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The Ultimate Guide To Svolvær (The Capital Of Lofoten) – What To Do In Svolvaer

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Svolvær city, or Svolvaer in English, is the gateway to Lofoten, being the first city you arrive at when driving into the Lofoten Islands. It is Lofoten’s unofficial capital and biggest city with its 4736 inhabitants (2020).

Svolvær is also the main transport hub of Lofoten. Next to Leknes and Røst, it is the only city in Lofoten with an airport – Svolvær Airport Helle (6 km east of downtown Svolvær) with daily flights to/ from Bodø, and to/ from Oslo in high season. The Hurtigruten also stops in Svolvær every day, both on its southbound and northbound route, in addition to ferries and speed boats.

Even though Svolvaer is the biggest city in Lofoten, is still is a cozy city with a small-town vibe to it. Surrounded by tall peaky mountains like the famous Svolværgeita (means “the Svolvær goat” in English), and with the wide-open sea Vestfjorden right in front of the city center, you have majestic views everywhere you look.

Svolvaer is the city in Lofoten with the most accommodation options. Here you find several modern hotels, but also more traditional fishermen’s cabins/ rorbu. There are a lot of things to do and see in Svolvaer, including several art galleries and museums. If you’re feeling more adventurous, popular activities in Svolvær include mountain hiking, fishing, and kayaking, and boat trips to the famous Trollfjord.

Downtown Svolvaer
Svolvaer has several nice restaurants

If you are a foodie and like to try local food and specialties, you have come to the right place. Svolvær has some of the finest restaurants in Lofoten. A real must-try dish is Stockfish which is delicious, locally caught,  and a true Lofoten specialty. And for many, most importantly; Svolvær is one of the very few places in Lofoten that has a Vinmonopolet (the only shops in Norway where you can buy wine and liquor), located in Svolvær’s only shopping mall Amfi.

Svolvær used to be a bit like Venezia, with several small islands connected by narrow canals. Now, however, only one of these islands is left – the Svinoya Island. Going for a walk on the tiny island Svinoya is one of the highlights of visiting Svolvaer and a must-do.

Svolvær Travel Guide

This Svolvær travel guide gives you the best things to do and see in Svolvær, as well as the best places to stay and eat. Svolvaer’s top attractions, sights, and activities are listed and highlighted on a map. Have a great time exploring Svolvær! ♥


A Brief History Of Svolvær

Just 5 km south of today’s Svolvær, where you now find the town Kabelvåg, there was a city called Vågar. Vågar was the earliest town in Northern Norway to achieve formal town status. The town Vågar was most likely established around 800 AD and is mentioned in the famous old Heimskringla book.

The first time the name Svolvær can be found in the history books was in 1573 when Norway was occupied by Denmark and Frederick II was the king of both countries (from 1559 until his death in 1588). In a letter from the King, this area of Lofoten was called “vor Gaard Svolvær“.

The fishing village (called “veret” in Norwegian) received the permit to host overnight guests in their “rorbu“/ small cabins around 1800. This led to the area that now is called Svolvær to grow into a bustling trading place.

Svolvær has through the years been an important fishing village and was granted town status, or “ladested“, in 1918 becoming the new town called Svolvær. The word Solvær comes from the Old Norse word “Svolver”, where “svalr” means cold/ chilly and “ver” means fishing village. Later it lost its town status due to different merges with surrounding villages.

Modern Svolvær

Svolvær was declared a city in 1996 by the Norwegian government and is today the administrative center of Vågan Municipality in Norland County. Vågar Municipality is one of Norway’s biggest within fish farming and the value of its annual fish export is estimated to be more than 550 million kroner.

Downtown Svolvaer Lofoten
Downtown Svolvaer is by the harbor with great views of the fjord.

Fishing is still a big industry in Svolvær, but tourism has over the years become an important source of income. Thanks to Instagram and other social media platforms, Lofoten seems to be on everyone’s bucket list nowadays. I would say that Lofoten is probably the no.1 tourist attraction in Norway, especially if you take into count how popular it is with Norwegian visitors.

Svolvær is visited by approximately 200 000 tourists every year. And Lofoten in total gets closer to 1 million tourists each year, plus another 300 000 from cruise ships!


What To Do In Svolvær – The 11 Top Things

Svinøya, Trollfjord, Hiking, Art Museums & Lofotpils Brewery


The map above: Svolvaer Guide – What To Do, Where To Eat, Where To Stay, Day Trips

Here we give you the best things to do in Svolvaer, a list of 11 attractions and activities in and around Svolvaer city. Pick the things that suit you the best based on your interests and how much time you have to spend in this area of Lofoten.

1. Svinøya/ Svinoya

  • Estimated time: 1-2 hour

When standing in the downtown harbor of Svolvaer, you will notice the small island Svinøya (can be translated into “pig island” in English) with the cozy traditional red wooden cabins, or “rorbu“.

Svinoya Rorbuer Svolvaer Lofoten
The walk around Svinoya Island is a highlight when visiting Svolvaer.

Walk across the bridge and you will be back to how this area looked back in 1800 before the city planners ruined the old Venetian area that now houses modern Svolvær. Back then, Svinoya was the downtown of Svovaer, consisting of low wooden buildings and fishing cabins.

Svinoya in Svolvaer, Lofoten
The idyllic little Svinoya Island.

The walk around Svinoya is a highlight when visiting Svolvær in my opinion. This whole walking tour of Svinøya takes about 1 hour in total (back and forth), and the distance is about 3 km one way from Svolvær square in downtown. It is an easy walk that everybody can do, even small children, and with a baby carriage. And it is a great walk any time of year.

Read More: DIY Walking Tour Of The Idyllic Svinøya In Svolvær (Lofoten)

2. Trollfjord

  • Estimated time: 2-6 hour depending on the boat tour

Trollfjord is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Lofoten and one of Norway’s most famous and spectacular fjords. The Raftsundet leads into the narrow Trollfjord which is only 100 meters (330 ft) wide at its entrance. It is only 800 meters (2600 ft) at its widest. The fjord has a depth of 72 meters (236 ft).

The fjord is enclosed by steep tall mountains and it feels like you are almost entering a cave when the boat glides through the fjord. At its south end, the mountain Trolltindan reaches 1084 meters (3556 ft) up in the sky, and to the north are the mountains Blåfjell (998 meters/ 3274 ft) and Litlkorsnestinden (980 meters/ 3220 ft). It truly is a majestic sight!

The fjord got its name from the troll, which is a mythical creature from Norwegian folklore and Norse mythology.

There used to be a waterfall at the end of Trollfjord, but sadly it was redirected in 1960 to produce electricity. Trollfjord can only be reached by boat, there are no roads going here.

I highly recommend joining a boat trip to Trollfjord! You can choose between three types of trips to Trollfjord depending on your preferences and the time you want to spend:

  1. Silent electric ship (3,5-hour tour) – We did this tour and loved it! ♥ (as always, not sponsored, we booked and paid for it ourselves)
  2. Rib/ fast speed boat (2-hour tour)
  3. Sailboat/ catamaran (6-hour tour)

Read more about the three different Trollfjord boat trips below:

Trollfjord Cruise By Silent Electric Ship
  • Estimated time: 3,5 hours (10:00/ 10 am – 13:30/ 1:30 pm)
  • Season: June, July, August, September, October

We did this Trollfjord cruise by silent electric ship and it was amazing! The boat – Brim Explorer, is brand new, modern, and super comfortable with both an indoor and outdoor deck with seating areas.

And since the ship is run on both a diesel engine and electricity, the captain will turn off the diesel engine and only use the electric engine when entering Trollfjord. That way you get to enjoy Trollfjord in total silence and can take in the fantastic nature will all your senses. It is the ultimate way to see Trollfjord in my opinion.

Trollfjord cruise with silent electric ship Brim Explorer
Fantastic Trollfjord cruise with silent electric ship Brim Explorer from Svolvaer.

The best place to view Trollfjord is, of course, on the outdoor deck where you get a 360-degree panoramic view of the fjord and can feel the wind in your hair.

But if the weather is bad (and trust me, it often is in Northern Norway! I have over forty years experience with the North Norwegian weather…) the panoramic floor-to-roof windows in the indoor lounge give you an excellent view of the landscape and Trollfjord. It almost feels like you are sitting outside, and yet you are warm and dry, and can comfortably enjoy a coffee, tea, or cold beer or soda while enjoying the view.

Inside Trollfjord cruise with silent electric ship Brim Explorer
Awesome 360-degree panoramic view from the inside of the boat
Outdoor deck at Trollfjord cruise with silent electric ship Brim Explorer
Spacious outdoor deck

We had a fantastic guide that explained everything we saw along the way, pointing out sea eagles and other birds and animals, and told lots of funny stories. I loved it! He did the tour in both English and Norwegian. The guide also put an underwater drone out into Trollfjord with a live feed to a screen inside the boat. That way we got to see the Trollfjord underwater too. So cool!

We had the fish soup that they served on board, and it was delicious! The warm and soothing soup was just what we needed after having stood outside on the upper deck. You can also buy stockfish and other types of snacks and beverages in the onboard cafe. This tour is suitable for everyone, including wheelchair users, babies, and small children.

The whole cruise took 3,5 hours, back and forth. The boat departs from the main square in downtown Svolvær at 10:00/ 10 am and you will be back in Svolvær at 13:30/ 1:30 pm.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Sea Eagle Safari To Trollfjord By Rib Boat
  • Estimated time: 2 hours (10:00/ 10 am – 12:00)
  • Season: May, June, July, August, September, October

The rib boat tour to Trollfjord only takes 2 hours in total (back and forth) so if you are short on time this is an excellent option.

The rib boat goes, however, extremely fast and you will feel every bump of the sea. It is a thrilling experience and perfect for you if you like speed and some action!

Rib tour to Trollfjord from Svolvaer, Lofoten
Rib tour to Trollfjord is a thrilling experience

It is an open boat so if the weather is bad and the sea is rough, the waves can get pretty uncomfortable.

You get to borrow a full thermal dress/ lifejacket, goggles, cap, and gloves, but it can still get a little cold and wet depending on the weather.

Rib Sea Eagle Safari Trollfjord Svolvaer, Lofoten
If you are lucky, you get to see sea eagles along your trip to Trollfjord

The rib boat trip is not recommended if you have any back problems, are pregnant, or are below 140 cm (4ft 6 in) tall. So it is not suitable for small children or babies. We did not choose this tour as we both prefer it comfortable and warm. 🙂
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Arctic Sailing Excursion to Trollfjord
  • Estimated time: 6 hours (09:00/ 9 am – 15:00/ 3 pm)
  • Season: June, July, August

We love sailing and have actually sailed from Tromso to Svolvær once. So if we had six hours to spend on a trip to Trollfjord, we would probably have chosen this sailing excursion tour to Trollfjord. But we were unfortunately short on time on this Svolvær trip, so we chose the shorter cruise by silent electric boat (see further up).

On this 6-hour sailing trip, you will sail from Svolvær to Trollfjord on a modern and comfortable catamaran. You can enjoy the majestic mountain and fjord landscape from the outdoor deck while heading inside to stay warm whenever you like. The tour guide will tell you about what you see outside along the trip, and also point out sea eagles and other animals you might spot.

What I like the most about sailing, is the peaceful silence with no noisy engine. The catamaran only runs on wind power in its sails.

Included in this tour are warm homemade fish soup, coffee, and tea. You even get to do some fishing along the way out to Trollfjord if you want. This trip is suitable for everyone, also babies and children. Children below two years old go for free.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

3. Fishing Trip

I love fishing! If you do as well or perhaps you have never tried it, then it is a must-try in Lofoten – the perfect place to go fishing out on the sea! With the Barents Sea right outside the front door, Lofoten has probably the best conditions for sea fishing in the world.

The famous and delicious “skrei” or cod in English head north into the Barents Sea on the Norwegian coast to breed and make fish babies. About 40% of the cod come to Lofoten! We are talking millions of codfish, so many that sometimes the sea boils with fish. An average cod weighs 5 to 12 kg (11 – 26 lb), but codfish up to 100 kg (220 lb) have been recorded! They can be up to 2 m long, so we are talking about a beast of a fish.

Fishing Tour Svolvaer
To go on a fishing trip with a traditional Norweigan fishing boat is great fun!

The main season for skrei/ cod is around January – April. But the fishing conditions in Lofoten are excellent the whole year-round. In addition to cod, you can catch pollock, catfish, cusk, halibut, plaice, haddock, herring, mackerel, and ling.

Skrei/ cod is a big industry in Lofoten. Cod, stockfish, and salmon are the biggest export articles in Norway. Each year Norway exports about 2,7 million tons of fish (numbers from 2019) for 107,3 billion Norwegian Krone approximately US$ 12 810 225 100.

To preserve the cod, the Norwegian Government sets a fishing quota each year which decides how much cod the fishermen are allowed to harvest from the sea.

If you are an eager fisher and want to fish a lot and bring it back home, you need to be aware that there is a fish quota of how much fish you are allowed to bring out of Norway. The current export quota is 18 kg of fish or fish products per person.

And if you are really good at fishing, you should head to Svolvær at the end of March and participate in the World Championship in cod fishing, the one and only “VM i Skreifiske”.

Traditional Fishing Trip
  • Estimated time: 4 hours
  • Season: June, July, August, September, October

On this 4-hour fishing trip, you get to jump on board a traditional wood “Sjark”, called a smack in English. The boat MS Symra will take you into the Barents Sea and give you an authentic fishing experience.

Fishing Tour Svolvaer Lofoten
This tour takes you out fishing on a traditional Norwegian fishing boat called a “Sjark”.

You are provided with a fishing kit (there are 10 fishing stations onboard), safety equipment like a thermal suite and a floating vest, and a professional English-speaking guide who will teach you how to fish. You don’t have to have any previous fishing experience to attend this fishing tour.

Food is not included, but you are welcome to bring your own food and beverages. Wear warm clothes as it gets pretty chilly out at sea. This fishing tour starts at 09:30/ 9:30 am at Svolvær harbor, and you will be back in Svolvær around 13:30/ 1:30 pm.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

4. Northern Lights

  • Season: September – April

You can see the Northern Lights in Lofoten from the end of August until mid-April. Seeing the Northern Lights depends on the sun storm activities and, of course, the weather conditions. It has to be a clear sky or at least a gap in the clouds in order to see the aurora borealis.

Spectacular Northern Lights
Seeing the Northern Lights is a fantastic experience!

Being from Tromso (further north in Norway), I have seen the Northern Lights a lot of times. But it is still just as magical and spectacular every time it shows up with its curtains of green, yellow, pink, and red dancing across the sky. It surely is a breathtaking experience that everyone should see at least once in their life!

Your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Lofoten is with a northern lights tour guide. He/ she knows how to read the northern lights predictions and the weather forecast, and will take you to the places with the best chance of seeing the northern lights. The guides know the Lofoten region and its landscape very well and will try their best to hunt down the Northern Lights.

I highly recommend that you join a Northern Lights tour, at least if you are short on time and only have a few days in Lofoten. This will maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.

From Svolvaer: Searching For The Northern Lights
  • Estimated time: 3 hours (21:00/ 9 pm – midnight)
  • Season: September, October, November, December, January, February, March

This 3-hour Northern Lights tour takes you to the best places around Svolvær to see the spectacular light show on the sky – the Aurora Borealis. It is a small group tour (only 8 people) and you will be warm and comfortable in a minivan. A knowledgeable and professional Northern Lights guide will tell you all about the Northern Lights and help you take the ultimate photo of the Aurora. Along the way, you will stop at a cozy traditional Norwegian pub in Kabelvåg village where you will enjoy warm drinks, biscuits, and cake (included in the tour). You can borrow a tripod for your camera or mobile phone if you don’t have one yourself.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Chase The Northern Lights With A Photographer
  • Estimated time: 5 hours (20:30/ 8:30 pm – 01:30 am)
  • Season: September, October, November, December, January, February, March

On this 5-hour Northern Lights tour, a professional and experienced photographer will take you to the best and most photogenic places to see the Northern Lights. He/ she knows all the Instagram-friendly places and will help you take the perfect Northern Lights shot to impress your friends and family back home.

You get to borrow a tripod (included in the tour) and will get tips and tricks on how to photograph the Northern Lights. No previous photo experience is needed. Along the trip, you will be served warm drinks. You will drive around in a mini-van, and it is a small-group tour (max 8 people).

So put on warm clothes and grab your camera or mobile phone, and head out into the Lofoten on the chase for the ultimate Northern Lights shots.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

5. Midnight Sun

  • Season: 28 of May – 14th of July

You can see the Midnight Sun in Svolvær from 28. of May until the 14th of July. During these summer weeks, the whole sun is above the horizon both day and night. The sun will never set and the nights are just as bright and sunny as the days.

Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun in Grotfjord outside of Tromso.

We also have the Midnight Sun in my hometown Tromso, and it is my favorite time of the year! It feels like the whole nature awakens after the dark and cold winter months and it feels so liberating. It can, however, be a bit difficult to sleep during the night as all you want is to be outside enjoying the midnight sun and the golden hours.

The midnight sun makes the landscape and nature really glow in this fantastic golden light. These golden evening and night hours are the perfect time to photograph.

There is a Norwegian folk song called “Vi skal ikkje sova bort sumarnatta” (English translation: “We Shall Not Sleep Away The Summer Night“) which summarizes the lovely summer nights in Northern Norway quite well in my opinion. The lyric is based on a famous poem written by Aslaug Låstad Lygre in 1948, recorded by a number of Norwegian artists over the years.

We shall not sleep away the summer night,
it is too light for that.
Then we shall wander together in the open
under the trees that are heavy under their leaves.

Poem/ lyrics by Aslaug Låstad Lygre (1948)

Svolvær is, however, not the best place to see the Midnight Sun, as the sun is blocked by tall mountains around midnight and during the night. The best place to see the Midnight Sun in Lofoten is on the western side, which faces out to the open Barents Sea where no mountains will block the sun.

I recommend that you join a Midnight Sun tour from Svolvær (see below). But if you have a car and want to go on your own, the nearest and best places near Svolvær to see the Midnight Sun are:

  • Laukvik – A small fishing village a 30 min drive from Svolvær one way
  • Brenna – 35-min drive from Svolvær one way
  • Gimsøy – 35-min drive from Svolvær one way
From Svolvær: Midnight Sun Photographer Tour
  • Estimated time: 4 hours (21:00/ 9 pm – 01:00/ 1 am)
  • Season: May, June, July, August

This 4-hour takes you to to the best places to see the Midnight Sun around Svolvær. The tour guide will pick you up at your hotel, and you will head out into the Lofoten nature. You will visit both some mountain areas and a white sandy beach where you will see the Midnight Sun shining above the sea. The guide is also a professional photographer, and he/ she will help you take the ultimate Midnight Sun photos.

This a small-group tour (max 8 people) and included are hotel pickup and dropoff, comfortable minivan, tripod (on request), and lots of great photo tips and fun stories from your guide. Grab your camera or mobile phone and be ready for some awesome Midnight Sun shots. And if you don’t have a camera, your guide will take photos of you with his/ her camera and send the Midnight Sun photos to you by email after the trip for free.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

6. Hiking

I love hiking and try to go hiking whenever and wherever I get a chance. My hometown Tromso is an eldorado for mountain hiking and I’m spoiled with fantastic mountains right outside my front door. Like Tromso and the Lyngen Alps, Lofoten is famous for excellent and breathtaking mountain hiking.

Surrounded by mountains and an alpine landscape, Svolvær is the perfect place to go mountain hiking. The most popular and spectacular hikes are Kongstidan, Fløya/ Djevelporten, Svolværgeita, and Tjeldbergtinden.

Kongstindan – 552 m
  • Estimated time: 2-3 hours to the top and back down
  • Hiking Level: Medium

As it was raining the days we visited Svolvær, we chose to hike the mountain Kongstindan (552 meters tall) instead of Fløya since Fløya is steep and a more challenging and a longer walk. And we did not regret the choice – Kongstidan was a fantastic hike with spectacular views over Svolvær, the mountains, and the fjords. However, this mountain consists of flat rocks and they got quite slippery when wet. So I recommend that you do this hike on a dry day with no rain.

Fantastic view from Kongstindan Mountain in Svolvaer
Fantastic view of Svolvaer from Kongstindan Mountain

The hike up to Kongstindan mountain starts at the northeast of the lake “Lille Kongsvatnet”. Look out for a small powerplant, there is a parking area just next to it. You follow the dirt road about 150 m until you see a sign with “Kongstindan” pointing to the right, just next to a house.

The path up to the mountain top is well-marked and easy to spot and follow. It is a bit steep at the start, but it flattens a little halfway. Follow the ridge of the mountain until you reach the top. You will be awarded an awesome panoramic view and it is well worth the effort and sweat. 🙂 You really feel like the king of the mountain standing at the top, as reflects the mountain’s name which can be translated to “the mountains of kings”.

Fløya/ Djevelporten Mountain – 590 m
  • Estimated time: 3-4 hours to the top and back down
  • Hiking Level: Medium+/ Difficult

The hike up to the mountain Fløya (590 m tall) starts almost in downtown Svolvær. A well-marked (look for the sign) path starts in the road Blåtindveien, next to the kindergarten, east in Svolvær city. The hike takes about two hours up to the top.

This is a steep and airy hike, but the path is steady and well-marked. You will find ropes and chains in the steepest areas of the hike that you can hold on to in order to ease the climb.

After the first steep uphill bit, the path splits into two; the right path leads to Svolværgeita, but in order to get to Fløya/ Djevelporten you should continue straight ahead into the wide valley. In this valley, you find “Djevelporten”, which means the devil’s gate in English. Djevelporten is a gigantic rock that is stuck between the two mountain sides that forms the valley. You can walk out onto the rock to take the famous show-off selfie shot, but be careful! If it has been raining, it is quite slippery and if you fall you will be dead or at least badly injured.

After you have walked past “Djevelporten”, continue on the path along the hillside that takes you up to the top Fløya. The last bit towards the top is steep and a bit challenging. But once on the top, you are awarded an amazing 360-degree panoramic view of Svolvær, the surrounding mountains, fjords, and the open sea.

Solværgeita
  • Hiking Level: Difficult, must have a guide!

You can spot the famous Svolværgeita Mountain from downtown Svolvær. It looks like a goat with two horns, therefore its name Svolværgeita which means the goat of Svolvær in English. 🙂 The two “goat horns” are 150 m tall. Svolværgeita is the icon of Svolvær city.

Svolvaergeita Mountain Lofoten
Svolværgeita Mountain looks like the horns of a goat. Can you see it?

The start of the path to Svolværgeita is the same as for Fløya/ Djevelporten. In fact, Svolværgeita is a part of the Fløya mountain. The hike to Svolværgeita does, however, require a guide as it is a challenging climbing trip where you need climbing ropes. As at the tourist information in Svolvær if you want to do a hike to Svolværgeita.

Tjeldbergtinden – 367 m
  • Estimated time: 3-4 hours to the top and back down
  • Hiking Level: Easy

Tjeldbergtinden (367 meters tall) is located right in between Svolvær and Kabelvåg. This is an easy and child-friendly hike with a great view!

If you walk this mountain from the Svolvær side, you start at a place called “Osan”. Drive a few hundred meters past the Esso gas station. The parking area is at the start of the dirt road (there is a barrier blocking the road). Follow the dirt road, walk past the gun range, and up towards the antenna that you can spot at a small hilltop. A few hundred meters before the antenna, where the dirt road ends, take the path on your right through the forest. There is a sign with “Tjeldbergtinden”. The path is well-marked and easy to see and follow. Follow the forest-covered hillside until you reach the mountain top Tjeldbergtinden.

Tjeldbergtinden actually has two tops. The tallest, 367 meters, is the northwestern top, while the southeastern top is a bit lower. From the top, you can enjoy a spectacular view over the sea and fjords and Svolvær city below. Remember to write your name in the book at the top.

7. Kayaking

Why not embark on a real adventure where you get to really feel the sea and go kayaking? Svolvær is an excellent place to go kayaking with its many small and big islands, fjords, and narrow inlets. It is a great way to see Svolvær from the seaside and explore the islands.

Kayaking Svolvaer Lofoten
Kayaking is a great way to see the Svolvaer area.
Evening Kayaking Adventure
  • Estimated time: 2 hours (20:00/ 8 pm – 22:00/ 10 pm)
  • Season: June, July, August

This 2-hour Kayaking tour takes place in the evening with start at 20:00/ 8 pm from Svolvær Harbor. In sturdy sea kayaks, you will explore the fantastic coastline, fjords, and islands surrounding Svolvær from a unique perspective. The golden hours in the evening give the landscape a stunning glow and atmosphere, perfect for photos.

A knowledgeable and professional guide and kayak instructor will teach you everything you need to know to kayak safely. The English-speaking guide will tell you about the history and culture of Lofoten as you paddle along the shore. If you have children that want to join this kayaking tour, they have to be 10 years old or older. You will get to borrow clothes and all necessary kayaking equipment.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Winter Kayaking Adventure
  • Estimated time: 2 hours (13:00/ 1 pm – 15:00/ 3 pm)
  • Season: February, March, April

Due to the Golf Stream running through the Barents Sea outside of Lofoten, the sea and harbors never freeze even in the coldest winters. This makes Lofoten and Northern Norway, in general, a great area to go winter kayaking.

If you are visiting Lofoten in winter (February, March, April), you should consider joining this 2-hour winter kayaking adventure, with departure at 13:00/ 1 pm from Svolvær harbor.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

8. Art Galleries & Museums

The painting Trollfjordslaget by Gunnar Berg
The famous “Trollfjordslaget” at Gunnar Berg Gallery.

Svolvær has a number of art galleries and many of them have paintings on display from the golden age of art from 1880 – 1930.

Several artists and painters live in the Svolvær area and have their own private gallery in the city.

 


Art Galleries
Lofoten War Memorial Museum

The Lofoten War Memorial Museum in Svolvær houses an impressive collection of old uniforms and objects from World War II. In fact, this is the biggest collection of its kind in the world. At the museum, you will learn about how the war affected Lofoten and Northern Norway. The exhibitions are, however, a bit chaotic, but contain a lot of items. So if World War II is of your interest, you should definitely head over to this museum.

9. Lofotpils Brewery

The only microbrewery in Lofoten lays in Svolvær and is called Lofotpils. You will find Lofotpils beer at most grocery stores, pubs, bars, hotels, and restaurants all over Lofoten.

Trollfjord Lofotpils
Trollfjord Lofotpils

The Lofotpils brewery started producing beer in 2014 where fresh local mountain water from the Lofoten mountains is the main ingredient.

They produce all sorts of beer like a pilsner, IPA (Indian Pale Ale), APA (American Pale Ale), Stout, Weissbier, and Christmas Beer. Their most famous beer is the “Lofotpils” (pilsner) and “Trollfjord”.

I love the label on the Trollfjord-beer bootles with lots of old Nordland boats fighting side by side in Trollfjord under the tall mountains.

Lofotpils was the first brewery in the world to be Eco-lighthouse certified (2019). This means that they demonstrate and meet certain environmental requirements and social responsibilities in their production, waste management, and daily work environment.

They claim to have caught the “taste of Lofoten” in their beer. You should taste it yourself and be the judge of you agree or not. 🙂 You can also visit the brewery for a guided tour.

10. Magic Ice

If you are visiting Lofoten and Svolvær during summer, or in winter and simply can’t get enough ice and cold outside, you should visit the Magic Ice in Svolvær. It is a kind of ice cave with different artworks and exhibitions made of ice. The whole experience is topped off with colorful LED lights and atmospheric music to give you a unique experience. Welcome to winter-wonderland the whole year-round.

Magic Ice also has a cool ice bar where you get to drink from glasses made of ice! No need for extra ice in your drinks I guess…. 🙂

There is also a Magic Ice where I live, in Tromso, but I must admit that I have never visited it. I kind of get enough of the cold and ice outside during winter. 🙂 But it looks spectacular.

  • Address: Fiskergata 36, Svolvær
  • Opening Hours: Every day 12:00 – 22:00 (1. June – 6. September), 18:00 – 22:00 (7. September – 31. May).
  • Ticket Price: 250 Nkr = US$ 30 (includes a welcome drink in an ice glass, and you get to borrow a warm winter poncho, and gloves).
  • Magic Ice’s Official Webpage

11. Lofoten Escape Room

In 2019 the first Escape Room opened in Lofoten and Svolvaer. Prepare to spend an exciting hour deciphering riddles, codes, and mysteries that challenge the brain.

The Lofoten Escape has two escape rooms – “Odin’s Eye” and “The Heritage”. At “Odin’s Eye” escape room (which takes up to 7 people), you get to solve an adventure taking you 1000 years back in time as a Viking. At “The Heritage” room (which takes up to 5 people), you get to solve the mystery of the secretive owner of the fishing village (called “væreier” in Norwegian). Both rooms are designed around the local history of Lofoten.

  • Address: Valgata, 5, Svolvær (entrance towards the shop Biltema)
  • Opening hours: You can choose between three times – 16:30, 18:00, and 19:30. Each game takes one hour.
  • Ticket price: 380 Nkr = US$ 46
  • Lofoten Escape’s Official Webpage

Where To Eat In Svolvær

Fine Dining

Børsen

The beautiful Børsen Restaurant is located in an old warehouse building from 1828. This gives the restaurant a unique and atmospheric look and vibe and it feels like stepping into a cozy cabin when entering the front door.

Borsen Restaurant on Svinoya Svolvaer, Lofoten
Børsen is one of the best restaurants in Lofoten with stockfish as their specialty.

Børsen serves high-quality food made from fresh, local ingredients from Lofoten. Their specialty is stockfish (steamed stockfish with stewed carrots, egg butter, potatoes, Norwegian cured ham) which is a must-try when eating at Børsen. This restaurant is very popular, so I recommend that you book a table in advance.

  • Address: Svinøya, Svolvær
  • Opening Hours: 18:00/ 6 pm – 21:00/ 9 pm
  • On the menu: High-class dinner, local fish and meat dishes.
  • Børsen’s Official Webpage

Kjøkkenet

Kjokkenet Restaurant (which means “The Kitchen” in English) is owned and run by the Anker Brygge Accommodation with Scandic Hotel Svolvær as its neighbor. It is a cozy restaurant serving traditional Lofoten dishes made with local ingredients, mainly fish and seafood.  Their specialty is Boknafish (kind of a stockfish) and halibut. My favorite is, however, the reindeer meat which is lovely. Kjokkenet Restaurant is extremely popular, so I recommend that you book a table.

  • Address: Havnepromenaden 2, Svolvær
  • Opening Hours: 17:00/ 5 pm – 22:00/ 10 pm
  • On the menu: High-class dinner, local fish and meat dishes.
  • Kjøkkenet’s Official Webpage

Du Verden

We have the restaurant “Du Verden” (means “Oh My Gosh!” in English) back home in Tromso too, and I have been there several times with friends and family. They serve fantastic food and I like their modern Scandinavian-style hipster interior. The Du Verden Restaurant in Svolvær has a great location right by Svolvær harbor with a great sea view.

They have a lunch menu from 11:00 until 15:00, and from 15:00 you can choose from the dinner menu. Their signature dish is grilled stockfish, but I really love their super soft lamb shank. Delicious!  On the lunch menu, you find Norwegian Waffles, a must-try when visiting Norway. They have an extensive menu which includes salads, toast, sandwich, hamburger, pizza, and sushi (Wednesday – Saturday) on the menu. So lots to choose from.

  • Address: Torget 15, Svolvær
  • Opening Hours: 11:00/ 5 pm – 21:00/ 9 pm, until 22:00/ 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • On the menu: Lunch, dinner, and cakes. Big menu, local and international fish and meat dishes. Also children’s menu (0-12 years old).
  • Du Verden Svolvær’s Official Webpage

Mid-range

Bacalao

You cannot miss spotting Bacalao Restaurant when walking around Svolvær, as it has a central location right in Svolvær Harbor. The spacious and casual Bacalao has a cozy interior in addition to a nice outdoor seating area with a fantastic sea view of the harbor with all the boats and sea. I love sitting there people-watching. It is more casual than for instance Børsen Restaurant.

Bacalao Restaurant Svolvaer Lofoten
The cozy Bacalao restaurant, cafe, and pub is perfect for a casual meal.

Bacalao is both a cafe, restaurant, and pub in the evening. So you can eat and drink here all day and night if you want. It is a great place to head for breakfast and lunch, but also dinner. The lunch menu (from 11/ 11 am until 16/ 4 pm) contains salads, sandwiches, and omelets. The dinner menu (from 16/ 4 pm until 22/ 10 pm) has a wide selection of meat and fish dishes. Bacalao serves some excellent cocktails as well! They have a children’s menu as well.

Bacalao’s most famous specialty dish is, of course, bacalao! Surprise! 🙂 Bacalao is originally a Portuguese dish, kind of like a fish stew. At Bacalao Restaurant it is made of clipfish (salted and dried cod), tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers, olives, chili, and garlic. I must admit that Bacalao is not my favorite dish in the world, so I mostly eat their hamburger, called “Kai-Burger” which is delicious and comes with brie and aioli! For dessert, you must try their Creme Brule, my favorite.

  • Address: Havnepromenaden 2, Svolvær
  • Opening Hours: 10:00/ 10 am – 01:00/ 1 am
  • On the menu: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner – fish, meat, and vegetarian. Also children’s menu.
  • Bacalao’s Official Webpage

Fellini Pizza & Grill

Fellini Pizza & Grill Restaurant is a family-owned pizza restaurant with fantastic service! Fellini has the best pizza in Svolvaer!

We arrived pretty late in Svolvær, so all the restaurants in the city had closed their kitchen for the night. By random, we popped by Fellini, and even if the clock was paaśsed 22/ 10 pm in the evening we were met with big smiles and a warm welcome and got served some delicious pizzas. They really saved our day!

We loved their pizza so much that we actually ordered takeaway another day and brought it to our hotel room. Perfect and extra plus for longer opening hours than the other restaurants in Svolvær.

Fellini Restaurant Svolvaer Lofoten
Fellini serves Svolvaer’s best pizza! And is open late in the evening.

They serve the classic pizzas like Margherita, Mexicana, Quattro, Capricosa, Hawaii, Napolitana, and Calzonebut we went for their specialty pizzas “Lofoten special” (no. 6) and “Svovlær special” (no. 7) and can highly recommend them both! The pizza is more of a Turkish-style pizza than Italian.

They have an extensive menu, and also have other things than pizza, like grilled chicken, steak/ beef, different salads, pasta dishes, hamburgers, and kebabs. And if you have children, you will be pleased to hear that they have a children’s menu as well. And they do takeaways if you prefer to eat in your hotel room or elsewhere. They also have cheaper prices compared to the other restaurants listed here.

  • Address: Vestfjordgata 8, Svolvær
  • Opening Hours: 13:00/ 1 pm – 22:30/ 10:30 pm every day, also Sundays.
  • On the menu: Pizza, pasta, hamburger, steak, chicken, salads, kebab. Children’s menu as well.
  • Fellini’s Official Webpage

Paleo Arctic

Paelo Arctic is the restaurant at Thon Hotel Lofoten. They have a great location right by Svolvær harbor and the main square with a great sea view. We stayed at this hotel and had breakfast in the Paleo Arctic Restaurant which was excellent. Very cozy atmosphere, delicious food, a great selection of different dishes, and great service.

Paleo Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. The breakfast is a buffet with all kinds of delicious dishes, both hot and cold, international and local. Dinner is a la carte, although they don’t have the biggest menu. They serve a local fish dish (today’s catch), and a few meat dishes.

  • Address: Thon Hotel Lofoten, Torget, Svolvær
  • Opening Hours:
    Breakfast: 07:00/ 7 am – 10:00/ 10 am (Monday – Friday), 08:00/ 8 am – 11:00/ 11 am (Saturday & Sunday)
    Dinner: 17:00/ 5 pm – 22:00/ 10 pm Monday – Saturday. Closed for dinner on Sundays.
  • On the menu: Breakfast and dinner.
  • Paleo’s Official Webpage

The Best Cafes In Svolvær

Kringla Bakery & Cafe

The Kringla bakery and cafe (the word “Kringla” means “Twisted Bun” in English) is located in one of Svolvær’s oldest houses, constructed in 1896. The old house has been a grocery shop, shoe shop, knitting shop, paint shop, clock shop, and music shop, and has housed a photographer. Kringla started their bakery in this house in 2009.

At Kringla, you get freshly baked bread, cakes, pastries, chocolate, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and sodas. A must-try is their famous “Kanelbolle”/ cinnamon bun which I love and always buy when visiting Svolvær. It is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch, or simply for a short break to grab a cup of coffee or tea. They do have a takeaway as well.

  • Address: Torget 21 (main square), Svolvær
  • Opening Hours: 08:00/ 8 am – 16:00/ 4 pm
  • On the menu: Breakfast, lunch, sweets, coffee/ tea.
  • Kringla’s Official Webpage

Brent Cafe

Brent (which means “Roasted” in English) is both a cafe and a coffee roastery that make their own coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but friends and family that do claim this is Svolvær’s and maybe even Lofoten’s best coffee! I love their calm, cozy, hipster-like interior with comfortable couches.

The Brent Cafe is located inside the Sentrumsgården Shopping Mall. Here you can sit down with a book and have a quiet relaxing time reading, bring your laptop and do some work or emailing, or simply just hang out with a cup of coffee. I am kind of addicted to their Matcha Chai Latte, soooo good and it reminds me of Japan! 🙂

Grab some of their lunch dishes (salads, toasts, and sandwiches), pastries, cakes, or sweets if you get hungry. They also have gluten-free and lactose-free alternatives. If the weather permits it, they do have a small outdoor seating area as well.

  • Address: Sivert Nilsens gate 26 (inside the shopping mall “Sentrumsgården”), Svolvær
  • Opening Hours: 09:00/ 9 am – 16:00/ 4 pm Monday – Friday. 10:00/ 10 am – 15:00/ 3 pm on Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
  • On the menu: coffee, tea, breakfast, cakes, sweets, and lunch dishes.
  • Brent Cafe’s Facebook Page
  • Brent Coffee Roastery’s Official Webpage

Where To Stay In Svolvær

Svinøya Rorbu/ Fisherman’s Cabins Accommodation
All of the 38 original (from 1800) and more recently-built rorbu cabins are of a high standard. Each cabin has one to three double bedrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, a cozy and comfortable lounge area, and a modern bathroom with a shower and toilet. The cabins are insulated and have electric heating so they are warm and comfy all year round even on the coldest winter days.

Svinoya Rorbuer Svolvaer Lofoten
The stunning Svinoya Rorbuer where you get to sleep in cozy fishermen’s cabins

Here you can sleep like the fishermen that went on Lofoten/ cod fishing in the old days did (although in a bit more luxury….). The view is outstanding, both towards the fjord and the mountains. The cabins are located on peaceful Svinøya, just a short walk (10 min) from downtown Svolvær (over a small bridge).

You can choose between different sized rorbu/ cabins. The smallest cabins (size S) can house 2 people (one bedroom, one bathroom), and the biggest cabins (size L+) can house up to 6 people (three bedrooms and three bathrooms). If you are more than 6 people, you can opt for one of their bigger Rorbusuites, which can house up to 8 people (four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a sauna).

Or if you are a big gang, you can book the big Manor House – the stylish and beautifully renovated old main house from 1828. In total, 20 people can stay here; 17 people in the Manor House (nine bedrooms) + 3 in the Storehouse/ “Stabburet” in Norwegian (two bedrooms). You can walk to the Hurtigruten Terminal in 20 min.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Scandic Hotel Svolvær
We stayed at the Scandic Svolvær Hotel and had a great stay. The rooms are a bit worn down and could use a renovation but nothing beats the stunning location of this hotel which is the best location in Svolvær!

Scandic Hotel Svolvaer Lofoten
Scandic Hotel lays right by the sea and has the most fantastic breakfast view.

Scandic Svolvær is beautifully located on the small Lamholmen islet in downtown Svolvær (next to the harbor, and the neighbor of Anker Brygge Hotel and Kjøkkenet Restaurant). The hotel is in a rorbu-kind-of-style, but you stay in regular comfortable and modern hotel rooms. Many of the rooms have a balcony, perfect to enjoy the sea view. We were unfortunately not that lucky, and I think we got Scandic’s smallest room.

The crown jewel at this hotel is the breakfast and lounge area with floor-to-roof windows where you have a panoramic view of the fjord and mountains surrounding Svolvær.  Must be the best place to have breakfast in Svolvær!

The hotel does not have rorbu cabins with a kitchen, but it is cheaper than the Svinøya Rorbu (see above), so you use what you “save” on a nice dinner at one of Svolvær’s nice restaurant instead. We also loved the free parking right outside the hotel, very convenient, and it is an extra plus that you can bring your dog to stay with you at this hotel.

This hotel must, however, not be confused with the other Scandic hotel in Svolvær – the Scandic Vestfjord Lofoten (which is not as nice in my opinion). Hurtigruten Terminal is only a 10-min walk from Scandic Hotel Svolvær.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Thon Hotel Lofoten
On our last couple of nights in Lofoten, on our way back home to Tromso, we stayed at the Thon Hotel Svolvær which was awesome! The location is great, right by Svolvær Harbor and the main square in downtown Svolvær. Our room was huge, modern, and I loved the design and interior. The beds were super comfortable and we slept like babies.

The breakfast was amazing too, with a big variety to choose from at the buffet. We had a great view from our room. As a hotel guest, you can use the neighboring fitness center for free. If you have a dog (like we do), pets are allowed at this hotel. If you plan on arriving or departing on the Hurtigruten, the Hurtigruten Terminal is right outside Thon Hotel Lofoten (a 1-min walk).
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Anker Brygge
Situated on the small Lamholmen islet together with Scandic Hotel Svolvær and Kjøkkenet Restaurant, Anker Brygge has a fantastic location right by the sea and within a short walking distance (3 min) from all the action in downtown Svolvær.

Anker Brygger Svolvaer Lofoten
At Anker Brygge you get to sleep in modern fishermen’s cabins/ rorbuer right by the fjord.

Here you get to stay in a room in cozy, traditional, and atmospheric fisherman’s cabins/ rorbu, all with sea and harbor views. All cabins have a patio or balcony, kitchenette, dining table, seating area, bedroom, and private bathroom. Up to 4 people can sleep in each rorbu.

Breakfast is served at the Kjøkkenet Restaurant, which is owned and run by Anker Brygge. You can park for free right outside your cabin, and can easily walk to the Hurtigruten terminal in 10 min. Anker Brygge is also pet-friendly so you can bring your dog along.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Nordis Hotel & Suites/ Apartments 

Nordis Hotel Suites SvolvaerThe new, modern, and fantastic Nordis Hotel & Suites is the most luxurious accommodation you will find in Svolvær. The suites/ apartments (2- or 3 bedrooms) are located in a new apartment building (2020) right in Svolvær harbor, only 300 m (3-min walk) from the Hurtirugten Terminal.

All apartments have a kitchenette, private bathrooms, a seating area, a private terrasse with a mountain or sea view, and a private sauna.


The rooms have huge floor-to-roof windows with an amazing sea and fjord view. Nordis Hotel is pet-friendly. The 3-bedroom apartments can accommodate up to 6 people, and the 2-bedroom apartments can house up to 4 people.

Be aware, however, that this apartment hotel has some mixed reviews as they seem to have some start-up problems regarding service and managing check-in/ check-out. The hotel does not have a reception so you will have to do the check-in and check-out at the Du Verden Restaurant on the ground floor. So it’s kind of like an Airbnb arrangement where you just get the keys and use the apartment as your own.

Except for towels in the bathrooms and, of course, bed linens, there are not many amenities in the room (no bathrobes, slippers, minibar, shampoo, conditioner, nor room service). The apartments also lack a coffee machine and water boiler, and at times the TV has not been working (unless you have Google Chrome). So it is not a 5-star hotel even though the apartments are beautiful and of high class.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Lofoten Suiteapartments
A luxury apartment hotel that has recently opened up in Svolvær is the Lofoten Suiteapartments (opened March 2021). Each apartment has two bedrooms, a kitchen, a private bathroom, and a living room. You have an amazing sea- and mountain view from the balcony.

The apartments have a washing machine and dryer as well. Each apartment is between 78 and 103 m² and can accommodate 4 people. It has the perfect location right by the downtown Svolvær harbor.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices

Svolvær Havn Rorbu

Svolvaer Havn Rorbuer, LofotenThe Svolvær Havn Rorbu is a lovely bright white wooden rorbu/ fisherman’s cabin look-alike with apartments on Svinøya. The apartments are fresh and new with a well-equipped kitchen (with fridge and coffee machine), and a nice bathroom, located right by the sea.


From your balcony or patio, you have a fantastic view of the harbor and the fjord. Parking is included. You have to book at least two nights to stay here, and each apartment can house up to 8 people (four bedrooms).
Click here to check availability and the latest prices


Day Trips From Svolvær

Kabelvåg

It only takes 10 min to drive from Svolvær to Kabelvåg (6 km), so it kind of feels like these two cities is almost one. 🙂

Kabelvåg is a lovely little fishing village and a must-visit when you are in Svolvær. Kabelvåg has several great attractions like Lofoten Cathedral, Lofoten Museum (a fantastic open-air folk museum), Lofoten Aquarium, and Art Gallery Espolin. Downtown Kabelvåg is cozy too with several nice cafes and pubs and is well worth a visit.

Skrova Island – Lofoten’s Hawaii

The small island Skrova outside of Svolvær can be reached by ferry  – a 40 min ferry trip one way.

Skrova Island outside Svolvaer
Skrova Island is called “Lofoten’s Hawaii”

Skrova is a small fishing village, often called “Lofoten’s Hawaii” due to its many beautiful white-sand beaches. Go for a hike up to the tallest point on the island, the Skrova Top (30-60 min one way), for some fantastic views. Or walk over to the lovely Hattvika Beach (15-20 min walk one way, 1 km).

Skrova Cruise By Silent Electric Ship

If you want to visit Skrove, you should consider opting for the Skrova cruise by silent electric ship tour. This trip takes you from Svolvær to Skrova island and back to Svolvær (a 3-hour tour in total). A knowledgeable English-speaking guide will show you all the highlights and wildlife along the way.

On Skrova, you get to explore the fishing village (it has a cafe and gallery) and its lovely beaches. This is a fantastic little cruise trip to Lofoten’s Hawaii! You can choose the 16:30/ 4:30 pm trip or the 22:00/ 10:00 pm trip (on this you will see the Midnight Sun).
Click here to check availability and the latest prices on the Skrova Cruise

Henningsvær

The hippest city in Lofoten, Henningsvær, is often referred to as “Lofoten’s Gründerløkka” (Gründerløkka is a hip and cool hipster-area in Oslo). It takes about 30 min to drive from Svolvær to Henningsvær (one way).

The old fishing village Henningsvær is a very cozy little town with several nice cafes, shops, restaurants, and art galleries. In Henningsvær, you should visit the unique art gallery KaviarFactory, the new and hip Trevarefabrikken (means “wood factory” in English) which is both a cafe, music stage, and yoga place, the famous Klatrekafeen (means “climbing cafe” in English), and the beautiful white wooden house Engelsmannsbrygga with its glass- and ceramic shop.

Cultural Tasting Cruise With Silent Electric Ship

A great way to explore Henningsvær is on the Henningsvaer Cultural Tasting Cruise, a fantastic evening tour. The silent electric ship will take you from Svolvær to Henningsvær, and back to Svolvær (a 3,5-hour cruise tour).

Along the way, you will see some of Lofoten’s tallest mountains, and get to experience the beautiful coastline around Svolvær filled with beaches and islands. Onboard you will be served a delicious Arctic tapas dinner with some of the best local ingredients and specialties Lofoten has to offer.

The ship will anchor up in Henningsvær while you get to explore Henningsvær on your own where you for instance can visit some of the galleries.
Click here to check availability and the latest prices on the Henningsvær Cruise

Rørvikstranda

Only a 15-min drive from Svolvær, you will find the beautiful white-sandy beach Rørvikstranda. You will drive past it on your way to Henningsvær. If the weather is nice, bring some food and drinks and head here for a picnic. If you are brave enough, you can go for a swim in the azure blue ocean (it is freaking cold though, even in summer! 🙂 ).


How To Get To Svolvær

Car

You can easily drive to Svolvær and Lofoten. The Lofoten Mainland Connection, or “Lofast” as it is called for short, is on the European route E10. It connects the Lofoten islands archipelago to the mainland of Norway via seven tunnels and two bridges. The longest tunnel is the 6,3 km long Sørdal Tunnel. The Lofast opened in 2007 and made getting to Lofoten so much easier and faster as you no longer had to take any ferries.

Driving distances:

  • Tromsø – Svolvær: 6 hours (421 km)
  • Bodø – Svolvær: 5,5 hours (279 km), either taking the ferry Bodø – Moskenes (in southern Lofoten, close to Reine) or drive all the way on E6 and Fv81
  • Harstad – Svolvær: 2,5 hours (168 km)
  • Narvik – Svolvær: 3 hours (220 km)
  • Oslo – Svolvær: 20 hours (1403 km)
  • Bergen – Svolvær: 23 hours (with ferry) or 26 hours (without ferry)
  • Trondheim – Svolvær: 13 hours (with ferry) or 16 hours (without ferry)

I highly recommend that you rent a car to get around Lofoten as there are no trains and very few buses. You can either rent a car from the airport (Svolvær Aiport Helle, Bodø Airport, Tromsø Airport, or Harstad/Narvik Airport Evenes) or in Svolvær (or of course, other places in Lofoten).

Air

Svolvær has an airport – Svolvær Airport, Helle Lufthavn (SVJ). From downtown Svolvær to Svovlært Airport, it only takes about 8 min (5,4 km) to drive or take a taxi (one way).

Svolvær Airport only has domestic flights, with approximately six daily flights with Wideroe to/ from Bodø/ Bodo (a 25 min flight one way).

Another option is to fly to Harstad/ Narvik Airport Evenes (EVE) and drive to Svolvær (a 2,5-hour drive one way). Harstad/ Narvik Evenes Airport has more flights than Svolvær Airport to cities around Norway, like Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Bodø, and Tromsø.

There are several daily direct flights with SAS and Norwegian between Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL) and Evenes Airport (1 h and 45 min one way). Wideroe flies between Harstad/ Narvik Evenes (EVE) and Trondheim (TRD, 1 h 20 min flight one way), Bergen (BGO, 2 h 05 min),  Bodø (BOO, 40 min), and Tromsø (TOS, 35 min).  There are, however, only a couple of daily buses between Harstad/ Narvik Airport and Svolvær, so I recommend that you rent a car. Check the bus webpage ReisNorland.no for the bus departures between “Evenes Lufthavn” and “Svolvær”.

Hurtigruten

The Hurtigruten cruise ship which goes between Bergen and all the way up north to Kirkenes stops in Svolvær. It is a fantastic way to see the stunning coastline of Norway! You can also bring your car on board the Hurtigruten.

Hurtigruten Svolvaer Lofoten
Taking the Hurtigruten to Svolvaer is a great way to see the Norwegian coastline.

The northbound Hurtigruten departs from Bodø at 13:05, stops in Stamsund (also in Lofoten) at 19:15, and arrives in Svolvær at 21:20. The cruise ship lays in Svolvær Harbor for 55 min and departs from Svolvær at 22:15 when it heads north to Stokmarknes.

The southbound Hurtigruten arrives in Svolvær Harbor at 18:30, where it stays for two hours. It departs from Svolvær at 20:30 when it heads south to Stamsund. So you can, for instance, take the Hurtigruten from Tromsø (depart 01:30 am) to Svolvær – a 17 hours cruise trip in total with several stops along the way.

The Hurtigruten also goes into Trollfjord (does not make a stop there, though, only sightseeing-trip).

Ferry

Bodø – Svolvær

You can take the express ferry (passengers only) from Bodø to Svolvær, a 3,5 min ferry trip one way.

The daily ferry between Bodø and Svolvær departs from Bodø at 18:00/ 6 pm and arrives in Svolvær at 21:28/ 9:29 pm. The ticket price is 728 kr = US$ 87 one way. The ferry the other way, from Svolvær to Bodø, departs from Svolvær 06:00/ 6 am and arrives in Bodø at 09:20/ 9:20 am. You can buy a ticket for the express ferry Bodø – Svolvær here.

Skutvik – Svolvær

During summer, you can take the ferry between Skutvik (on mainland Norway, ) and Svolvær – a 2,5 hours ferry trip one way.

Bus

You can take the bus from Narvik to Svolvær. The direct bus Narvik – Svolvær (bus no. 300) takes four hours (one way), and the ticket price is 413 kr = US$ 49. There are daily buses between Narvik and Svolvær, check the timetable here (reisnordland.no).

Train

There are no trains to Lofoten nor to Svolvær. But you can take the train to Bodø or Narvik (through Sweden) and from there rental car, bus, ferry, or the Hurtigruten.

The train trip from for instance Oslo to Bodø takes about 17 hours, while the train trip from Oslo to Narvik takes about 22 hours. You find more information about trains to Bodø and Narvik here (vy.no). There are sadly no trains north of Narvik, so no trains to Tromsø (the train racks stop in Narvik).

How To Get Around Svolvær And Lofoten

Lofoten is a quite small and compact area. You can for instance drive from Svolvær (the starting point of Lofoten) to the endpoint of Lofoten (a place called Å) in only 2,5-3 hours non-stop, although you could easily spend a week exploring the area.

It is easiest and quickest to get around Lofoten by car. Be aware, however, that some of the roads in Lofoten are quite narrow. Just drive slowly, especially during wintertime, and you will be fine.

There are in total 18 roads designated at Norwegian Scenic Routes (or “Nasjonale Turistvege” in Norwegian). One of these Norwegian Scenic Routes is in Lofoten. Artworks, viewpoints, picnic areas, and beautiful places are highlighted along this route and you can only reach these places by car.

Svolvær, though, is a rather small city so you can easily walk to all the city’s attractions, restaurants, and hotels. No need for a car if you plan to only stay and walk around in Svolvær city.

Rental Car

I recommend that you rent a car in Lofoten. It makes it a lot easier and cheaper to explore and get around Lofoten! You can find free parking in most places in Lofoten, so finding a parking space is usually quite easy. All hotels and rorbu accommodation in Lofoten have free parking. In wintertime, the rental cars will have winter tires with spikes. So driving around in Lofoten during winter is no problem.

During the high season summer months (June, July, and August), the rental cars in Lofoten sell out pretty quickly, so make sure to pre-book your rental car in advance.

Bus

There are a few buses going between the main places in Lofoten. You can check the timetables and bus routes here (reisnorland.no).


That’s it, our ultimate travel guide to Svolvær/ Svolvaer in Lofoten. This guide shows you the best activities, tours, and attractions in Svolvaer with all the best things to do and see in Svolvær. Hope this Svolvaer guide can be of help to you when planning your Svolvaer trip.

Svolvær is a fantastic city with plenty to do and see, and with some great nearby day-trip options. We always spend a few days in Svolvær whenever we visit Lofoten.

Make sure to check out what else you should not miss when going to Lofoten in our recommended 2-weeks Lofoten itinerary.


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Written by Maria Wulff Hauglann

Maria is a Norwegian travel nerd who has explored more than thirty countries on four continents. She holds a master's degree in Computer Science, as well as an MBA. In 2014 while on a year-long trip across South East- Asia, Maria co-founded the travel blog Nerd Nomads to help others get out and explore the world. In 2018 she left her day job permanently for a life of full-time travel. See our about page for more about Maria.

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