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Karlsøy in Norway Karlsøy municipality coat of arms


1.046,9 km2

Karlsøy Local Directory

Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Karlsøy

Pass 70 degreeds Northern Latitude and you are situated in the Municipality of Karlsøy, the Arctic Coastland. Here, you will find a generous nature, with various possibilities for excursions both on land and at sea. The municipality has approximately 2.400 inhabitants a covers a area of 1.046,9 km2 and lies in Troms County. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hansnes. The pretty, nondescript municipal centre is at Hansnes, which can be reached through an undersea tunnel from Tromsø, and the drive is about one hour. From here ferries depart to Vannøy, Reinøy, and Karlsøy. The few inhabitants of Rebbenesøy are served by a ferry from Mikkelvik on the western side of Ringvassøy.

Karlsøy is among the world´s most important exporters of dried and salted cod, with Portugal, Spain, and Brazil among the main markets. The population is almost totally dependent on fishing. There are also goat herding businesses and some music professionals that live on the island community. The municipality consists of islands only. Ringvassøya, Norway´s sixth largest island, is the largest island in the municipality. Nord-Kvaløya, Vanna (Vannøya), Reinøya, and Rebbenesøya are the other major islands. The highest point on Rebbenesøya island is Geittinden at a height of 694 metres.

Karlsøy, the little island after which the municipality is named, has a picturesque village with a stately 19th century church. Karlsøy Church was built in 1854. The inhabitants are an interesting and welcoming mix of the original inhabitants, hippies, and Norwegian Muslims. The flora on the island is also interesting. "Krambumuseum" on the Karlsøy Quay, built in 1830. Here the "nessekongene" (the local squires) traded fish from the fishermen to sell in Bergen. The collection comprises objects typical for the coastal culture.

Helgøy, the former seat of an independent municipality in the western part of present Karlsøy, is today a more or less abandoned village of picturesque wooden houses and an old church. Helgøy Church was built in 1889. The island can only be reached when services are celebrated in the church, and ferry rides are organized.

The islands of Rebbenesøy and Ringvassøy are split, with the southern part belonging to neighboring Tromsø. The reason is that the borders were drawn when boat was the only means of transportation; then it made sense that the southern parts of the islands belonged to Tromsø while the northern parts belonged to Karlsøy. Today, when roads have replaced the boats, the situation is awkward, which is why the Norwegian government transferred all of Reinøy to the municipality of Karlsøy.


Ringvassøya is a large island in Troms county, Norway. It is divided between the municipalities of Tromsø and Karlsøy. With an area of 656 square kilometres, Ringvassøy is the sixth largest island in mainland Norway. The island´s highest point, Soltindan, has a height of 1,051 metres above sea level, about 14 km southwest of the municipal center of Hansnes. Just to the north of the peak is the small glacial lake, Brevatnet.

The 10-kilometre long Skogsfjordvatnet is the largest lake on an island in Norway. Lake Skogsfjordvatn, in the centre of Ringvassøy, is a beautiful lake with good fishing, surrounded by lush, sub-Arctic forests. This is Norway´s largest lake in an island. The island of Vannøya has several picturesque villages, notably Burøysund and Torsvåg, the latter offering a wonderful view of the Atlantic from the lighthouse.


Vanna (also called Vannøya) is a rocky island in Karlsøy municipality. Its area is 232 square kilometres. The highest peak is Vanntinden at a height of 1,031 metres above sea level. Vannvåg and Vannareid are the two main urban areas on the island. The islands of Nord-Kvaløya and Helgøya lie to the west of the island, and Fugløya and Arnøya lie to the east of it. Karlsøya, Reinøya, and Ringvassøya are located to the south of the island. There is ferry service to Karlsøya and Ringvassøya departing from the village of Skanningen on the southern tip of Vanna.


We have the Midnight Sun in our region from 20th May - 20th July. During this period, the sun stays above the horizon, and it is light 24 hours a day. The sky must be clear and there must be unobstructed visibility northwards in order to see the Midnight Sun. A summer night on the fjord or in the mountains is an experience not to be missed, you can go fishing in the fjord, which contains splendid variation of fish, or you can take a walk in the wilderness surrounding.


Aurora Borealis is the Latin name for the Northern Lights – solar winds that meet the atmosphere in a zone around the magnetic North Pole. The Northern Lights are only visible when the sky is dark and clear, from August to April, and they are most intense from 10 pm to midnight. The region on the 700 northern latitude is a fantastic place for experiencing the beautiful and intense play of colours given off by the Northern Lights.


The dark time, or the long, dark Polar Night, lasts from 30th November - 12th January - there is only a twilight-dusk type of light (the blue light) for a few hours during the middle of the day. This does not mean that it becomes totally dark, however. The aurora borealis trails its multicoloured banner across the sky and the moon lights the scene just like the nightlight of Our Lord. The experience of the winter with the uniqueness of the light, the northern lights and snow is fantastic. Especially beautiful is the blue light southwards, just before it becomes dark.


Ullsfjorden is a fjord in the municipalities of Tromsø, Karlsøy and Lyngen. The 75-kilometre fjord flows from Sjøvassbotn northwards along the west side of the Lyngen (where the famous Lyngen Alps are located). The Kjosen fjord branches off to the east side and the Grøtsundet branches off to the west (which then flows into the Tromsøysundet). The islands of Reinøya and Karlsøya lie along the western side of the fjord. The southern part of the Ullsfjorden is also known as Sørfjorden.


Marked trails at Ringvassøy, Vannøy and Karlsøy. Experience this different coastal environment with its skerries an rich fauna, which includes large colonies of white-tailed eagels.


Nord Fugløy is a birdcliff with Europa´s largest white-tailed eagle colony and puffin colony. Rock island with mountains up to 753 meters above the sea level. Old settlement and fishermen`s shanties. Protected area.


Tremendous hunting-areas throuhgout the municipatily. The Reinskardalen on Reinøy, has the best grouse-territory in the Country of Troms.


Numerous fishing-lakes and rivers, including Lake Skogsfjord and its tributary, widely known for its large salomon. Contact the Information Office in Karlsøy, regarding hunting and fishing permits.