This is where our experience of Norway far surpassed anything I’d ever anticipated.
We arrived at the Arctic Hotel on the 14th of July, Summer, 9 degrees, excited for our friends wedding which was to be held at the hotel on the weekend. In the lead up to the trip we were told that the sun never sets during Summer, and we experience that in Tromso, but we’d also heard and that there’s something called the Midnight Sun. I didn’t investigate it prior to leaving and I’m actually glad I didn’t because it made my time in Sommaroy that much more magic. It also helped that 40 Aussie friends & family members had flooded the remote town meaning that we had increased their population of only 400 by 10%! It was an incredible stay and here’s what to do in Sommaroy.
WHAT TO DO IN SOMMAROY
Stay at the Arctic Hotel
We stayed in one of their fully self contained two story over-water cabins, complete with sauna (the one with the red roof in the photo above!). It sleeps 6, and was really affordable for a group. The Hotel also has serviced rooms, and a restaurant on site. They have push bikes available to borrow at no cost, a private Spa & Sauna Cabin which you can book out, and it’s a short walk (or ride) to the convenience store in one direction, and Hillesoytoppen (mountain) in the other. We had some less than ideal weather while there but still managed to hike mountains, spot otters from our balcony, have some amazing food (including whale & reindeer) and witness one incredible midnight sun.
Watch the Midnight Sun
This experience was breathtaking. It was the night before the wedding and at about 12.30am (so I suppose at this stage it was actually the wedding day lol) with the sky still bright although overcast we started to see the sun creep through the clouds. We were all still awake – the boys being boys in the hotel’s spa – and me wide awake at the cabin with a combo of jetlag a wonderment by the fact it just.wasn’t.getting.dark. As the clouds separated I realised that what I was seeing was actually a sunrise in the middle of the night. Because of our location in the Arctic Circle, essentially the sun sets, but not beyond the horizon. Instead, the sun brushes the horizon and just starts to rise again… hence this mind blowing phenomenon. It is without doubt the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. The boys wandered home to the cabin and we stared at the sun shaking our head and thinking how fu*king amazing it was to be standing with mates, on the other side of the world, in the middle of the night, watching the sun rise. Of course, we had to go for a midnight walk.
It’s hard to explain but it was actual, life-giving magic.
We took sooo many photos of this moment in time. The above photo was at about 2am. Yes, I am in my pj’s – with not a chance of sleep. Mind blowing.
Hike at midnight & sip wine at the top
“So, how hard is this hike?” we asked Ben. “Not hard” Ben Replied.
Hillesoytoppen (the mountain we look directly at from our cabin at The Arctic Hotel) might be the easiest of the local hikes around Sommaroy, but it certainly wasn’t easy for a lass unacquainted with the art of climbing mountains. It was however well worth the effort (effort which I must disclose involves relying on a rope to pull yourself up some areas of the track). The view from the top is incredible though – we hiked to the top of that tower in the photo below, and then right across the top ridge and down the other side – and as we sat overlooking Sommaroy saying cheers to one another with wine & beers in hand I felt a sense of accomplishment… and cold. I also felt cold.
I also cracked my phone upon not so eloquently falling on my ass on the way back down (which for the record is easier than the way up) but it was all worth it! It’s a must do. Full disclosure – while we planned to do this hike at midnight the weather wasn’t great so we did this one during the day, but hubs and the others did another hike at midnight (it was a bit cold and rainy for me that night), and in fact you can do anything at midnight, because its light 24/7!
Enjoy the Epic scenery and total seclusion
Needless to say Sommaroy & the midnight sun is something that’s been ticked off the bucket list, even if I never new it was on there. If it’s not on your list, add it immediately.
There’s also plenty of other outdoorsy things to do in Sommaroy, including fishing & fjord sight seeing, and at the right time of year of course there’s killer whales & the Northern lights. I’m thinking we will be back someday.