Things to do in Harstad

Ready for amazing activities on land and at sea? Harstad is a treasure trove for those seeking unforgettable experiences. Here are our top tips for things to do in Harstad.

In the middle of Norway, surrounded by mighty mountain scenery and a beautiful archipelago, Harstad awaits with varied experiences and activities – summer and winter. Explore the archipelago by RIB, land big fish, kayak or explore the mountains on foot – there are activities for everyone. 

You should also come to Harstad on an empty stomach – the city has become a real food mecca! With its proximity to the sea, seafood is a natural part of the menu in the city’s eateries and in the fjords around Harstad, they fish for everything from cod and halibut to tusk and tasty shellfish. In addition, local produce is served with an international twist – most foodies are likely to be in their element here! 

Here are some tips on what you should experience in one of Northern Norway’s finest gems:

  • Out in nature

Out in nature

Chasing the Northern Lights

If you visit Harstad between August and April, there is usually a great chance of experiencing the spectacular Northern Lights. Aktiv Events arrange a Northern Lights safari, where you will be transported by a tracked vehicle up to Aurora Summit Lodge, located at the top of Sollifjellet, around 15 minutes from Harstad town centre. The beautiful lights can also be seen from one of Harstad’s many vantage points or from the window in the hotel room if you are lucky! 

Midnight sun

"We should not sleep away the summer night!" the folk song goes, so it’s perfect that Harstad to have the midnight sun between May and July! It’s daylight around the clock and there’s a risk of getting confused about the time. But what does it matter when you can go fishing in the middle of the night, hike in the mountains or explore a quiet archipelago in a kayak – whenever you want?

Mountain hike to Aunfjellet and the Keipen viewpoint

If you go to the top of Keipen, which is around 500 metres above sea level, you will be rewarded with fantastic views of Andøya and Grytøya. From the starting point at Aunfjellet it is about half an hour to an hour’s walk to the top, and if you are lucky, you may see both the reindeer herd that live here or the eagle flying by. Aktiv Events arrange guided tours to Keipen all year round. Another lovely tour (and a popular photo spot) takes you to Elgen, which is located on the small peninsula between Kasfjorden and Toppsundet, around eight kilometres from Harstad town centre. 

  • Food and drink

Food and drink

Umami Harstad 

The word "umami" means tasty and delicious in Japanese, and that’s exactly what the chefs at Umami want their food to be. And it seems to be working – Umami has previously been named Northern Norway’s best restaurant and listed under Very fine level in  the White Guide Nordic. The food is served as a set menu that changes according to the season and is based on local ingredients from nature’s own pantry. 

Gois 

Looking for a taste of Thailand? Then Gois Restaurant & Cocktailbar is the place for you. This is where authentic Thai cuisine is served, inspired by the recipes of the owner’s mother and grandmother, with a desire to take you on a small journey to the Far East. The menu includes dishes such as chicken satay, green curry and pad Thai, and the restaurant also serves beer, wine and cocktails. 

Café De 4 Roser

The cosy Café De 4 Roser, located in Bertheusgården in the centre, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, based on both local and international specialities. The menu changes daily according to what ingredients are available and is written by hand on the board in the restaurant. 

Bakerinnen

If the stomach is shouting for fresh pastries, go to Bakerinnen, which is said to have "devilishly" good cakes, buns and bread. The small artisan bakery with café, the buns are rolled by hand and you can be sure that real butter and whole milk are used in the dough. Real pastries in other words! The menu also includes lunch dishes, delicious cakes and locally-roasted coffee. 

  • Museum and attractions

Museum and attractions

The Adolf Gun 

Interested in history? Then you should check out the Adolf cannon at Trondenes Fort. Built by the German occupation forces in 1943, it had a range of over 50 kilometres and is so large that an adult can fit in the gun's barrel. You must book a guided tour in advance, which includes a trip down into the museum's weapon bunker. 

Learn about Harstad’s history

At Trondenes Historiske Senter, located about three kilometres from the city centre, you can learn more about Harstad’s history – from the proud Viking era and the Middle Ages to darker times during World War II. Next door is also Trondenes Middelaldergård. 

Adventurous water park

Northern Norway's water temperatures may not be suitable for all water nymphs, but at the Grottebadet water park that is located inside the mountain (!) in the middle of Harstad city centre it’s summer all year round! Among other things, you can entertain yourself in grottos and waterfalls, try out the obstacle course on the water and slide down the waterslides – or just relax in the sauna. 

  • Group activities

Group activities

Archipelago safari with RIB

Ready to feel the sea spray in the face and the wind in your hair? Harstad’s beautiful archipelago is best experienced zooming around in a RIB boat. B&B Touring arrange a variety of tours, where spectacular wildlife and nature experiences are combined with fast-paced action and stories about the Vikings and wartime told by knowledgeable guides. One of the most popular tours goes to Krykkjeberget in Sundsvollsundet, where kittiwakes often appear – in addition to sea eagles, dolphins, killer whales and porpoises. A memory bank experience! 

In search for the big fish

Visiting Harstad, it’s almost a must to try your luck at fishing! Here you can get everything from saithe and halibut to mackerel, catfish and tusk on the hook. Join Arctic Waters on their "catch and cook" trip where you can catch your own fish and then prepare it for dinner, or join in on a four-hour fishing trip with MK Nordbuen, where the captain promises to take you to his best fishing spots.  

Sollifjellet Alpine Centre

Around a 15-minute drive from Thon Hotel Harstad you will find Sollifjellet Alpinsenter, with trails suitable for both small and big skiers. The family-friendly facility offers 5 slopes totalling 7.3 kilometres, as well as a toboggan run and a café. The season normally runs from December to mid-May. 

Magical cave walk

Around 20 minutes drive from Harstad awaits a spectacular walk to Trollkirka on Evenes. Despite its name, this is not a church but beautiful limestone caves with underground waterfalls and rivers. With safety equipment and good guidance from Aktiv Event you can rappel down underground, where troll coffee and tea are served made from natural spring water from the mountains before the tour out follows the river towards Trollfossen. 

Zen at sea

If you want to get close to nature – and really explore Harstad’s archipelago, you should get in a kayak. There’s almost nothing more magical than floating across still water surrounded by majestic nature. ArctiConcepts rent out kayaks and arrange guided tours. How about a tour under the midnight sun? Or a trip in search for bright white sandy beaches and secluded coves? It is not without reason that Harstad is referred to as a paddle paradise! 

On two wheels

Whether you have a lot of cycling experience, or it’s been many years since the last time, Harstad has great opportunities for experiences on two wheels. And with an electric bike, it’s even more fun to see Harstad from the bike. ArctiConcepts arranges a tour that starts on tarmac in the city before embarking on exciting forest trails. Along the way, there will be time for a nice break and an outdoor lunch prepared on a campfire. 

WANT HELP PLANNING AN UNFORGETTABLE TRIP?

When you stay at Thon Hotel Harstad you can combine your stay with a number of unforgettable activities. We are happy to help if you have any questions or want to arrange trips.