If you are travelling in Norway and looking for areas of outstanding beauty you don’t want to miss Lofoten in the north of the country. The archipel off the coast consists of about 80 islands offering breathtaking landscapes and idyllic views.
How to Reach Lofoten
There are many ways to get to the islands. The main hubs on the mainland are Narvik and Bodø, both terminus of the railway lines from the south. There are two daily trains from Trondheim to Bodø and two daily services from Narvik to Luleå in Sweden, including the night train to Stockholm. To continue from Bodø and Narvik to Lofoten you have to change from train to either ferry, bus or airplane.
From Narvik, you can reach Lofoten with the daily buses of 177 Nordland, which run all the way along the E10 road via the capital of Lofoten, Svolvær, to Å in the very south. The trip from Narvik to Svolvær takes about 4 1/2 hours, a ticket costs about 250 NOK. The timetables from Narvik to Svolvær are available on railcc, for all schedules have a look at the schedule search of 177 Nordland.
From Bodø there are several options: You can take a ferry to Moskenes which takes about four hours and costs about 210 NOK. A fast catamaran connects Bodø with Svolvær in four hours for 360 NOK. Both are operated by Torghatten Nord. If you prefer a flight, Widerøe offers connections to Svolvær (SVJ), Leknes (LKN) and Røst (RET). Tickets range between 500 and 1000 NOK and can be booked through SAS or Widerøe.
ROUTE Suggestion on the Lofoten Islands
On my trip I decided to fly from Bodø to Svolvær and make my way from there south via Kabelvåg and Henningsvær to Moskenes. To get back to the mainland I took the ferry from Moskenes to Bodø. For the whole trip I calculated three days. Of course you could spend much more time on Lofoten, but I had other places to visit remaining on my list.
Bodø – Svolvær
The quickest way to get to Lofoten is the airplane. It takes about one hour to cross the North Sea and reach the small airport of Svolvær (SVJ).
You can already spot the many small islands while approaching Lofoten. Since the airport is very small you can claim your luggage within minutes after landing and head for your destination.
Svolvær – Kabelvåg
To get to Svolvær from the airport I took a taxi. The short ride (5 minutes/6 km) cost about 150 NOK. Svolvær, the capital of Lofoten has the best connections to the mainland and is a good starting point for a short trip around the islands. You will find a number of shops, restaurants and galleries there, and have a look at the daily Hurtigruten services, connecting cities along the Norwegian coast between Bergen and Kirkenens. From Svolvær you can start your trip to the south. Just 6 km to the south I recommend to visit the small village of Kabelvåg which you can easily reach by walking along the E10 or by bus.
Kabelvåg in the heart of Lofoten is a small village with many old buildings. A little outside the centre you can visit the impressive “Vågan Church“, also known as the Lofoten Cathedral. It is the largest wooden church in the north of Norway and can host up to 1200 people.
Kabelvåg – Henningsvær
After visiting Kabelvåg I continued to Henningsvær. The bus ride took about 20 minutes and cost 50 NOK. The last part of the route takes you along a number of bridges connecting small islands before you reach the small fishing town.
Henningsvær – also called “Venice of the Lofoten” – is a small, old fishing village, located on a number of small islands off the coast. The small and colourful houses and the backdrop of the impressive mountains makes for many fascinating views.
Besides tourism, the economy of Lofoten depends on fishing. Henningsvær has been the centre of fishing on Lofoten since the 19th century. In spring, the fish is hanged on large wooden frames in order to dry and for conservation.
Henningsvær – Moskenes
My last stop on that tour was Moskenes in the south of Lofoten. To get the bus there I had to get to Rørvik on the E10 main road from Henningsvær. However, there are no buses from Henningsvær on Sundays, so you have to walk or take a taxi to get to Rørvik (if you decide to walk, mind that it is about 9km from Henningsvær). The bus ride to Moskenes then takes between 3 and 4 hours, depending on the connection and costs about 175 NOK.
Towards the south of Lofoten, the landscapes tend to get more and more spectacular. Close to Moskenes you will see the highest peak of western Lofoten, Hermannsdalstinden with 1029 meters asl.
Moskenes – Bodø
From Moskenes I took the ferry back to Bodø. It usually runs twice daily, the single ticket is 210 NOK.
GET to Lofoten via Narvik
If you are travelling by train, the best way to include Lofoten in your tour is to make a round trip: Starting from Bodø, go to Moskenes or Svolvær and then make your way across Lofoten towards Narvik. From there, you can continue by train towards Sweden.