Gildeskål is located south of the mouth of Saltfjorden, and covers 512 square kilometres of mainland and the 103-square kilometre Sandhornøya, as well as 660 islands, islets and skerries.
Employment opportunities are still primarily found in the primary industries, even if these have seen significant decline. Fishing is significantly reduced, and the combination of fishing and agriculture is less prevalent now than it used to be. The fishing fleet is primarily comprised of smaller vessels. Agriculture is centred on animal husbandry, particularly cattle and sheep, and farmland is mostly utilized for pastures and grazing, with the exception of the occasional potato crop. Employment in agriculture is down, and the farms have grown bigger. With the exception of public and private service providers, primary industries employ the most people in the municipality.
The municipality's high mountains, hiking terrain, coastline and archipelago offer unique outdoor recreational opportunities. From the majestic coastline with its fjords and countless islands and chances to go deepsea fishing to mountain wilderness, easily accessed from Sundsfjord. Gildeskål also boasts unique caves. The flora is rich and varied, and a wide variety of orchids grow here. Sør-Fugløy is home to a large colony of Atlantic puffins. The white-tail eagle is also a common sight, and seals enjoy themselves on islets and in sounds. Elias Blix, professor, poet and landsmål enthusiast, known for his ode to Nordland "Å, eg veit meg eit land", grew up here. The standing stone in honour of his memory was erected at Sandhornøy.
Nearby, there are also several well-preserved burial mounds from the Iron Age. Further north, east of Mårnes, there is an excavated stone casket from the Viking era.
At Fugløya, renowned for its bird colonies, there is a specific area with strainge flying sand, where sand glides like a waterfall out from the mountain. The wreck of the submarine KNM Uredd, which hit a mine in 1943, sits at the bottom of Fugløyfjorden. 42 men died, and the wreck was reassigned as a wartime grave in 1986. Rødgården at Inndyr, a farm from 1630, is a listed heritage site, and has been restored.
Gildeskål's contribution to the "Footprints in the North" project is Gildeskål cemetery. Gildeskål Church is located just north of Inndyr and dates back to the 12th century. It is a long-church, built in stone and marble in the Roman style. This church is among the oldest stone structures in the region, and it was reopened in 1962 after extensive restoration. Next to the stone church is a timber-framed church built in the Gothic revival style. Close to the church, is the site where an estate once stood. This estate included the guild hall that gave the municipality its name. A heritage trail presents information on historical artefacts associated with the church site.
Area (km2): 664
Administrtive centre: Inndyr
Key industries: Fisheries and aquaculture, as well as centres of expertise