The proposed routes cover five different islands, linked together by bridge or tunnel. Apart from a few stretches, the routes are pretty flat. The roads were originally built where people lived – along the fjords and by the sea. That’s what makes a tour of Vesterålen so fascinating!
The main roads are asphalted. Traffic is heaviest in the mid-summer tourist season, but it is still moderate – apart from the E10. To avoid that, you could choose alternative routes along unmade roads, which in many ways have more to offer than the main E10 highway. But if it is simply a matter of getting from one place to another as quickly as possible, then it is up to you.
Six recommended routes
Six different routes allow you to experience the entire region without having to cycle the same road twice:
- 1. Lødingen–Øksneshamn
- 2. Sortland–Kaljord–Fiskebøl
- 3. Melbu–Stokmarknes–Frøskeland along Eidsfjorden
- 4. Sortland–Frøskeland–Bø
- 5. Sortland–Frøskeland–Myre–Nyksund/Stø
- 6. Sortland–Risøyhamn–Andenes
All these routes are relatively long, but you don’t have to do the whole journey. All you have to do is decide how far you want to cycle and how many days you want to spend along the way.
Sortland – The Blue Town by the Straits
Sortland is a central hub for the whole of Vesterålen, and the starting point for cycle tours in several directions:
• West to Øksnes and Bø on the outer rim of Vesterålen,
• North to Andøya (and on to Senja),
• East to Lødingen and Harstad, or
• South to Hadsel and Lofoten.
Sortland could also be the final destination for your cycling holiday if you wish to return by bus or the ever popular Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Voyage) . Sortland has, not least, the district’s largest range of shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as accommodation.
The Blue Town (Den Blå Byen) is a project whose aim is to paint the town centre blue and decorate the walls of the buildings with short literary texts: Texts on a Blue Ground. The Blue Town project was part of the national millennium celebrations, and is still ongoing.
The Blue Town offers
- The Docks: old wooden houses that have been restored and relocated to the seafront at Gammelhavna, the old harbour. Gammelbrygga dates from 1840 and Kvitbrygga from 1871.
- The Artists Centre (Kunstnerhuset) : originally built in 1910 as an infirmary, shows a variety of art exhibitions throughout the year.
- Galleri Vesterålen: permanent sales exhibitions.
- Havsøye: part of the Nordland Sculpture Landscape project, on the harbour wall near the guest marina.
- Garden of Remembrance (Minnelunden) : church hall and the tower from the town’s first church, built in 1676, the local authority’s millennium park, quiet surroundings.
- Sortland Church: wooden church from 1901, open during the day in the summer season.
- Marketplace: lively market selling a variety of items, good selection of fish, fruit and vegetables.
- Shopping: pick and choose among 250 shops of all kinds.
- The Blue Town: wander the streets and read the literary texts adorning the buildings’ façades.
More holiday suggestions for Vesterålen
There is also a tourist brochure for Vesterålen. Get to know the 23 information booklets that give a more detailed presentation of Vesterålen. The booklets are published under the series heading Meet Vesterålen (Møte med Vesterålen) .
A travel guide to Vesterålen is also available. This provides a more detailed presentation of the district’s culture, landscape and history.
Information and contact details
The tourist information offices are on hand to answer any questions you may have about your cycling holiday, including where to stay, where to buy supplies and what there is to see and do. You can also buy a new cycling and hiking map (scale: 1:100,000) from bookshops or from www.visitvesteraalen.com. You can contact Vesterålen Reiseliv, Tel: +47 761 11480 or email email@example.com
More cycling tours in Nordland
Read our article: Cycling in the Lofoten archipelago
Read our article: Cycling in the island world of Hamsun
Read our article: Cycling the Helgeland coast
Read our article: Island hopping by bike