How do I get there? Pictures Description

Norrskär is located in the middle of the Kvarken region, about 40 kilometres off the coast of Finland. This wave-washed island group consists of about ten reefs and islands, of which Västra and Östra Norrskär are the biggest. Västra Norrskär with its lighthouse, former pilot station and fishing village has been and is the most populated and visited island.

Pohjakartta © Maanmittauslaitos lupanro 172/MYY/02


Östra Norrskär is the archipelago's biggest island and consists of gravel, stones and a few cliffs. The shoreline meadows are at times extremely lush, thanks to the algae that wash ashore to form a nutritious base. The highest portions are barren with brush-covered heath. Västra Norrskär, with its lighthouse grounds, is also barren. There is the lighthouse-keeper residences, pilot station and about 30 fishing cottages by the lighthouse.

Norrskär has a rich birdlife. The ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpeak) is a typical species for Norrskär. Another special species is the red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) which is a northern variety. The phalaropes and many other birds gain an important source of food in the abundant midges. Almost 50 bird species breed in the Norrskär archipelago, and many are migratory birds which make their way over or stop and rest on Norrskär.

Norrskär's lighthouse is built of brick and granite and is 21 metres tall. The octagonal lighthouse was completed in 1846. Staff, consisting of four lighthouse-keepers and their families, lived in the log cabin next to the lighthouse. Their lives were often difficult. Fishing, bird hunting and seal hunting were among the necessary chores. During the winter and early spring they were completely isolated from the rest of the world. The lighthouse-keepers received their pay for the winter in advance so they could buy and store enough food for the entire season. In 1987 the lighthouse was automated and the last lighthouse-keeper left Norrskär. He was the very last lighthouse-keeper in Finland.

The pilot station was manned between 1921 and 1970. Metsähallitus now owns the building and takes care of and monitors the area and provides birdwatching services. Norrskär has long been a lively fishing village. Most of the fishing cottages are used today as holiday homes. The lighthouse grounds have also been a military stronghold since the Second World War, as can be seen in the barracks, cannons and bunkers. The armed forces left Norrskär in 2000 and its areas and buildings were taken over by Metsähallitus, which now manages the entire archipelago. The lighthouse and buildings related to it, as well as the new VTS radar mast, belong to the Gulf of Bothnia maritime district.

Norrskär with its sensitive outer archipelago environment is only appropriate as a destination for small guided groups and individual visitors. During the bird breeding season visits should be limited to the built areas on the lighthouse grounds and to existing paths.

Photo: Pertti Malinen
Photo: Lise-Lotte Molander
Photo: Seppo Lammi
Östra Norrskär's shallow gravel beaches. Blinker beacon on Malusändan
Algae washed ashore and parts of plants sometimes gather along the beaches in piles
The turnstone received its name from its curious habit of turning stones over in its hunt for food
Photo: ÖFPL/Göran Strömfors
Photo: ÖFPL/Göran Strömfors
Photo: ÖFPL/Göran Strömfors
Lighthouse hill on Norrskär
Harbour on Norrskär
Beaches exposed to wind and waves


The harbour has waste service and an outhouse.


Korsholm municipality

Texts: Anders Enetjärn, Lise-Lotte Molander.
Translation: Accent Språkservice AB.
Layout & illustrations: Päivi Anttila.
Webbdesign: Fredrik Smeds, Freddi Com Oy Ab.
for maintenance & updates contact: [email protected].