In northern Norway, a little east of the world-known Lofoten Islands, lies a beautiful municipality by the name Hamarøy. Ever heard of it? Or been there? Odds are you haven’t. But its about time we do something about that.
You see, Hamarøy is one of the places on this planet I love the most. Hamarøy is where my mom grew up. Where our family’s cabin is located, where I spent my summers. Some of my best memories were made in Hamarøy, and I want the world to know of its existence.
In this post I give you my best 10 reasons why you must visit Hamarøy. Hopefully my post will inspire you to spend some time here, perhaps make Hamarøy your next travel destination in northern Norway. Or at the very least – inspire you to spend a few hours there next time you’re roadtrippin’ along the E6.
Because believe me, Hamarøy is worthy of a visit!
1. Hamarøy Is Super Accessible
As Hamarøy is located both by the coast and the main road E6, it is a super accessible and convenient destination to visit in northern Norway. This also makes Hamarøy easily combined with other popular destinations in this part of the country, like Lofoten, Steigen, Vesterålen, Bodø, Harstad, Narvik, Senja or even Tromsø. Pop by Hamarøy when you’re driving the E6, or take the local speed boat from Bodø, Steigen or Svolvær.
2. Hamarøy Is Breathtakingly Beautiful
The main reason you must visit Hamarøy is because it is breathtakingly beautiful. We’re talking impressive mountains and hills, bright blue fjords and lakes, lush green woods, and stunning views in every direction. Although summer is my personal favorite time to spend there, every season has its own charm. Visit during late fall or winter to see the northern lights, witness nature waking up in spring, experience the midnight sun during the summer months, catch the fall foliage in autumn, or why not try cross country skiing in winter?
3. Hamarøy Has Dreamy Beaches
A lot of people traveling to northern Norway seem surprised we have so many stunning beaches up here in the arctic, like Kvalvika beach in Lofoten or Hovdsundet beach in Bodø, and Hamarøy is no exception. There are so many beautiful beaches in Hamarøy where you can go swimming in the cold arctic ocean, relax and read a book, or play games with friends. Maybe try Norwegian’s favorite beach game, “kubb”? The whitest, sandiest and prettiest beaches in Hamarøy are located at Tranøy, Skutvik and Korsnes.
4. Its A Great Place To See The Northern Lights
If you’re looking for a destination in northern Norway to experience the northern lights, Hamarøy should be on your shortlist. Although there are never any guarantees you’ll get to see them (you’ll need clear skies and solar activity, both out of human control), Hamarøy checks all the boxes when it comes to the factors you can control:
- Hamarøy is located within the aurora belt, a belt-shaped area centered on the magnetic north pole where the northern lights occur most frequently, making it a great choice of destination to chase the northern lights.
- Hamarøy is secluded enough for you to easily avoid any light pollution that may ruin the experience, which can be problematic in cities.
- The days are very short in the winter, which equals more time and therefore higher odds of seeing the lights. Northern lights can be seen in this part of Norway between late September and mid April, but historically we know that the best time to see northern lights in Norway is in October, February and March.
Get more tips: How to see northern lights in Norway
5. You’ll Have Hamarøy To Yourself
One of the top reasons you must visit Hamarøy is that you’ll get the whole place pretty much to yourself! Sure, there are tourists there in July and August, but compared to more well-known destinations in this part of Norway like Lofoten, Tromsø and Senja, you’re practically alone. Hamarøy is also 99% less touristy and has a lot more untouched nature, which is particularly great for those who appreciate that off the beaten path vibe.
6. Hamarøy Has Amazing Local Food
Being a hidden gem of a place with less than 3000 inhabitants, Hamarøy doesn’t have hundreds of restaurants. What Hamarøy does have, however, is a small selection of places where you can order tasty dishes from the Salten region! I highly recommend eating at Svolværing, Tranøy Fyr, Idunngården or Kafé Sult.
Most menus change depending on whats in season and/or what they can get a hold of, but examples of dishes to look for include whale steak, fish soup, bacalao, fresh shrimp, reindeer stew, grilled stockfish, whale stew and waffles with smoked salmon. YUM. Just remember to plan your visit according to their opening hours.
7. Hamarøy Is A Dream Destination For Hikers
Due to its varied nature, Hamarøy is a dream destination for hikers and climbers of all kinds. There are so many different hiking trails and treks to choose from! Anyone can go hiking in Hamarøy, regardless of experience and physical shape.
I always recommend people to hike Hatten (“the hat”), my favorite summit in Hamarøy. The 360 degree view of Hamarøy, Steigen, Lofoten, Vesterålen and Tysfjord ta the top will leave you in complete awe. Daredevils out there should consider climbing Hamarøyskaftet, “the shaft of Hamarøy”, a phallic shaped peak known for its amazing views. Ooor climb Norway’s national mountain Stetind for the thrill of your life (1.5 hour drive/ferry ride from Hamarøy).
8. The Locals Are Lovely
The locals in Hamarøy are seriously such lovely people. I must admit I’m friends with half of the population, and probably related to the other half, so I might be a little biased here.. But still, they are! Us Norwegians may seem a little cold in general, but that is usually just due to our shyness and odd social norms. But ask the locals for help when visiting Hamarøy and I can almost guarantee they’ll help you with whatever it may be.
9. Hamarøy Has A Ton Of (Free) Art To Admire
One of the most unique aspects about Hamarøy is that its filled with pieces of art for both locals and visitors to enjoy. Most of it is located outdoors in Tranøy, where interesting sculptures are scattered across the charming village. There is also a really cool art exhibition placed on the rocks by the fjord (Google Maps location), which will give you a unique experience regardless of your interest in art. Tranøy is also the home of several art galleries.
10. There Is So Much To See & Do
Hamarøy is a great place to go when you want to relax and unwind in a quiet environment. Booking a treatment at Reginas Spa, or read a book in on a dreamy beach or in the woods somewhere is a good way to start. There is also a lot to see and do for those looking for activities, like going hiking or climbing, swimming, fishing, cross country skiing, sea kayaking, or going on a killer whale safari.
You can also do something a little more in between, like learning about the life of Nobel prize winning author Knut Hamsun at Hamsunmuseet, learn about Sami culture at Arran, or check out the rock carvings at Sagelva that are several thousands years old. Whatever you choose, I’m confident you’ll have an amazing time visiting Hamarøy.
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