Lofoten Islands

Should you bother? Yes, you should!

My experience was certainly mixed and by the end of it, I would highly recommend taking a trip to Lofoten islands.

Landscapes are magical and none that I have encountered anywhere else before. I would say its a mix between Swiss mountains and New Zealand scenery so it is very beautiful and majestic.

Main reason to get here is for hiking. There isn’t much info available when in town so be prepared and plan well ahead!

How to get there

Best and only way to get to Loften islands is to take a ferry. I have taken the Moskenes ferry from Bodo. Lofoten ferries are operated by Torghatten Nord. Timetable varies between summer and winter, and by each day. It is highly recommended you check the ferry times before taking the plunge.

Ferry times are certainly odd and none that can be taken to suit a day tripper easily. My ferry departed at 0015 hours and arrived at 0330 hours at Moskenes. 

Accommodation

If you arrive in the wee hours of the morning just like me, I highly recommend you book a place for to crash for a couple of hours. I didn’t take the trip seriously and had nothing booked which meant I was outdoors in the freezing cold arctic temperatures from 0330 in the morning. My fingers were frozen and I realise I had done a big mistake. I could have been dead by the time anything opened!

Having learnt my lesson, I would definitely book something well ahead even if its a day just so you don’t have to freeze outside. 

Googling places to stay in town doesn’t come up with much but there are certainly a number of places available certainly around Å town. There were at least 5 places and if you look in Google maps, you can see most of these places. So please do take in some time and book a place to get some much needed rest before you explore.

What to see

Landscape in Lofoten islands are dramatic. They rise high above the seas and is always snow covered giving them them a majestic look. Just look at them…

Picture perfect

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There are a number of small villages, rather towns, scattered along the pointy edge of the archipelago Å being the final village at the pointy edge. Å generally has more accommodation than other areas from what I have seen but I could be wrong :). 

There are 2 museums in the village. As a result of my early arrival in the town and being exhausted, I skipped them in search of more memorable landscapes. Past the car park area, there is a small trail to the right to go up a mountain and I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone. This is an easy hike for everyone and provides great views of the town. Further up, you can get close to the water with even more beautiful views.

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Sørvågen has more options around shops (for quick stop grocery shops) and a restaurant Maren Anna which I had the opportunity to have lunch. If you have the time I highly recommend going there for a meal as I had the best soup in my life! 

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There is always interesting architecture around. I especially like the houses both small and big and always had something interesting about them.

Further up, Moskenes area doesn’t really have much to offer but you can admire the port and the small lighthouses. It is always beautiful coming down from Sørvågen area. Coming down the mountain, you can also see where the seagulls nest which I think everyone misses as they drive.

On the other side of Moskenes is the gorgeous town of Reine which I found impressive against the sleepy snow capped giants. I envy those live around here for having such natural in their back garden! Walk up to Reine passes 2 vehicle tunnels where the pedestrians have a separate path, a scenic path outside of the tunnel with amazing expansive views. 

As I was hiking most of the day, Reine had been the last town I visited and I am glad that was the last as I now carry great moments thanks for Reine and its sleepy giants. 

Planning

If anyone is plan on visiting, I strongly advise that you plan ahead whether its a day trip or couple of days. It also depends on whether you want to get close to nature with hiking or just walk around. 

Most important thing is to check the ferry times. This is not meant to help tourists, especially day trippers as they have weird arrival and departure times. As mentioned earlier. times vary by day and getting there at 0330 hours does not help anyone, so book some accommodation and get some much needed sleep before anything.

Plan where you want to start your trip and whether you want to walk everywhere or get in by car. Hiring a car would be the most practical approach and easy to get around. I don’t recommend walking but of course you can just like I did 🙂

Happy travels!

 

Things I like to do when I travel

My trips, whether they be domestic or overseas tend to be shorter stays. I generally plan a lot ahead and look for good deals and book about 6 months in advance. Domestic travel wraps around a weekend and public holidays so generally 3-5 days in length. Generally as a result of my leave schedules and other work commitments, overseas trips tend to be around 1-2 weeks. Yes, you might think its a waste to spend so little time in one place, given that we travel overseas spending a lot of money on the tickets, time to get there, visas, etc.

As my stays are generally shorter, I plan a lot ahead. Accommodation I choose depends on the activities and sites I would like to do (I map the location of sights in Google maps) and then find the best location combined with the price. Once the locations are mapped, I get a general sense of their concentration so I know if I need to spend more time in a particular area or not.  Accommodation I choose is mostly walking distance to as many sites as possible so I avoid spending too much money on transport.

I do like visiting museums and art galleries a lot so that is the first thing I look for. Then all other cultural sites such as temples, shrines, castles, mansions, monuments, gardens, interesting markets, lakes, etc. And, I try to savour some local cuisine. My research is a combination of google searches and blog sites, plus travel books. I do like to know more about a place if I come across something new and see the viability of visiting it. And yes, I’ve skipped a lot due to time restrictions of travel distances (which I sometimes regret).

My general rule of thumb is to stay as close as possible to all important places I would like to visit and then to start the day early. I like to walk a lot between these places getting some much needed exercise (although can be tiring) while taking breaks in between. By starting the day early, I get a chance to visit many places during the day time and still have some time to detour and come across something new. I remember walking about 7-8 hours one day when in Japan visiting many temples. As I try to cover a lot, its a go go go state as soon as I land. And sometimes I get all tired and let the world revolve around me by not doing much.

As you travel often, in my opinion, your tastes evolve. You become more open to ideas and cultures, you get used to different customs, you appreciate the journey and in the end it makes a better person.

What do you like to do when you travel? Leave your thoughts below…