Three of my “Must See” spots in Lofoten, Norway

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White sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters are probably not what first comes to mind when you think about the Arctic Circle. However, beaches like this are abundant in the culturally rich fishing communities on the Lofoten Islands.

We flew into Svolvær from Bodø

Getting there: You pretty much have 2 options when it comes to getting to the Lofoten Islands. Fly, or Ferry - We chose to fly. Flying is a much faster option and in the Winter season, the ferry is only in operation once per day. We actually missed the ferry due to a late arrival into Bodø. (The small town that is used as a stepping stone to get to Lofoten.) So to avoid losing an entire day, we bit the bullet and shelled out an extra $80 for a plane ticket.

If you choose to fly, you will be looking for flights into Svolvær. This is a small city located on the Lofoten Islands and is where we picked up our rental car - essential for getting around the archipelago.

*Tip - If you can, don't rent a car until you arrive in Svolvær. You’ll save money by flying in and picking up a rental car there, rather than loading a car onto the ferry and sailing across. There is a small selection of car rental services located right inside the Svolvær airport. We chose to rent our car from Sixt. They outfitted us with an all wheel drive BMW hatchback complete with studded tires. I assume the roads get pretty gnarly in the dead of Winter. Luckily there was absolutely no snow during our visit.

Where to stay: For our base of operations we chose the Hattvika Lodge. Formerly a fisherman's wharf located right in the Hattvika Harbour. It’s a newly renovated property and has a very unique style that pays homage to its cod fishing heritage. If you’re lucky, the owner will welcome you to the property with a shot of the traditional cod liver oil.

There are also multiple saunas located on the property, which I took full advantage of during my stay. The constant hiking and exploring (although amazing) is quite exhausting, especially for the legs! The sauna was a great way to rejuvenate, unwind and loosen up those tight leg muscles ready for the next day of hiking. The construction of the sauna’s are quite unique as well and are definitely worth checking out on their own! My favourite sauna was even equipped with an outdoor shower. There is nothing like stepping out into the shower after a 20 minute steam at 70 degrees celsius.

Ok, so you’ve got your wheels and a place to stay. What should you see?

Below are my top 3 “Cant Miss Spots” in Lofoten

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1. Mount Ryten at Kvalvika Beach: One of the most scenic views in all of Lofoten. If I had to choose just one hike to do here, it would be this one.

This moderate 3 - hour hike rewards you with stunning views overlooking topaz blue waters. You'll also be standing on top of a 540m seacliff which in itself is pretty dramatic! I recommend doing this hike for sunset, the sun will be in the perfect spot to light up the bay and if you're lucky, the sky behind the mountains will glow with beautiful pinks and oranges.

I suggest bringing extra layers if you’re planning on tackling this hike in the cooler months. The wind at the top of the mountain can get quite strong and cold. I had to seek refuge from the bitterly cold winds behind some boulders.


2. Haukland Beach: A local favorite for viewing the Northern Lights. Weather permitting, this is probably your best bet for seeing strong Northern Lights on clear nights. I was lucky enough to see the aurora on our first night. The best time for Northern Light viewing is from October to March when there are more hours of darkness. Keep in mind you won’t see anything with cloud cover though!


*A little bonus, if you continue on the “Fv286” road for no more than 2 minutes, you'll find yourself on the neighboring beach named Uttakleiv Beach. This is also a prime spot for viewing the Northern Lights.


3. Festvagtind Hike: This 2-3 hour hike offers gorgeous 360-degree views and overlooks the small town of Henningsværveien which is situated on multiple small fragmented islands.


A note for the more adventurous folks. The peak is ripe with side trails and secondary viewpoints. If you’re willing to push on a little further and explore, you will find some pretty unique and undiscovered views. Just remember that the rocks can be slippery!


For more information on the Lofoten Islands, check out my Instagram Story Highlights at @thismattexists


Where to stay: For our base of operations we chose the Hattvika Lodge. Formerly a fisherman's wharf located right in the Hattvika Harbour. It’s a newly renovated property and has a very unique style that pays homage to its cod fishing heritage. If you’re lucky, the owner will welcome you to the property with a shot of the traditional cod liver oil.

There are also multiple saunas located on the property, which I took full advantage of during my stay. The constant hiking and exploring (although amazing) is quite exhausting, especially for the legs! The sauna was a great way to rejuvenate, unwind and loosen up those tight leg muscles ready for the next day of hiking. The construction of the sauna’s are quite unique as well and are definitely worth checking out on their own! My favourite sauna was even equipped with an outdoor shower. There is nothing like stepping out into the shower after a 20 minute steam at 70 degrees celsius.

Ok, so you’ve got your wheels and a place to stay. What should you see?

Here are my top 3 things you can’t miss while on the Lofoten Islands.