Lofoten Islands Travel Guide
Norway stretches along the west coast of Scandinavia. Along its lengthy coastline, it encompasses everything from cold temperate forests to arctic tundra. Yet, in its most northern reaches, you’ll find thriving communities that make their living off the sea.
The Lofoten Islands is one of those places. Located above the Arctic Circle, it experiences the Midnight Sun, as well as polar night. Early summer provides hours of “golden hour” light, while winter offers easy viewing of the Northern Lights.
Here, nature is the prime attraction. However, cultural travellers aren’t left out, as this place played a key role in the Second World War.
Come check out our Lofoten Islands travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Lofoten Islands, Norway
The Lofoten Islands are mostly known for its outstanding scenery. However, there are a couple of culturally significant attractions you can check out first. Make the Lofoten War Memorial Museum stop #1.
Unlike next-door neighbour Sweden, Norway found itself annexed by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. As a whole, the nation provided Hitler’s naval and air forces prime positioning. In the Lofoten Islands, locally-produced glycerine and fish oil provided badly-needed raw materials for Germany’s war machine.
This museum shows off war artifacts and tells the story of raids conducted by the British. One item of particular interest is a wheel from the Enigma Machine. Its capture was a big breakthrough for Allied Forces, as this contraption was famous for its nearly-unbreakable code.
Other things to check out include Nazi officer uniforms, as well as a painting made by Adolf Hitler himself. This space may be small, but it is jam-packed with war memorabilia – don’t miss it!
Get a taste of fishing village life in the Lofoten Islands by spending a few hours wandering around Henningsvær. Spread across two small rocky isles, this 74-acre settlement is home to 500 permanent residents.
These days, however, far more tourists visit daily during high season. While its traditional wooden houses and its working harbour are draws, many tourists come to see its soccer field. Armed with drones, visitors take turns getting that stunning capture of a perfectly-manicured football pitch. Set amid bedrock and cobalt blue sea, it is a sight worth capturing.
If you’re in a rush, you can see the whole place in an hour or two. However, we recommend striking up a conversation with locals or grabbing a meal/coffee. You’re here to experience life in northern Norway – make the most of it!
Ready to hit the trails in the Loften Islands? If you’re in excellent health, be sure to tackle Reinebringen. This steep, challenging trail scales the side of Reinebringen, a mountain with choice views over fishing villages below.
Despite its difficulty, the views have enticed hordes of tourists to try their luck. Not all make it the whole way, and some hurt themselves. The heavy traffic took its toll on the path, leading to its closure for several months. Recently reopened, it how features stairs in its most difficult parts.
While this change might not sit well with purists, it will improve safety and discourage short-cutting. When prepping for this hike, bring plenty of food, water, warm/waterproof clothing, and sunscreen. Above all, don’t forget your camera – the views from the top are breathtaking.
If you’re not the mountain climbing type, don’t despair – an equally fantastic experience awaits at Haukland Beach. While the water is cryogenically cold, this beautiful place does its best to mimic a Caribbean hideaway.
Its pure white sand, aquamarine water, and looming mountains will tempt you to strip all and jump in. Unless you really need to cool off (and fast!), the views around you will make a visit worth it. Before leaving, grab a coffee at the cute bar located on-site.
Looking to get “the view,” but don’t have the fitness level required for Reinebringen? Opt for Tjeldbergtind instead. This lofty viewpoint still requires a hike to reach, but is much more accessible. A 20 to 30-minute stroll each way, there is only one short, steep section.
Once there, you’ll have a view of Svolvær and other villages below. While it is far easier than Reinebringen, do note that rocks and roots can get slippery when wet. Take care on your walk – nothing ruins a day outdoors like a banged-up knee or ankle!
If Haukland Beach took your breath away, and you have time for another, check out Uttakleiv Beach. Despite the former’s fame, there’s an active debate among travellers and locals regarding the prettier of the two sites.
If the presence of rocks makes you swoon, Uttakleiv might do it for you. Its rounded rocks and off-white sands are a thrill for photographers to capture. If you want to camp at the beach, this place is for you, as a sanctioned campground is present here.
Capture the polar spirit of the Lofoten Islands by stopping by Magic Ice Lofoten for a drink. This ice bar has become famous for its many sculptures, as well as its drinks served in ice glasses. This establishment serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, making it accessible to all ages.