Going to Lofoten, but no idea how to plan your trip and what to do and see? No need to worry, here’s your plan!
I originally come from Lofoten and I have spent many summers showing people around the islands. Over the years, I’ve perfected the way to see and do the most of Lofoten in 2 days, so I’m hereby sharing it with you.
The best way to see Lofoten is to rent a car and drive around. Remember to book your accommodation beforehand, as it’s often full. Or bring a tent.
Day 1: Highlights of Lofoten Roadtrip
I might be a little biased since I’m from Lofoten, but it is worth a stop! And it makes a great point to start your sightseeing.
Kabelvåg is the oldest fishing village in Lofoten, and it was here the commercial aspect of the Lofoten Fishery evolved a thousand years ago. Today, Kabelvåg is primarily a centre of education and culture.
Stuff to do/see/drink/eat:
- Prestængbrygga. My favorite pub. Nice place to hang out with the locals, and sometimes offers live music. Was named the favorite in Scandinavia when the New York Times’ Frugal Traveller visited a few years ago.
- Bakeri Unseld. Great bakery and cafe with organically baked bread, rolls, etc. N
- At the area called Storvågan, you can visit the Lofoten Aquarium, Lofoten Museum and Galleri Espolin.
Description from Lonely Planet: A delightful 8km shore-side drive southwards from the E10 brings you to the still-active fishing village of Henningsvær, perched at the end of a thin promontory. Its nickname, ‘the Venice of Lofoten’, may be a tad overblown but it’s certainly the lightest, brightest and trendiest place in the archipelago.
After you’ve taken off the E10, you should pay attention to all the mountain climbers along the way. Park your car at Henningsvær Bryggehotell after you crossed the second bridge.
Stuff to do/see/drink/eat:
- The contemporary art gallery KaviarFactory. It’s quite mindblowing that an old caviar factory in a tiny village exhibits Ai Weiwei. And other internationally famous artists. A must see
- Glass and ceramics at Engelskmannsbrygga. I’m especially a fan of the photos printed on ceramics, not something you see often!
- Klatrekafeen – cool/cute cafe and hiking gear shop
- Lysstøperiet – candle factory and super cute cafe with the best cinnamon buns on the islands
- Brent – coffee roaster in tiny, cute house
- Street art by Pøbel (see photo above)at the oil tank on the other side of the pier (molo)
Artscape/Skulpturlandskap Nordland – shortly after Henningsvær
Artscape Nordland is an international art project where artists from 18 countries were invited to participate. The underlying idea of the project is that a work of art creates a place of its own through its very presence in the landscape. The sculpture also visualises its surroundings, thus giving the place a new dimension.
It is worth stopping to see the sculpture that comes right along the E10 after Henningsvær – follow the signs and park on the left side of the road. The sculpture is made by the American artist Dan Graham. It is untitled, but among the locals it is referred to as “the shower room”.
More info: http://www.skulpturlandskap.no
Trekking up Hoven (option if you have more than a day)
Get off E10, continue on the north side of Gimsøy and start your trek at the Hov golf grounds. Outstanding views of the Atlantic ocean!
368 m, 1 hr up
Street art in Borgvåg
The famous Norwegian street artists Dolk and Pøbel traveled through Lofoten in 2008, painting old houses. They named their project Ghetto Spedalsk. Info:
«Working to draw attention to the depopulation and decay in rural parts of Norway, the street art artists Dolk and Pøbel have created one of the most talked-of art projects in Norway over the last decade. Their Ghetto Spedalsk project has brought about a new awareness of forgotten areas in Lofoten, the mountainous archipelago in Northern Norway. Internationally, Dolk and Pøbel are regarded as two of the leading, most innovative and most interesting contemporary artists.»
To find a few of their pieces, take off towards Borgvåg on the right side of the E10 just before you reach the Lofotr Viking Museum – right below a steep downhill. Drive to the end of the road and there you’ll find it. Beware that the wind and rain has worn it down and that there’s not that much to see anymore.
Lofotr Viking Museum
Watched “Vikings” and keen on learning more? The largest house in the Viking world, both in Norway and in Europe, have been excavated in Borg in Lofoten. Today, there is the Lofotr Viking Museum in the same location as the old Viking house. It is located in Borg, 15 km north of Leknes, 50 km south of Svolvær. More info: www.lofotr.no
Street art in Borg
Just a few minutes after you have passed the Viking Museum in Bøstad/Borg, you get to a Spar grocery store on the right side of the road. Stop in their parking lot and cross the road to view two of the best remained pieces of Dolk and Pøbel’s street art.
A Dutch couple moved to Lofoten and started making cheese. Worth a stop and shop! Take off towards Unstad on the right side of the E10 after you have passed the Lofotr Viking Museum and follow the signs.
Amazing place, amazing beach and very popular surfing destination. You can stop at the campsite if you want to try the waves. Drive slowly through the tunnel so you can gasp at the view when you exit.
Leknes – shopping
Leknes is not really worth a stop, but you can stock up on your supplies here. And FYI – the place also has the only other Wine Monopoly on the islands.
Jaw-dropping beach. Follow the signs after you’ve passed Leknes.
Diving (option if you have more than a day)
Ever dived above the arctic circle? Ballstad is the place to go for diving and snorkelling. A 3 hr diving trip starts at 550 NOK including gear rental. Book ahead at www.lofoten-diving.com
Nusfjord is the best-preserved fishing village in Lofoten with buildings dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Archaeologists have also uncovered here the earliest known traces of «industrial fishing» in Nordland, so this has been a busy harbour for centuries.
In Nusfjord you can take guided tours of the Cod Liver Refinery, the Fish Buying Station, and the General Store, which has a unique collection of historical merchandise.
NB: There’s an entrance price to access Nusfjord, NOK 50 per person.
…Yet another awesome beach. You will pass it on your way towards Å.
End of the road: Å
Å is located towards the southern end of the Lofoten archipelago and marks the end of E10.
Until the 1990s, Å was mainly a small fishing village specializing in stockfish, but since then tourism has taken over as the main economic activity. The town features the Lofoten Stockfish Museum and the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum as two big tourist attractions. Spend the night here or in Reine.
Day 2: Hiking to the Bunes Beach and Hell’s Peak
The Bunes Beach is often called the world’s most beautiful beach, the world’s most romantic beach, and so on. Curious what the fuss is about? Go check it out yourself!
It is a little bit tricky to get to the beach, so easy description:
- Take the boat from Reine to Vindstad. There are daily departures in the morning, and return trips in the afternoon. Check the routes here: www.reinefjorden.no
- Beware that the boat fill up quite soon, so get there early. And be prepared to wait, so just stay patient 🙂
- The boat will take you to a place called Vindstad. From there it takes 20-30 minutes to walk to the beach.
If you want to see some stunning views, I recommend a mountain hike to Helvetestinden of the peak just below it. Bring sensible clothes and shoes for hiking! The hike takes around 2-3 hours, depending on your physical shape and how often you stop to soak in the views and snap some photos.
Bring food and have lunch at the beach. Remember to catch the boat back, otherwise you’re stuck for the night.