With its tall peaky mountains hugged by clear blue fjords, white sandy beaches, and bright red fishermen’s cabins (called “rorbu” in Norwegian), it hardly gets any more postcard-perfect than the Lofoten Islands. Yet, the colors are so intense, the air is fresh and crisp, and the people are super friendly.
A visit to Lofoten is a fantastic adventure where you can experience one of the most beautiful and pristine landscapes that Norway has to offer!
When visiting Lofoten, a boat trip out on the sea and fjords is mandatory. I would dare to say that you haven’t really experienced the real Lofoten unless you have been on a boat trip on the fjords.
The most spectacular fjord in Lofoten is the narrow Trollfjord, only 100 meters (300 ft) wide at its entrance. Trollfjord is the most famous of all Lofoten’s fjords and is located close to Svolvaer city, where all of the Trollfjord cruises depart from.
So we knew that we really wanted to take a Trollfjord cruise on our visit to Svolvær. The only question was which Trollfjord tour should we choose?
Most of the trips to Trollfjord go by rib boat, and while that can absolutely be a fun (and fast) experience, it wasn’t quite what we were looking for. So when we heard about a brand new silent electric ship cruise, we knew we had to give it a try.
In this article, we’ll give you a bit of the history of Trollfjord, why we think it should be a part of your Lofoten itinerary, and what you can expect on a Trollfjord cruise. And we’ll reveal the reasons why we now believe that going by electric ship is the perfect way to experience the fjord!
Btw, don’t forget to read our ultimate guide to Svolvaer for more tips on what to see and do in Svolvær.
Table of Contents:
Why Take a Trollfjord Cruise
The Trollfjord, or “Trollfjorden” in Norwegian, is located in Lofoten in Northern Norway. The uniqueness of Trollfjord is that it is only 100 meters (300 ft) wide at its entrance, where it joins the channel Raftsundet, yet it is surrounded by incredibly steep mountains.
The fjord seems incredibly narrow even with a small boat, almost like entering a tunnel between the tall peaky mountains. The Hurtigruten ships make a detour to Trollfjord every day on its northbound route between Bergen to Kirkenes. It is like a miracle that it fits the huge Hurtigruten!
Trollfjord is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Lofoten and a must-see when visiting this part of Norway.
The 2 km (1,2 mi) long Trollfjord cuts between the three mountains Trolltindan (1084 m/ 3556 ft tall), Blåfjell (998 m/ 3275 ft tall), and Litlkorsnestinden (980 m/ 3220 ft tall). Trollfjord is quite deep, with a max depth of 72 meters (236 ft) below sea level.
The Legend About Trollfjord
The fjord got its name from the Scandinavian folklore and Norse mythology about “Trolls.”
A troll is a giant creature with long noses and rugged, long hair covered with trees and bushes that live in caves deep inside the mountains.
While they are extremely powerful creatures, they can’t be in the sun, and if the sun hits a troll, the troll is transformed into a stone.
The legend about how Trollfjord got shaped goes something like this:
Once upon a time, “Trollfjord” was a lake called “Trollsjøen” (means “The Troll Lake” in English). The area around the lake belonged to the one-eyed troll “Hinnøy-Risen” or “Hinnøy-Gubben” (which means something like “the man from the island Hindoy”). His cows grazed peacefully around the lake as the area had an extraordinary green and tall grass.
One day, the cows belonging to his neighboring troll “Vågakallen” (which means something like “the man from the Vesteraalen”) came to Hinnoy-Gubben’s lake area to eat the grass. Hinnoy-Gubben got so mad that he took his biggest ax to chase away the neighbor’s cows.
Suddenly, he fell, and the ax’s edge hit the mountain between the canal Raftsundet and the lake Trollsjøen so hard that the ax cracked the mountain and went all the way below sea level. As he stood up and released the ax, the water rose, and Trollfjord was created.
All the neighbor’s cows had disappeared due to the tremendous noise; the only thing left was a dead goat killed by some rocks. The Hinnoy-Gubben was still angry, and he picked up the dead goat and threw it as far as he could up into the mountains.
The goat fell on the Floya Mountain in Svolvaer, where it became the rock formation that we know as “Svolværgeita” or “The Svolvaer Goat.”
Boat Trip To Trollfjord
Choosing Your Trollfjord Cruise
Trollfjord is close to Svolvaer city in Lofoten and can only be reached by boat. Therefore, all Trollfjord boat tours depart from Svolvær harbor.
There are three types of Trollfjord boat tours/ cruises that you can choose from:
- Trollfjord Cruise By Silent Electric Ship (3,5 hours)
- Sea Eagle Safari To Trollfjord By Rib Boat (2 hours)
- Arctic Sailing Excursion To Trollfjord (6 hours)
We choose to go by the Silent Electrip ship and we’ll cover more about why a little later.
The Trollfjord Cruise By Silent Electric Ship
I’m standing on the top deck. As I close my eyes, I can feel the wind blow in my hair and smell the salty sea. When I open my eyes again, a large sea eagle glides right above my head on its strong wings.
The ship glides silently through the turquoise sea water of the fjord, between islets and small islands. I can see a few red and white wood houses at the shore next to a white sandy beach, surrounded by tall mountains.
We are onboard the Brim Explorer, a brand new electric ship, on our way to the famous Trollfjord in Lofoten.
Departing From Svolvær Harbor
The boat trip departs from Svolvaer Harbor. You get a nice view of the beautiful coastline surrounding the city, including a close view of Svolvaer’s famous “Fisherman’s Wife” (or Fiskerkona in Norwegian) statue.
Well out from the Svolvaer Harbor, you will soon reach Vestfjorden, where the boat will turn north into the canal Raftsundet. Here you will see some beautiful picture-perfect landscape with cozy wooden farmhouses gliding past the windows (or out on deck if the weather permits it).
Along the way, our knowledgeable English-speaking guide Arnstein Larsen explained what we saw along the coast and told funny and interesting stories about the houses and small fishing communities that we passed. He also pointed out the wildlife that we saw along the way, like white-tailed eagles.
This made the whole cruise very entertaining, and we never felt bored.
The weather was really nice when we did this Trollfjorden cruise. So we could sit out on deck most of the time and enjoy the fresh sea air and a panoramic view of the Lofoten landscape.
If the weather forecast is not that good, however, you should still do this Trollfjord cruise. The saloon inside the boat is fantastic and super comfortable, with lovely couches and seating areas.
And the best of it all, you will have just as nice a view as from the open-air deck cause the ship had huge floor-to-roof panoramic windows!
About an hour into the trip, we reached Trollfjorden. Entering the narrow fjord was quite breathtaking. The mountains are so close to the ship that you can almost touch the mountainsides.
When entering the Trollfjord, the ship switched to only running on its electric engine, making hardly any noise. It was so peaceful and relaxing to glide silently through the Trollfjord. Along the way, we could see waterfalls, seagulls, and even some sea eagles!
It is said that the Lofoten mountains come straight out of the sea and fjords, and it really feels like that as I stand on the ship’s deck. The mountains that hug Trollfjord on both sides are so steep that it is almost unreal.
The ship turned back at the end of Trollfjord and silently glided out from the fjord and back to the Raftsundet canal. On our way out from Trollfjord, the crew launched an underwater drone down into the fjord. We could watch the camera feed from the drone at a screen inside the ship.
Great fun and a unique perspective of the mysterious depth of the ocean. We even saw some fish (mostly cod) and a ton of sea urchins.
On Our Way Back To Svolvær Harbor
By this time, we were getting a bit hungry from all the fresh sea air. But we did not have to worry; the crew had us covered and served a warm fish soup with bread. It was delicious!
The fish soup is not included in the tour, and you have to buy it in the cafe inside the ship. They also sell other food, snacks, and beverages (also alcohol like beer and wine).
After 3,5 hours (in total), we were back in Svolvaer, and the ship anchored up in Svolvaer Harbor, right outside the hotel we stayed at – Thon Hotel Svolvaer.
We had the most wonderful trip, and it was perfect for us – relaxing, fun and interesting, and a bit of luxury with delicious food and drinks.
Although we had perfect weather on our Trollfjord trip, this Trollfjord cruise with Brim Explorer is the best and most comfortable even in bad weather. You can sit inside and be warm and comfortable and still have a fantastic panoramic view of the landscape and Trollfjord. In a RIB, you will have to sit outside the entire trip no matter how bad the weather gets.
Make sure to check out what other things you should not miss when visiting Svolvaer in Lofoten:
Why We Chose The ECO-friendly Trollfjord Cruise By Silent Electric Ship
When we decided to drive down south to Lofoten during summer from our home in Tromso, we immediately knew that a boat trip to Trollfjord had to be on our Lofoten things-to-do-list. And since Svolvaer city (Lofoten’s capital and biggest city) is the first place you reach when driving to Loften, the boat trip to Trollfjord got to be our first Lofoten adventure! Yay! We were so excited!
We did a lot of research on the different boat trips to Trollfjord and ended up booking the “Trollfjord Cruise By Silent Electric Ship.” And we did not regret it! It was a peaceful and luxurious boat trip with fantastic food and drinks.
Although we love sailing and think that is the best way to go about on the sea (we actually have RYA competent crew certificates and have sailed Tromsø – Svolvær before), we did not choose the sailing excursion to Trollfjord as it, unfortunately, did not fit with our schedule. We only had two days in Svolvaer and had a lot to see and do in the area (like visiting Kabelvåg and doing some mountain hiking).
Next to sailing, I think the next best way of experiencing the sea is on an electric ship. The MS Brim Explorer boat that makes this trip is a semi-electric ship and can run on both a diesel engine and an ECO-friendly electrical engine. The boat is pretty new (2019) and is built on new innovative technology, which makes possible a sustainable way of cruising. The batteries have enough capacity to run at a speed of 5 knots for 8 hours.
The boat makes a minimal impact on nature and the environment. And the fact that it can run in complete silence (when using the electrical engine) gives the guests onboard a unique way of experiencing the ocean and nature.
The ship is named “Brim” after the old Norse word, which means “breaking wave” in English.
We did not go for the RIB tour to Trollfjord as we tend to get easily seasick, and the sea out in Raftsundet on your way to Trollfjord can be quite rough. The RIB is a small open boat that goes at high speed, and if the waves are big, the boat hits the water quite hard, which can be unpleasant. The RIB tour is, for instance, not recommended for pregnant women or children under eight years old, or for those with back problems.
That said, it looks like great fun, though with lots of action and speed!
The 3 Types Of Trollfjord Boat Tours
There are three types of Trollfjord boat tours/ cruises that you can choose from (they all depart from Svolvaer City in Lofoten):
Trollfjord Cruise By Silent Electric Ship (3,5 hours)
- Suitable for everyone (including small children and wheelchair users)
- Environmental-friendly and silent
- Cafe onboard (delicious fish soup)
- Warm and comfortable
- Inside and outside deck
- Takes 1,5 hour longer than the RIB tour
Sea Eagle Safari To Trollfjord By Rib Boat (2 hours)
- Only takes 2 hours
- Fun and thrilling
- Not suitable for children under 8 years (under 140/ 4 ft 6 in tall), pregnant women, people with back problems, wheelchair users
- No food
- No toilets
- Can be cold, although you do get warm clothes
- Can be bumpy when the sea is rough
Arctic Sailing Excursion To Trollfjord (6 hours)
- Sailing is great fun and peaceful/ silent
- Food is included in the price: warm homemade fish soup, fresh coffee & a wide variety of premium tea
- Warm and comfortable saloon inside
- You can do some fishing
- Suitable for everyone, including children (from 0-2 y/o are free of charge)
- Takes 6 hours in total
What To Pack For A Boat Trip To Trollfjord
Even in summer and it seems warm, and the sun is shining, bring warm and windproof clothes, including gloves and a hat, beanie, or headband. Trust me; it will get windy and cold out at sea.
Trollfjord In Art & Culture
The Battle Of Trollfjord
In 1890, there was a big battle in Trollfjord between the first steam-driven fishing boats (which fished with nets) and the traditional open-boat fishermen.
The steamboats blocked the Trollfjord and demanded that the old traditional boats should pay a fee to go fishing in the fjord, which of course, they refused.
The battle over the fishing rights in Lofoten went political, and in 1891 the Norwegian Government passed on a new fishing law for Lofoten. The new Lofoten Law forbids fishing with nets during the Lofoten cod fishing season (January – April).
You can read more about this battle in Johan Bojer’s novel from 1921 called “The Last Of The Vikings” (or “Den Siste Viking” in Norwegian). The book has been translated into many different languages.
The Svolvaer painter Gunnar Berg’s most famous painting depicts this battle. The painting is called “Trollfjordslaget” or “The Battle Of Trollfjord,” and you can see it and many more works by him at the Art Gallery Gunnar Berg on Svinoya in Svolvaer.
The Hollywood Movie Downsizing
Btw, if you have seen the Hollywood movie Downsizing (from 2017) with Matt Damon, you have seen Trollfjord as part of the film was shot in Trollfjorden.
Trollfjord Cruise Tour Information
- Season: May, June, July, August, September, October
- Time: 10:00/ 10 am – 13:30/ 1:30 pm (3,5 hours)
- Where: From Svolvaer Harbor
- Price: 990 kr = US$ 120
- Includes: Boat trip, guide
- Not included: Food and drinks (can be purchased in the cafe onboard the ship.
- Brim Explorer’s Official Webpage
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