The old centre of Vesterålen
In around 1900, Nyksund was a financial power house in Vesterålen. As it is close to the waters of the open sea, the town was just a short distance from the best fishing grounds, so boats came here to join in the seasonal fishing expeditions. Fish processing facilities, shops, a bakery, a school; the town was a thriving little community.
After World War II, Nyksund went into decline. The boats had become bigger, and the harbour in Nyksund was too narrow and shallow to receive them. The bigger boats were also faster, so they could easily put into shore at the warmer, more sheltered port of Myre. In the 1960s, the last residents received resettlement grants, and by around 1970 the town was dead. The more modern Myre had taken over completely. Quays, wharfs and houses were left to the elements at one of the most exposed locations along the coast.
In the 1980s, Nyksund was “rediscovered”, this time by Karl Heinz Nickel, a social pedagogue from Berlin. In collaboration with Berlin University, he launched a project whereby young people from Berlin who needed to get away for a while came to Nyksund to restore the derelict buildings. The town is now populated by idealistic Berliners, artists, old Nyksund residents on summer visits, and holidaymakers.
A summer visit to Nyksund is no longer an encounter with desolation. The town has several accommodation options. The “local” cuisine is also on the rise, featuring everything from Grünerløkka style dishes to rustic and traditional fare. Artists such as Sigrid Szetu have drawn inspiration from the sea and sky. Yoga breaks are organised, too. August is the month for the Nyksund Festivals, which include a children’s festival, an art festival and the Nyksund Ti music festival. The number of all-year residents has now reached double figures, and for the first time in 30 years, prams and pushchairs have been seen on the streets of Nyksund.
Dronningruta (The Queen’s Route)
This name was given to the walking trip from Nyksund over the mountain to Stø after Queen Sonja walked here in 1994. The route follows the shoreline and then winds up through the mountains, and you should allow around 8 hours to cover the 15 km. To the north, you can see Andøya, with Hinnøya to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west – without any kind of protective archipelago.
Nyksund is also a good place to see the Northern Lights. Vesterålen Reiseliv has a well-stocked website full of information.