A dark, narrow sheet of water below jagged peaks and impenetrable mountain walls, only accessible from the sea. The Trollfjorden, in the southernmost part of Vesterålen, is one of Norway's magical highlights.

A dramatic three kilometers

It may be only three kilometers long and 70 meters wide at the mouth, and Norway may have bigger, broader and deeper fjords than Trollfjorden, but if you measure the drama here per meter, there are few fjords that can compete! This is a channel that penetrates deep into the 1000 meter high Trolltindan, and finishes in a dead end in the dark and dramatic Raftsundet. The scenery here is terrifyingly imposing. At the deepest end of the fjord lie a couple of buildings belonging to a disused power station.

In all weathers

The midnight sun does not reach the dark green sheet of water, but in the summertime, the peaks way above are bathed in sunlight, while the ferry remains in shadow far below. A trip in the sea mist can make just as much of an impression, as the first thing that appears is a vast wall that comes into view on the starboard side. Then the peaks appear as if out of nowhere. On sailing back out, the only thing visible is a vast pyramid suspended at the stern. In the winter, the snow softens the harsh reverberation that comes from Europe's oldest mountain.

The Battle of Trollfjorden

In 1890, a clash broke out on Trollfjorden between tradition and modern times. On the 6th March, in the middle of the fishing season, the fjord was full of cod. Steamboats were attempting to take all the fish for themselves, shutting out the old sail-driven fishing vessels. However, the fishermen took matters into their own hands in order to put an end to the blockade, and fighting broke out. Although the fishermen were doused with steaming hot water from the boilers, they eventually succeeded in breaking the blockade.

The aftermath of the battle

The Battle of Trollfjorden is described in Johan Bojer's book The Last Viking, a work that had political repercussins. The Lofot Act followed promptly in its wake. This law regulates where different fishing equipment may or may not be used during the Lofoten fishing season.

The trip to Trollfjorden

The Hurtigruten stops in Trollfjorden every day on its way north and south. The exception to this is when it is too dark or when there is a risk of avalanche in winter. Many join the ferry running between Stokmarknes and Svolvær in order not to miss this special trip through the Raftsundet Sound, where the fjord wall is at its highest. Trips are also run from both Lofoten and Vesterålen.

Raftsundet

The Trollfjorden is a small offshoot of the Raftsundet, which separates Austvågøya from Hinnøya. There are small communities to be found here, some of them inaccessible by road, tucked into narrow straits at the feet of thousand meter high mountain sides. This is one of the most dramatic stretches on the Hurtigruten circuit, and well worth taking the extra trip for on the boat from Svolvær to Stokmarknes in the summer. There are departures all year round from Stokmarknes to Svolvær.

Read on

Trollfjorden is part of Vesterålen, and you can read more on Vesterålen on their website. Lofoten is just as easy to reach, so it's worth checking their website too