Lies southwest of Bodø and consists of around 60 islands and islets. The largest island is Bliksvær. The surrounding islands offer fabulous beaches and great places for camping and kayaking. Bliksvær Nature Reserve ( www.visitbodo.com ).
Bliksvær naturreservat has a conservation zone for wildlife and is included as a Ramsar area, which means it is recognised as one of the world’s most important wetlands. Houses and a school are evidence of a little community that once lived out here at the ocean’s edge. The local preservation society Kystlaget Salta offers overnight accommodation at the old schoolhouse. Read more at www.salta.no.
Lies around 25 km due west of Bodø’s central terminus, and is a gorgeous place. Givær is Bodø’s most westerly permanently inhabited outpost and makes a great place to cleanse the soul and escape from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. This is the world’s only remaining traditional village of the type typical to Nordland County, whose permanent population earn a living through fishing, milk production, cheese making, sheep farming and eider down collection. Here eider ducks are kept as livestock, and you have to take a rowing boat out to milk the cows.
The little archipelago is rather exotic and well worth the visit. Read more about visiting the area at www.nordlandturselskap.no. See also the television programme on Givær made by NRK as part of its “Der ingen skulle tru at nokon kunne bo” (“No one would believe that anyone could live there”) series about people living in remote areas of Norway at NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation), watch it here.
You can spend the night at the rock grey boathouse (see the large photo below), which stands right at the water’s edge! The old school (Gammelskola) is also for rent. Contact Olaug on tel. : + 47 481 52 060 if you would like to book. She can also offer guided tours of Givær and catering for groups upon request.
Helligvær is made up of 365 islands, one for every day of the year. It is a paradise for kayakers and boating enthusiasts. Helligvær currently has 2 cars, 2 tractors and around 100 permanent inhabitants. There is also a shop. And the Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Voyage) puts in here too. Every Saturday morning a cafe opens at Sørvær, where you can try their famous fish soup. People take turns with the baking, and the cakes are fantastic. Contact the Saturday cafe (Lørdagskafen) on tel. : (+47) 47 33 48 91 for more information about day trips from Bodø.
You can stay overnight at Mariehuset (see the photo on the right) . Here you will find old furniture, kitchen cupboards filled with tableware from Egersund Fajanse and Stavanger Flint, the smell of butter and waxed cloths in the larder. Time passes slowly in this old Nordland house, to the ticking of the wall clock and the crackling of the stove, while you sit in the kitchen and watch the weather through Marie’s traditional white lace curtains. Mariehuset has two bedrooms, 10 beds, cooking facilities, cutlery, tableware, electricity, shower and WC. Bring a sleeping bag or hire bedding for a small surcharge. The house is owned by the Blåkors (International Federation of the Blue Cross) charity, and is hired out to visitors. Contact them on tel. : (+47) 22 03 27 40
Enjoy the peace and unspoilt countryside at Helligvær. The people here appreciate the tranquility and believe they have a better quality of life than they would have living in the town. Guided tours showing the island’s history are available during the summer. In the northeast corner of the main island there are some beautiful new Nordland houses and cottages for hire, with excellent views and a sunny location (see the photo to the right) . Contact Helligvær Kystopplevelser AS on tel. : +47 755 30165 for further details.
An archipelago surrounding Kjerringøy. This is an important breeding area for seabirds and has a valuable seashore botany. Sea eagles from Karlsøyvær were shipped to Scotland to reinforce the population there ( www.visitbodo.com ).
Karlsøyvær Nature Reserve
is included as a Ramsar area, which means it is recognised as one of the world’s most important wetlands. There are a few farms on Karlsøya, the largest island, which are currently used as holiday homes. It is not permitted to go ashore there during the period 15 April–31 July, but you can land at Dypingen (see the large photo below) . Read more about Karlsøyvær at www.kjerringoy.info.
Bodø’s most photographed landmark, frequently used as a backdrop for the midnight sun or the magical Northern Lights. The island lies due west of Bodø, and is Bodø’s largest island. It is said the name derives from the Lofot fishermen’s experience that Landegode “makes the sea safe”. The island is perfect for day trips, camping and lazy summer days. Sandvika, on the island’s south coast, is a bathing paradise. A hike to the top of the Rypdalstind mountain (height 802 m) is rewarded with an amazing 360 degree panorama view.
Landegode has a guest marina and a shop with limited opening hours at Fenes, on the island’s northwest shore. This is where the fast passenger ferry puts in. Read more about the facilities at www.turliv.no. Landegode Lighthouse at Eggeløysa on the island’s northern shore is lovely to look at and well worth a visit. Skagen Hotel is open for pre-booked groups. Read more at www.skagen-hotel.no.
Island hopping with your own or a hired boat or kayak is perfect. The archipelago is incredibly close to Bodø harbour and all the facilities a small city has to offer.
You can travel to one of the Væran islands by fast passenger ferry from Bodø (daily departures) . You will find timetables and prices at www.torghatten-nord.no.
The journey aboard the fast passenger ferry is an experience in itself, and can also be combined into a continuous “Round Væran Cruise”. Highly recommended!