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Sortland in Norway Sortland municipality coat of arms


722,4 km2

Sortland Local Directory

Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Sortland

Sortland muncipality has approximately 9.900 inhabitants and covers a area of 722,4 km2. The town Sortland is the capital city and have about 5.000 inhabitants. Vesterålen itself is an experience not to be missed. The islands at the northern end of the County offer you whale safaris, the events of summer Melbu, the fishing village of Nyksund, the bird colonies at Nykvåg in , Trollfjord, Sea Kayaking.... And the gateway to all this is Sortland. With Sortland as your base, you can take day trips to Andøy, Øksnes, , Hadsel and Lofoten.


What can you do when the city is ugly and is accused for lacking a soul? Well, you could add colour to it... Paint the city blue, for instance. About 50,000 litres of paint will be used to create a bright, light and delicate atmosphere. Sortland is now referred to as "The Blue City"...

The Vesterålen islands were connected to eachother by several bridges. This strengthened Sortland´s place as a meeting place, a trading centre and even a cultural centre. Sortland is Vesterålen´s leading shopping centre. The range of shops, services and cultural activities is so great that you could believe yourself in a medium sized Norwegian city. It is no accident that retail turnover per inhabitant in Sortland is greater than in any other town in North Norway. Sortland is one of the few North Norwegian towns that have grown in the 80's and 90's, the result of a conscious decision to create a high standard of services in a pleasant place to live.

Sortland has been regarded as one of the best music communities in Norway, and the local band has been one of the best ones in the nation. The leading vocal in the famous rock-band Madrugada, Sivert Høyem, is from Sortland. Sortland is also a local traffic centre. Stokmarknes Airport Skagen, the busiest feeder airport in Norway, is only 22 km from Sortland, while Harstad/Narvik Airport Evenes - Narvik Airport Framnes airport is 124 km distant. The Coastal Steamer (Hurtigruten) ties up in Sortland Harbour twice a day. Good bus services within the region and to Fauske, the terminus of the Nordland Railway. The E 10 highway, King Olav´s highway, run through Sortland on its way to Lofoten.

In Sortland and Northern Norway in general, alpine and Arctic flowers predominate. You can find flowers in all colours, and if lucky, you may discover wild orchids as well. The Arctic circle prevent cosy animals such as arctic hares, wild reindeer, foxes, mouses, stoats, squirrels, lemmings and otters. In some parts of northern Nordland, Troms and Finnmark county, the tree line may be as low as 200 meters to 300 meters. As a consequence, sometimes you don´t have to walk very far from the sea before getting the "highland" feeling.


The World´s Most Beautiful Voyage is a voyage like no other. Nothing can compare with it. Nothing about this journey will resemble anything you have ever experienced before. A ticket for the Coastal Steamer is a ticket to the theatre, an 11-day drama in which new acts constantly unfold all around you. See the pictures from the Coastal Steamer taken by one of our passengers.


Sortland played a major role during the Viking age as the headquarter for the two historical savages, Karle and Gunnstein. Karle and Gunnstein were best-buddies with the modest Viking, Tore Hund (the "Dog" among friends). There is a theory, that Karle and Gunnstein were the true brains behind the axe-case at Stiklestad in the year 1030, where Tore "the Dog" Hund was unfortunate enough to drop his axe in the head of King Olav the Sacred. Rumours tell about two persons etaing popcorn next to the Stiklestad battlefield shouting and yelling at "The Dog", trying to push him. Karle and Gunnstein threatened to publish some very delicate carvings in stone showing Tore Hund together with various sheep, if he didn't drop his axe at Olav the Sacred. The killing of king Olav the Sacred is, by a tiny minority, regarded as the start of the Norwegian history.

Paralysed by proud after being dedicated a whole sentence in the great Viking epic of Snorre Sturlasson, "Heimskringla", very little took place in Sortland from the Viking age and to the 19th century. Some lapps moved in, a church was built, generations of farmers died of age and sexually transferable diseases. The origin of the name "Sortland" is still in the centre of discussion by a vast minority. Sortland has been given names as Svorta, Suorta, Swartalande, Swortuland, Suortland, Suortaland and finally Sortland. Sortland literary means "Black Country". Sortland is now referred to as "The Blue City"...


The Midnight Sun stays above the horizon, and it is light 24 hours a day. The sky must be clear and there must be unobstructed visibility northwards in order to see the Midnight Sun. A summer night on the fjord or in the mountains is an experience not to be missed, you can go fishing in the fjord, which contains splendid variation of fish, or you can take a walk in the wilderness surrounding.


Aurora Borealis is the Latin name for the Northern Lights – solar winds that meet the atmosphere in a zone around the magnetic North Pole. The Northern Lights are only visible when the sky is dark and clear, from August to April, and they are most intense from 10 pm to midnight. The region on the 700 northern latitude is a fantastic place for experiencing the beautiful and intense play of colours given off by the Northern Lights.


The dark time, or the long, dark Polar Night, lasts from 30th November - 12th January - there is only a twilight-dusk type of light (the blue light) for a few hours during the middle of the day. This does not mean that it becomes totally dark, however. The aurora borealis trails its multicoloured banner across the sky and the moon lights the scene just like the nightlight of Our Lord. The experience of the winter with the uniqueness of the light, the northern lights and snow is fantastic. Especially beautiful is the blue light southwards, just before it becomes dark.


Sortlandshallen may not provide what you need if you feel like swimming or doing sport. The hall is divided into two parts. On the south side, you'll find the smaller halls where you are supposed to play football, basket or volleyball, which you can´t do because you have the sun shining in your eyes all the time. The northern part of Sortlandshallen is dedicated to a standard pool.


Deep sea fishing enthusiasts can take a fishing trip out on the ocean. You can fish for salmon, cod and halibut. Be aware that there are a number of special rules in regards to fishing. Remember to purchase a fishing licence.


Vesterålen Golfclub is a golf course with 6 holes and a variation of difficulties. The course lies close to E 10 against Sigerfjord, approximately 8 km from Sortland Center.