Where does the hiking trail start?

It is possible to start walking from either Nyksund or Stø, but it is recommended that you always follow the path over the mountains towards Stø and along the coastline towards Nyksund, due to some steep sections. Both locations have information boards with a description of the path.

If you start from Stø, it is possible to park your vehicle at Stø Bobilcamp; a campervan park located where the road to Stø ends. Here you will also find a restaurant, public toilets and rubbish bins. See Stø Bobilcamp’s website for more information.

Alternatively, if you choose to start walking from Nyksund, you can park by the information board on Skåltofta. The nearest public toilet is found in Nyksund.



Tour Description

“Dronningruta” faces the mighty Atlantic Ocean and manoeuvres along the ragged coastline and over mountains in Vesterålen. Her Majesty Queen Sonja completed the trail when she visited Vesterålen in 1994, hence the name of this spectacular hiking trail.

“Dronningruta” is a round trip between the fishing villages Stø and Nyksund. Stø is lively and has bustling activity at the fish processing facilities all year around. Nyksund was vacated and abandoned in the 1950s, but recently revitalized as the “cultural centre” of Øksnes after the turn of the millennium.

It is possible to start the hike from either Nyksund or Stø. Information boards have been put up at both locations. However, most hikers set off from the campsite at Stø. Follow the path waymarked with red letter Ts towards Langvaddalen. After about a 15-minute walk, idyllically located between Valaksla and the mighty sea, the beautiful sandy beach of Skipssanden reveals itself. A jewel both tourists and locals alike make use of diligently. From Skipssanden, the trail continues towards the south. Try to pay attention to the landscape around you. Right above the pebble beach, just after crossing the southern tip of the beach, you can see the evidence of a 25m longhouse, a boathouse and a possible cooking pit. All stemming from the Viking Age, and clearly visible in the terrain.

Photo: Halvard Kr. Toften

Photo: Halvard Kr. Toften

From the pebble beach, continue along the waymarked trail, up the valley and reach the pass between Mælen and Sløymarkheia. The next section to the top of Sløymarkheia is steep and can be challenging in terms of height. Vesterålen Trekking Association has, however, fitted ropes along the most exposed sections. From Sløymarkheia continue over Finngamheia, and down the pass towards Sørkulen. You will pass Sørkulen on its North side, before navigating over Kjølen and Valaksla, and down to Stø. Many hikers regard the descend towards Stø as the definite highlight of the hiking trip. The scenic view of the Atlantic Ocean, Stø, Anda lighthouse, Langnes, and Andøya is simply spectacular.
If you choose Stø as the starting and ending points of your trip, it is recommended to make a detour by Nyksund. From the pass south of Mælen, follow the valley down towards the west, and continue on a gravel road for 1 km to Nyksund. There you can grab a bite to eat before returning up the pass again and continue the rest of the hike as described above.

“Dronningruta” can be classified as a moderate hiking trip in terms of difficulty, and it is an advantage to have a head for heights. Some therefore stick to the trail between the fishing villages without returning along the mountain range. If you choose this alternative, you can make a detour up Mælen or Nyken to enjoy the spectacular views.

Author: Remi Vangen

Photo: Halvard Kr. Toften

Photo: Reidar Bertelsen, 2016.

Alternative routes

It is also possible to hike parts of the route, for example, only the coastline from Stø and to Langvaddalen without ascending Nyksundskaret. Alternatively, make your heart pump a bit faster by going up Nyksundskaret, down the other side and continuing to Nyksund. By this you will avoid the steepest parts of the trail found from Nyksundskaret and up Sløymarkheia.


The beach Skipssanden, which you will pass on your way along the coastal path from Stø towards Nyksund, can also be a destination in itself to experience the cliché of a white sandy beach and crystal-clear water. Legend has it that a picture frame drifted ashore there after a shipwreck. Both a canvas bag with money, and a baby were allegedly attached to it. The baby is said to be the ancestor of numerous people living in Øksnes today. More likely, however, is the theory that the frame stems from a Dutch ship which sank outside the nearby village called Klo in 1766. Today, you can find the picture frame in Langenes church near Stø (the legend is retrieved from a brochure published by Vesterålen Turlag).

Photo: Halvard Kr. Toften

Photo: Reidar Bertelsen, 2016.

However, what is archeologically and historically established, are the traces of settlements on Skipssanden from perhaps as early as the Stone Age and the Early Metal Age. Climate change has led to rise in sea levels, and erosion has unfortunately erased most of the traces of the settlements. The area is therefore an example for reflection on the impacts of climate change on cultural landscapes. However, in the south, there is still a small complex consisting of a settlement mound, visible house ruins, a boathouse and a landing place deserted in the 1300s. It is presumably preserved because of the pebble beach (retrieved from Øksnes municipality’s Cultural Heritage Plan).