10 Best Things To Do In Harstad, Norway: Brisk Hikes & Vibrant History

things to do in harstad norway
| 5 min read

Everyone travels for different reasons, and one of the aspects of travel that makes it so appealing to most people is that it unveils to the traveler not just the present situation of a place but also its past history. There are many historic destinations in the world, famous for hosting well-known artifacts or landmarks. Regardless of how famous a city is, almost every place you visit has its own illustrated past.

The story of the city may be written in museum exhibits, scrawled on its street walls, or even hidden in some vague conversation between elder locals. Regardless of the medium, every place has a story and every traveler has a chance to read it. In Harstad, Norway, a visitor will find the task to be fairly easy, as this city is known for its various historic locations that provide ample information for curious travelers. Read more to discover some of the best ways to spend your time if you ever find yourself in the heart of Harstad’s history.

1. Trek through the Keipen hiking trail unveiling the best view of Harstad

For only a 25-minute hike, the Keipen hiking trail is the most rewarding trek to embark upon in Harstad. In such a short amount of time, the hiker will be gifted with the best view of Harstad, encompassing the reflective fjords, still mountains, birch forests, muddy marshes, and miniature islands speckled across the ocean. The panoramic view will leave any onlooker in a moment of silence to appreciate the extraordinary beauty. For a memorable photo and an even more memorable time, the Keipen hiking trail is an absolute necessity.

Keipen hiking trail

Address: Aunvatnan, Harstad, Norway

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2. Go skiing and enjoy fresh coffee at the Sollifjellet Alpinsenter

At the Sollifjellet Alpinsenter, you can enjoy skiing down its medium-steeped slopes with various, mild hills throughout. This ski center is an ideal place for beginning to average skiers, as it provides a great place to learn how to master the fundamentals of skiing without the intimidation of extremely steep slopes. After a long day of skiing, visitors to the Sollifjellet Alpinsenter can relax with freshly brewed coffee and other light refreshments at the cafe located in the center.

Sollifjellet Alpinsenter

Phone: +47 77077833

Address: Sollia, 9481 Harstad, Norway

Facebook: Sollifjellet Alpinsenter

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3. Browse through the town’s artifacts at the Trondenes Historical Centre

For a thorough, accurate, and fully developed perspective of the history of Harstad, visit the Trondenes Historical Centre. The museum contains only artifacts originating from Harstad itself, spanning over a number of eras from its early stone ages to the time of the Vikings to present day. Each room focuses on a different time period or theme, containing only artifacts which fit the criteria. There is also a gift shop and cafe attached to the museum, ensuring that any visit to the Trondenes Historical Centre will leave you with more historical knowledge, and possibly even a memorable souvenir or a warm cup of coffee.

Trondenes Historical Centre

Phone: +47 77018380

Address: Trondenesveien 122, 9404 Harstad, Norway

Website: Trondenes Historical Centre (in Norwegian)

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4. Revel at one of Harstad’s most historic places at the Trondenes Church

Revered as the most important church site in all of Northern Norway, the Trondenes Church embodies characteristics of Harstad’s past and present history. The medieval church is decorated with magnificent architecture throughout its interior. There is also a small museum with different types of Norwegian artwork embellished on the walls. The Trondenes Church is an ideal place to take picturesque photos, appreciate its traditional regal aesthetic, and learn a few pieces of information about Harstad’s history.

Trondenes Church

Phone: +47 77018989

Address: Trondenesveien 128, 9486 Harstad, Norway

Website: Trondenes Church

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5. See a performance you are unlikely to forget at the Harstad Kulturhus

A post shared by Anita B (@anitabergstad) on Jun 29, 2017 at 3:49pm PDT

If you want to personally witness the culture of Harstad on stage and alive, the Harstad Kulturhus is the place to be. This culture center features performances such as orchestras, plays, ballet shows, opera singers, live musicians, comedy shows, and much more. The Harstad Kulturus is northern Norway’s largest arts and performance center, located in the Harstad city center along with the Harstad Library and the Clarion Hotell Articus. The shows are offered in the grand hall as well as a smaller cafe area for more intimate performances.

Harstad Kulturhus

Phone: +47 77028100

Address: Havnegata 3, 9404 Harstad, Norway

Website: Harstad Kulturhus

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6. Learn about Harstad’s farmers and fisherman at the Sandtorg Bygdetun

Secluded from the main roads in Harstad, the Sandtorg Bygdetun museum will provide you with an excellent opportunity to learn about authentic Scandinavian farmers and fisherman. The museum is made up of seven different buildings, each containing carefully collected artifacts depicting information about their daily life throughout history. The main building called Ursinstua was built in 1789.

Sandtorg Bygdetun

Phone: +47 77018380

Address: Sorvik, 9419 Harstad, Norway

Website: Sandtorg Bygdetun (in Norwegian)

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7. Visit a site situated in the center of town at the Harstad Church

Much of Harstad’s history can be seen in its assortment of historic buildings, among which the town’s medieval churches are included. The architecture of these traditionally designed churches is certainly something to marvel at when visiting these significant landmarks. The Harstad Church is more modern than most of the city’s ancient churches, as it is close to 60 years old. However, there is still plenty of recent history to the building that can be explored upon visiting.

Harstad Church

Phone: +47 77016500

Address: Asveien, 9405 Harstad, Norway

Website: Harstad Church

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8. Experience Harstad’s agricultural history at the Grytoy Countryside Museum

Lørdag er det sesongåpning på Grytøy bygdetun. Her kan man få omvisning i huset som ble bygget så tidlig som i 1770 og...

Posted by Sør-Troms Museum on Wednesday, 28 June 2017

For another chance to expand your knowledge of Harstad’s local traditions, visit the Grytoy Countryside Museum. It is separated into two different buildings, including an open-air exhibit. There are a number of agriculture-related exhibitions, including farming machinery and tools from different ages. The museum contains more than 3,000 agricultural artifacts presented in the considerably decorated galleries. A visit to this museum will leave you with a more polished understanding of traditional farming practices in Harstad.

Grytoy Countryside Museum

Phone: +47 77018380

Address: Lundenes | Grytoy, 9420 Harstad, Norway

Website: Grytoy Countryside Museum (in Norwegian)

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9. Swim inside of the mountain at the Grottebadet Waterpark

Take swimming to the next level at the Grottebadet Waterpark, where you can relax in pools situated inside of the mountain. The waterpark offers a myriad of swimming areas including heated therapeutic pools, streams, bubble baths, regular swimming pools, water slides, and saunas. Enjoy a serene swim inside the mountain of Harstad, open all year round!

Grottebadet Waterpark

Phone: +47 77041770

Address: Haakons gate 7, 9405 Harstad, Norway

Website: Grottebadet Waterpark

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10. Hike the Gangsastoppen trail and cherish a panoramic view of the town

Another brisk hike offered in Harstad is the twenty-minute climb up the Gangsastoppen trail. This trip is easily accessible both in the summer and the winter, though remember to dress accordingly. Regardless of the season, any trek up this hiking trail will result in an incredibly scenic outlook of Harstad. There is also a traditional cabin at the top of the hiking trail that offers a seating and table area for you to enjoy the view and perhaps even have a picnic on the mountaintop!

Gangsastoppen trail

Phone: +47 77018989

Address: Rikard Kaarboes gate 11, 9405 Harstad, Norway

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A visit to Harstad can uncover the city's history

Harstad at night seen from Gangsåstoppen
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Orcaborealis used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you plan your trip to Harstad diligently, you could end up becoming a connoisseur of northern Norwegian history simply by visiting its many historic locations and learning about the various local traditions. Every city has a different story that it shares with you, but Harstad will truly give you the impression of time traveling into the past history of the region.

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Izza Qureshi is a creative writer and artist residing in the Washington, D.C. area, but her mind is likely floating somewhere in the cosmos. Fascinated by the mysterious of the unknown world, she...Read more

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