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Reine, Norway: The Popular Lofoten Destination

Panorama of Reine in Norway's Lofoten islands

When it comes to photogenic destinations, few places can rival Reine, Norway. This Lofoten pearl is a popular draw for photographers and hikers. Here's everything you need to know.

The island village of Reine is one of the most famous sights in Lofoten simply because of the sheer number of photos in circulation. If you’re visiting Lofoten because of a magazine article, it’s highly likely at least one photograph of Reine accompanied it.

Words cannot do justice to the breathtaking scenery on the approach to Reine. It rivals the Atlantic Road for the honour of best driving experience in Norway. While there are a few local buses, a car is all but essential for an efficient, stress-free trip.

How to get to Reine, Norway

How to get there depends on how much time you have, and how much money you're willing to spend. As with most places in Norway, the slowest way is the cheapest!

The quickest way for most people is to fly to Leknes or Svolvær and drive from there. However, both are small airports with limited direct flights and rental cars must be booked in advance. Evenes (Harstad-Narvik) Airport is another option, but one that requires a four-hour drive (at least) to reach Reine.

Another option is to take the car ferry from Bodø on the mainland. From Moskenes, Reine is just a couple of miles away. The benefits here are that Bodø is served by many more direct flights to/from Oslo and Trondheim. The city is also connected to Norway's rail system thanks to the Nordland line.

The E10 winds its way across islands and skerries for a couple of miles, with open ocean, mirror-like lakes, and ragged snowtopped mountains visible in every direction. It’s wise to take your time on this stretch to pause at one of the many parking areas and stroll around what is a truly remarkable location.

Your first glimpse of Reine will be as you take the bridge from the seafood restaurant and cabins of tiny Sakrisøya island. The family-run Anita's Seafood serves freshly caught fish and seafood. You can see the fishing boats right outside!

The seafood bar concept offers shrimp and a hugely popular homemade fish burger to eat on the waterside terrace out back. Other snacks are also available.

Anita's Seafood near Reine, Norway

A stunning welcome to Reine

You approach the village from the east before spiraling around the edge of the bay. After almost circling the village in its entirety, you turn to enter the village from the south.

As you turn off the E10, a parking area to the left offers an uninterrupted panorama of the island with its famous mountainous backdrop. It's the picture you can see at the very top of this page. On a clear calm day, the view is surely the most spectacular in the country without a hike.

The village itself is well equipped for visitors, especially during the summer season, when cafés and restaurants compete for your attention. That being said, parking is a major issue in and around the village. The narrow roads and limited space mean it’s prudent to find a parking spot as soon as you arrive – and expect to pay.

Dried fish in the Lofoten islands

Reine Centre of Arts and Culture

One of the first points of interest is Reine Centre of Arts and Culture. The former school now functions as an art gallery and community center. There’s also a small café.

The works of northern Norwegian artist Eva Harr, featuring strong use of light and colour, are presented in a permanent exhibition. You can also expect exhibitions of photography and a nature exhibition of local bird and animal life. During the summer, the centre hosts an annual literature.

Hiking in and around Reine

Budding photographers looking to mimic the most iconic shots of Lofoten and keen hikers alike flock to Reine to tackle the 448m/1,470ft high Reinebringen mountain. While far from the tallest Lofoten mountain, its views are phenomenal.

The hike used to be a tricky one, but in the summer of 2019 a stone stairway was opened. The NOK 7 million project was needed because of the ever-increasing erosion on the popular trail, along with the danger of rockfall.

Sunrise over Reine, Norway
There are several popular hikes around Reine. Photo: Johny Goerend / Unsplash

Begin the trail by taking the paved pedestrian alternative to the Ramsvik Tunnel on the E10, just past the entrance to Reine. For more information, check out this Reinebringen hiking guide.

Other things to do in and around Reine

The waters around Moskenes are ideal deep-sea fishing territory, and it’s almost unheard of for a boat to come back empty-handed. Hundreds of cod weighing more than 30kg are caught every year.

Aqua Lofoten runs daily fishing trips ideal for beginners into the plentiful waters surrounding Reine. A professional fisherman will teach you everything you need to know to catch a fish using the traditional jigger wheel method, although it is up to you to catch the fish yourself! Book ahead as there's a minimum number of people required for trips to go ahead.

For a truly relaxing way to experience western Lofoten’s unique environment, rent a kayak from Reine Adventure. Choose between a self-guided adventure or book a guided tour. The same company also rents out bikes and offers guided hikes among other services.

Reine Adventure bicycles for hire in Lofoten

Where to stay in Reine, Norway

In Reine itself, the 32 cabins of Reine Rorbuer are the best option beyond individual lets. All cabins have been upgraded to modern standards while retaining their traditional atmosphere. All come with a kitchenette so you can prepare and cook a fish you caught that day.

If you weren’t so lucky, the cozy Gammelbua bar and restaurant serves fresh fish and other local produce. Indulgent desserts include the sweet søtgrøt porridge, cloudberry cream with wafer cones, or the meringue and vanilla cream kvæfjordkake. Opening hours vary throughout the year, and it’s advisable to call ahead to book during the summer.

Slightly farther afield but still within a couple minutes drive of Reine, consider Eliassen Rorbuer. The former fishermen’s cabins on the tiny island of Hamnøy make a truly unique place to stay. Most of the 35 cabins stand on stilts above the rocky coastline and have unbeatable views of the jagged mountains across the water.

In contrast to the daytime rush of cars, an evening in one of the high-spec cabins with kitchenette and private bathroom or out on the patio watching the midnight sun or northern lights is true relaxation, Lofoten style. A shuttle service is available from Moskenes ferry terminal for 100kr per person.

Reinebringen sweets for sale in Reine, Lofoten

Things to do near Reine

Just a few kilometres south of Reine is the literal end of the road. The E10 ends abruptly as a car park in the historic fishing village of Å, which today functions mainly as a living museum.

Most of the village is an exhibit. But there is also a lot of accommodation in Å, from hotels and cabins to private rentals. This makes it a popular choice with travellers, especially those starting or ending their trip with the nearby Moskenes ferry.

Founded by the Moskenes History and Museum Society, the main function of the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum is to preserve the fishing village rather than to build anything new. The old boathouse has been converted to hold most of the museum’s exhibitions, but the whole village is the real exhibition.

Having said that, if you’re planning on anything more than a quick stroll around the village, then it’s worth paying the museum’s entrance fee. That allows you to explore some of the fascinating buildings. Don't miss the 19th-century stone oven bakery that still produces bread and aromatic cinnamon buns to sell in the village café.

Have you been to Reine? How did you spend your time?

Reine, Norway, during blue hour

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

2 Comments

  1. The Reine parking system is a fiasco! Norwegians think everyone uses Vipps payments. But they are not available to foreign tourists since we don’t have Norwegian ID number required to register. No one has any cash with them nowadays. So how do you expect anyone to pay for the parking?

  2. A simply picture took me from Indonesia to Reine back in Autumn 2018. I flew 19 hours from Semarang-Singapore-London-Bergen. Did a Norway in A Nutshell for 3 days to Oslo, flew from Oslo to Bodø, sailed the ferry to Moskenes, spent a night in Å, and hiked to Munken the day before we arrived in this beautiful place I will never forget.

    I just stumbled on your blog, reminiscing the very best memory I had. Takk.

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