Is the Lofoten in Norway really that beautiful?

A road trip across the Lofoten Islands - camping, hiking, travel guide.

Lofoten, Norway. The Lofoten have been a longing destination of mine for some time. Located far above the Arctic Circle, the chain of islands extends into the European Arctic Ocean. High mountains and deep sea come together here and a new view unexpectedly emerges around every bend. The word “perfect” doesn't even come close.

I have long been fascinated by the colder and more remote areas of our world. There, where you catch your breath at the sight of the landscape and you can sometimes tear down one or two tears of joy. So it happened that one late summer I packed my campervan and went on a road trip through the north of Norway that lasted several weeks. I fell in love with the island of Senja above the Lofoten, slept in front of a picturesque backdrop, saw the northern lights and climbed one or the other summit.


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What follows now is an article for your travel planning. A road trip across the Lofoten Islands, with camping, hiking and lots of love for nature. Maybe I can use it to make a trip to the far north tasty for you?

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Where are the Lofoten Islands actually?
2. The best travel time for a road trip in Lofoten.
3. How much time should you devote to Lofoten?
4. Getting there - How do you get to Lofoten?
5. Your own camper, rental car or rented motorhome?
6. A road trip across the Lofoten Islands.
7. Camping in Lofoten and the most beautiful pitches.
8. On the go: refueling, shopping and road conditions.
9. The most beautiful walks in Lofoten.
10. Holidays in Lofoten: highlights and sights.

 

1. Where are the Lofoten Islands actually?

The Lofoten are a group of islands in Norway and are located approx. 100 to 300km north of the Arctic Circle. Austvågøya, Gimsøya, Vestvågøya, Flakstadøya and Moskenesøya (from northeast to southwest) are among the largest and most important islands in the archipelago and are connected to each other by bridges or tunnels.

Tourism and fishing are the main sources of income for the residents, which can be seen very well from the architecture there. Old fishing villages have been spruced up and now shine as small splashes of color in front of a rough and wild scenery.

 

2. The best travel time for a road trip in Lofoten.

Which is the best time of year for a road trip across the Lofoten is not easy to answer. The motives for a trip are too different, the faces of the islands in the seasonal change are too diverse.

The Lofoten in summer: Summer is all about the midnight sun. Between the end of May and mid-July the sun does not set above the Arctic Circle and in the weeks before and after it stays light for an exceptionally long time. The season is ideal for hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing and various other outdoor activities. Pleasant temperatures, the white nights and dry weather attract tourists to the far north, especially from May to August.

The Lofoten in winter: Despite the location high up in Europe, the winter temperatures are comparatively mild. The reason for this is the Gulf Stream, which shapes the climate and rarely lets the thermometer drop below 0 ° C. At the time of the winter solstice, the opposite phenomenon can be observed in summer - in the polar nights the sun does not rise here. From the beginning of December to the beginning of January it stays dark during the day, only after that the days get longer again. From September to the beginning of April, especially in October and March, you can also watch a natural spectacle that is probably one of the most beautiful in the world. Because then the northern lights flicker in the sky and dance green, glowing against a dark background.

As you can see, the perfect time to visit Lofoten depends entirely on your preferences. In summer it's the outdoor activities, in winter it's the northern lights. I was out on the islands with my van at the beginning of September and was lucky enough to see a slight flicker in the sky. Unfortunately, I also caught the apparently rainiest time and have been soaked in nature a few times. The off-season also made it possible for me to have lonely moments. Sometimes I had parking spaces all to myself, as did the mountains. Only sights that are already closed can be listed as a minus point.

 

3. How much time should you devote to Lofoten?

Depending on your activities, I would like to recommend a period of 7-14 days on site, 10 days are optimal. The area is not large, from the south-westerly to the north-easternmost tip it is just about 160 km on a direct route. And the most scenic, because they are rough and wild, are the southern islands.

I was on the road with my camper for 14 days and have driven pretty much every single street at least once. With the certainty that I hadn't missed anything, I rolled onto the ferry in Moskenes. There are still a few hikes that I couldn't do due to the weather, but they will have to wait a few more years for me.

 

4. Getting there - How do you get to Lofoten?

The journey to the Lofoten is not so easy and difficult to do in a direct way. From Germany I was on the road for 3 days, which was also due to the fact that I couldn't take turns driving. While this is not necessarily a disadvantage of traveling alone, it is a point that has to be considered during the long journey.

Arriving by plane: So let me start with the alternative that didn't cross my mind. But I also have to say that I had 4 1/2 weeks for my complete road trip through the north of Norway. There are two airports in Lofoten,Leknes (LKN) andSvolvær (SVJ) that cannot be reached directly. At least one change in Oslo is necessary. Other airports are nearbyHarstad / Narvik (EVE), Bodø (BOO),Tromso (TOS) andKiruna (KRN) in Sweden. From the respective airports you can either take a flight, rental car or camper or, in the case of Bodø, take the ferry.

⇒ You can find detailed information about how to get to Lofoten from Christian from Travelography and Katrin from Before We Die.

Arriving by car:Fortunately, there are not so many options for arriving by car, regardless of whether you have your own vehicle or a rental car. You can reach Lofoten overland via the E10 as a junction of the E6 just above Narvik. Another possibility is that Ferry from Bodø to Moskeneswhich does not need to be booked in advance during the low season and, with some flexibility, during the high season. The crossing takes about 3 1/2 hours and the departure times can be read HERE (including booking options). Over a Ferry service from Gryllefjord on the island of Senja and Andenes on the islandAndøya, the northernmost island of Vesterålen, you can also get to Lofoten. At the time, I actually wanted to take this connection if I hadn't had to go back to the mainland because of a defective wheel bearing on my VW T5.

A detailed route description for the journey from Germany will follow soon in a separate article.

 

5. Your own camper, rental car or rented motorhome?

Due to the long journey to the north, I would like to recommend a trip across Lofoten in your own car for a total of 3 weeks or more. After all, it is about 5,000 - 6,000 km that you only have to cover as a return trip.

The combination of rental car and tent, optionally also rental car and accommodation, is an option for a road trip across Lofoten. Comparison portals such as billiger-mietwagen.de or SunnyCars are always my first choice when searching. For the accommodations, I recommend booking.com or AirBnB. Since I am always camping in such a dreamlike setting, I unfortunately cannot give you a recommendation for a nice holiday apartment. But if you want to spend the night in the classic way in Lofoten, then rent one of the Rorbuer for at least one night. These are traditional fishermen's huts that shape the local scene and have been brought back into shape for tourism.

For me, mobile homes and campervans make a trip through beautiful landscapes perfect. There is hardly a better way to get close to nature. The provider Arctic Campers offers VW models in various sizes in Oslo, Tromsø or Leknes / Lofoten. I haven't found any renters of mobile homes on the islands, but on the surrounding mainland. Comparison portals such as Camperdays or Rent A Camper serve as the basis for your research.

Tip: Be sure to compare other locations for traveling to and renting mobile homes. So it can be that you save a few euros with the starting point Kiruna in Sweden or Kittilä in Finland.

 

6. A road trip across the Lofoten Islands.

Basically, I have to say that I've ridden pretty much every road in Lofoten. Not all trips were worth it for an excursion, but I was never disappointed.

There are 18 so-called landscape routes in Norway. Selected streets that lead through beautiful nature, complemented by design and architecture. Such a route can also be found in Lofoten, fromÅ to Raftsundet along the E10, with detours to Nusfjord, Vikten, Utakleiv, Unstad, Eggum and Henningsvær. On a total of 230km you can experience everything that makes the area so special.

The E10 as the “main road” connects all major towns with one another. If you only drive along it, you have seen a lot, but also missed a lot. Because there are many little moments hidden away from the street that you can sometimes enjoy all by yourself. That's why I don't really want to give you a recommendation for a route, but encourage you to take the less traveled routes. But I would like to suggest the direction from northeast to southwest. Because then you drive from a beautiful landscape into a breathtaking, rugged and rough area.

Tip: How about a rally for everyone across Lofoten? The Baltic Sea Circle Rally from the Superlative Adventure Club leads around the Baltic Sea in summer and winter and makes stops on the archipelago, among other things.

 

7. Camping in Lofoten and the most beautiful pitches.

The parking spaces in Lofoten were by far the most beautiful ones I was allowed to stand on during my various road trips. On one side the rough sea, behind me barren mountains, above me dancing northern lights. So even sleeping became a highlight. Sometimes maybe because I was standing all alone off the road and there were no limits to my imagination.

During my time on the islands, I didn't visit a single campsite, but always looked for free parking spaces. In Norway, everyone's right applies, which means, among other things, that you can pitch a tent for the night anywhere in the country, in the woods or in the mountains. However, it only relates to tents and not, as is often wrongly assumed, to mobile homes and campervans. That is why I would like to ask you for absolute consideration here. The archipelago is a popular travel destination, especially in the main season, and vacant parking spaces are almost overrun. In the meantime, the “Camping forbidden” signs are lined up here, regardless of whether they are in public places or in front of private driveways. In the off-season, however, people no longer look very closely. I found the parking spaces while driving past or using the "Campercontact" app.

Incidentally, the following parking spaces were among my personal favorites:

Haukland Beach: A parking space right by the sea, on what is probably the most beautiful beach in Lofoten. Warning - camping is actually not allowed here! (Coordinates: 68.198400, 13.527891)

Eggum: A parking space that is actually chargeable, but not in the off-season. Here you share the meadow with a lot of sheep. (Coordinates: 68.306782, 13.650680)

Unstad: A paid parking space that you can share with quite a few surfers in what is probably the northernmost surfing location in the world. (Coordinates: 68.265568, 13.568756)

Tip: If you are looking for a suitable parking space app, then I would like to recommend the article from Camperstyle, which has listed several camping and parking space guides (online and offline).

 

8. On the go: refueling, shopping and road conditions.

Lofoten, like the rest of Norway, is expensive. From groceries to fuel, it's not a low budget vacation. Not to mention eating out in restaurants, which is why I skipped such visits. I only treated myself to a really exceptionally tasty fish burger at Anita’s Sjømat (Sakrisøya, 8390 Reine), which was worth every NOK (Norwegian Krone).

Refueling in Lofoten: Petrol stations are a bit sparsely populated in Lofoten. Therefore, the following applies: fill up when you can and not when you have to. Even if the distances are not particularly long, it can happen that some petrol stations are closed on certain days. The prices for diesel and petrol are higher than the German prices, and in most cases you pay by credit card directly at the petrol pump.

Road conditions: The road conditions are surprisingly good. The E10 is perfectly developed, only a bit narrow and especially in the southwest towards Å it can get very tight. Away from the main roads, you will sometimes only find gravel roads with potholes, but they can still be driven on at low speed. You should always be prepared for sheep on the road.

Food: Basically you can get everything your heart desires in Lofoten at the right prices. There are supermarkets in every major town. But as soon as you head south-west, the prices become more expensive and the markets less. That is why I recommend that you stock up properly in cities like Leknes and Svolvær or that you bring basic supplies with you from Germany.

 

9. The most beautiful walks in Lofoten.

Hiking and Lofoten go together like a campfire and s’mores, like blueberries and vanilla ice cream, like a meadow of flowers and the humming of bees. Gentle meadows nestle against bizarre rock formations and rugged mountains fall steeply into clear sea water. During my trip I went on a few hikes that I would like to tell you about.

The tour of the Kvalvika bay probably belongs to one of my favorites. Here you will find a pristine beach, enclosed by high cliffs and hidden behind a saddle that has to be climbed. You can find the detailed tour report here. A self-built hut serves as a shelter, but there is also enough space for tents.

The Himmeltinden I climbed on a sunny late summer day. On the island of Vestvågøya, the Lofoten shows itself from a particularly rugged side, which can be marveled at up on the summit. You can find the detailed tour report here. At first alone, I later shared the whole mountain with just a handful of people. One of the many advantages of hiking in Northern Norway.

Other interesting hikes were the ascent of the Ryten within sight of Kvalvika beach, an easy tour of theHoven on Gimsøya and a spontaneous ascent to theTjeldbergtinden near Svolvær. Detailed reports will follow soon.

It is also possible to cross the islands on foot, but good research is essential. The hiking trails cannot be compared with those from the Alps and that is exactly what makes it so exciting. You will not only need feet and hands once to get ahead, sturdy shoes are a must. Just like suitable clothing, because the weather can change quickly. You can find drinking water in lakes and streams, but you won't find any huts to stop off at.

Book tip: I used the as the basis for my research Hiking and travel guide "Lofoten" from Edition Elch, which you can order >> HERE <<.

 

10. Holidays in Lofoten: highlights and sights.

There were quite a few highlights during my road trip across the Lofoten Islands. Above all, nature is the reason for a trip to the far north of Norway. Above the Arctic Circle you will find small towns with names that sound like Å, as well as the most beautiful beaches that could just as easily be in the Caribbean. The feeling of freedom is almost limitless, at least until you stand on the coast on the north side, with 1,500km of water between here and Greenland.

Since a list of my highlights would go beyond the article, I have summarized my favorite places for a road trip across the Lofoten in a separate article.


If I had to choose between Lofoten and the island of Senja, the choice would be clear - the second would win. Because here I found the originality, which I missed something in Lofoten, with the perfect houses and the perfect infrastructure. You can find out more about this in a detailed article about a road trip with camping on Senja.

 

Did you like the article? Then I am very happy if you share it with family or friends or if you leave me a comment.


More for your research:

• Mela from individualicious also struggled with the rain, but it doesn't spoil my mood.

• On The Fernweh - Collective Blog there is a wonderful article, with pictures that show exactly what the north of Norway stands for.

• A book that is not exclusively about Lofoten, but has the islands as a destination. Svenja and Roman just start walking: A journey into someone else's life. From the front door to the far north.

Elisa | take an adVANture

Elisa loves road trips, the mountains and nature. She prefers to travel the streets of the world with a mattress in the trunk and a backpack on the back seat bench.