Will you ever leave norway
The Lofoten in Norway - A lynx paw in the Arctic
Our dear travel reporter Katrin takes us with her on the beautiful Lofoten in Norway. But be careful: wanderlust guaranteed! Katrin reports about the charm of Lofoten despite overtourism, about its most beautiful highlights and underrated spots as well as about arctic surfing, fascinating northern lights and fishing villages like out of a picture book. We are definitely blown away shortly before packing our backpacks and setting off for Northern Norway. The Lofoten are now even higher up with us than they already are. We hope you enjoy reading and copying!
Table of Contents
Welcome to Lofoten in Norway
Caribbean-style stands with turquoise-blue water and spectacular mountain ranges in the background, deep fjords and picturesque fishing villages nestling in wonderful bays: Welcome to Lofoten Islands. About 25,000 people live on the archipelago Lofoten in Northern Norway in the administrative district of Nordland, many hundreds of kilometers above the Arctic Circle. The first settlers gave it the name Ló (Old Norse for lynx) fot (the foot) because from the air the archipelago looks like the giant paw print of a wild cat in the sea.
Today the days of the first settlers are long gone and the region is struggling with the increased tourism in recent years: around 1 million visitors annually crowd an area of 1227 km2. They were valid for a long time Lofoten as an insider tip for nature loverswho were ready to overcome obstacles, such as the long journey or the thin infrastructure. The archipelago is definitely no longer an insider tip. Is it still worth the trip? What is the charm of Lofoten and how can it still be possible to experience unique nature experiences in a lonely natural environment despite "overtourism"?
take your time
The "Norwegian Scenic Route Lofoten" runs between Å and Raftsundet (E10) with detours to Nusfjord (road 7596), Vikten (road 7600), Utakleiv (road 7606-7716), Unstad (road 7720), Eggum (road 7724) and Henningsvær (Street 816). The route has a total length of 230 km. So you could get the idea that a 2 day trip is more than enough for visiting the Lofoten Islands. Uh no!
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If you want to experience the top spots without the crowds, you may have to go alternative times of the day dodge. If you want to enjoy the wonderful natural scenery in special lighting conditions, you have to go to places at sunrise or sunset. If you are looking for “hidden gems”, you have to lace up your hiking boots. So: plan 7-10 days for your Lofoten trip one and you will have an unforgettable experience in the far north of Norway!
Choose your travel time wisely
In the summer months, not only do many foreign tourists travel to Lofoten. The Norwegians also like this piece of earth and so we were told that the E10 road is like a single traffic jam during the Norwegian holiday season. Yes, summer offers wonderful Midsomar days and nights. But why not enjoy the bright colors of the (short) autumn in Lofoten? Or marvel at the red wooden houses of the fishing villages in front of snow-covered mountain ranges? Not to mention the chance to see the Northern Lights ... We were Mid-September in Lofoten and can only warmly recommend this travel time!
Exit the E10
The E10 is a wonderful road, no question about it. It leads the traveler "very comfortably" to the top spots of the archipelago. The price of convenience is paid at overcrowded parking bays or picnic areas that you suddenly share with a busload of photo tourists. What to do? Buy yourself a good road map and drive targeted alternative routes! Stop in small, sleepy places and get into conversation with the people there. Mindful, polite tourists are always met in a friendly manner and you might get one or the other “secret tip” from a “local”.
From A to B by car
Perhaps I should have started this article differently ... because as you may have already noticed, I have automatically assumed from what I have said so far that you are driving your car. This is because a car gives you the mobility you need to get to know the archipelago intensively. You don't need to be afraid of the combination of words "Archipelago" and "Car" to have, as all areas are connected with (sometimes adventurous) bridges.
Yes, there are public buses and also many ferry connections. And yes, we saw hitchhikers. Yes, you can go cycling or hike the Lofoten Islands. Nevertheless, my recommendation is to travel by car. With your own car you cover almost 2000 km from Cologne, for example, until you arrive in Lofoten. So we chose one Flight to Evenes decided where to pick up a rental car. You will find your way to the Lofoten Islands, I'm sure of that. You can find more information on how to get here below.
Lofoten Highlights - Tops Spots
But what is there to explore? I have divided a few recommendations for you into the areas “Top Spots”, “What to do”, “Where to go” and “Underrated Spots”. By a “top spot” I mean a place that attracts an above-average number of tourists. But what is it that defines these places? Is it worth a visit? More on this in the following sections ...
The fishing village of Reine
If you enter the keyword "Lofoten" in well-known Internet search masks, many images appear immediately Pure. This former Fishing village has existed since 1743 and still shows, through a large number of rorbuern, why people settled there back then: to catch fish. Because the famous red or yellow wooden houses, which stand on stilts and nestle against every possibility in the rock, made it possible to fish for cod stocks in particular in an area that at that time was hardly inviting for year-round settlement. The word Rorbu is made up of the words "Ro" (rowing) and "bu" (living). Today the rorbu (plural) are almost all developed as tourist accommodation.
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Reine has one wonderful location and is best known for its local mountain, the Reinehaben. You probably know photos from dizzying heights that show an incredible view of Reine, fjords and the crazy mountain ranges. If you are sporty and free from giddiness (two attributes that probably don't apply to me) - let's go! Certainly a top spot! You only have to overcome about 1500 steps of a Sherpa staircase and you will probably not be able to enjoy the view in solitude, as this spot was extremely well attended even in September! We preferred to visit the small town and stroll through the numerous rorbuern.
° A - The last populated place in Lofoten
° A is not only the last letter in the Norwegian alphabet but also the last populated place in Lofoten. A visit is definitely worth it! Å is mainly a fishing village museum and consists of 23 buildings that are 150 years old and are still in their original place. This includes a few rorbu houses, boathouses, a blacksmith's shop and a bakery, as well as a potion factory. The potion factory was gross, but the rest of it is really interesting and worth seeing. We were particularly impressed by the bakery - in an original ambience there are probably the best cinnamon rolls in the region! We skipped the stockfish museum, but it is definitely interesting for those who want to deal with the harsh conditions of cod fishing.
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Henningsvaer - Venice of the North
Henningsvaer lies on eight islands that are connected by bridges. I read in some travel guide that this is why the place is also "the Venice of the north“Would call. Nonsense, in my opinion. There is hardly a more classic fishing settlement than Henningsvaer - one constantly stumbles over dried fish racks all over the place.
Nevertheless, with its numerous cafes and galleries, one is well prepared for tourists. Many, like us, are particularly drawn to the local soccer field, which is in a really spectacular location! An aerial photo of this place was awarded by National Geographic and the training location has achieved hip status for almost 30 club members.
Lofoten highlights - what to do
What do you actually do in Lofoten? Besides the spectacular nature, are there certain activities that you can do / only here? The Lofoten offers you a variety of adventures, whether leisurely or with a lot of action.
Brrrrr - Arctic Surf
Are you sporty, love the water and maybe even count surfing to your hobbies? Then you should urgentlyArctic surfers“At Unstad Beach. The setting is a dream and the waves are not bad! The only drawback: the water temperature ... Even if you don't want to surf yourself, it's worth watching and the beach is definitely worth it! If I ever get the idea to surf, this is my “place to be”!
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Take a boat trip
You are surrounded by wonderful fjords! So what could be more natural than to get on a boat and let yourself be taken deeper into these fjords? In almost every place you will have the opportunity to do one Bootstrip Find. Most of the time you can choose between a real "ship" or a speedboat, in which you can be strapped to your seat and driven pretty close to the spectacular fjord walls. The most famous boat tour is certainly a trip into the "Trollfjord", which starts from Svolvaer.
You have to go with Costs around 100 € calculate and be lucky that you can get a place (at least in the off-season). We weren't lucky and instead drove across the Reinefjord from Reine. That was really great, even though the weather wasn't really good that day. You can book the tour as a round trip or you can be dropped off at the isolated villages in the fjord arms in the morning and picked up again in the evening after a wonderful hike. Absolutely unforgettable!
See the northern lights
When you come to Lofoten in the autumn / winter season, there is a very special thing that comes to mind when I think of what to do: the hunt for the Northern lights! We were incredibly lucky and saw the Northern Lights on four consecutive nights in mid-September. Nights i won't forget! I wish every traveler to have this experience once: when the sky above you is in motion and you are surrounded by dancing green lights. This feeling can hardly be described in words ... so here comes one of my favorite pictures from a night on the cliffs of ° A:
Lofoten highlights - where to go
Which places or activities should you not miss out on, apart from the "top spots"? I will introduce you to 3 of my favorites in more detail and I am sure that you will find one or the other spot during your trip.
Museum village Nusfjord
Nusfjord is one of the oldest fishing village of Lofoten. 28 buildings from the 19th century offer a great backdrop and their state of preservation justifies the title “museum village” and the associated admission. In summer, the rush of tourists here must be enormous, in the off-season the place, which is sheltered from the wind in a narrow harbor basin, seems rather quiet and sleepy. Maybe my favorite place on this trip ...
Hopefully, those who visit Lofoten will have packed their hiking boots! Because the most beautiful places, apart from the "top spots", can definitely only be reached on foot. The best hiking trails mostly lead steeply uphill. But you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas that make up for every rocky meter!
A wonderful path that runs almost at ground level and is therefore also suitable for hikers is the coastal path between the Haukland Beach and the Uttakleiv Beach. An absolute highlight! The Haukland Beach impresses with a large sandy bay with unreal turquoise water. On the right of the picture you can see the mountain around which the hiking trail to Uttakleiv Beach climbs.
You have a great view back to the sandy beach and when you go around the nose of the mountain you will be rewarded with the arrival at one of the (for me) most beautiful beaches in Lofoten. In addition to a large bay, Uttakleiv also has great rocks on the beach and a crazy mountain range. And: if you want to skip the hiking trail, you can also reach the beach through a somewhat eerie single-lane tunnel.
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Definitely a place not only to be seen on rainy days! In 1986 an Iron Age nave from the 6th century was excavated near Borg, which is now the reconstruction of the base of Lofoten Viking Museum forms. There is also a modern museum building that shows other original finds and brings you closer to the life of that time with these everyday objects. The outdoor area of the museum includes a circular hiking trail with an animal enclosure and there are replicas of Viking ships by the fjord, which even go for jaunts into the fjord in the summer months!
Okay, let's get to a rubric that I've been thinking a lot about. Should I even tell you these spots? Or do I prefer to keep these spots to myself? Here we go ...
The small island of Gimsoya
If you persistently follow the E10 south, you can drive past one or the other gem. The rather small Lofotic island of Gimsoya is a classic case for this. On the E10 you only spend four kilometers on the island, then you have already crossed the next bridge and arrived on the neighboring island of Vestvagoya. Error! Because Gimsoya enchants the traveler with a fantastic 27 kilometer long panoramic road! Turn off and visit the Gimsoya Church with its crazy sandy beaches.
And plan a longer stop to enjoy Hov Beach. Great sandy beach, clear water. For the campers among you: there is a campsite with an amazing panorama and a sauna barrel that gives you a view of the sea and maybe also of the northern lights at night!
The dropout sect in Vikten
Around Vikten To get there, you have to leave the E 10 again to drive all the way to the northwest of the island of Flagstadoya. The place is known for one Dropout sect called "Guds Menigheit" and for one Glass blowing. What is this handicraft doing on a stretch of coast that was wild and windy? Quite simply: in the past, the floats of the fishing nets were made of glass!
It was not until the 1970s that art blowing began in Vikten, which can be visited in the main season, including the studio, sales room and cafe. Otherwise, the place offers great views of the whipped sea and above the place you can hike to a small mountain lake.
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