Lofoten Islands are an untouched Viking paradise you will immediately fall in love with. When you travel to Lofoten it doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, the Lofoten Islands in Norway provide everything you can expect from a paradise. Not to mention the security and convenience of one of the most advanced nations in the world – Norway. I’ve prepared a Lofoten travel guide based on my personal experience and accompanied by my best shots!
Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting The Lofoten Islands
Do you know why the Lofoten Islands are so unique? Yes, Lofoten are the symbol of beautiful and scenic nature as from Tolkien’s books. Just as Norwegians are fond of architecture and design – in general, they have one of the highest living standards in the world. One can only imagine enjoying these things at home, but what about the environment? I have not encountered any tourist waste in Norway for 2 weeks (I swear!). Yeah, and the sun does not set in summer. You can watch sunset/sunrise all night (this phenomenon is called a midnight sun). And of course, in winter you can experience the mystical play of colors – Aurora (aka Northern Lights); this is because the Lofoten Islands are very close to the North Pole. Imagine watching whales here or sleeping in the wild nature almost anywhere you want. I hope you already understand what I’m trying to say? Lofoten are a true paradise, not only, for photographers and travelers.
Breathtaking Hiking in The Lofoten Islands
If you like hiking, you will enjoy even much more of the Lofoten Islands. Steep and spiked mountains, waterfalls, lakes and wonderful beaches. Places that offer a view of colorful fishing villages and small islands are among the ones you will enjoy the most. The best example of all is a view from the Reinebringen mountain. To be honest – when I first saw the Lofoten Islands from the ferry, I was struck dumb. The peaks of Lofoten mountains pierced the clouds as thick as whipped cream. The mountains looked as if they were rising directly out of the sea; as if there was no coast. Seagulls were flying over my head. In short, an unbelievable view. I felt like in a Christopher Columbus movie and Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis) song started playing in my head.
I recommend traveling to the Lofoten Islands in summer – during the period of Midnight Sun (from June to August). Hiking won’t be so difficult and transport will be trouble-free. Bad weather can sometimes completely cut off the whole way to different parts of Lofoten (eg. in Reine there are individual islands connected by bridges, which can then become impassable). I cannot deny that Lofoten during winter, autumn or spring, might be more magical than in summer (a lot of snow plus aurora). However, I rather recommend it for the second visit to Lofoten, which believe me, will come!
How to get to the Lofoten Islands?
There are 3 ways. You can reach Lofoten directly by car – yes, it is really possible. There is a connecting bridge called Tjelsundbrua Bridge in the north of Norway. But I personally vote in favor of one of the two following options:
- by plane directly to Lofoten (with transfer in Bodø)
- reach Bodø and then take the ferry to Moskenes / Svolvaer found on Lofoten Islands
I chose the last option because it is cheaper and faster. If you want to rent a car/caravan, there are plenty of rentals everywhere, even at Lofoten. Just keep in mind that it certainly won’t be cheap. I had my ass carried by bus. Why? Believe it or not, public transport works perfectly in Norway. Buses run very often and are half-empty. My Lofoten trip map down below 🙂
My second tip is to download public transport mobile app (Including ferries!) (It works absolutely fine!)
What is the best accommodation in Lofoten?
Definitely go for camping sites (tent or cottage) or camping in the wild. Here I would like to warn you a little -> yes, you can sleep under the tent almost anywhere in Lofoten, but here’s a catch. It is often quite difficult to find a suitable place for camping because the mountains are really steep here. In short, you will rarely find a flat surface. Time for a funny story: The first day I went out into the wild, I was really exhausted in the evening and the weather was bad. A good place for the tent was not in sight. So I decided to build the tent on a steep slope. I slowly drifted down and down the slope in my tent, and didn’t get almost any sleep 🙂 Lessons learned!
The best experience I had was with Moskenes Camping (Probably your first stop because the Bodø ferry is stopping here.) It’s a nice and strategic place where you have everything you need (including a small pub). And it’s not as expensive as elsewhere.
What to eat in Lofoten?
I am going to repeat myself a bit – if you are traveling to Lofoten on budget, I recommend to shop in local stores. In almost every village in Lofoten, you will find one. You don’t need to buy water, there is plenty of pure water in the Lofoten mountains. Of course, I couldn’t miss a morning cup of coffee at the campsite, and sometimes at the end of the day I rewarded myself with a burger in a bistro, but that’s it. Indeed, Norway is very expensive and it is better to spend money on transport or accommodation. Still, the food is really tasty and has great quality, so if you have little extra money, try dinner. You will not regret it! What I would like to emphasize is that in larger supermarkets you will occasionally find fresh salmon at a very reasonable price! I bought almost 1 kg of fresh salmon in the Svolvaer cheaper than I would in the Czech Republic. The kitchenette at the campsite was more useful than ever, haha. I’ve never tasted better salmon!
How to pay in Lofoten?
This is quite simple. Everywhere you can pay by credit/debit card. It doesn’t matter if it is a bus, ferry, camp or souvenir shop in a small village where only puffins live. You will pay by card everywhere. I recommend that you take more cards with you, because, sometimes, you may not be able to pay for some mysterious reason. If you had no cash in that case, then it would be … Bad luck. Use a bank card with a good exchange ratios, it will save you a lot of money. Revolut operates all across the EU. And remember when withdrawing money – always choose “without conversion“.
What is necessary for hiking in Lofoten?
Never underestimate the weather in Norway! Even though the mountains of the Lofoten Islands are not too high (the highest mountain is Higravstinden only 1.146 m), the weather changes quickly and even in summer, the temperature can be only a few degrees above zero. So have:
- proper raincoat
- high and reliable boots for rainy and muddy weather
- if you plan to sleep under a tent, you need a warm sleeping bag and a mat
Best Hiking and Travel Tips Tips for Lofoten :
There is no corner in Lofoten that is not worth a visit. However, the following places are top for me (click on the link for a fully detailed travel guide!); they’re probably the best photography spots in Norway:
- Reine & hike to the Reinebringen mountain
- Svolvær & hike to the Fløya mountain
- Hidden Kvalvika Beach & hike to the Ryten mountain
- Bird island Røst – the best bird watching in Norway
- Saltstraumen Maelstrom (yes, this is not on Lofoten, but it is near Bodø where you will probably have a way around)
My Final Conclusion of travelling to Lofoten Islands?
Lofoten Islands is the most amazing place I’ve ever visited. That’s it! I can only recommend you to travel to Lofoten.
- Nordic Nature: 5 out of 5
- Stunning Adventure: 4 out of 5
- Breathtaking views: 5 out of 5
- Very expensive destination, even if you try to save money.
- Getting to Lofoten will take a long – it can take a whole day (Of course it depends where you start …).