The tiny Arctic Norwegian island of Sommaroy lures travelers with its white-sand beaches and rugged scenery. Traditionally a fishing community, red wooden buildings raised on stilts surround the harbor and small fishing boats bob in the water. It’s an easy day-trip from Tromso, but it's never crowded and so retains a laid-back atmosphere.
Guided tours of the Tromso region often include a stop on Sommaroy. You can book a group or private tour and travel by bus or by boat as part of a fishing trip. If you are feeling active, you can even rent a bicycle in Tromso and pedal all the way there.
In the summer months, midnight sun safaris often visit Sommaroy and, on clear nights, you can see how the sun doesn’t set below the ocean horizon.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sommaroy is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
- The island’s village, also called Sommaroy, covers much of the island, as well as the neighboring island of Hillesoya.
- Despite its high-north location, far above the Arctic Circle, Sommaroy enjoys a moderate subarctic climate.
How to Get There
Sommaroy is 22 miles (35 kilometers) west of Tromso and lies off the western shore of the island of Kvaloya. Sommaroy may be an island (off another island), but you can get there by road by crossing Sandnessund Bridge from Tromso to Kvaloya and then Sommaroy Bridge from Kvaloya. If you’d rather not rent a car, you can join one of a number of tours leaving from Tromso that include visits to Sommaroy.
When to Get There
From late November through mid-January, you can spot migrating whales off the island. This time of year also offers excellent opportunities for seeing the Northern Lights—depending on conditions, many aurora tours from Tromso visit the island. June through August, on the other hand, offers the spectacle of the midnight sun, and the water is just about warm enough for a midnight dip.
More Than Nature: Sommaroy’s Man-Made Attractions
Sommaroy’s still-thriving fishing industry has left its mark on the island. Two of the most important buildings you’ll see are the herring factory and the dried fish factory. Other notable man-made attractions include the church, whose architecture was inspired by the mountain of Haja, and the tiny island museum, with displays recounting local history and way of life.