Lying off the western shore of the island of Kvaløya, Sommaroy is 36 km (22 miles) west of the city of Tromso and is a haven for day-trippers thanks to its gleaming white sands and rugged scenery. Connected to Kvaloya by the spectacular spans of the 520-meter (1,706-foot) Sommaroy Bridge, the island has a remote, tranquil charm.
Thanks to its position well north of the Arctic Circle and bordering the pristine Norwegian Sea, Sommaroy 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, Sommaroy is the perfect place to glimpse the elusive nighttime dance of the Northern Lights.
Migrating whales are often spotted off Sommaroy 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 Tromso archipelago rising steeply out of the Norwegian Sea; for a real wilderness experience, take the twice-daily ferry out to Tussoy to explore its uninhabited, hilly interior.
The car journey to Sommaroy from Tromso takes about 90 minutes, across two bridges and along photogenic fjord coastlines. Bus No. 420 travels out to Sommaroy during the week over summer.