Lofoten is a magical place, a place where dreams are made on the canvas of nature. It has everything you can imagine, beaches, fjords, mountains, islands, vibrant culture, amazing food – and the northern lights. Discover the top things to do at Lofoten in this curated blog.
1. Drive across the Lofoten King’s Road to enjoy the impressive fjords.
The main islands in the Lofoten Archipelago are connected by one of the most photogenic roads on Earth, the King Olav V route, road E10. This 300-kilometer-long road links the archipelago to the mainland and is the perfect viewing point for the impressive turquoise waters, perfect wood cabins, and vertical fjords. The winding road takes you through numerous picturesque islets, beaches, and small villages. The King’s road across Filefjell is important, not only to promote tourism but to also teach the importance of the history of transport over Filefjell to the people. The road is a project in itself; it has several important cultural sites and walking trails to enjoy the beauty of nature and the history of this place.
2. Visit the fishing villages of Hamnøy and Reine.
The villages of Hamnøy, Reine, and Sakrisoy are scattered across several small islands in the Lofoten Archipelago. Being very close to each other, these villages feel like one large town. Since these are primarily fishing towns, you will see a lot of fishing boats and fish heads drying on racks. Hamnøy is one of the most picturesque villages in Lofoten, with the marvelous Reinefjord in its background. Any visit to this village is incomplete without visiting the bridge connecting Hamnøy to Toppoya. This place is a photographer’s paradise, with sprawling views of the countryside. Old fishermen’s huts, called “Rorbuers” have been converted to tourist accommodations now and you truly get the quintessential fishing village experience.
3. See the Northern Lights over the incredible landscapes of Lofoten
During the winter months of October to February, the Lofoten sky comes alive in a thousand colors when the beautiful Northern Lights, or Aurora, envelopes it. The best places in Lofoten to witness this amazing phenomenon are the numerous beaches towards the northwest coast of this paradise. Skagsanden Beach is a famous haunt for surfers and photographers and is a great place for viewing northern lights. You can visit the nearby church of Flakstad Kirke, notable for its vivid red color. Uttakleiv Beach, or “the beach of the heart” has mountain ranges in its background, making it a beautiful spot to view the Aurora. For people who prefer open waters and a clear, unobstructed view, Storsandes Beach is the best place to be. Check out a sample Northern lights itinerary of Norway here, which includes Lofoten.
4. Walk along the arctic beaches of Skagsanden, Haukland, and Uttakleiv
Skagsanden is not only famous for its beautiful views of the Northern Lights, but it is also an amazing place to spend the night under the beautiful sky. There are renovated farms spread across the beach that offer great accommodation options. A visit to Haukland treats you to its fine white beaches, sublime turquoise waters, and sharp mountain peaks. Uttakleiv Beach, another prime location for spotting Northern Lights, has some luxurious modern cabins that provide the perfect accommodation. These three villages are in close proximity to each other and connected by road.
5. Enjoy the midnight sun in summer from the top of a mountain.
Savor the unique experience of an all-night twilight under the midnight sun in Lofoten. The extraordinary phenomenon lends an ethereal soft glow to the landscape, that feels truly magical. Your concept of the usual day-night life gets altered as dusk blends seamlessly into dawn. For the best view, you can head over to Eggum, where you’ll find an abandoned stone fort, north-facing beach, and the best mountain view. For the ultimate experience of watching the midnight sun on a remote beach, away from civilization, there’s no place like Eggum beach. Other beautiful beaches where you can enjoy the midnight sun are the breathtaking Kvalika Beach, Bunes Beach, and Horseid Beach.
6. Photograph the picturesque Nordic churches of the islands
In the middle ages, there were more than a thousand stave churches scattered all over Norway. However, only 28 of those remain now. The best example is the beautiful, almost fairytale-like church in Flakstad. Vågan church or Lofoten Cathedral was built in 1898, and its towers rise as high as the surrounding mountains. This 1200-seat church is one of the largest in northern Norway. Like the other churches in Norway, this imposing structure is built out of wood, in the Gothic Revival style. Værøy Church, in the village of Sørland, was constructed in 1939 is a relatively newer church compared to the Old Old Værøy Church.
7. Go to the Viking Museum of Lofoten
The 83-meter longhouse belonging to a Viking chieftain in Borg has been reconstructed as a museum. This modern museum has exhibition halls with archaeological artifacts that take you on a journey 1000 years back in time. The museum organizes various activities that revolve around Viking culture like Axe-throwing, archery, Viking ship sailing, etc. The museum also organizes sumptuous Viking feasts filled with dancing, singing, and delicious meals. At a walking distance from the museum, Viking ship Vargfotr is moored in the Viking ship harbor, where visitors can click beautiful photographs. The museum contains gift shops that sell traditional toys, textiles, ceramics, and books.
8. Take a Whale watching tour
Lofoten is the perfect place for whale-watching; it hardly ever gets dark during the summers, and the Northern Lights illuminate the sky during winters. Lofoten Islands are on the edge of a continental shelf where the ocean depth reaches more than 3000 feet. The deep water in this region is nutrient-rich and home to various marine species like squid and small fish that are a killer whale’s source of food. Therefore, the chances of spotting these beautiful creatures are very high in the region. There are several whale-watching safaris organized, where you are accompanied by experts who help you spot orcas, humpback whales, and killer whales.
9. Go Kayaking among the vertical Norwegian fjords of the Arctic
The pristine waters of the Lofoten Islands are the perfect setting for a kayaking holiday. Visitors love kayaking along the length of Lofoten Islands, through beautiful fjords cutting between rugged cliffs, and hiking to some beautiful viewpoints that provide an epic view of the landscape. The archipelago plays host to several hiking tours, where experts guide you on how to paddle a single kayak and how to navigate the waterways. You can enjoy the day kayaking in the picturesque islands and then enjoy a hot shower and warm bed in the cozy accommodations that this place offers.
10. Visit Å, the village with the shortest name in the world
While this was a fishing village until the 1990s, the village Å has since been converted to a tourist destination. The village is located on the Moskenes island in Lofoten. The fishermen’s cabins, still in active use by fishermen, have been converted into recreational sites; you can even rent a room in a cabin for the best experience that the village Å can offer. Two popular tourist attractions in the village are the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum and the Lofoten Stockfish Museum.
Apart from the magical appeal of the village itself, you can also explore the landscape nearby. There are plenty of trails to follow and many hills from with stunning picturesque views.
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