Join record-breaking polar explorer Børge Ousland as he shows us around the beautiful island of Manshausen

It’s a cliche, but: take us back.

We’ve seen the world – and we will see it again.  But in the meantime, we’re going to keep in touch, reminding you of why we travel in the first place. And for us, travel has always started with a dream. A dream of somewhere else and of some time else. That’s why we’re looking back at the trips we’ve made in order to feel the thrill of the trips we’re going to take. One story at a time. Place by place, face by face. We’re going to look back to look forward. 

Neil, Digital Content Manager

“Last February, just south of the Lofoten Islands in Norway and staying on the idyllic Manshausen Island, I spent a few days with the owner, Børge Ousland. He’s the most celebrated polar explorer of our generation and one night sitting around his fire he told us about the 56 days in total isolation he spent as he marched to the North Pole on his own. Now I sit working from the comfort of my kitchen thinking; not a lot has been asked of us. And when this is all over, they’ll be more towering mountains, epic stories, and inspiring characters to meet once again.”

An Island that has had its ups and downs.

Manshausen was established as one of the most strategic fishing trade posts in Nordland way back in 1698. People have been fishing and living in this place for far longer however and the history of this is still evident today, the main house “bødtkerboligen” remains standing from this prosperous era and is now Børge’s residence when he’s on the island.

In 1924 the fishing post became bankrupt, (new rules, new engines, new competition), it passed through many owners hands until its revival began under Børge’s ownership in 2010.

Who is Børge Ousland?

The most celebrated polar explorer of our generation.

On our journey through Norway, Børge was the person I was most excited to meet. Turned out for good reason as well. He is simply cut from a different cloth. Spending time with him was like peering into a window of another world. One of total resolve and pure love for the freezing cold. We sat by the fire in Bødtkerboligen as he recounted the journey he took in 1998 to the north pole, on his own. (Remember to ask him about Sponge cake and broken ice). He followed that story with his adventure coast to coast across Antarctica, again on his own.

Not only were these journeys undertaken on his own. He was the first person to – ever – make either journey unsupported on their own. Rooms and saunas a side, there’s not another hotel owner in the world quite like Børge. And yes, he is often on the island and an extremely warm, insightful character. He embodies for us what our we are human message is all about. Don’t sit around and read about people, lets go out and meet them.

What was his vision for Manshausen?

He wanted a place that reflected everything important to him. The nature (and wow, what nature it is up there), had to not be a consideration for the design but the inspiration for it.

Architect and good friend of Børge, Snorre Stinessen has made quite a name for himself in this part of the world. His utterly seductive minimalist design allows the views and the nature to speak for itself. In 2016 the first four cabins were built across the west side of the island. In 2019 he returned to complete Manshausen 2.0. Four new cabins facing North out across the barents sea, with the Lofoten Islands in the distance. It really is as spectacular as it gets here.

Like the running of the Island (everything runs on hydro-power and the food is grown on the island or sourced nearby), the design had to understand the environment it was in. Wave height, salinity, wind direction, even projected rise in sea levels due to climate change helped Snorre carefully guide the position of the new cabins.

When you visit (and you should definitely visit) you’ll soon feel the details that make this space so immersive. It’s not until you head through your cabin door though, when you encounter that 180 degree view from the living space that you really have to stop in awe. It’s breathtaking, it’s calming, it’s otherworldly. It’s truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed.

And to think, this is just one stop on the journey across northern Norway. Take a look at the route we took here. It will take you into the arctic north where you can sit down with Børge, hear his stories from another world, drink in the views, hike the mountains, sail the Fjords and ride out with the huskies.

Manshausen: Where sea and mountains meet.

Words: Neil Peacock, Digital Content Manager


Watch the rest of our journey through Norway

Chapter 1: Join us as we ventured into the wilderness with Torkill and his pack of huskies

Chapter 2: There’s a small island we explored that you probably haven’t heard about, (I didn’t but wow am I glad I know now).

Want to meet Borge and venture into the arctic wilderness?

Manshausen is a favourite stop of ours. It’s the perfect pivot from coming down from Tromsø or up from Bergen before heading out into the Lofoten Archipelago. Where unnamed peaks are waiting to be skiied, orca’s playing in the Fjords and scenery that made me feel like I had left planet earth.