Sometimes it’s good to get caught out in the rain.
Ersfjord is a gorgeous fjord in the far north of Norway, which is best experienced from a viewpoint in Ersfjordbotn, a small village located right at the mouth of the fjord. Of course you can also take a boat trip, but viewpoints are free and uncrowded if you arrive at the right time. 🙂 Since it is located well within the Arctic circle, Ersfjord is a prime Northern lights viewing location during winter, as the Aurora looks even more spectacular against the background of a rugged fjord. You can also go whale watching during the summer, as well as rock climbing, fishing, hiking and skiing (see here for activities).
I visited Ersfjordbotn in September 2019 as a daytrip from Tromsø, where I was staying in a hostel. I’m happy to report that it can easily be reached by bus, although it does take 2 buses and about an hour (timetables here). If you have a car it’s even easier, as it is only 30 minutes out of Tromsø and also on the way to Senja, a beautiful island further up north that I didn’t manage to get to.
Ersfjord is a somewhat lesser known Norwegian fjord, so it isn’t as popular with the tourists as, for example the iconic Flåm, which made it a great choice in my eyes. Much like everywhere else in Norway, the nature is absolutely beautiful and I wish the weather had been better so I could’ve gone hiking in the area to get to some actual viewpoints. However, the fact that it was a windy, miserable rainy day, also meant that I was completely alone at what I chose as my viewpoint and got to enjoy the view in peace.
Impressions of Ersfjord
As you can see from the photos above, I got caught out in the rain and got completely drenched while waiting for the bus back to Tromsø, but it was absolutely worth it! When I arrived at my viewpoint, I noticed a strom approaching at a fast pace and decided to use my phone’s time-lapse option to capture it. The wind was driving the clouds ahead at such speed that it took all of 10 minutes in real time and I held out filming it for as long as I could without giving the phone a bath. You can see the resulting video below and I can honestly say that it is one of the most stunning things I’ve ever seen and definitely the most amazing thing I’ve ever filmed.
My viewpoint was actually a small parking lot off the main road, located on top of the small hill you’ll see coming into town. While it’s not the most glamorous spot, it obviously offers a great view over Ersfjord and I imagine it would be the perfect Northern lights viewing spot on a clear winter night. Although most people prefer to join a Northern lights tour, where the guides take you to a good local spot and help you chase down the lights if they’re not there, those tours are quite expensive and out of budget for many. So, if you have a lot of patience, dress warmly and scout out a good spot in advance, you can try and get lucky with seeing the Aurora on your own. Here is a pretty good app to check for Aurora forecasts and you can also read my post about the Northern lights for more tips. There’s really nothing to lose by going out and waiting for it, just make sure you don’t freeze your toes off during the subzero Scandinavian winter night.
Besides the beautiful nature area, Ersfjordbotn also has one of the cutest cafes ever. Bryggejentene is located at the end of the Ersfjordbotn pier and it’s open all year around. The interior of the cafe is full of colourful art bits and posters and there’s even a boutique with local handmade pottery inside, where I bought my favourite blue tea cup. The coffee was great, the food looked delicious, the waitress was friendly and even their toilet was stylish, so what’s not to like? The prices were Norwegian (expensive) of course, but they can’t be faulted for that.
The cafe in Ersfjordbotn
All in all, Ersfjord ended up being one of the absolute highlights of my Scandinavian summer trip, despite the torrential rain and the limited time I had there, because it was just so gorgeous and pristine. On the one hand it is a hidden spot you definitely shouldn’t miss, but on the other I’d prefer it stayed that way, so I probably shouldn’t be recommending around quite it as much as I do. 🙂
P.S.: I firmly believe there’s no such thing as bad weather for travelling.