Vesteralen Islands are an archipelago and a Norwegian district in Nordland (the county's northernmost part). They are located north of the Lofoten Islands and west of Harstad. The Archipelago consists of the following municipalities - Andoy, Bo, Hadsel, Lodingen, Oksnes, Sortland.
Vesteralen's largest islands (listed alphabetically) are Andoya, Austvagoya, Hadseloya, Langoya, Hinnoya.
Bleik village (on Bleiksoya Island) features a long beach and a large seabird colony. There are also whales feeding in the area.
The Moysalen National Park partly includes Vesteralen. The terrain is mountainous, with several lakes (including Alsvagvatnet on Langoya). Most towns and villages are on the coast, built between the coastal fjords and the mountains.
All the larger Lofoten Islands are connected by bridges or undersea tunnels, as well as to mainland Norway via Lofast (Lofotens fastlandsforbindelse/Mainland Connection) and the Harstad/Narvik Airport (in Evenes). The islands are also ferry-connected.
The Lofast (2007-opened, part E10 highway) connects Lofoten to mainland Norway. The road includes several tunnels, the longest of which are Sordal (length 6,3 km / 4 mi) and Sloverfjord (length 3,3 km / 2 mi). There are another 5 tunnels on the road, plus the Raftsund Bridge (2-lane, between Austvagoya and Hinnoya, length 700 m / 2300 ft).
The islands are served by two airports - Stokmarknes (on Hadseloya) and Andenes (on Andoya). Vesteralen's total population is around 32,000, with the largest town being Sortland (population around 10,000). Vesteralen's economy is based mainly on commercial fishing, cod fisheries, fish farming, some agriculture.
Vesteralen Islands cruise terminal
Most cruise ships to Vesteralen Islands dock at Sortland - port town on Langoya Island's eastern coast.
Sortland is one of the Hurtigruten ports along the "Express Route" (Norwegian Coastal Express). This is a regularly scheduled ferry and cruise itinerary in Norway, between the turnaround ports Bergen (southmost) and Kirkenes (northmost).
The following map of Vesteralen Norway shows all the region's islands and main ports.
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