Lighthouses of Møre og Romsdal
Møre og Romsdal is one the Norway’s most scenic coastal counties. Its ten biggest communities are situated on the coast or a fjord. Here the land breaks up into myriad islands as it approaches the Norwegian Sea and this accounts for the area’s long dependence on boat traffic. These islands also encourage north-south traffic by providing passageways sheltered from the open sea.
For scenic splendor, it’s hard to beat Møre og Romsdal (though to be fair, many areas of Norway offers serious competition). A short list of Møre og Romsdals’ most notable attractions include:
- The deep blue Geirangerfjord is surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and lush, green vegetation.The fjord is one of Norway’s most visited tourist sites and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, jointly with Nærøyfjord, since 2005,
- The Atlantic Ocean Road where sharp turns and wild nature have put it on many folks’ list of the world’s best road trips.
- The beautiful Art-Nouveau city of Ålesund.
- Trollstigen, an official National Tourist Route, this serpentine mountain road has hairpin turns and, in places, a steep 9% incline. There are now new and improved viewing platforms.
Without including the many small automatic signals that dot the area and aid navigation, there are 23 major lighthouses in Møre og Romsdal. This high concentration can be accounted for by both the importance and quantity of sea traffic here as well as the inherent dangers of navigating amid the many islands, islets and skerries along the way.
Haugsholmen (aka Frekøy)
Built in 1876, automated 1980. Active. 10 m (33 ft) cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, attached to one corner of a 2-1/2 story keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted red, house white. The house was reported to be abandoned and deteriorating. In 2007 it was purchased by Sande Kommune. A preservation society, Forening for Frekøy Fyrstasjon, has been formed to work for the restoration of the station. Located at the western tip of Frekøy, an island in the Vanylvsfjord about 10 km (6 mi) west of Larsnes. Accessible only by boat.
Built in 1870, automated in 1979. Active. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the seaward gable of a 1-1/2 story wood keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery red. Located on a small island about 2 km (1.2 mi) south of Kvalsund. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Read more.
Built in 1905, automated in 2004. Active. 11 m (36 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward end of a keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white with red trim, lantern red. The lighthouse was damaged by an Alled bombing raid in 1940, but was repaired after the war. The lighthouse, one of Norway’s most difficult assignments for lightkeepers, was finally automated in 2005 on the 100th anniversary of its establishment. Until the summer of 2012, an Ålesund company called 62° Nord rented the keeper’s quarters for overnight stays and brought guests here by helicopter. But in 2012 the government ruled that helicopter flights to the island can only be in conjunction with the lighthouse upkeep. Located on a small island in the Norwegian Sea about 20 km (13 mi) northwest of Larsnes. Accessible only by boat in heavy seas. Read more.
Station established 1767, automated in 2002. Active. 14 m (46 ft) 2-story square masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Building painted white, lantern red. A large Fresnel lens is in use. The original lighthouse was replaced in 1826. A cast iron tower was installed in 1858, and the base of that tower remains. Automated in 2002, the station now has overnight accommodations for groups of up to 20 hikers, in tours arranged by the Ålesund-Sunnmøre Tourist Association. The northernmost of the pictureseque islands in the Herøy municipality, Runde (Rundøy) is accessible from the mainland by a series of bridges. Located on the northwestern tip of the island, accessible by a hiking trail. Site open, tower open to guided tours. Site manager: Ålesund-Sunnmøre Turistforening. Read more.
Grasøyane (aka Ulstein)
Built in 1886, automated in 1986. Active. 20 m (66 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted red with one white horizontal band. 1-1/2 story wood keeper’s house and other light station buildings. The lighthouse was automated on its 100th anniversary in 1986. Standing off the Hareidlandet peninsula, the light marks the beginning of the approaches to Ulstein to the south and Ålesund to the west. Located on a small island about 15 km (9 mi) northwest of Ulstein and 5 km (3 mi) off the northwestern coast of the Hareidlandet. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. The lighthouse was listed as a protected site in 1999.
Built in 1857, inactive since 1905. 13 m (43 ft) round brick tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern roof is red. This is one of the few brick lighthouses ever built in Norway, and it is protected under the Cultural Heritage Act. Built at the end of a stone mole, the light marks the southeastern point of the island of Godøya. The island is connected to Ålesund by a series of bridges and tunnels. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. Read more.
Built in 1858. Active. Tower painted red; the lantern is white with a red roof. The sign on the tower, sakte fart, means “approach slowly.” Located on the waterfront of Ålesund; accessible by walking the short pier. Site open, tower closed. This lighthouse is operated as a hotel. Read more.
1876 (station established 1852), automated 1982. Active. 26 m (75 ft) square shingle-covered wood tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-1/2 story wood keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white with two red horizontal bands, gallery white with red trim, lantern red. Readily accessible from Ålesund, this unusual and historic tower is one of Norway’s most visited lighthouses. It is now managed by Giske Kommune. The station is operated as a cultural center and historic museum, with an exhibition hall and a café. Located in the village of Alnes at the northwestern point of Godøya. Site open; cultural center and tower open daily June through August and on Sundays otherwise March through October. Owner/site manager: Giske Kommune. Read more.
Station established 1869, automated 1991. Active. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, attached to a 1-1/2 story keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. The original lighthouse was destroyed in 1945. Erkna is an island about 5 km (3 mi) northwest of Alnes Fyr and 3 km (2 mi) west northwest of Synes Fyr. Located atop a bluff on the northwestern coast of the island. Accessible only by boat in heavy seas; there are distant views from Alnes Fyr and Synes Fyr. Read more.
Built in 1920, automated in 1980. Active. 22 m (72 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a round cylindrical 2-story stone base. Lighthouse painted red, except the stone base is painted white. Keepers were often stranded for long periods at this lighthouse; it was diificult to supply them even during the summer. Located on a tiny skerry in the Norwegian Sea about 6 km (3.5 mi) due north of Erkna and 8 km (5 mi) northwest of the populated island of Vigra. This remote lighthouse is only accessible safely by helicopter; there may be a distant view from Vigra. Site and tower closed. The light is lit from the 16th of July until the 21st of May. It is not lit during the summer because it is unnecessary due to the midnight sun in this part of the world.
Station established 1874, automated in 1975. Active. 10 m (34 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof painted red. Two 1-1/2 story keeper’s houses, boathouses, and other station buildings preserved. The lighthouse was severely damaged by an Allied bombing raid in 1944 and was rebuilt after the war. The new version of the lighthouse stands on the site of the former keeper’s house. The station is now maintained by the Ullafyrets Venner (Friends of Ulla Lighthouse). Overnight accommodations for groups up to 22 are available. Located on Kværnholmen, a small island just off the northwest end of the larger island of Haramsøya, which is accessible by ferry. The lighthouse is accessible only by boat, but there are distant views from the village of Ulla on Haramsøya. Site open, tower status unknown. Owner: Kystverket. Site manager: Ullafyrets Venner. Read more.
Station established 1879, automated in 1956. Active. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower, painted white. There’s a lantern on a “shelf” on the seaward side. The lighthouse marks a dangerous reef; it replaced a lightship station established in 1856. The lighthouse was repaired after being damaged by Allied bombing in 1944. Located at the end of a mole on a small island off the southeastern tip of Lepsøya and a short distance west of Skjelten on the Haram peninsula. Site open, tower closed.
Built in 1880, automated 1973, inactive since 1988. 7 m (23 ft) square cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward end of a 1-1/2 story keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. The lighthouse was the rear light of a range from sometime in the early 1900s until 1988. Located at Hellevik on the north side of the island of Lepsøya. Site and tower closed (private residence). The lighthouse was replaced by a light in 1988. Hellevik 2 1988. Located about 400 m (1/4 mi) west of the historic lighthouse. Site and tower closed (private residence). Old and new lighthouse Hellevik at the island of Lepsøya in June 2007
Built in 1902, devactivated 1988. Located in the municipality of Sandøy, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. 1988, it was replaced by an electric light. 1988 (station established 1902). Lighthouse painted white with two narrow black horizontal bands; lantern roof is red. 1-1/2 story wood keeper’s house, boathouse, and other light station buildings. Accommodations are available in the keeper’s house. Located on a small island about 4 km (2.5 mi) west of the island of Gossa. Accessible only by boat; there should be a view from ferries between Gossa and Harøy. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Flatflesa Fyr.
Built in 1867, automated 1971. Active. 14.7 m (48 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. The original rotating Fresnel lens remains in use. The keeper’s houses are private residences. The station also has a fog light (bifyr), a 3 m (10 ft) square tower with lantern, painted white with a red lantern roof. Scarcely changed in 140 years, this little lighthouse crowns a hill in the center of a remote fishing village, accessible by passenger ferry from Gossa. Located on the island of Husøy about 20 km (13 mi) north of Haram. Site open, tower closed.
Built in 1871, automated 1993. Inactive. House painted white, lantern red. 9 m (30 ft) square cylindrical wood tower with gallery, attached to one end of a 1-story wood keeper’s house. Located on Moøya, a small island about 4 km (2.5 mi) north of Gossa and the same distance west of Bud. Accessible only by boat. Once a thriving fishing village, abandoned since 1971. Read more.
Built in 1842, inactive since 1956. 12 m (93 ft) round old-style stone tower with gallery; lantern removed. Tower painted white. A 1-1/2 story wood keeper’s house, turbine house, boathouse, farm buildings, and other station buildings are all preserved at this station. Kvitholmens Venner (Friends of Kvitholmen) manage the station and its restoration; their website has a fine collection of historic photos. Located on a small island about 1.5 km (1 mi) offshore and about 8 km (5 mi) west of Averøy. The island is protected as a bird sanctuary. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Read more.
Built in 1879, inactive since 1986. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical tower with gallery, rising from a 3-1/2 story keeper’s house. Lantern removed. Lighthouse painted white. Located on a skerry about 1.4 km (0.9 mi) north of Langøy and 8 km (5 mi) northeast of Averøy. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed.
Station established 1842, automated 1976. Active. 7 m (23 ft) 1-1/2 story square building with lantern mounted on the roof. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. This light marks the entrance to the Sørsundet and the harbor of Kristiansund. Located on a peninsula at the northeastern tip of Averøya about 3 km (2 mi) north of Bremsnes. Site status unknown. See images and read more.
Grip (Flatharskollen Range Rear)
Built in 1885–88, automated in 1977. Active. 44 m (144 ft) two-stage tower: approx. 28 m (92 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, mounted atop a 16 m (52 ft) round granite base incorporating keeper’s quarters. Cast iron tower painted red, stone base white. Until it was automated in 1977, this must have been one of the most difficult Norwegian stations for keepers. Located on the bare, 7-meter (23 ft) high islet of Bratthårskollen, north of Gripholmen, swept by the waves in every storm, about 6.5 km (4 mi) north of Kristiansund. There is just the lighthouse tower, a concrete boathouse, and two wharves. The lighthouse keepers lived inside the lighthouse tower. A radio beacon was operated between 1947 and 1986, which was replaced with a frequency-agile racon signalling “G” with a range of 4 nm. The lighthouse was electrified in 1932, and is unmanned since it was automated in 1977. In 2000, it became protected as a cultural heritage site. The piloting station was shut down in 1969.Accessible only by boat in dangerous seas. Site and tower closed. Fascinating place—read more.
Built in 1833. automated 1n 1967 . Active. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical tower attached to a keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white; lantern painted red. Located on Ringholmen, a small island off the east end of Edøy, which is an island off the southeast coast of Smøla. Accessible only by boat, but there should be a good view from Edøy. Site open, tower closed.
Station established 1907, automated 2002. Active. 21 m (69 ft). 16 m (52 ft) tower with lantern and gallery attached to a 1-1/2 story wood keeper’s house. Located on a skerry about 5 km (3 mi) northwest of Dyrnesvågen, off the northwestern tip of Smøla. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower status unknown.
The first light was set up in 1905, the tower was built in 1922, and the station was automated in 1988. The lighthouse is listed as a protected site. Located in the municipality of Smøla in Møre og Romsdal, Norway. 28 m (92 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, incorporating keeper’s quarters, mounted on a round concrete base. Tower painted red with one white horizontal band; the concrete base is white. The lighthouse is now open for day tours and available for overnight accommodations. Located on a wave-swept skerry about 1 km (0.6 mi) north of Veiholmen on the north side of Smøla. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower open to guided tours. Site manager: Hopen Aktivitetsgård. Read more.