Finding the beauty in the boring

While Fauske could be called Norway’s “most boring” town by some, it makes a surprisingly great destination for a serene Norwegian summertime vacation

Vanessa sitting on the edge of the dock.

Photo: Vanessa Brune
Fauske is not the cultural capital of Norway, but it makes up for it with a wild peacefulness and beautiful scenery.

Vanessa Brune
Stavanger, Norway

I recently had the pleasure of spending summer—July to be precise as that’s the month when all of Norway takes vacation—in the tiny town of Fauske in Nordland county. Well actually, I spent it in the woods 10 kilometers away from Fauske with my partner’s family. And yes, “in the woods”—as in the neighboring buildings consisted of a slaughterhouse for the family’s reindeer herd and a haunted house, or so I was told.

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 visit Fauske if I’m basically suggesting that it’s the most boring place in all of Norway?

Because it is pure and wild and magical too!

Summertime in Norway is when most 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!

Colorful flowers in front of a hill.

Photo: Vanessa Brune

Among many others spots 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, I was told that I just didn’t know how much there is out there to see. Two hours later I was sitting on a boat in the middle of an epic fjord on turquoise water and watched a sea eagle from afar. I guess they were right.

I still don’t want to live in Fauske, 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 Swedish border to Sjunkhatten National Park with its epic fjords to the incredible local lake, there’s certainly more to explore in Fauske than you’d think! And the good news? You’ll hardly encounter any other tourists on your visit. Nobody seems to know about visiting Fauske.

Below you can find some useful information on visiting Fauske. Next summer, I want to see your pictures from there!

A dock.

Photo: Vanessa Brune

How to get to Fauske:
The nearest airport is in Bodø, about one hour by car and an hour and a half 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 about three 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: This option offers cozy cabins that are perfect for a peaceful stay out in nature.

• Airbnb: Airbnb is a great alternative to hotels, and there are several interesting options around Fauske, for example a Sámi tent in the wilderness of Valnesfjord or your own cabin on a horse farm.

Where to go hiking in Fauske:
There are lots of opportunities for hiking trips around Fauske in Sjunkhatten National Park, at Fauskeeidet, or in Rago National Park. You can go for a hike around the lake at Fauskeeidet or go on a proper day trek to Midtiskar Valley in Sjunkhatten National Park, for example. The park has the nickname “children’s national park” because most trails are easily accessible and not too difficult to hike.

What if it’s raining? Just go hiking and bring proper clothing because 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.

Colorful flowers in front of a field.

Photo: Vanessa Brune

What else there is to do and see:
If you get tired of all the forests, mountains, fjords, and wildlife in Fauske (really?), 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 NOK 60 and the museum is open between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in the summer.

Where to eat in Fauske:
There are a couple of decent cafés and restaurants in Fauske, including Fauske Bakeri, which offers delicious cakes; Jernbanekafe, which focuses on traditional northern Norwegian cuisine; or Lais, offering Chinese food.

Boring might mean that there’s not much in terms of attractions and entertainment, but in Norway boring might make for the perfect off-the-beaten-path destination.

Fauske certainly is a beautiful spot that you might want to consider if you’d rather spend your vacation at a cabin with a bonfire while swimming in the lake and going hiking in the mountains than exploring the fjords on an overpriced cruise that’s jam-packed with people!

Vanessa Brune is a German expat who’s recently moved to Stavanger after three years of life in Tromsø. She blogs about Norway and the Nordic countries on her blog

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 6, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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