Strap yourself in for an unforgettable road trip experience in the north of Norway.
I recently spent a week touring the magnificent Lofoten archipelago in northern Norway. More than anywhere else in the country, the dramatic mountains and delightful fishing villages mean that pictures speak louder than words. So won’t you come with me as I take you on a whirlwind tour of Lofoten?
We start with Svolvær, a small yet modern city. Its striking waterfront is dotted with exclusive restaurants, upmarket hotels, apartments and fishing boat tours. Only a few thousand people live in Svolvær but it springs to life throughout the day with people stopping off on their way to the more remote parts of Lofoten, and in the evening when the Hurtigruten ships arrive.
Despite its small size, Svolvær has a number of cultural attractions. Several art galleries showcase the large number of artists who have been inspired but the unique light conditions here in the Norwegian Arctic. Pictured here is the Dagfinn Bakke gallery.
The economy of the islands is increasingly driven by tourism. However the traditional fishing industry not only still exists, but thrives due to worldwide demand for Lofoten products. Stockfish is made by drying Arctic cod from these racks, which can be seen (and smelt) all over Lofoten.
Fishing villages dot the landscape throughout the islands. One of the most photogenic is Henningsvær, built on islands south-west of Svolvær and home to a few hundred residents and several art galleries.
Perhaps one of the most famous photo opportunities in all of Lofoten lies just outside the village of Reine. You can climb the mountain for the best view, or stop on the bridge approaching the village for this one, which aint half bad! Reine itself is the reward for the long drive through the islands, or you can take a ferry from Bodø to nearby Moskenes.
10-minutes farther along from Reine is Å, part-fishing village and part-living museum. Å is quite literally the end of Lofoten, as the E10 highway terminates here. The village is known for its rorbuer, fisherman’s cottages that are available for hire, some of which are pictured above.
Stunning Arctic beaches
A big surprise to many visitors is the number of incredible beaches all over Lofoten. Many of the best are only accessible on foot, but there are some great places to stop right by the road too. This one is close to Henningsvær.
I’m not sure this qualifies as a beach, but nevertheless it was a wonderful place to stop and rest for a few moments. This place was so tranquil and so captivating that I almost forgot to take a photo before getting back in the car to continue the journey.
No matter how long you think its going to take you drive somewhere in Lofoten, double it. It’s scientifically impossible to drive anywhere in one go without stopping to take photos. Just try it!
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