Easily one of the most beautiful regions in the world, the Lofoten Islands in Norway are home to dramatic fjords, icy blue waters, scenic beaches, and quaint fishing towns. While trips to the islands are increasing in popularity every year, this otherworldly region is still home to pristine landscapes and extremely friendly locals.
The Lofoten Islands have been a dream destination of mine for as long as I can remember, and the magic I found there was unforgettable!
Lofoten Islands Travel Tips: Everything You Need To Know
How to Get to the Lofoten Islands
Flying to Lofoten Islands
To get to the Lofoten Islands by flying, I recommend flying into Svolvaer as I did, which will give you the maximum amount of time in Lofoten. This small airport is a hub of the region, and has flight options from Oslo, Bodo, Leknes, Andoya, Stokmarknes, Rost, and Tromso.
Driving to Lofoten Islands
If you’re dreaming of seeing all the sights along the way to the Lofoten Islands, then renting a car and hitting the open road is the way to go. The Road E10 connects the Lofoten Islands to the mainland, and will allow you to see all the major islands.
Fly and Take the Ferry to Lofoten Islands
To get to the Lofoten Islands by ferry, your main point of departure will be Bodo and the commute will take roughly 3-4 hours. If you opt for the ferry option, know that there are both passenger and car ferry options, so if you plan on renting a car, you can have the best of both worlds.
Renting a Car in Lofoten
To rent a car in Lofoten, head to a hub city such as Svolvaer, Moskenes, Reine, or, for a cheaper option, nearby Bodo. Be sure to have your international drivers licence up-to-date!
Driving Tips for Norway
Pay VERY close attention to speed limits in Norway! Getting a ticket for going 2km over the speed limit is common and there are speed cameras in many areas. Speeding tickets are extremely expensive and are given out depending on how many kilometers you were going over the speed limit.
Where to Stay in the Lofoten Islands
Located in Nusfjord, Nusfjord Rorbuer offers traditional cottages with stellar sea views. All cottages are equipped with wooden floors and refrigerators, and there is a wood-fired hot tub for use. I absolutely loved my stay at Nusfjord Rorbuer — everything from the cozy and tasteful decor to the huge home-made breakfast which is delivered every night.
While all the cabins, rooms, and apartments at the Reine Rorbuer have been newly renovated for comfort, they manage to maintain the atmosphere of their old use as fisherman’s lodgings. Reine Rorbuer, set directly in the village of Reine, offers wifi, traditional and international meals, and fjord views.
Located on the island of Hamnoy, Eliassen Rorbuer consists of 35 renovated cabins consisting of one or two bedrooms, private bathrooms, kitchens, and free wifi. In the summertime, take advantage of Eliassen’s free rowboat usage and explore the area from the water.
Located on the tiny island of Lamholmen in Svolvaer, Scandic Svolvaer is a gorgeous waterfront hotel offering lush accommodations, meeting rooms, free wifi and a restaurant with a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. My favorite part of my stay was watching the birds fish in the calm water right outside my room with a private balcony.
Read more: What to Pack for a Trip to Norway
Top Places to See in Lofoten
A charming fishing village on the island of Moskenesoya, Reine is home to just 329 people and some incredible sites. A great place to go for outdoorsy types, Reine has some excellent opportunities for hiking, fishing, kayaking, and, if it’s a clear night, Northern Light watching.
Located on the east side of Moskenesoya, Hamnoy is about 2 kilometres east of Reine, and is the oldest fishing town in the Lofoten archipelago. While Hamnoy is an excellent place to visit most of the year, if you’re a jazz fan then plan to visit the area during May when the town hosts the Elijazzen Jazz Festival.
I recommend driving across the bridge to visit the tiny island of Sakrisøy and stop for a fresh fish burger at Anitas Sjømat.
Set on a few tiny islands off the coast of Austvagoya, Henningsvaer is a picture-perfect destination in both its landscape and its art. To get to the islands, there is a narrow road to drive along that seems to burst from the mountains; and trust me, this view alone will make it worth visiting Henningsvaer. While you’re there, be sure to visit Galleri Lofotens Hus, a museum that doubles as an art gallery.
One of Lofoten’s best-preserved fishing villages, Nusfjord is a great place to go if you want to take in excellent scenery and traditional culture of the area. If you visit from June to August, make sure to visit the outdoor spa and observe how the locals refine the traditional cod liver oil of the area.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Norway’s Fjord Region
Unstad Beach in Vestvagoy is not only one of Lofoten’s most frequented beaches, it is also a surfing hotspot and home to the most northern surfing school in the world. With its icy waters and fjords jutting up into the sky, this beach is not to be missed.
Located on the island of Flakstadoya, Ramberg Beach is a beautiful white sand beach that, in the summertime, practically dares you to take a dip in its waters. While still colder than a tropical paradise, the waters in Ramberg Beach are warmer than expected due to the Gulf Stream.
While once only accessible by boat, Fredvang is now connected to its neighbor island by two spectacular, and photogenic, bridges. In Fredvang, sheep dot the landscape while the harbor buzzes with activity. While getting to Fredvang is relatively easy, leaving will prove to be the challenge as the town’s laid back fishing and farming lifestyles beckon to be enjoyed.
Just a one-hour hike from Fredvang sits Kvalvika Beach, a gorgeous spot with stunning views. This spot is great for beach bums and also a must for photographers!
Characterized by its gorgeous, yet harsh, scenery, Vaeroy and is home to colorful houses scattered across its landscape, turquoise Breivika beach, and awesome hiking trails. Speaking of hiking, be sure to head on up the trail to Mastadfjellet to experience one of Vaeroy’s most iconic views.
Read more: How to Travel in Norway on a Budget
Lofoten Islands Packing Essentials