Svinøy Lighthouse – no longer offering accommodations
Svinøy Lighthouse is located southwest of Ålesund, off the Stad peninsula, 12 nautical miles from the Norwegian coast in open ocean — in an area renown for some of the wildest weather Norway has to offer. It is found in the municipality of Herøy in Møre og Romsdal county. The island lies within sight of the mainland. Read more about the 20-plus lighthouses in Møre og Romsdal.
The island (øy is the Norwegian word for island) is 900 meters (2,952 feet) long and 300 meters (980 feet) wide. It rises 34 meters (115 feet) above the sea. The (now automated) Svinøy Lighthouse was manned for 100 years, from 1905 to 2005, and has been a meterological observation since 1955. The island is reachable by boat, but due to the power and volatility of the waves, for safety reasons only helicopter access is provided.
Accommodations Update, September 2012
The Norwegian goverment has ruled that helicopter flights to the island are permissable only for lighthouse maintenance and repairs. This means that tourists will no longer able to stay there. Accommodations had been offered in the house once used by the lighthouse keepers and was arrange through the company 62°NORD..
- Travel accounts from the 18th century tell that local farmers would put pigs out to pasture on the island during the summer, hence the name Svinøy (English: swine island); this oral tradition was confirmed by a historian in 1931, but it seems likely that goats were put on the island in the summer.
- A Svinøy lighthouse was commissioned in 1851, but conditions being very difficult to implement such plans, a full lighthouse were not finally realized until September 1905. On the 100th anniversary of the original lighting of the lighthouse, the the light was fully automated.
- During World War II, German troops were stationed at the lighthouse, and in 1940, Allied bomb raids put the light out of commission. It was repaired after the war and reopened in 1946.
Flora and fauna
Wind and salt spray limit the natural vegetation to lichen and grasses. Located about 20 kilometres (12 miles) southwest of the renowned bird island of Runde, Svinøy also attracts a rich diversity of birds, including puffins.
The climate on the island is typically coastal, with precipitation of about 780 millimetres (31 inches) a year, somewhat less than what is typical on Norway’s western coast. The island ties the Norwegian record for sustained winds, at 46 meters per second (100 mph); with gusts considerably higher. Waves are known to wash over the entire island. So difficult are landing conditions that the island has no piers. There are three landing sites on different sides of the island, and on one, a crane pulls boats out of the water. A boathouse built in 1905 lasted only one year before it was claimed by the sea and rebuilt in a concrete well above the surface the year after.