Tourist’s guide to Lofoten Islands – the pearl of northern Norway

Lofoten Islands (Norway) for many centuries attracted the attention of tourists from all over the world. The nature here is so picturesque and possesses such magical power that novels were written about the islands, poems, music were dedicated, paintings were painted and sculptures sculpted.

It is unlikely that there is a place in the world where you can go snowshoeing and surf, visit the whale safari and see the most dangerous whirlpool in the world, climb a mountain peak, relax on the beach and enjoy the northern lights. Holidays on the Lofoten Islands will not be spoiled even by a long flight, unstable weather and high prices.

Photo: Lofoten Islands, Norway

general information

Lofoten (Norway) is an archipelago located in the Norwegian Sea. The islands are located in the north-west of Norway and cover an area of ​​more than 1220 square meters. km The population of the archipelago is almost 24 thousand people.

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Lofoten consists of many islands, the coastline of which is indented by bays and comfortable beaches. The main feature of the rest on Lofoten is solitude, silence, calm and wild nature untouched by man.

Photo: view of Lofoten from the mountain, summer

Despite the geographical location of the islands, the weather is relatively warm. This is due to the immediate proximity of the warm Gulf Stream.

It is important! You can stay on the islands at a hotel or in a roorb – a private house owned by local fishermen. However, the majority of Lofoten residents are wealthy and rent housing at prices that are higher than hotel prices.

What to do and what to see

Whale safari
Whale tail

Whales are incredible animals; they have long been considered magical creatures. In addition, whales are the largest animals on the planet. Judge for yourself – the weight of a whale heart is 700 kg, and the weight of the tongue is equal to the mass of an elephant.

Interesting fact! Another name for whales is sea canaries. So they are called because whales are the only mammals that can and love to sing.

Since 1986, there has been a worldwide ban on the production of whales on an industrial scale. Since then, whales have become the object of an amazing safari, during which you can admire beautiful and intelligent animals, photograph them.

Whale safari in Lofoten

The best place for a whale safari is the Lofoten Islands. From spring to early autumn, killer whales and sperm whales hunt here. Huge animals swim near the boats, and in the winter months they are clearly visible from the shore.

In the city of Annenes there is a Whale Center, a thematic museum. It is from here that boats and yachts depart for a whale safari. It is enough to move a few kilometers from the coast and the whales will be several meters away from you. In winter, there is a chance to see even sperm whales.

It is interesting! According to statistics, in 96% of cases, tourists manage to see whales jumping out of the water. If vacationers fall into 4% of unsuccessful cases, the organization that conducts the safari takes tourists to a repeat event at any convenient time or returns the money.

Cafes and restaurants on Lofoten serve whale meat because Norway has not signed a ban on whale fishing.

Fishing in Lofoten
Such fish can be caught fishing

Fishing in this part of Norway is attractive in that a good catch is possible throughout the year. Fjords located off the coast do not freeze even in winter. The most favorable conditions for fishing occur in the second half of April and persist until mid-October.

In spring, cod spawns down to the coast of the islands. At this time, you can catch fish weighing from 15 to 20 kg. Lofoten Islands is an ideal place for deep sea fishing. At a depth of 30 meters there are pollock, meneck, flounder, haddock and lur. If you fish at a depth of 80 meters, you can catch the monkfish, molva and sea bass.

Advice! The most “productive” fishing happens at high tide and about 30 minutes after low tide.

Monthly fishing:

Photo: fishing in Lofoten
  • April-May – an excellent period for catching cod, catfish, haddock;
  • in summer, a good catch for pollock, stingray, mackerel, molon, halibut, flounder, salmon, trout, herring;
  • in the fall they catch trophy, large fish, but the severity and unpredictability of northern weather should be taken into account – storms begin to rage from the end of September.

For fishing on the islands you can stay in one of the many fishing bases, rent a watercraft and the necessary equipment.

It is interesting! The ideal conditions for fishing are provided by the warm Gulf Stream. In winter, the air temperature varies from 0 to +10 degrees, and in summer the air warms up to +30 degrees. From the end of May to the middle of July there is no night on the islands, because the Sun does not go beyond the horizon.

Surfing on the Lofoten Islands
Photo: surfing in Norway

Skating in cold water is rapidly gaining momentum around the world. This is largely due to the development of technology and the use of special wetsuits.

Features of surfing in Lofoten:

  • cold water throughout the year;
  • climatic conditions are as comfortable as possible for surfing;
  • After surfing, you can bask in the sauna.

The waves here are characteristic of the entire northern hemisphere – small in summer and high in winter. Beginners come here in June, July and August. In winter, you can meet real professional surfers.

It is interesting! There is a surf school on the Lofoten Islands where you can rent a comfortable cottage or come with your own tent, but in this case you will have to pay for accommodation in the tent. There is a school in Unstad. Cottages are of any size, with a sauna and kitchen, shower and toilet.

    Viking Museum Outside
    Guides at the Viking Museum
  • Viking Museum Lofotr. This is a unique, impressive reconstruction of a Viking Age settlement. Immerse yourself in the cruel, brutal Viking world and feel how the last Viking leader Olaf Twenumbrumni lived. In a dwelling 83 meters long there is a bedchamber, a honey hall. Here, the appearance of the premises and decoration are restored with maximum accuracy. In addition to the leader’s house, you can walk around the farm, visit the forge, and admire the Viking ships. Guided tours dressed in historical costumes provide guided tours. The museum is located in the small village of Borg, near Bestad.
  • In mezei stockfish
  • Museum of stockfish. Founded at the end of the last century and is part of a colorful, authentic fishing village in the style of the 18th century. All events organized in the village are held in national traditions and reflect the life of Norwegian fishermen for two hundred years. The museum is located in the westernmost part of the archipelago, in the village of O, the municipality of Moskenes.
  • Museum of fishing settlements. Located in the same village, and displays the features of life and life of Norwegian fishermen. The exposition consists of many interesting objects, a forge, a residential fishing house, a rorbu – stilt house, a bakery and much more.

View from Mount Rheinbringen

The best time for walking is summer, when a polar day lasts on the islands. Night hiking in the mountains is a special, incomparable adventure. The islands have organized many tourist routes, each of which will give a lot of impressions and emotions. The most spectacular routes on the island of Eustvogoy. In the center of the island there is Mount Runnfjellet, from its top incredible landscapes open.

View from Mount Floy

You can also climb other mountains:

  • Floa – a difficult climb, from the top the whole capital is visible – Svolvaer;
  • Rheinbringen – the climb is quite steep, from the top you can see islands right up to the Hamneuil island and the village of Rhine;
  • Stolva – lifting height is 750 meters.

It is interesting! Mountain climbing is well developed on the Lofoten Islands.

Many tourists experience their endurance while climbing to the icy peaks. Optimal routes have been developed on the islands of Austvogoya and Moscenoya. In these places cycling is widespread, special cycling routes are laid. Every year on the summer solstice, you can take part in cyclist competitions, but be prepared that all islands of the archipelago will have to travel.

Fascinating natural phenomena
Photo: Maelstrom Swirl

Near the farthest island of Moskenoya is a unique natural phenomenon – the Maelstrom whirlpool. It was formed as a result of the meeting of several rapid currents. The first mentions of Malstrem are found in the studies of the Greek scientist Pithaeus 2 thousand years ago. Since then, a whirlpool has been noted on all sea charts.

The extravaganza of the Northern Lights is another natural aurora, for which tourists from all over the world come to the Lofoten Islands. From the archipelago begins the belt of northern lights. When choosing a place for observation, consider several factors:

Photo: Northern Lights on Lofoten
  • optimal conditions for observing the northern lights – dry air, clear sky and the absence of the moon in the sky;
  • it is best to go on a trip – from 22-00 to 00-00;
  • need to leave away from the city and away from electric lighting.

On Lofoten, in the town of Laukvik on the island of Austvogoya, the Northern Lights Center takes tourists.

Another unique natural phenomenon that you can admire on the islands is the hunting of eagles. Ships bring tourists to the place where eagles hunt fish. Birds are at arm’s length from you. The spectacle is impressive when a bird flies to you with a wingspan of more than 2.5 meters.

    Port of Svolvaer
  • The capital of the Lofoten Islands is the city of Svolvaer. It was founded in the 8th century and is located near Goat Mountain. In the summer months tours around the Tolfjord depart from here.
  • The village of Reine – one of the most beautiful places in Norway – is located in the western part of the archipelago, on the island of Moskenøya.
  • Colchelleren Cave. Here preserved drawings on the rocks, whose age is 3 thousand years.
  • Aquarium building
  • Oceanarium. Introduces tourists to the underwater world of Lofoten and the whole of Norway. There are pools with otters and seals, an aquarium with cod. In memory of a visit to the aquarium, buy a souvenir in a small shop.
  • Beach in the town of Blake. The coast is covered with white sand, which looks like snow. The beach is perfectly clean, and the color of the waves resembles lush, green grass. The length of the beach is 2.5 km, from it you can clearly see the island with the rock Blakeksoy, where amazing puffin birds nest, which are called sea parrots because of their bright plumage, nest.
  • Photo: Nusfjord Village
  • Nusfjord is the oldest fishing village. Here, a whole complex of buildings built in the 19th century has been preserved. The village’s architecture is unique – as a result of excavations, settlements built in the 5th century were found.
  • Ice Sculpture Park Magic Ice. This is a real theater, woven from ice, color and music. The design of the park introduces the nature and life of Lofoten, traditions, legends of trolls and nymphs. There is an ice bar in the park.

Weather and climate

Given that the archipelago is located beyond the Arctic Circle, it may seem that the climate here is harsh and very cold. However, the winter months in Lofoten are quite warm, this is possible due to the fact that the warm Gulf Stream flows near the islands. In addition to it, warm currents of smaller size flow here – the North Atlantic and Norwegian.

If you prefer warm weather, head to the islands of Röst or Veröy. Even in winter, the air temperature does not drop below 0 degrees. In summer, the air temperature averages + 15 ° C. The water in the ocean in shallow water warms up in the hottest months to +17 ° C, but, as a rule, the temperature reaches + 10 … + 12 ° C.

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How to get to the Lofoten Islands

If you decide to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, go to the Lofoten Islands, of course, the path is not the easiest and closest, but it is one of the most wonderful places not only in Norway but also in the world.

By plane
Lofoten Airport Building

There are several answers to the question – how to get to Lofoten Islands (Norway). The first one is by plane. There are several airports that take flights daily, but a flight to the capital Svolvar is inconvenient because it requires two transfers. From the capital of Russia you need to fly to Oslo, then to Bodø and from there you can fly to the capital Lofoten. The road takes at least 8 hours. From Bodo to Svolvar the plane flies from 20 to 30 minutes.

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By ferry

Cruise liners run along the coast, the route of which passes through 21 settlements, 5 of them are located on the archipelago:

  • Svolvar;
  • Stamund;
  • Stokmarknes;
  • Sortland
  • Riceohamn.

You can go on a trip from any city in Norway. The average cost of the trip will cost from 600 to 750 euros. Duration of the cruise from 2 days.

By train
Bus station in Narvik

Trains leave daily from Stockholm and Kiruna and arrive in Narvik. Buses depart from Narvik to many Lofoten towns.

Trains also run from Oslo to Bodø, passing through Trondheim and Fauske. The journey takes approximately 10 hours.

By car

Of course, the distance from Oslo to the archipelago is almost 1,400 km, but the path is so beautiful and picturesque that it just needs to be completed by car. A trip by car to Lofoten will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the islands, stop on the way, take a photo, feel the boundless world of mountains, the depth of the fjords, take a walk in the dense forests. This adventure will not leave anyone indifferent and leave a lot of memories and emotions.

It is important! The main route that runs along the islands of the archipelago is E10 or the route of King Olaf V. The road runs from west to east. If you plan to travel independently on Lofoten, study the route and routes, first of all, if you want to move away from the main road.

Interesting Facts

  • The name of the archipelago in translation means the stop of the lynx. Most likely, this is due to a shape that resembles a predator’s paw.
  • Cod drying process
  • Cod fishing on the islands of the archipelago has been going on for thousands of years. Fish are most actively caught in winter, when cod migrates to Lofoten. Catch is transported to many countries of the world.
  • Lofoten – the oldest rock formations, whose age is more than 3 billion years. The usual appearance of lofoten formed about 10 thousand years ago after the end of the Ice Age.
  • The most visited islands of the archipelago are Austvogoy, Flakstadey, Moscenoya, Westwogoy. Creative people often come here for inspiration – artists, writers. Residents of Norway like to fish here and just relax.
  • There are so many fish near Norway that besides oil, it is thanks to fishing that the country is now considered one of the richest and most successful. Lofoten cod is transported to Italy, Spain and Portugal, to the best restaurants. The main principle of fishing in Norway is to preserve nature and not harm it. To preserve the unique underwater world, fish for fishing are grown in special enclosures.
  • Cycling in the mountains of Lofoten
  • The most convenient transport on the archipelago is a bicycle, the only inconvenience is narrow roads and many cars.
  • Problems with living on the Lofoten Islands will not arise. Here you can settle in a campsite, hostel, hotel or take a break from local fishermen.
  • According to National Geographic, the Lofoten Islands occupy the third place in the world among the most beautiful islands. The video below is a clear confirmation that Lofoten was not in vain in the top three most beautiful.

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