Yes, I'm speaking of you here, Fauske!
I recently had the pleasure of spending summer (as in July, as in that's the month when all of Norway takes vacation) in the tiny town of Fauske in Nordland. Well actually, that's a lie. I spend it with Simon's family in the woods 10km away from Fauske. And yes, "in the woods" as in the neighbouring buildings consisted of a slaughterhouse and a haunted house.
Not where you'd typically want to spend your summer vacation and not exactly a place where there's much to do either.
So why am I recommending you to visit Fauske if I'm basically suggesting that it's the worst place in all of Norway?
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Because actually, it is pure and wild and magical too.
Summertime in Norway is when tourists flock to Bergen to see the fjords, and to Stavanger to hike Preikestolen. It's cruise ship season in Tromsø (even though it's not even half as busy as in winter when everyone visits the city to see the Northern Lights) and the Lofoten Islands seem to be crowded no matter the season nowadays.
So where should you visit if you only have time to visit Norway in summer and don't want to stand in line to take in the views? Fauske!
Among others that is, because Northern Norway is full of tiny industrial towns like Fauske where visitors often pass through, but never stay - despite how much these places have to offer to anyone who just takes a closer look.
When I mentioned at the beginning of my visit that I could never ever live in Fauske, Simon's brother baldly remarked that I just don't know how much there's out there to see.
2 hours later I was sat on a boat in the middle of an epic fjord on turquoise water, and watched a sea eagle from afar. I guess he was right.
I still don't want to live in Fauske, not by any means, but the area has more to offer than you might think - and more than I'd like to admit sometimes.
From Rago National Park at the border to Sweden, to Sjunkhatten National Park with its epic fjords, and just that local lake which pictures you can see in this post - there's certainly more to explore than you'd think!
And the good news? You'll hardly encounter any other tourists on your visit. Nobody seems to know that visiting Fauske actually is a thing. Apart from Wikipedia, the only other info about Fauske that's out on Google is my old article on "Nordland's hidden gem" and an interview with, surprise, Simon's brother.
Like, is anyone else ever promoting the region or is that an inside job of this family?
Anyhow, here's some useful info on visiting Fauske - once and for all. Next summer, I want to see your pictures from there!
How to get to Fauske:
The nearest airport is in Bodø, about 1 hour by car and 1 1/2 hrs by bus from Fauske. The best way to get around is by renting a car at Bodø Airport but you can also take the direct bus from the airport to Fauske, or take a bus to Bodø train station and then the train to Fauske.
The bus connections are usually synchronized with the planes coming from Oslo, Tromsø and Trondheim, while train connections are limited to ca. 3 a day.
Where to stay in (and around) Fauske:
Scandic Fauske - Personally, I love the Scandic chain as I always know what I can expect from them. However, when visiting a place like Fauske, you might rather want to stay somewhere in the wilderness.
Fauske Camping - Fauske Camping has cosy cabins that are perfect for a peaceful stay out in the nature.
Airbnb - Airbnb is such a great alternative to hotels and if you're new to the platform, you can get 37€ in credit by using this link. There's several interesting options around Fauske like:
- this Sami tent in the wilderness of Valnesfjord
- this guest room in a traditional Norwegian wooden house
- this apartment with a view in Valnesfjord
- an entire house with a view in Valnesfjord
- your own cabin on a horse farm
Where to go hiking in Fauske:
There's lots of opportunities for hiking trips around Fauske - in Sjunkhatten National Park, at Fauskeeidet or in Rago National Park. Look at the map at the end of this post to find the starting points (and more info) of a couple of day hikes.
What to do in Fauske on a rainy day:
Hiking. Just go hiking and bring proper clothing cause the mountains might even be prettier on a rainy day, covered in fog. Although, if it's actually pouring, there are a couple of other things you can do below.
What else is there to do and see in Fauske:
If you get tired of all the forests, mountains, fjords and wildlife in Fauske (what's wrong with you?), you could also explore the sculptures at the beachfront (called Kulturlandskap) or the open air museum (Fauske bygdetun) at the same spot.
The entrance fee for the museum is only 60NOK and the museum is open between 11 am and 3pm in the summer.
Where to eat in Fauske:
There's a couple of decent cafes and restaurants in Fauske, all shown on the map below.
Boring might mean that there's not much to do and see in a place in terms of attractions and entertainment, but in Norway, boring might be the next off the beaten path.
Fauske certainly is a beautiful spot that you might want to consider if you'd rather go on a cabin/bonfire/swimming in the lake and going hiking in the mountains type of vacation, than exploring the fjords on an overpriced cruise that's jam-packed with people!
When was the last time you explored a hidden gem like Fauske? And what do you love most about travel off the beaten path?
Leave a comment below!
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PS: Check out this article I wrote for Routes North, if you'd like to learn more about the area around Fauske and Sami reindeer herding!
More FROM AND ABOUT FAUSKE:
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