The coastal town of Sortland combines beautiful scenery with a rich arts and cultural scene. It’s the capital of the Vesterålen Archipelago and is a great base for exploring the islands, which are linked by bridges and ferries.
Things to do in Sortland
Arriving in Sortland, you’ll immediately notice the distinctive blue colour scheme. In 1998, local artist Bjørn Elvenes pioneered an initiative to paint more than a dozen inner-city blocks in different shades of blue to celebrate Sortland’s maritime heritage. The tradition has continued and today Sortland is known as the “Blue Town” of Norway. Locals are also passionate about poetry and have decorated many walls with verses by famous writers.
Sortland is a stone’s throw from one of the most bountiful fishing areas in Norway. Deep-sea charters take you out onto the Arctic Ocean and offer a chance to reel in enormous cod, halibut and salmon. You can also enjoy freshly-caught seafood at restaurants and fish taverns in Sortland. Fish balls served with boiled potatoes and cream sauce is a local specialty.
In winter, Sortland offers a chance to view the mesmerising Northern Lights. The town is perched above the Arctic Circle and is one of the best places in Norway to view the phenomenon. Husky sledding is another popular winter activity in Sortland.
Steiroheia Mountain towers over the city and is popular with hikers. A trail winds up to the summit, where you can enjoy sweeping views over the surrounding mountains and the strait. The return trip takes around 1.5 hours.
Getting around Sortland
Sortland is located on the east coast of Langøya Island, a two-hour drive from Harstad and five hours from Tromso. Norwegian Coastal Voyage ferries connect Sortland with other towns and cities on the North Cape and Vesterålen Archipelago. Harstad/Narvik Airport is a two-hour drive away.