Norway’s remote Lofoten Islands are a truly special part of the world. The islands sit almost 200km north of the arctic circle and their wild and dramatic landscape is nothing short of spectacular. It’s a popular place to spot the Northern lights in winter, while in summer the sun doesn’t set below the horizon and you can see the incredible glow of the midnight sun.
I’m so excited to be travelling there for five nights this month (my third trip to the islands) with my husband and NORSK Co-Founder Simon. For part of the trip we are hiring a retro '80s Volkswagen Camper Van from Lofoten Vanlife and cruising around on what promises to be another unforgettable adventure.
So, I’m thrilled to share my recommendations and wish list destinations with you in this NORSK travel guide to Lofoten…
Sleep in a Rorbu
These historic, brightly coloured wooden cabins built on stilts over the water once housed fishermen who made the trip to Lofoten’s fertile seas every Winter. Now many of the seaside huts have been converted into accommodation for travellers and there is something quite extraordinary about falling asleep with the sea moving below your bedroom floor.
This famous 150m-tall pillar of granite towers over Svolvær, the capital of Lofoten, and a climb to its summit is not for the faint hearted. As I discovered when I attempted the climb, was struck by a fear of heights and ended up watching as my friend scaled the last part of the climb without me. Also known as ‘The Goat’, Svolværgeita has two ‘horns’ and some crazy climbers like to leap the 1.5m between the two!
Visit the Kaviar Factory in Henningsvær
This contemporary art venue is housed in what has become a landmark building at the entrance to Henningsvær at the end of the national tourist roads. Its exposed, off-the-grid position means it is quite literally washed by the ocean and rough winds.
Eat Klippfisk at the traditional Bryggebaren at Anker Brygge
Since the 1700s, Norwegians have been producing and exporting our world-famous dried and salted cod, or Klippfisk. And no trip to Lofoten is complete without sampling this traditional dish in equally traditional surroundings. Bryggebaren is a lovely rustic waterfront bar housed in a former fish factory dating back to 1880 in Anker Brygge on the island of Lamholmen.
Enjoy dinner at Holmen Lofoten
This hotel and restaurant on the edge of the Lofoten Islands aims to celebrate the essence of Lofoten culture and dinner here is a very special affair. Its menus are dictated by the landscape; they work closely with a small selection of local suppliers and even their dining plates are made by a celebrated local potter.
Visit the Lofotr Vikingmuseum on Vestvågøya
This fantastic living museum takes you back in time to the age of the Vikings in an experience that touches all the senses. The museum is centered around the largest Viking longhouse that has ever been found and excavated and, here, you can try everything from axe-throwing to sailing a Viking ship.
Take a boat trip to Skrova and hike to its highest point
This tiny island is home to just 200 inhabitants and is affectionately known as the ‘Hawaii of Lofoten’ because of its beautiful beaches. It is just 30 minutes from Svolvær and you can only reach the island by boat. I recommend hiking to the summit of Høgskrova, which is 258m above sea level, to take in the magnificent view.
Ride on horseback under the Midnight Sun
Between May and August the sun never sets in Lofoten and one of the most memorable ways to experience theMidnight Sun is to trek through the countryside and along the white beaches on horseback under the magical light.
Visit the Engelskmannsbrygga gallery
This modern arts and crafts gallery and workshop, housed in a traditional building in the middle of the square in Henningsvær, is well worth a visit. Here, you can see the artisans at work and watch the glassblowers and potter in their open studios, as well as buy their handcrafted works. You can even have a go at glassblowing yourself.
Take a Sea Eagle Safari toTrollfjorden in a Rib
These high-speed ribs are not only exhilarating, but they allow to you see some of Lofoten’s most remote, untouched areas. Steep mountains, islets and reefs are guaranteed, and this area is also home to a large population of majestic Sea Eagles. If you’re lucky you may even spot whales, porpoises, basking sharks or seals.
Plan a voyage on HMS Gåssten
This beautiful private charter vessel is moored in the small fishing town of Henningsvaer and cruises around Lofoten and its spectacular remote fjords. While on board you might just recognise a few of its furnishings and accessories from our NORSK lifestyle store. It’s a true home from home!
For more NORSK inspiration from my native Norway and beyond, read more of our blogs here.