Where is Lofoten Islands
Lofoten is an island group in Nordland, Norway. If you ask us though, it is a paradise on earth. Lofoten is known for having the ability to take your breath away and make you stay or come back and visit multiple times. Visitors to the archipelago will be welcomed to the dramatic landscape of mountains and peaks, wide open seas, and sheltered bays, long shorelines, and untouched lands. When seen from elevated points around Bodo (a municipality in Nordland county, Norway) or when arriving from sea, the archipelago looks like a closed wall, thus the birth of the name Lofotveggen, or Lofoten Wall.
Lofoten lies within the Arctic Circle. Leknes, its capital and largest town, is located approximately 169km inside the Arctic Circle, or about 2,420 km away from the North Pole. This fact makes Lofoten one of the world’s northernmost populated regions.
Weather in Lofoten Islands
The weather in Lofoten Islands is subpolar oceanic climate, also known as marine climate. It experiences one of the world’s largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude even though it lies within the Arctic Circle. Lofoten winter temperatures are very mild considering its location in the Arctic Circle. During Lofoten winter season, though, the sun does not rise between the first week of December to the second week of January.
Summer months in Lofoten Islands are from June to August. This is also when Norway and the rest north of the Arctic Circle experiences midnight sun. The midnight sun, also referred to as polar day, is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle when the sun does not set below the horizon and remains visible all day.
The best time to visit Lofoten Islands is basically throughout the whole year, depending on your itinerary. If you want to see the Northern Lights, come during winter months. If you want to go hiking, cycling, and explore outdoors, summer is the best season to come. Lofoten winter is generally between November to March, spring is from April to May, summer is from June to August, and autumn is from September to October. Different seasons in Lofoten Islands will give you opportunities to try different adventures.
How to get to Lofoten Islands
There are so many ways to get to Lofoten islands – whether you travel by air, sea, or land, you have plenty of convenient options.
If you want to travel by plane, there are two airports in Lofoten Islands, Svolvaer Airport and Leknes Airport, that have direct flights to several Norwegian airports. If you are traveling internationally, you will need connecting flights to Lofoten Islands from major international airports in Norway. Leknes Airport connects Bodo, Oslo, and Tromso. The flights to and from this airport are more frequent and less expensive. Svolvaer, on the other hand, connects Bodo, Oslo, Rost,, and Stokmarknes. The main domestic airline in Lofoten is Wideroe. For visitors coming from other countries, Norwegian and SAS offer frequent flights to major international airports in Norway where you can get a connecting flight to any Lofoten airport. A non-stop flight from Oslo, Norway’s capital and biggest city, to Leknes takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes. If you are connecting from Tromso to Lofoten, the flight takes only about 50 minutes.
If you are looking for a cheaper way to get to Lofoten Islands, taking a ferry is a great option. Keep in mind that the waves in Norway can be really rough, especially outside summertime. There are a couple of routes you can take. One of the popular starting points is Bodo. You can take a ferry from Bodo to Moskenes (3-4 hours depending on the weather), Bodo to Vaeroy via Moskenes (5 hours and 30 minutes), and Bodo to Rost via Moskene and Vaeroy (7-8 hours). Another popular route is from Skutvik and connect to Svolvaer, which takes about two hours and a half.
Getting to Lofoten Islands by bus is feasible, although it may take more planning and adjusting to its schedule. The widely used route is the one that runs from Narvik via stops including Leknes, Evenes, Lodingen, and Svolvaer. There are also a couple of bus routes from other parts that ends in Bodo. From Bodo, you can catch a ferry to Lofoten.
If you prefer to drive, the E10 road, which was opened in 2007, makes is easy for you to reach Lofoten Islands. The E10 road runs right across the islands from the mainland through a network of tunnels and bridges. Most tourists who prefer to travel via car rent one in Narvik and drive west to the islands. It is a three-hour drive from Narvik to Svolvaer, four and a half hours to Leknes, and five and a half hours to A. If you are driving from Tromso, it takes about six hours and 10 minutes to Svolvaer.
There are no trains traveling directly to anywhere in Lofoten, but you can catch a train to get closer. If you are traveling from Oslo, you can take a train from there to Bodo via Trondheim and Fauske. This route takes about ten hours, so take that into account when selecting a ticket.
How to get around Lofoten Islands
You can get around Lofoten by catching bus rides. Although the buses in Lofoten are high quality and comfortable, they are expensive and not frequent. If you are patient enough, though, the buses run the entire E10. If you want flexibility and control of your own time while exploring the islands, the best way to get around in Lofoten in terms of practicality and convenience is by renting a car. Depending on the season, there may be a lot of cyclists on the road since Norway has a human-oriented traffic culture, which puts pedestrians and cyclists first.
In order to be able to drive on your own in Lofoten Islands and anywhere else in Norway, you need to present your driver’s license from your home country. If your driving license is issued in EU/EEA country, you can drive in Norway for as long as you would like. Generally, if your driving license is not from an EU/EEA country, you can use it for three months in Norway. To be sure, check the country’s driving requirements as a visiting tourist before your trip.
If you are visiting during summertime, you can join the locals in getting on a bike and cycle around Lofoten Islands.
Car Rental in Lofoten
Renting a car and driving around is the best way to enjoy Lofoten especially during spring and summer time. Once you have confirmed that your driver’s license can be used in Norway, you can book your car rental online. Not to worry, though; oftentimes, the rental company can check if your driver’s license is valid in Norway. There are a couple of rental companies in and around Lofoten. Some of the most trusted rental companies here are Avis, Hertz, and Sixt. You can check the companies’ websites for the most convenient pick up or delivery places. You can explore using GPS or even a good, old, printed maps.
What to pack for Lofoten Islands
When planning for a visit to Lofoten Islands, you also need to give much thought to what to pack based on the season during your trip. Shopping for clothing in Norway can be quite expensive and might throw you off-budget.
Lofoten summer temperature is a bit warmer compared to the other parts of the country, thanks to the Gulf Stream. From the months of June to August, average temperature ranges from 17 to 23 degrees Celsius. You might want to pack light tops and bottoms, light jackets, hiking outfits, sneakers, waterproof hiking shoes, hats, shades, swimsuits, and sunscreen. The weather can be unpredictable sometimes, so it is also advisable to pack a rain jacket. Since the midnight sun might make it challenging for you to get some proper sleep, make sure to pack a sleep mask.
Autum in Lofoten Islands is from September to October, and temperatures range from 5-10 degrees Celsius. Any undergarments such as leggings and inner sweaters with heat technology will keep you warm while exploring outdoors. Pack items that you can easily layer, such as fleece jackets, beanies, and scarves.
Lofoten Islands has around 0 degrees Celsius temperatures during the winter. In order to fully enjoy your trip, you need ultra-warm clothing, especially being outside. Thermal inner wear is necessary. You may also want to pack a hooded fleece jacket, hard shell pants, beanie, hooded, thick, down jacket, snow boots, thermal gloves, socks, and such. If you are planning to do some hiking, a pair of snow goggles would be useful to protect your eyes from the wind.
During springtime from April to May, Lofoten is still a bit cold, with temperatures ranging from 2-6 degrees Celsius. Packing your thermals and light down jackets is a great idea.
Is Lofoten Islands Safe?
Norway in general has a very low crime rate, especially Lofoten Islands. Whether you travel solo or with kids, you do not have to worry about your safety in Lofoten. Due to how less frequent public transportation is, island hopping by hitch-hiking is pretty common in here.
Currency used in Lofoten
The currency used in Lofoten Island is Norwegian krone (kroner in plural form). It is often represented as NOK, if written before the number, or kr, if written after the amount. 100kr is equivalent to 10 USD. Most of the establishments in Lofoten accepts major credit cards, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, and Eurocard. You might struggle to find money exchangers in Lofoten Islands, but ATMs are available.
Language spoken in Lofoten Islands
There are a couple of languages spoken in Lofoten Islands and Norway in general. The most widely spoken is Norwegian (Bokmal and Nynorsk) and Sami. Other minority languages spoken is Kven Finnish, Romani, Romanes, and English.
Must see cities/villages in Lofoten Islands
This small fishing village in Vagan Municipality is one of the top villages to visit in Lofoten Islands, especially during the summer season. Henningsvaer is about 20 kilometers southwest of the town of Svolvaer. This 74-acre village is popular for diving and snorkeling as well as climbing.
Aside from being a charming fishing village, though, Henningsvaer is also popular for its football field, which has gained global attention due to drone photography. It even became more popular when UEFA, the European football organization shot some clips in and around Henningsvaer Fotballbanen with Liv Cooke for the “We Play Strong” video.
Ramberg is a village and the capital of Flakstad. This village is situated on the island of Flakstadoya and only has about 350 inhabitants. If you are driving via E10 highway, you will pass through Ramberg. This place is famous for its white sandy beaches. Norway’s Crown Prince even came here and kited at the beach during the Easter holidays in 2012.
Reine is another fishing village in Lofoten. It is the administrative center of Moskenes. Reine has been voted as the most beautiful village in Norway.
You may have seen photographs of Reine in several tourist brochures and travel books.
Can you see the Northern Lights in Lofoten?
Chasing the Northern Lights is one of the activities everyone looks forward to when visiting Norway. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Lofoten is in October and early March. The intensity of the Northern Lights changes, though, but your best chance to see it in October is between 8pm-9pm. If you are visiting in November to December, there is a chance you will see the Aurora Borealis, but it is a bit tricky since the prolonged rain will make it difficult to see clear skies. The best places in Lofoten Islands to catch the Northern Lights during the best months are on the beaches of Flakstadoy and Vestvagoy. To have the best view, move away from the city lights; a dark sky is best when it comes to chasing the Northern Lights.
Things to do and see in Lofoten
Lofoten has the best waves for surfing, although it may not be the number one thing on every tourist’s list when coming here. The seas in Lofoten tend to be chilly. The epicenter of surfing in Lofoten is Unstad Bay. During summertime, surfing enthusiasts come here and ride some waves.
If you plan on surfing without the crowd, Unstad Bay is the best place to be. Unstad Arctic Surf is a surf camp in the area where you can book classes. Wet suits are required to keep you warm when surfing in Lofoten.
If there is ever a place where you would want to go cycling, it would be Lofoten Islands. There is always something beautiful to see at every turn. Lofoten is also built on human oriented traffic culture, so cycling is extremely popular among locals. Beautiful beaches, charming fishing villages, boathouses, and green mountains are just a few of the things worth seeing on a bike tour.
There are a couple of routes that you can take, but one of the highly recommended is the Vestfjord route. This route is cycle-friendly and runs along the whole of Lofoten on one side and outer Salten on the other side. It does not matter where your starting point is or where you rent your bike from or if you are bringing your own bike from home since the passenger ferries can accommodate your bikes.
There are a couple of bike tour companies that can arrange everything for you and comes with a tour guide so you will have the best cycling experience in Lofoten. Make sure you are dressed light yet warm when going on a bike tour. Do not forget your camera since photo opportunities are everywhere. Tap water is safe to drink in Lofoten, so bring your reusable water bottles. A lot of the bike tours are also kid-friendly, so you do not have to worry about your kids missing out on the experience.
Football is the most popular sport in Europe. It is especially a big deal in Norway. The most impressive and aesthetically pleasing football field in Norway is in Lofoten Islands. Even if you are not groundhopping, you will still want to visit Henningsvaer’s football field. This attracted international attention after an aerial photo of it taken by a drone went viral online.
Henningsvaer’s football field has been dubbed as the most beautiful football field in the world. In terms of seating capacity, its number is not that huge, though – it’s actually zero. In fact, spectators have to bring their own chairs during matches. But it is scenic to the point that UEFA, Union of European Football Association, and Pepsi shot videos in here. You can kick balls in this football field if you would want to.
If you are a mountaineer, Lofoten is a piece of heaven for you. Hiking and mountaineering are one of the top things to do in Lofoten Islands. There are a lot of trails with different levels of difficulty that you can hike on in Lofoten. You can do it yourself by downloading trekking maps, such as that of Norwegian Trekking Association. You can also hire a guide. Some of the trails would be extra challenging during colder months, so it is better to check the weather and plan ahead before your trip.
Reinebringen is one of the short but challenging trails in Lofoten. The viewpoint of Reinebringen is one of the biggest in all the islands in this archipelago. It is only 448 meters high, but the hike is essentially upwards all the time. It takes about 2-3 hours to complete this trail round trip. If you would like to camp overnight, there is a camping site at the top, although it is very exposed and there is no water available.
Munkebu Hut’s level is moderate to challenging and usually appeals to intermediate-grade hikers. The starting point of this hike is in Sorvagen. The roundtrip hike takes about 5-6 hours and has a 450-meter vertical rise. You can camp overnight in Munkebu. Hikers who summit Hermannsdalstinden set up camp here before continuing.
Hermannsdalstinden has an altitude of 1,029 meters and is the tallest mountain in the western part of Lofoten. This is not a recommended trail for beginners because of the challenging climb. To reach the top, you will encounter a steep climb, exposed sections, loose rock, and the possibility of strong winds. Professional mountaineers can hike up Hermannsdalstinden in less than a day (the record was 11-14 hours), but an overnight camping at Munkebu Hut is a more feasible plan.
Ryten Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Lofoten. You will be welcomed by the breathtaking view of Kvalvika Beach at the onset of the hike. You will have different vantage points throughout the hike which takes about 5 hours two-way. If you are traveling with the whole family, this trail is easy enough for kids.
Justadtinden is a moderate hiking trail which takes about 2-4 hours roundtrip. The 12km roundtrip hike will give you a nice range of Lofoten scenery.
There is no shortage of beautiful beaches in Lofoten Islands. If you are in dire need of a beach time without the crowds, Lofoten has a lot of empty and breathtaking beaches.
Unstad Beach is the surfing center point in Lofoten. If you would like to learn how to surf, there is a surf camp in Unstad Beach that offers surfing sessions. Located 21km east of Leknes, this beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Lofoten. In the summer, the blue ocean and green mountains in the background entices tourists. During wintertime, the water freezes and the mountains are covered in snow. It would be impossible to surf or even swim in freezing winter, but a lot of professional photographers come here to capture Unstad Beache’s beauty.
Uttakleiv Beach in Vestvagoy is about 12 km from Leknes. During summer, Uttakleiv Beach is a popular camping and midnight sun destination. The grassy dunes behind the beach is also a popular camping spot. In October, February, and early March, you will see a lot of people and photographers here trying to capture the Northern Lights.
Haukland Beach is popular among locals and tourists especially during summer because of its white powdery sand and blue waters. There is no camping site at this beach, but taking a day trip here to just relax and enjoy the view is highly recommended.
Vik Beach is close to Haukland. If you are joining a tour group, you might be stopping here right after Haukland. Both of these beaches are only 10km away from the capital, Leknes. This is one of the favorite spots to catch the Northern Lights.
Skagsanden Beach is located in Flakstadoy, which is about 27km west of Leknes. This is one of the easily accessible beaches in Lofoten because it is located along the E10 highway. Even if you are renting a car, you will be able to locate Skagsanden Beach easily.
Rorvika Beach in Austvagoy is a popular beach destination among Lofoten locals during summer season. During low tide, a nice stretch of white sandy beach will welcome you. During August, the water will be warm enough for you to swim for a bit.
Eggum in Vestvagoy draws crowd during midnight sun. Camping is permitted on this beach, so a sight of lined camping tents during summer can be expected. If you are in the area, take a tour around the village as well and check out the visitor center and the World War II radar tower.
Yttersand Beach is located in Moskenesoy and is about 39km away from Leknes. It is a bit of a drive to get here if you are coming from Leknes, so not a lot of tourists visit, but that also means you can explore the beach and take photos and have it all to yourself. When there is no wind and the sea is calm, you can almost hear a pin drop in Yttersand Beach. It is calm and quiet and a perfect place to contemplate and meditate.
Offersoykammen is a mountain you must climb while you are in Lofoten Islands. This is an easy climb that even kids can conquer. This small peak rises from the rough waters of Nappstraumen in Vestvagoya. Offersoykammen is about 7km away from Leknes and can be accessed via E10 highway. The summit takes about an hour to reach from the parking lot below. The peak is flat, so you can relax for a bit and enjoy the view.
7. See fjords
One of the best things to do in Lofoten is to see a fjord. A fjord is a long, deep, narrow body of water that reaches far inland. They are usually U-shaped with walls composed of steep rocks. Fjords are not that common, but you can find them mostly in Norway, Chile, New Zealand, Canada, Greenland, and Alaska in the US.
One of the fjords you can get to near Lofoten is Bunesfjord. This is a short fjord arm of the Forsfjord with the length of 1.7km. It extends between the villages of Vindstad and Engelsneset. Bunesfjord is surrounded by mountains with 300m-500m altitudes. You can get here by getting on a fast boat from Reine.
Trollfjord is a 2-kilometer-long fjord which cuts and flows into the island of Austvagoya and Raftsundet Strait respectively. It has steep mountains around it and also has a narrow opening. Its name may sound familiar because it is derived from trolls which are characters in Norse mythology. Trollfjord is a fjord you should visit for sure. The beauty of its natural setting attracts tourists here. You can access this fjord by going on a boat ride, but hikers can also get here after a 10km hike. The terrain is a bit rugged, thus making the trail a bit challenging to hike on. Cruise ships dock here a lot. If you are traveling with kids, you can make the visit extra magical by letting them spot troll-shaped mountains around the fjord.
8. Horseback Riding
The dramatic and breathtaking sceneries of Lofoten Islands make the perfect backdrop for those leisure horseback rides. Some parts of Lofoten are best explored on horseback, especially the ones near the beaches. Since Norway is known for its cold temperature, Icelandic horses are a popular breed here because of their temperament and their endurance of cold weather and rugged terrains. These Icelandic horses are known for their calm disposition and their “graceful” walks, which make the ride a lot comfortable.
A couple of companies offer horseback tours, whether it is just for few hours or a couple of days. Some of the popular packages are the midnight sun horseback riding tours which are offered from the months of June to August. These horseback riding tours usually include a couple of tour guides, snacks, and proper meals. No matter the season, though, the most popular route starts at Hov, then proceeds to the Viking Age trail and the Gimsoy Nature Reserve.
Most of the horseback riding tours require at least two people, but you can also make special arrangements with the tour company for solo traveler options. Since most of the horseback riding tours are available all year, it is also one of the best ways to chase the Northern Lights. It is a magical feeling and a one-of-a-kind experience that you should not miss when traveling in Lofoten. There are a couple of accommodation options in Hov if you would like to stay overnight.
There is no other activity in Lofoten Islands more popular than fishing. There are a lot of small fishing villages in Lofoten. Fishing is basically the top livelihood in the area. You will also see charming fishing boats and boat houses on the islands. The types of catch may vary per season, but pollock, Arctic cod, and mackerel are the top fishes around Lofoten. The fishing regulation in Lofoten is pretty lax, so anyone can go fishing anytime, even tourists.
There are a lot of shops that sell and rent fishing rods and lures, so you need not bring one from home. It would be quite a hassle carrying fishing gear to the other side of the world. The locals are kind enough and will point you to the areas where you can catch a lot of fishes, but anywhere in Lofoten is a good fishing area. Sakrisoy, a small fishing village at the foot of Olstind, is one of the most popular places for fishing in Lofoten. There are also companies that offers fishing tours if you want to be on a boat while fishing. Since small children can also go fishing, this would be a great activity for the whole family.
10. See some mountain peaks
All year long, the mountain peaks in Lofoten Islands always look magical, whether they are covered in green grasses or capped in snow. If you fancy a hike in the beautiful outdoors, a hike up Munken is a good start. You will be introduced to the vast wilds of Lofoten Islands. Up the peak, you will have the million dollar, 360-view of fjords, mountains, and seas. It is so beautiful up on this mountain peak that your lungs will forget how hard they worked during the climb.
The main trail to Sunken starts in the village of Sorvagen. Some hikers book their accommodation in this village and stay at least a night before the early morning climb. You will pass by Munkebu hut on your way to the peak of Munken, so if you would like to camp for the day in the hut, that would be possible, although there is no water available in the area.
Another beautiful mountain peak worth climbing in Lofoten Island is Andstabben. It has a 514m elevation with moderate and steep difficulty level. It would only take about two hours to climb up Andstabben, though. This is a popular peak among Northern Lights photographers. You can set up camp here, although it would be a challenge looking for flat surfaces and there is also no water source available.
If you are looking for a short climb that still offers the best views, a hike up Tindstind would be ideal for you. This is an easy to moderate climb that takes only about 1.5 hours to reach the peak at 490m elevation. From the peak, you can see beautiful views of A and Lake Agvatnet.
During late spring and summer where the waters in Lofoten are calmer, kayaking is a popular outdoor activity amongst both locals and tourist. Once you have explored Lofoten via car, cycling, or horseback riding, it is now time to see it from the sea. Kayaking in the inner seas of Lofoten will give you a chance to see boathouses, fishing boats, and small villages up close. Outer seas can also be explored on a kayak during summer, but they are completely out of bounds in winter.
Kayaking in Lofoten is a bit different from kayaking in other places. Here, kayaks do not just go round and round within the same beach, but you can go from one village to another. Some kayaking tours last for days. There are also different types of kayak tours you can enjoy. The most popular ones are kayak nature safari tour, sunset kayak tour, and midnight sun kayak tour. You can even kayak from Reine to Bunes, and you can kayak to explore the northern part of Lofoten Islands. Hattvika is also a popular village for tourists who want to go kayaking.
12. Arctic Surf
Arctic Surf, official name Unstad Arctic Surf, is a surf shop in Unstad Beach. This is the hotspot for surfing in Lofoten. The best seasons for surfing in terms of waves are autumn and winter, but these are the coldest seasons as well, so take that into account when booking surfing lessons with Unstad Arctic Surf. The waves in Unstad are so suitable for surfing that it even competes with Nazare, Portugal, and Biarritz, France, as the best surfing spots in Europe. If you are an avid surfer, pack your warmest wet suit and ride some waves in Unstad Beach.
13. Nusfjord fishing village
Nusfjord is a small fishing village in Flakstad. Most of the houses are built above water and painted in bright red. If you would like to take a stroll around an authentic fishing village in Lofoten without the crowds, Nusfjord is the perfect setting for you.
Quite frankly, there is nothing much to do here except take quiet strolls, check out the small village shops, and eat delicious seafood. We don’t know about you, but that sounds like a nice thing to do for a vacation, especially if you want some peace and quiet.
14. Sea Eagle Safari to Trollfjorden
Trollfjorden is one of the popular fjords in Norway. One of the most convenient ways to get there if you do not want to hike for ten kilometers in rugged terrain is to join a sea eagle safari trip. This trip includes hopping on a RIB (rigid inflatable boat). That may seem overwhelming, but not to worry, this is a safe ride, although if you have back problems or if you are pregnant, you should skip this ride. The fee for the tour includes rental of thermal suits, safety vests, goggles, cap, and gloves.
The tour starts from Svolvaer and will course through Raftsundet and then to Trollfjorden. Since this is an open boat, prepare to get splashed, be exposed to the wind, and to see sea eagles. Aside from seeing the fjord, a close encounter with the sea eagles is the exciting part of this tour. These sea eagles are massive and have the largest wing span in the world, so always have your camera ready for this once in a lifetime encounter.
Lofoten is one of the best and most beautiful places in the world to go summit skiing. It is advised that you contact and book local tour guides and ski companies to have the best, safest ski experience. There are a lot of mountains and high altitudes in Lofoten, which are perfect for skiing. One of these is Mount Rundtinden. This is located in the island of Austvagoy at 830m above sea level. You can access the mountains at several points, and it is easy to ski downwards.
Other hot ski spots in Lofoten are Kudalsheai Moor, the Vaterfjord, the Smatindan Peaks, and Geitgaljartinden to name a few. Some of the ski companies have offices in the center of Lofoten and will take you to the mountain ski areas the day of.
16. Lofotodden National Park
Lofotodden National Park in Lofoten is Norway’s youngest national park, which was opened in 2018. This is Norway’s 40th national park and covers an area of 86 square kilometers. Lofotodden National Park is located in the northern side of Moskenesoy, which is practically inhabited. The park offers beach hikes, mountain hikes, camping, and other outdoor activities.
17. Fredvang Bridges
Fredvang Bridges is one of the highly recognized landmarks in Lofoten. It connects the fishing village of Fredvang and Flakstadoya. The south bridge is called Kubholmleia, while the north bridge is called Rossoystraumen.
The view of the bridge from a close distance is quite picturesque with the massive green mountain in the backdrop. Built in 1988, this is one of the places where people stop, get off their cars, and take photos with the bridge in the background. It is a nice setting for your family vacation postcard.
18. Arctic Race of Norway
This is an annual event, so if you are in Norway between August 6 to August 9, try to witness the Arctic Race of Norway. This event is a multiple stage bicycle race in Northern Norway. The first race was launched in 2013. Arctic Race of Norway is officially sponsored by Union Cycliste Internationale and organized by Amaury Sport Organization and Arctic Race of Norway. The first part of the race starts in Tromso and last part ends in Harstad. You can check this year’s route on the organization’s website. If you are a bike race enthusiast, this is an event you would not want to miss.
19. Lofotr Viking Museum
The Lofotr Viking Museum is a historical museum in Lofoten Islands, which features the largest Viking-era house. Although it has been reconstructed, the base parts of the house are from the original structure, so you will still get to see what a real Viking house looks like. The museum is interactive. You can join in a Viking feast where activities such as dancing and singing is expected along with a delicious meal – just how the Vikings do it. This is a living museum that everyone in the family can enjoy.
If you are visiting during summer, you will have the chance to row a Viking ship and even shoot a bow and arrow. A lot of Viking activities are offered in Lofotr Viking Museum. There are also modern exhibits that showcase archaeological finds, the story of Borg, as well as a film showing of “The Dream of Borg”. Every August, the museum becomes even livelier because of the Viking Festival. The Viking Festival is a five-day event in which a hundred Vikings from all over the country participate in. During the festival, a market is set up and fun activities, such as games shows, games, competitions, theater, and concerts, are held. Same as any month of the year, tourists and locals are very much welcome to join and enjoy the Vikings Festival.
The Vikings Festival for 2020 is from August 5-9. Admission fees for the Lofotr Viking Museum is 200 NOK for adults and 150 NOK for children ages 6-15. Kids below 6 years old can get inside Lofotr Viking Museum for free. Groups composed of 15 members and up can get a discount if you book ahead. The museum office hours vary per season and per day, so check the museum’s website first before going.
Another gem that is worth visiting in Lofoten is Lofotmuseet or Lofoten Museum. You will learn more about the islands’ history and fishing culture through the displays in the museum. The main building was built in 1815. You can also find authentic fishermen’s cabin and boathouses featuring Norland boats. Exhibits of Lofoten fisheries, ports and coastal lighthouses, and traditional crafts are also found here. It cost 100NOK for adults to get inside.
Also known as Lofoten Aquarium, Lofotakvariet is known for its display of skrei (commonly known as Lofoten cod). The source of income of Lofoten revolves around skrei, and has for centuries now. It is also considered as one of the most important fishes in Europe. Visiting Lofotakvariet is a great way to know more about Lofoten’s aquaculture.
The religion in most of Norway, including Lofoten Islands, is mostly Lutheran Christianity. About 70 percent of the country’s population belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. The Catholic Church is the next largest Christian religion in Norway. In Lofoten, several beautiful churches have been built. These churches do not only get visited by believers; tourists also tend to visit them. The Vagan Church, also known as Lofoten Cathedral, is the largest wooden building in Norway. This church was built in 1898 to accommodate visiting fishermen. The church was built in a Gothic revival style and has a seating capacity of 1,200.
Another church worth admiring in Lofoten is the Buksnes Church in Vestvagoy. It is located in the small village of Gravdal. This red, wooden, and Dragestil-style church was built in 1905. The church can only accommodate 600 seats, but it is one of the most recognized structure in Lofoten.
22. Lofoten Harbor, Leknes
Leknes, being the capital of Lofoten, has more crowds than any other part of the island. Its harbor is known for being the docking port of cruise ships. Houses in red, yellow, and white line the harbor. Take an afternoon stroll along the harbor and get to meet locals going about their day and fellow travelers. There are a couple of cafes and restaurants in the area where you can sample local cuisines and delicacies; souvenir shops are aplenty in case you would like to buy gifts for family and friends back home.
23. Norwegian Fishing Village Museum
Lofoten is small compared to other parts of Norway, but it surprisingly has a lot of museums. Another must-visit museum in Lofoten is the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum in A. The whole village makes up the museum and displays 150 years of old coastal building environments.
You will get to learn about the life and work of the fishermen and whole fishing community. You can also see displays of Lofoten fisheries, boats, and tackles. Information about sea monsters, myths, beliefs, and superstitions are also displayed here.
24. Rambergstranda Red Hut
There is a huge possibility that you have seen a photo of Rambergstranda Red Hut somewhere online at some point. Rambergstranda is one of the most beautiful beaches in Lofoten Islands. Its beautiful white sand and long stretch of shoreline makes this the perfect beach getaway for the whole family. In Rambergstranda beach, there is a small red hut that stands out among the rest. It has been the subject of professional photographers who visit this beach. The bright red contrast of the hut with the blue ocean is quite a sight to see. During winter, the place looks even more magical when the ground is covered in snow. This is definitely one of the must-visit landmarks you should see when touring Lofoten Islands.
25. Tjeldbergtind, Svolvaer
If you are looking for more hiking options for your Lofoten itinerary, you might want to add Tjeldbergtind, Svolvaer to your list. This is a popular trail between the months of May to September.
The hike will take about two to three hours at 360m elevation gain. Once you are at the summit, you will be rewarded with the beautiful views of Svolvaer, Kabelvag, Vagan, and Vestfjord. You will also have a good view of the mountains Svolvaergeitathe and Floyen.
26. Gallery Lofoten
In Gallery Lofoten, you will find the largest collection of paintings from Northern Norway. Pieces of renowned artists such as Otto Sinding, Gunnar Berg, Even Ulving, and Ole Juul, to name a few, are displayed here. Galleries dedicated to different years are separated. You can also shop for art books, postcards, and posters by the exhibition’s artists in this gallery. You may also want to check out the cafe in the gallery and enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese platter. Coffee and baked goods are also sold in the cafe.
27. Flakstad Church
If you have time, pay a visit to Flakstad Church. Just like most churches in Lofoten, Flakstad Church is wooden. Its exterior is painted red and was built in a cruciform style in 1780.
This is a small church and can only accommodate 300 people. Flakstad Church is beautiful and is considered a millennium site.
Stortinden is the highest peak at the peninsula of Vasahalvoya at 1010 meters above sea level. It is located between a fjord, Ayerfjorden, and a glacier, Svitjodbreen. Its hiking trail is a bit challenging, but the view up above is worth it.
Pop culture references have made this small fishing village in Vagan Municipality become popular among tourists and football fans. Henningsvaer is only a 74-acre village, but you should not miss it when you are in Lofoten.
Kick some balls in the extremely popular and beautiful yet empty football field in the island. Pepsi and UEFA shot videos in this field. Of course, that’s not the only thing to see here. You can also fish and scuba dive in Henningsvaer.
31. Mount Tjeldbergtind
You will never run out of mountains to climb in Lofoten even if you have come back multiple times. Even if you climb the same mountain, the view and feel may be different depending on the season. One of the best mountains to climb in Lofoten is Mount Tjeldbergtind. It stands 367 meters above sea level. You can never go wrong with the views from any mountain peak in Lofoten, but the one from up here is one of the best. It is a relatively easy hike as well, so even if you are not very active nor outdoorsy, you would still manage to summit Mount Tjeldbergtind with no problem.
Djupfjorden or Djupfjord is a small fjord in the Mosque municipality which extends for about two kilometers. There is nothing else to do here except hike for a bit, sit down on the grass, breathe in some fresh air, enjoy the quiet, and admire the beautiful view that is Djupfjorden.
The water is so clear that you would see the reflection of the sky on it. It is a rather picture-perfect place. Djupfjorden does not get the same number of travelers or hikers are the other bigger fjords, so this is a place to explore if you appreciate the calmness and stillness of the place.
Reine is another fishing village in Lofoten. It is small in size, but it is full of big adventures. Reine is known for its beautiful beaches. Some of these are Horseid Beach and Bunes Beach. These are not drive-by beaches, so it means they are, for most days, empty. If having the beautiful beach all to yourself sounds like a dream, you should hit up Horseid Beach and Bunes Beach while in Reine. You need to take a boat to get to either of these beaches, plus a few minutes walk.
It takes a bit of effort, but it is more than worth it. Reine is also one of the best places to catch the Northern Lights. The village sees an increase in the number of photographers during winter who are hoping to capture the beauty of Aurora Borealis. Kayaking and hiking are also top activities in Reine. Hike up the Reinebringen early in the morning. The peak is one of the best viewpoints of the island. You will have a 360-degree view of the sea, fjords, and the tiny villages below. From Reine, you can also take a quick day trip to the village of A. It is less than 10km from Reine.
34. Visit Brottoya
Brottoya is an island that lies in the Hadselfjorden on the west side of Raftsundet strait. Fishing, diving, and skiing are the popular things to do in Brottoya.
Where to Stay in Lofoten
1. Rystad Lofoten Camping
You can book a cabin in this camping site anytime of the year. Rystad Lofoten Camping is accessible from the Svolvaer Airport. The camping site is surrounded by mountains and the sea. Your whole stay will be nothing but beautiful scenery all day long. This is a great place if you would like to do midnight sun activities or catch the Northern Lights. This is a family-operated camping site. The host lives nearby and can assist you anytime. Rystad Lofoten Camping has been rated 9.2.
2. Lofoten Rorbuhotell
Lofoten Rorbuhotell is located in the quaint, charming fishing village of Sorvagen. They have a couple of rooms which offer views of the mountain or the sea. This village is known for fishing and the Northern Lights, so booking your accommodation here is a great idea.
The hotel can help you book activities such as hiking, kayaking, skiing, and the likes. Lofoten Rorbuhotell also has an in-house restaurant, so you never have to worry about getting hungry if you would just like to stay in. The property is built right above the water, so the ambiance is tranquil. This is the perfect accommodation to just chill out and enjoy the views.
3. Anker Brygge
Another highly recommended accommodation in Lofoten is Anker Brygge. This is a boutique style hotel with fancy bedrooms and lounges. All the suites in this hotel are equipped with a patio and a kitchenette, which is perfect for long-term stays. You will have the liberty to prepare your own meals, especially if you have dietary restrictions. There is also a parking spot next to each unit, so if you are renting a car, parking is one less thing to worry about if you are staying in Anker Brygge. If you would like to go on fishing trips or go golfing, the property would be more than happy to arrange it for you. They also offer sauna services, which is a perfect way to end the day after being out and about in the cold.
What not to miss in Lofoten Islands
Henningsvaer Football Field
This is definitely a spot you should not miss when visiting Lofoten. If you are not a football fan, you may be converted after seeing the most beautiful football field in the world.
You may have eaten a pickled herring before, but you must try the ancient Viking-style pickled herring in Lofoten Islands. Known for having a culture that revolves around fishing, Lofoten has mastered the art of cooking pickled herring, and in a Viking-style at that! This is a popular dish in the restaurants in Lofoten, especially in Leknes, so if you see it on the menu, you should order it.
This is a Scandinavian favorite. Also spelled as Akvavit, this is a distilled spirit from grains and potatoes. This is a go-to alcoholic drink in Lofoten and in all of Norway. Akvavit is also a popular drink in Germany.
This is one of the top restaurants in Lofoten Islands. Johnsen’s Fiskerestaurant is located in Leknes. This cozy local restaurant serves the best seafood dishes in Leknes. The portions are generous and well-prepared. Top dishes include cod loin, smoked salmon, and whale appetizer. If you have seen whale on Lofoten menus and have been on the fence about it, Johnsen’s Fiskerestaurant is the best place to try it. The vegetable dishes here are also delicious. Carrots and potatoes usually come as side dishes of the fish entree. Order a glass of wine along with your meal while enjoying the calmness of the Leknes ambiance.
Kaviar Factory is essentially a gallery museum, yet it is popular amongst tourists because of the souvenir items you can buy from here. This is located in Henningsvaer, so you can drop by after visiting the popular football field in the village. This building used to manufacture caviar before being turned into a museum, thus the name Kaviar Factory.
There are a lot of unique pieces here that would be great as gifts for family and friends back home or something to decorate your house with. Works of Scandinavian artists in the forms of paintings, postcards, watercolors, and such are available in the gallery’s shop.