map of our journey, click to enlarge…

Our route to Sørøya from Tromsø. We could only drive the roads indicated in red on the island, so we actually only saw a small part of Sørøya!

This is where we spent our first night on the island. The sunset was beautiful, but it wasn’t very warm so we enjoyed a dinner inside the car. What a luxury to have a roof above your head while camping!

Our sleeping place on the first night on Sørøya, with a spectacular sunset. A well-deserved beer while waiting for dinner to be ready

The next morning, I woke up before Paul and I spent some time looking for cloudberries. These berries only grow in Arctic regions, but they can’t be farmed. They look a bit like raspberries, but they are orange when they are ripe. People are quite competitive about picking them! I only found a couple of ripe ones, but they were SO tasty! I swear it’s like a tiny bite of a creamy cheesecake when you find a good one… 😀

Sørøya was full of cloudberries, an Arctic berry that is very popular here but can't be farmed. On the left an unripe berry, on the right a ripe one. They are SOOOO tasty!

Close to Hasvik, we stopped to look at the stockfish racks. Usually the fish are removed from the racks before the summer, but for some reason there was still quite a lot on those racks. It’s creepy to walk underneath so many dead, headless fish – I’m always paranoid a bit will fall off and end up in my hair 😉

Stockfish drying on traditional racks. Stockfish. It was quite creepy walking underneath them, I kept being scared a piece would fall off ;)

We walked to a beach near Hasvik, where there was an abandoned Dutch whaling station according to our map. All we found were some old, rusty bits of metal, but it was a nice beach nonetheless! Lots of stuff washes up on the beaches on Sørøya, so beach combing is great fun. The fishing balls and rings often show where they are from, which is quite interesting. We found Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic and Spanish ones! We even found an Icelandic milk carton on the beach… long journey 😀

We walked to this beach near Hasvik. There was supposed to be an abandoned Dutch whaling station here but all we found were some old rusty bits of metal You can find LOTS of exciting stuff washed up by the sea on the beaches of Sørøya. Some people were very creative with what they found :)

After our hike we continued along the road towards Breivikbotn. This stretch of the road is beautiful, and there were lots of flowers growing next to the road. The sun came out, and we enjoyed a nice coffee break next to the road. Yes, I could get used to the campervan lifestyle 🙂

The road followed the coast with a beautiful view, and lots of flowers on the side. Nice coffee break - getting used to the campervan-lifestyle!

Breivikbotn is a small fishing village, which also has a small shop that happened to open for 2 hours on Sunday evening exactly while we were there – ice cream time 🙂

Nice clouds seen from the pier at Breivikbotn Breivikbotn The harbour of Breivikbotn. Fishing is big business, people come from far to catch big fish here.

A bit further along the road we stopped at Breivik, a tiny village with a couple of really nice sandy beaches. The weather was really improving and it was so beautiful there in the sunshine…

Beautiful beach in the small village Breivik. The beach at Breivik.

We decided to drive to the end of the road at Sørvær. Another very pretty fishing village, I took lots of photos there!

Reaching the end of the road at Sørvær. Paul wishing he had his boat with him...

It was such a beautiful calm evening, with perfect reflections…

Sørvær, a friendly sleepy town at the end of the road. It was such a calm evening, with perfect reflections

A lot of fishing boats… there was also a filleting factory here, and a Swedish company taking tourists fishing. Sørøya is well known for very big fish, and this attracts fishing enthusiasts from far away.

Lots of fishing boats! And some more fishing boats :D

There was also a tiny petrol “station”… and some accommodation with original decorations next to the doors.

The petrol station in Sørvær.... Lovely decorations on the houses ;)

While I was taking photos, Paul was trying his luck fishing from the shore. No luck… He was quite frustrated not to have his boat with him, but it was hard to fit the boat and the engine in the campervan together with all our other stuff.

Paul tried fishing from the pier but no luck

Later in the evening we drove the dirt road up towards Sluskfjellet. We found a great parking place high up, overlooking the ocean and the Åfjord lake which (just like Loch Ness) is rumored to have a monster in it – it was even indicated on our hiking map with a symbol of a monster :D. Unfortunately it was hiding from us 😉 From the parking place, it was a short hike to the top of Sluskfjellet where Norway’s northernmost weather radar is placed. Of course I had to visit 🙂 You can see a nice slide show of the building of the radar here.

Our sleeping place on the second night, incredible view. The lake has a Loch Ness - type monster in it, even the official hiking map had a symbol for it :D It's called the Åfjordtykjen. Perfect place to spend the night, there were lots of picknick tables as well We climbed up to the weather radar on top of Sluskfjellet. You can see a webcam on the left side as well, I often check it while on duty and it's almost always cloudy. We were quite lucky with the weather!

The next morning the car was shaking like crazy – it was really windy with strong gusts. We skipped breakfast and drove to the end of the dirt road, towards Dønnesfjord. A really beautiful road!

Panorama from the road towards Dønnesfjord - spectacular!

The road ends in a parking place from where most people take boats across to a peninsula with several houses/cabins on it. You can also walk there, but it’s quite a long way so we just turned around and drove back. We stopped at a lake full of green plants, very beautiful! Paul flew his kite for a while, but the wind was so strong that it was very hard to get it back down.

A lake next to the road, the green plants were so bright Paul flying his kite near the lake. It was so windy that day that he had problems getting the kite back down!

In the afternoon we hiked to Nordsandfjorden, a beach about 5 km from the road. Luckily it was not so windy here, and warm enough to walk in a tshirt 🙂 These photos are taken from the place where you first spot the beach (and nature reserve) down below – so beautiful!!

On our way to Nordsandfjorden, a 5 km hike from the road. So beautiful! What an impressive landscape... and we didn't see anyone all day!

We didn’t see anyone all day and had this amazing beach all to ourselves… it was full of driftwood so we made a campfire and had some dinner. We came to this beach to visit the “Nordsandfjordhula”, a cave where 133 people hid from the Germans during the second world war. The cave was signposted all the way from the road, but we still found it hard to find. The information signs fail to mention that you can’t reach the cave at high tide, and of course we happened to be there at high water… so the only thing we could do was wait until the water came down.

We had this beach all to ourselves... what a dream :) Here too there was lots of driftwood - perfect for a campfire!

The information signs also says it’s an easy walk, which is true until you get to the beach. The last part to the cave involves climbing over extremely slippery rocks full of seaweed and algae. I fell down once, didn’t really hurt myself but I was all covered in algae (my hiking boots still smell terrible!). The cave is worth it though, it’s very big. There is a central part near the entrance, and then you get to a T split with two tunnels each about 100 m long. Quite impressive, it’s a cold and narrow cave with water dripping from all walls and ceiling. Can’t imagine hiding here for a long time! You can still see some items that were left behind, like some shoes, cooking supplies, glasses, fireplaces, etc. They didn’t actually stay in the cave for very long, somebody had betrayed them and the Germans came with a ship to get them. See here for more information.

At low tide, we visited the Nordsandfjordhula, a cave where 133 people hid during the second world war. The white on the walls are LOTS of drops of water, it was magical to shine the flashlight on them! Looking towards the entrance of the cave, Paul is inspecting some shoes left behind by the people who hid in here.

We started walking back very late, it was about midnight. Paul had found a whale skeleton on the beach and was very keen to bring a piece home. We used a fishing net on the beach to tie it to his bag, and he managed to get it back to the car – a 5km hike crossing a hill! For me it was a relaxing experience, as he for once was walking slower than me 😉

Paul brought a whale bone back from the beach... a 5km hike over a hill top!!

On our last day on Sørøya we woke up to rain. We stayed at a beach with some very basic camping facilities (an outside cold water shower and a toilet). Paul was keen to use the shower, an experience he called “character-building” :D. It cleared up later in the day, and we visited another (smaller) cave near Hasvik. In the evening we took the ferry back to Øksfjorden, and we decided to drive back to Tromsø that night, even though it meant taking the long way back as it was too late to catch the Lyngen ferries. It turned out to be the most magical night ever, we just had to stop in Sørkjosen to enjoy the view of the calm fjord at sunset, with fog rolling in…

One our way back to Tromsø, we spent some time in Sørkjosen watching this impressive view. Paul was jealous of all the boats going out to fish ;) We saw some dolphins (or minke whales?) as well!

Paul tried his luck fishing from a small beach, but only caught a few very small fish. What a fishing spot though 🙂 we also saw some dolphins, or perhaps they were Minke whales.

What a fishing spot... :) Three people in a small boat, and lots of sea gulls

Eventually we were surrounded by fog. Unfortunately my camera battery was almost empty and it was very hard to keep taking photos – quite frustrating when it’s such a beautiful evening 😉

The fog kept coming closer until we were surrounded by it Beautiful view from higher up on the road, over the fjord and all the fog banks. Such a magical evening!

The drive along the Lyngen Alps was beautiful in the midnight sun, with fog banks, lots of flowers, mirror-like fjords, the moon, and even a rainbow! Ohh how I wished I had bought an extra camera battery… though I don’t think we would have made it home that night if I had 😉

It was a great trip, a nice experience trying a camper van, and above all discovering Sørøya. It’s a real hidden gem, with hardly any tourists knowing about it, but so incredibly beautiful… can recommend it to anyone! I hope we can come back one day too 🙂

11 Responses to “Sørøya”

  1. anjči says:

    38 is a masterpiece : ) Brava!

  2. Ben says:

    You too have the most amazing adventures, and you’ve really become a great photographer. I always enjoy your blogs and they always make me miss Norway just a little more.

    • Hanneke says:

      Thank you Ben 🙂 You should really consider a visit to Sørøya next time you’re back in Norway!

  3. Jaymo says:

    Beautiful photos of an interesting place, thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hanneke says:

      Thanks for your visit 🙂 I really wanted to share these photos of Sørøya as it’s a little visited place and most information on the web is about the big fishes you can catch there 😀

  4. Martha says:

    What a gorgeous weather beautiful trip with such a romantic magic ending. You are getting to be such a great photographer. Oh…with you narration I can feel the wind on my face and hear the water caressing the rocks on the shores…the seagulls calls and the splashing of fish. I see the beautiful colors and I feel the cool breeze and the warm sun…such a pleasant combination for a peaceful long walk. Those berries sure look inviting. The wide view pic is magnificent. The refelections pics are fascinating and the fog surrounding that little house is just a dream. I also wish the the van would have been a little larger so Paul would have had his boat. It would have been a great place to take pics of the shore and a good chance for a fresh fish dinner. I can hear that boat going away sliding itself on the water like a snake on the sand. Aaaah…mmm..nice! Thank you for “taking me along”.

    • Hanneke says:

      Thanks Martha, glad to take you along on our trip 🙂 It was a magical place, and we were so lucky with the weather. It would definitely have been fun to have the boat with us, we’re hoping to come back next summer with the boat 🙂

  5. Beautiful photos!!! I love seeing into your part of the world. It reminds me so much of Alaska and yet there are so many differences too. The cloudberries here are already ripe (in Valdez) and I picked a bunch when we were there earlier this week.

    I love the fog/mist photos. Simply gorgeous!

    • Hanneke says:

      Thanks Susan! That evening with the fog was just so beautiful 🙂 These photos are all taken with my new camera, I finally got the new Canon Rebel T3i and it’s so much fun!

      Looking forward to seeing pictures of your amazing adventure!!