Lying off the western shore of the island of Kvaløya, Sommarøy is 36 km (22 miles) west of the city of Tromsø and is a haven for day-trippers thanks to its gleaming white sands and rugged scenery. Connected to Kvaløya by the spectacular spans of the 520-meter (1,706-foot) Sommarøy Bridge, the island has a remote, tranquil charm.
Thanks to its position well north of the Arctic Circle and bordering the pristine Norwegian Sea, Sommarøy has a healthy fishing industry, with herring and cod being the most important catches. Its other main money-spinner is tourism; in summer visitors flock out here to experience long days of sunshine on the endless sandy beaches. From June through August, when the sun barely sets, the sea is just about warm enough for a quick midnight dip. Come winter, when the island is plunged into virtual 24-hour darkness, with the sun peeping above the horizon for barely two hours in the afternoon, Sommarøy is the perfect place to glimpse the elusive nighttime dance of the Northern Lights.
Migrating whales are often spotted off Sommarøy between late November and mid-January, when they come to gorge on the plentiful stocks of herrings. There are several boats offering sailing and fishing trips off the island’s low-lying, indented coastline, with views to the north of skerries in the Tromsø archipelago rising steeply out of the Norwegian Sea; for a real wilderness experience, take the twice-daily ferry out to Tussøy to explore its uninhabited, hilly interior.
The car journey to Sommarøy from Tromsø takes about 90 minutes, across two bridges and along photogenic fjord coastlines. Bus No. 420 travels out to Sommarøy during the week over summer.