Northern Norway has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years. A long Sami history, the Viking chieftains of Hålogaland, the dried fish trade, and a dramatic World War II history have left their mark on the landscape. Here are a few important historical sites.

1. The 6000 rock carvings of Alta are between 2–6000 years old and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They depict swimming reindeer, halibut fishermen and bears hunted from their dens in springtime. We would love to know what the carvers were thinking when they created them!


2. Trondenes Church in Harstad dates back to 1250 and is the world’s northernmost preserved medieval church, with Gothic arches, thick defensive walls and sea and mountain views. The three 16th century triptychs were paid for with dried fish and survived the Reformation.

3. Kjerringøy old trading post at Bodø is the queen of the coastal trading posts, fully preserved with numerous whitewashed houses and exquisite interiors with plush furnishings and crystal. Read Hamsun’s novels for first-hand descriptions of life in the trading post’s prime.

4. The Norwegian Fishing Village at Å was the residence of a prominent dried fish trader, and has boats and equipment, fishing cabins and crofters’ cottages. Learn about the 1000-year-old Lofoten dried fish trade, drink coffee and eat cinnamon rolls baked in the original bakery, then head to the Lofoten Stockfish Museum.

5. Postwar Reconstruction Museum in Hammerfest: The homes of 70,000 people in North Troms and Finnmark were burnt down in 1944. Many of them fled, but most were forcibly evacuated. This museum tells the story of their evacuation and return in 1945 to build a new and modern community. The museum presents every aspect of this extraordinary part of history, leaving nothing out.