Norway – the magical Lofoten Islands
A winter fairytale
When Norway comes to your mind, you usually think about elk, fjords and amazing seafood. But what if I tell you there is so much more the Scandinavian country has to offer? What if there is a place where you can watch the northern lights dancing in the winter sky, go hiking in the middle of the night in summer, set up your tent anywhere you want to and feel as close to breathtaking nature as you never felt before?
Let me introduce you to that place: the Lofoten Islands.
In this article, I am going to take you on a journey to one of the most impressive places I have ever seen (and I have seen quiet a few)
Get ready for some serious Wanderlust!
About the Lofoten Islands
Located about 100 to 300 km north of the Arctic Circle right on the Pacific Coast of Norway, the Lofoten Islands are home to about 24000 people. About 80 small isands make up the area as we know it. Compared to other places in Europe, it is extremely surprising how untouched the islands are. You have a different scenic view around every corner and you can find yourself relaxing on a beach with crystal clear water as well as hiking the snow capped mountains or doing some exciting water sports like surfing or scuba diving. As you can see, the lofoten islands are extremely diverse and there is a lot to discover.
Lofoten in winter
A lot of people prefer going to the islands in summer, especially to see the midnight sun, go on exciting walks and hikes and spend time at the beach. I had the chance to go in the winter season and I absolutely loved it.
The climate in the area is relatively mild, with up to 25 degrees Celsius in July and August, and around zero degrees in winter. But do not be fooled – the weather changes rapidly and there can always be a storm waiting to surprise you with heavy rain, snow and ice cold winds!
Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is absolutely worth it to go in winter. Just grab yourself some waterproof, warm clothes and enjoy the beauty of wilderness.
Since there is almost no daylight at all during the months of December, I would recommend going in early or late winter (November, February or march)
The main reason for tourists to visit the Lofoten Islands in winter is probably the chance of seeing the beautiful Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis.
The Islands are one of the best places in the world to see the Lights dancing in the night sky. The location is perfect and moreover, there is as good as no light pollution in the area, which makes it really easy to witness the spectacular phenomenon on almost every clear night in winter.
There are companies that offer Aurora Tours, but you might as well just jump in the car and drive to a nice, dark place and find them for your own. They are everywhere. The most spectacular views I had were just outside our AirBnB.
Besides that, the Lofoten Islands are an extraordinary place to go surfing all year round, so if you’re brave enough – jump in and have the unique experience of Arctic surfing!
With crystal clear water, it is also highly recommended to go scubadiving. In winter, the water is especially clear and calm. You can go for a drysuit dive and enjoy the magical underwater world.
Moreover, you can do some winter hiking or winter sports like skiing or snowboarding.
How to get there, where to stay, how to get around
The most common way to get to the islands is flying to Narvik, Norway.
In my opinion, the one and only way to get around the Islands is by car. There are a few busses but they do not take you to the beautiful, secret places you really want to see. Of course, you can walk, but remember: the islands are always bigger than you think and especially in winter, when it is cold and dark most of the times, you will not get very far.
You can rent a car from Narvik, which can be quiet expensive, so if you live in Northern Europe and have a lot of time, I would suggest taking an epic road trip with your own car through Norway or Sweden until you reach Nordland. There is so much to see in these beautiful countries.
There are a few hotels in places like Svolvaer and Reine, but besides that you will not have many places to choose from. I recommend booking via AirBnB, there are many beautiful cabins or rooms to rent, and you can find yourself a lot closer to the beach or the mountains as anyone staying in hotels. You can even stay in traditional Fishermen huts!
But remember, especially in winter, it is a pretty lonely place to be. The lofoten islands are perfect for anyone who does not mind missing out on nightlife and shopping, and prefers to be in the wilderness instead.
Hopefully, this article helped you paint a picture of this incredible piece of earth and maybe you will find yourself exploring it sooner than you think!