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Ultimate Guide To Visiting the Lofoten Islands (2019)

Written by:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last updated:
November 21, 2019
Travel stories
Thinking of visiting the beautiful Lofoten Islands in Norway? Then look no further! This guide takes you through everything you need to know to visit....
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lofoten islands
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The Lofoten Islands are a beautiful set of “islands” all connected via tunnels and bridges located in Northern Norway. They are fast becoming a popular destination for tourists who seek outstanding nature and beauty, great hikes, authentic Norwegeian culture and the chance to see the Northern Lights.

Actually, the Lofoten Islands make a perfect Norwegian road trip and they should be on everyone's travel bucket list. 

Check out my guide to visiting the Lofoten Island, for all you need to know!

When is the best time to visit the Lofoten Islands? 

The Lofoten Islands can be visited all year round and different seasons have their different perks. One of the most popular time to visit is in the summer months. Visiting in the summer will give you the chance to do some beautiful hikes, perhaps swim at the beaches and experience the 24 hour sun.

You can even do Scuba diving! 

However, Brad and I visited in Winter and honestly, it was amazing. The snowy landscapes that surround you are breathtaking and you will have a high chance of witnessing the Northern Lights, which are an epic sight to behold.

Actually, if you visit in the month of October/November, you’ll find it very quiet which means all the tourist sights will be yours and you’ll get some epic drone shots of you driving. 

lofoten bridges

How do you get to the Lofoten Islands? 

There are a variety of ways to get to the Lofoten Islands. 

Drive: You can drive from any other part of Norway. We actually came from the northernmost part of Norway (The North Cape) and drove from there. The great part about this is that there is actually no road tolls at the Lofoten Islands, or anywhere in Northern Norway, so you won’t rack up a huge bill road tripping this part of Norway. 

Ferry: You can also get a ferry to the Lofoten islands, and this remains one of the most popular ways to get there, especially for day-trippers. But you’ll need more than a day!

Fly: You can also fly to the Lofoten islands, and a popular route is to Svolvaer Airport (SVJ) which can be accessed via a stopover in Bodo. I suggest you use Skyscanner to search for the best flights on offer. 

Regardless of how you get to the Lofoten Islands, you will need your own car. If you want to see ALL the best places to visit in the Lofoten Islands, you can’t do it without a car.

Thankfully car rental is readily available at various points in the Lofoten Islands, and you can compare and book online here ahead of time. 

tnggly at bachs

What are the best places to visit in the Lofoten Islands? 

There are so many AMAZING places to visit in the Lofoten Islands- it’s truly filled with beautiful spots. So below I will take you through all the awesome places we visited, then suggested a 3 day itinerary for your trip. 

1. Austesfjorden picnic area

You're probably wondering why I have listed a picnic area as one of the best places to visit in the Lofoten Islands, well, it’s not the picnic area itself, rather then view from here. There is a sort of “viewing platform” accessed a short walk up some stairs and the views you are greeted with are breathtaking.

We stopped here at sunset and it was epic and some of my favourite views in all of the Lofoten Islands, so it’s totally worth a stop!

And of course there is a toilet too.

2. Rorvikstranda beach

The Lofoten islands are packed with beautiful beaches and this is one of them. Easy to visit, in the summertime this is a popular spot for camping and swimming. A great place to relax and still worth a visit in the winter season in my opinion. 

Rorvikstranda beach

3. Henningsvaer stadium

Bradly discovered this awesome sights online, and it’s a football pitch, but the views from the drone shots are epic, especially because of it location(next to the water) and the fact it’s surrounded by little small islands. It looks epic.

Unfortunately, on both days we tried to visit, it was bad weather and we simply couldn’t fly our drone ...so only go if it’s clear and worth it! 

4. Haukland beach

This was one of my favourite beaches in the Lofoten Islands! It’s very beautiful. It’s actually a pretty famous hike too, but what I like is that you can take a little shorter hike and still get awesome views.

Brad and I didn’t have time to do a 3-4 hour hike, but if you walk about 15 minutes from the car park (free) along the hillside (follow the path, it’s a popular route with locals), then you’ll get a great view of the beach. 

We visited in Winter and it was still super beautiful and totally worth visiting! Parking is free too. 

Actually, if you drive through the tunnel that’s located right next to the parking, you’ll come into another little village and another beach. This is a popular beach for arctic surfing and we actually seen some people surfing! 

If you’re feeling brave enough, why not give it a go, there are a variety of surf companies who offer tours and rent equipment.

Haukland beach

5. Flakstad church

Norway in general is home to some really cute churches, and I love this one because it’s red! (My favourite colour).

Basically it’s a very photogenic church and if you’re into photography then you’ll find this one a beauty to photograph. It’s pretty close to the next place to visit in Lofoten on this list, so it’s worth stopping by. 

flakstad church

6. Ramberg 

Ramberg is one of the most popular places to visit in the Lofoten Islands for photographers. I say this, because I couldn’t almost 10-12 tripods and professional cameras whilst here (most people we had seen on the whole trip so far!). 

There is an epic stretch of beach (with a famous little red hut to photograph) and there is a backdrop of epic mountains and beauty, so it’s no surprise why it’s so popular. 

 Ramberg 

7. Kvalvika beach 

This is probably the most famous beach on the Lofoten Islands and it’s because of its epic hike to see beautiful views of it from above. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures. Actually, sometimes this hike is unsuitable during bad weather conditions, so winter you may struggle, but it’s a super popular place to visit in the spring and summer.

The beach itself is also very beautiful and the water is very blue. It’s one of the cool places to visit in the Lofoten Islands.

8. The fishing village of Nusfjord

This is a traditional fishing village in the Lofoten islands that in the summertime, opens up like a public museum. You can walk around and learn about how it works and how people live there.

When we visited in winter, this was closed, but you can still drive to the “Nusfjord” viewpoint which gives you a beautiful view over this very picturesque fishing village. 

Actually one of my personal favourite places to visit in the Lofoten Islands, just because it was soooo picture-perfect (in reality too!). 

9. Hammoy Bridge 

This is probably the most famous picture spot in all of the Lofoten Islands, because it gives you that iconic picture of “Reine”. Picture the beautiful red painted houses with the dramatic backdrop of mountains. I have to say, in the snow, it looks even more amazing! 

10. Reine 

This is without a doubt, the most popular place to visit in the Lofoten Islands. I would say it’s the “capital” of the Lofoten islands and it’s where most “day-trippers” visit. There is no doubt that Reine is beautiful and it truly is a picture perfect town.

We drove around to a few picture spots, (you can fly a drone too), and tried to find a coffee shop that was open, but failed! 

There is a really cool spot in Reine called the “horn” which is like a horn shaped mountain peak, but you can actually climb it, with a company and whilst we didn’t do it, I read a few blog posts on the climb and thought it sounded amazing! 

reine

11. A

Oh yes, the iconic town of A, the one lettered town that’s rugged, beautiful and the furthest point you can visit on the Lofoten Islands. So of course, to complete our journey, we had to visit A. There is a parking lot at the very end of the road which you can park your campervan overnight and there is a museum there. 

In the way of things to do here, there isn’t much going on, but it’s the experience of going to the furthest point and to say you’ve done it is worth a visit on itself! 

12. Sandbothen 

Well this is actually a spot I found on Instagram, and didn’t have an exact location, so we just drove towards “Sandboten”. It’s actually a beautiful area filled with little houses, and you can’t just park at their houses, but thankfully, there is a parking spot at the beginning of a trail walk.

This is called Ytresand, so set your directions to there, park up, and check out the EPIC views that surround you! 

This again is one of my favourite places to visit in the Lofoten Islands, so beautiful. 

If you’ve got some time, do the hike, or at least park of it...

Other things to do at the Lofoten Islands 

I just wanted to mention some activities that you can do in the Lofoten islands to help get some  more inspiration for your trip. The majority of these activities only run in the summer/spring months, and since Brad and I visited in winter, we kind of missed out! 

  • Take a Northern Lights tour
  • Go Scuba Diving (or learn to scuba dive)
  • Go hiking (so many amazing hikes) 
  • Go fishing (the Lofoten islands are iconic for their fishing!)
  • Experience the viking culture 
  • Go Arctic surfing 

These are just some of the many things to do in the Lofoten Islands and there truly is something to suit every type of traveller. 

lofoten views

How long do I need at the Lofoten Islands? 

Many people do a day trip, or an overnight stay at the Lofoten Islands, but only ever stay in Reine. Now it’s beautiful there, and very much worth a visit, but there is so much more to see throughout the Lofoten Islands! 

Brad and I spent 3 nights exploring, and I recommend the same. However, if you are planning on doing hikes (many were not safe in the winter, or we didn’t have the right gear), then a 5 night stay would suffice. 

Will I see the Northern Lights in the Lofoten Islands? 

The further north you go, the higher the chance you have of seeing the Northern Lights, and thankfully the Lofoten Islands are pretty north! You’ll need clear weather, a high KP and honestly, a dose of good luck to see the Northern Lights, and unfortunately you can’t guarantee nature.

But if you give yourself at least a couple of nights in Lofoten, then your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Norway are significantly higher. 

Thankfully I’ve done a whole guide on seeing the Northern Lights in Norway which should give you some extra tips. 

Just make sure you head away from the lights, by big lakes is usually a good spot! 

We actually didn’t see the Northern Lights in Lofoten, but perhaps we could have. Basically the weather changes really quickly out there and whilst it was cloudy late at night, it could have cleared up around 2-3 am, but since we had already had great success with the Northern Lights in other parts of Norway, we didn’t do the wait up this time.

But Northern Lights spotting is a tricky game and requires lots of patience and late nights on some occasions. 

Check out this cool Northern Lights tour here. 

Is Norway expensive? 

Yes and no. It’s actually very possible to do Norway on a budget. But if you’re visiting and staying in nice accommodation, eating out, and doing excursions, then hell yes it’s above average.

I’ve actually done a whole post on tips for visiting Norway on a budget, but here are my top 3! 

  • Shop at supermarkets: if you’ve got access to a kitchen (airbnb is a good one for that), or access to a fire pit, then pick up food to cook from the supermarkets. Extra and Rema 1000 are good. Own brand stuff is cheaper but more available at the bigger stores. 
  • Ask service stations to refill your water: no need to buy expensive bottles. Get a reusable bottle and refill for free. 
  • Use Airbnb for cheaper accommodation. Far cheaper than hotels and fancy accommodation and you can get $35 off with my sign up code (if you’ve never booked before!)
  • There are no toll roads on the Lofoten roads which is great.

So there you go! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on visiting the Lofoten Islands, and if you’ve got anything else to add to the post then drop a comment below.

Happy Travels

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