Trollfjord - the short story

The magical Trollfjord - must be experienced - more than raw nature!

Svinøya Rorbuer's guests are often explorers who appreciate the culture, history, local food and experiences in our magnificent scenery. We therefore want to give better knowledge of some of the best visited nature attractions in our region.


The famous Trollfjord is without doubt one of the region's best visited tourist attractions. Lofoten, Raftsundet and Trollfjorden gradually became known to tourists as early as the mid-1800s after more and more travel descriptions described this magnificent nature, the mountain ranges and the Trollfjord surrounded by the majestic Troll peaks. By the end of the 19th century, tourism was well established in Northern Norway and Lofoten. Some of the credit for this must be given to the German Emperor Wilhelm II, who in the summer of 1889 embarked on his first Northern Norway voyage. Later there were several trips to the north. He often visited Digermulen and the Trollfjord. Tourists followed in his wake.

Trollfjord battle, March 6, 1890.

It is rare for "Skrei" (arctic cod) to migrate up in the Raftsundet, but in 1890 this happened. "Skrei" was fished here in February and eventually the Trollfjord was also filled with "Skrei". The Trollfjord is therefore also known for the battle that took place here on March 6, 1890, when the rowboat fishers went into action against the steamboat owners that tried to block them from fishing in parts of the Trollfjord. This was in many ways a culmination of the conflicts that had already taken place between larger, steam-powered net boats and the traditional fishing from smaller open boats.

The shipowner and trader Ole J. Kaarbø had organized fishing with nets from steamboats, and thus closed out fishermen with conventional gear from the innermost part of the fjord, where there was a lot of "Skrei". The fishermen thought the exclusion broke with the public right, and after a few of the fishermen had broken the barriers.

The night before (March 5), representatives of the small boat fishermen had asked the steamboat owners to help break up the ice that the Trollfjord was covered with so that the fishermen could come the next day. The steamboats did this, but instead of opening up to the fishermen, they closed the innermost part of the fjord with nets. They demanded payment from the fishermen to let them in. The fishermen would not accept this, and eventually there was a fist fight between the small boat fishermen and the steamboat crews. Among other things, the fishermen were flushed with hot water from the steam boilers aboard the big boats.

The battle of the Trollfjord became known in the future and involved large parts of the coastal population. The Norwegian Parliament  also gradually took action and accelerated the work on a new Lofot Act. In March 1891, the  Norwegian Parliament passed amendments to the Lofoten Act, which  prohibited the use of nets during the Lofoten fishing.

Lots of "Skrei"

Some nice funfact is always good and useful when visiting the Trollfjord. Imagine that there were 1300-1400 Nordland boats fishing in this narrow fjord in the time after March 6, 1890. On board all these Nordland boats there were about 4500-5000 fishermen. This year almost 1.5 million "Skrei" were caught in the Raftsund, mainly in the Trollfjord. The average weight per "Skrei" taken in the Trollfjord was 6.5 kg. 

During the Trollfjord Battle, Lofoten painter Gunnar Berg (1863-1893) was also present. He was the son of the squire Lars Thodal Walnum Berg on Svinøya in Svolvær. Painter Gunnar Berg had kept himself informed that something big was going on in the Trollfjord. He therefore brought the sketchbook and joined his father's steamboat, D/S Svolvær, which sailed up to the Trollfjord. Gunnar Berg's sketches from the battle of the Trollfjord later became the famous painting "Trollfjordslaget" which hangs in the Gunnar Berg Gallery on Svinøya. If you have visited the Troll Fjord it is definitely recommended to visit Galleri Gunnar Berg. The gallery has regular opening hours in the summer and is run by Svinøya Rorbuer. During the summer, the gallery opens on request via the reception to Svinøya Rorbuer.

You can go to the Trollfjord on organized boat trips from Svolvær all year. The offer is the biggest in the summer and there are many providers to choose from. Here you can read about our Trollfjord & sea eagle safari to the Trollfjord.

Svinøya Rorbuer helps you find the trip that suits you best no matter the season. You can take part in one of the organized daily departures or on a private charter trip. If you are visiting us as a group, you can be picked up at Svinøya from our wharf.