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41 Amazing Things To Do In Lofoten Islands (Norway) Summer & Winter

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Are you wondering what to do in Lofoten? In this guide, we have collected what we believe are 41 of the best things to do in the Lofoten Islands no matter whether you are visiting during the summer or the winter. We hope this will give you some inspiration for planning your Lofoten trip.

Norway’s Lofoten Islands really come alive in the summer, with long bright days and nights perfect for staying outside and enjoying stunning nature. During these summer months (May-August), visitors from all over the world come to Lofoten to see the fjords, hike the mountains, explore the small fishing villages, and enjoy the island’s unique coastal culture and history.

Nusfjord Arctic Resort Lofoten
These traditional fishermen’s huts in Nusfjord have been renovated into stylish cabins for rent

In the winter the northern lights blaze across the sky, and the small red fishermen’s huts that cling to the snow-capped shores make for some wonderful photo motives. The adventurous venture out into the Lofoten nature for some epic skiing, or kayaking, while the rest of us gather in the small coffee shops and galleries and wait for the northern lights.

Whether you’re the adventurous type looking for challenging mountain hikes, or if your definition of adventure is more like exploring cozy shops, cafes, museums, and galleries, you’ll find no shortage of things to do in Lofoten.

What Are The Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands, or the Lofoten archipelago as it is also called, is a string of islands located in Nordland county, north of Bodø city, in the north of Norway.

Surfing Unstad, Lofoten
The small village of Unstad is Lofoten’s main surfer paradise.

Lofoten’s position at 68 degrees north, north of the arctic circle, means long summer nights when the sun never sets and equally long winter nights when the sun never rises and the northern lights blaze across the sky.

When To Go To Lofoten

You can visit Lofoten any time of year, although the most popular time to visit Lofoten is during the summer months between May to August when the weather is at its best and the days and nights are long and bright.

In recent years, winter tourism has become more popular with the promise of seeing the northern lights attracting visitors from September to March.

How To Plan An Epic Lofoten Trip

Our Lofoten Travel Guide is a great place to start planning your Lofoten trip. It has all the practical information you should know when visiting Lofoten Islands, including the best time to go, how to get there, how to travel around, the top activities, and much more.

Also, don’t miss our recommended 10 Days Lofoten Itinerary, which takes you through the Lofoten islands on a road trip from north to south on a day-by-day itinerary that includes all of Lofoten’s highlights along the way.

Lofoten Sightseeing & Shuttle Boat

If you don’t plan on having a car in Lofoten or are short on time, then a fantastic way to see the highlights of Lofoten is to join the Lofoten sightseeing & shuttle boat. This is a hop-on-hop-off boat that goes from one end of the Lofoten Islands to the other, and includes these places:

  1. Svolvaer – departs at 09:00 am
  2. Henningsvaer
  3. Ballstad
  4. Nusfjord
  5. Reine
  6. Å
  7. Svolvaer – arrives at 17:30/ 5:30 pm

The boat does the same round-trip route every day, so you can choose to do this as a one-day trip, or go back the next day. You can choose a one-way trip or a round-trip ticket.
Click here for Info and Prices on the Lofoten Sightseeing & Shuttle Boat 

The 41 Best Things To Do In Lofoten

While Norway has many beautiful places, the Lofoten archipelago, with its rugged landscape, steep mountains, white sandy beaches, cozy old fishing villages, and turquoise fjords, is arguably the most spectacular.

So it’s no wonder that Lofoten’s most popular activities are all about exploring the outdoors.

Uttakleiv Beach, Lofoten, Norway
Uttakleiv Beach is one of Lofoten’s most photographed beaches. Here Maria is aiming for the perfect beach shot.

There is an old Lofoten saying that you haven’t been to Lofoten unless you have experienced the islands from the sea. Thankfully there are plenty of ways to do that here, from joining a cruise to the famous Trollfjord, taking a fishing trip, or exploring the many small islands in a kayak.

Lofoten is also somewhat of an adventure sports paradise. You can learn to surf or kite, go bouldering, horseback riding, or challenge yourself on mountain hikes suitable for any level.

Here are the best things to do in Lofoten in our opinion.

Lofoten’s Spectacular Nature – The Fjords, Mountains & Beaches

There is no denying that it is nature, seascape, beaches, fjords, and the magical light that attracts visitors to Lofoten from every corner of the world.

1. Take A Trollfjord Cruise

Taking a cruise out to Trollfjord is Lofoten’s most popular day trip. A fjord cruise is an excellent way to experience the Lofoten Islands and the sea and coastline that attracted people to settle along this coast.

Trollfjord cruise with silent electric ship Brim Explorer
Our favorite Trollfjord boat trip is by the silent electrical catamaran Brim.

The tours starts in Svolvær harbor and will take you to see Trollfjord, Lofoten’s most spectacular fjord. The fjord is famous for its steep and narrow entrance (about 100 meters wide) surrounded by tall mountains. Trollfjord can only be reached by boat.

Several types of Trollfjord cruises are available, from fun high-speed rib tours (2 hours) to slower-paced tours that take a little longer but allow you more time to enjoy the scenery.

Trollfjord Cruise By Silent Hybrid-Electric Ship (3,5 hours)

We took a Trollfjord cruise with an electric catamaran and loved it. You can read all about our experience on our Trollfjord cruise and why we think it’s the absolute best way to see Trollfjord. Season: mid-April – 1. October.
Click here for Information on Trollfjord Cruice by Electric Ship

Sea Eagle Safari To Trollfjord By RIB-Boat (2 hours)

From Svolvær, you can also take a Sea Eagle Safari tour. The tours are by high-speed rib boat. While they also end up in Trollfjord, their focus is just as much on spotting the majestic sea eagles. Season: all year.
Click here for Information on Sea Eagle Safari to Trollfjord

Rib tour to Trollfjord from Svolvaer, Lofoten
A Trollfjord sea eagle safari trip by Rib-boat is great fun.

2. Go Fjord Fishing

Another popular way to experience the seascape around Lofoten is to go on a fishing trip with the traditional Norwegian fishing boat MS Symra. The ship leaves from Svolvaer harbor and returns about 4 hours later.

Fishing Tour Svolvaer
Catch your own lunch on this fishing trip from Svolvær.

The crew will provide you with everything you need including a fishing kit, safety equipment like a thermal suit, and a floating vest. In addition, there is an English-speaking guide on board that will give you tips on how to fish. You can join this fishing tour from April until 1. November.

Click Here For Information and Prices on Fjord Fishing Tour

3. Marvel At The Northern Lights

In recent years Lofoten has become better known as a fantastic destination for seeing the northern lights.

While Tromso still attracts more northern lights seekers, there is something special about experiencing the northern lights flashing above Lofoten’s unique landscape with its traditional villages and rorbuer/ fishermen’s cabins.

northern lights above <reine in Lofoten
Northern Lights above Reine village

The northern lights are visible in the winter months from September to April. Most people prefer to visit in February & March when there is more daylight and milder temperatures, yet the nights are still dark enough to see the spectacular lights flash across the sky.

You can go northern lights chasing on your own or join a tour. The advantage of joining a tour is that the tour guides are experienced in reading the weather and the northern lights forecast, and know the area. So you will generally have a better chance of seeing the northern lights on a tour, especially if you are short on time and only plan on spending a few days in Lofoten.

From Svolvaer: Chase the Northern Lights with a Photographer (5 hours)

This 5-hour northern lights tour is with a small group (max 8 people), where your guide is a professional photographer. During this tour, you will not only see the northern lights (if you are lucky) but also learn how to get perfect photos of the dancing lights. You get to borrow a tripod (which is essential for getting those sharp northern lights photos) and learn the settings on your camera. This tour starts in Svolvaer. Season: 1. September – 1. April.
Click Here for Info and Prices On Northern Lights Tour From Svolvaer

From Svolvaer: Searching for the Northern Lights (3 hours)

On this 3-hour northern lights tour, you will meet your guide in Svolvaer city, and go for a scenic minibus drive to find the best spot for seeing the aurora borealis. This is a small-group tour (max 8 people). You will stop in Kabelvaag along the way and visit a local pub where you will get hot beverages and cake/ biscuits. Season: 1. September – 1. April.
Click Here for Info and Prices On Northern Lights Tour From Svolvaer/ Kabelvaag

4. Photography & Photo Tours

Lofoten is a photographer’s dream destination with stunning motives almost no matter where you point your camera.

The light is soft and warm during the long summer evenings and nights, and the “magic hour” lasts almost forever with the midnight sun. Driving around and stopping whenever something catches your eye is tremendous fun.

Best photo spot in Reine, Lofoten
The most famous Lofoten photo spot is this of Eliassen Rorbuer taken from the Hamnoy bridge.

However, if you want some tips on the best locations and motives, you can also join a photo tour with a professional photographer. They will show you those classic Lofoten photo spots and make sure you come home with some fantastic images.

From Svolvaer/ Kabelvaag: Summer Photography Tour of Lofoten (7 hours)

This full-day tour takes you on a round-trip to some of the most scenic and beautiful places in Lofoten, like Eggum, Haukland Beach, and Unstad. The guide is a professional photographer and has a lot of tips on how to take the perfect Lofoten shots. You will drive around in a minivan, with a max of 8 people. You get to borrow a tripod. The guide will pick you up at your hotel in Svolvaer or Kabelvaag. This tour is available from 1. May until 1. October.
Click Here for Info and Prices on Summer Photo Tour in Lofoten

From Svolvær: Southern Lofoten Islands Photography Tour (7 hours)

A professional licensed tour guide and photographer will pick you up at your hotel in Svolvaer, and drive you south through the Lofoten Islands to the best photo spots. You will visit beautiful fishing villages, like the famous Reine and Nusfjord, and also get to photograph the wild and raw nature on Flakstad and Ramberg Beach. You get to borrow a tripod, and the guide and photographer will teach you how to set up your camera to get those perfect Lofoten photos. This is a full-day tour and runs from 1. May until 1. October.
Click Here for Info and Prices on Photo Tour in Southern Lofoten

From Svolvaer: Lofoten Islands Tour with Photographer (5 hours)

This is a shorter photo tour compared to the other two above. A professional photographer and guide will pick you up at your hotel in Svolvaer or Kabelvaag, and take you on a lovely drive through the scenic landscape of Gimsoy Island with its white sandy beaches, fjords, and peaky mountains. You will also visit Henningsvaer and Kabelvaag, and get tips on how to take the ultimate Lofoten photos. You can join this tour from 1. May until 1. October.
Click Here for Info and Prices on Photo Tour in Lofoten

5. Have A Scenic Picnic At Ramberg Beach

Ramberg Beach is Lofoten’s longest beach and one of the most beautiful. It’s a fantastic place to stop for a rest on your journey through Lofoten since the main road runs parallel to it. You can’t miss it.

Picnic at Ramberg Beach Lofoten
We had a lovely picnic at the beautiful Ramberg Beach.

We had a nice picnic on the Ramberg beach with freshly baked bread from the local bakery in Svolvær and goat cheese from the local Lofoten Gårdsysteri, and watched the kite surfers play on the water.

If you feel like doing some water sports, Ramberg is where Kari Skibevåg, a former world champion Kite surfer from Norway, has started her adventure company. She now takes visitors out for scuba diving, kiting, and surfing.

Ramberg is also a popular place to camp since it has one of the larger campsites in Lofoten, a supermarket, and a couple of cozy cafes.

You may have seen this iconic little boathouse on Instagram. It is one of those famous Lofoten photos. And of course, we had to give it a shot too.

6. Enjoy The Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun
Maria soaking up the Midnight Sun at Unstad Beach in Lofoten.

The midnight sun season in Lofoten is from 28. May until 14. July, when the sun is up day and night and it never gets dark.

To see the midnight sun in Lofoten, take a night trip to the west coast, where the sun hovers above the North Sea but never dips below the horizon or behind the mountains. Some excellent places to see the midnight sun in Lofoten include:

  • Eggum
  • Unstad
  • Uttakleiv
  • Gimsøy

If you don’t have a car, the best way to see the midnight sun is to join a tour that includes hotel pick up and drop off, like these two:

From Svolvær: Midnight Sun Photography Tour (4 hours)

This tour takes you to the best places to see the midnight sun in Lofoten, on the outer Atlantic side. A professional photographer and tour guide will show you how to take perfect midnight sun photos. If you don’t have a camera, you can use your mobile phone, and your guide will send you his photos taken from the trip. The guide will pick you up at your hotel in Svolvaer or Kabelvaag at 21:00/ 9 pm. You can choose this tour in English, Italian, and Spanish. Season: 11. May – 1. August.
Click Here for Info and Prices on the Midnight Sun Photography Tour

Lofoten Islands: Midnight Sun Excursion (4 hours)

A licensed tour guide will take you on a scenic minibus drive to the western side of Lofoten, where you get to fully enjoy the marvelous Midnight Sun from a beautiful white sandy beach. The guide will also learn you tips on how to photograph this natural phenomenon. You get warm drinks, and the tour guide speaks English, Italian, and Spanish. You will be picked up at your accommodation. Season: 11. May – 1. August.
Click Here for Info and Prices on the Lofoten Midnight Sun Excursion

7. Relax On Some Of Europe’s Best Beaches

It may surprise you that Lofoten is famous for its beautiful beaches, but it really is.

Haukland Beach has even been named the best beach in Europe by Lonely Planet. A popular and scenic hike at Haukland is the 1,5 km long hike to the mountain Mannen (400 m tall).

Europes best beach Haukland Beach Lofoten, Norway
Lofoten’s most famous beach is Haukland Beach, named Europe’s best beach by Lonely Planet.

While the water temperature can never match beaches in southern Europe or even south Norway, the beaches themselves are genuinely stunning. Long golden sand beaches can make you completely forget you are above the arctic circle on a sunny day. Until you try to go in the water, that is.

Some of the most beautiful beaches in Lofoten, in addition to Haukland Beach, include Ramberg Beach, Unstad Beach, Uttakleiv Beach, Horseid Beach, Bunes Beach, Gimsøy Beach, Rørvika Beach, and Kvalvika Beach.

Lofoten’s Most Popular Activities – Up For A Challenge?

Lofoten’s spectacular combination of rugged mountains and fjords means that it is a mecca for outdoor activities. People from all over the world come here to climb and hike the mountains, surf the waves, golf, or explore the seascape.

8. Go Fjord Kayaking

Kayaking is a popular activity in Lofoten and a fantastic way to experience the Lofoten coastline.

Some guesthouses and rorbuer have kayaks available for the guest to use and arrange tours, such as the wonderful Catogården in Reine.

Kayaking Svolvaer Lofoten
Kayaking is a great way to explore the coastline of Lofoten.

You can join a kayaking guided tour from several places in Lofoten, including Svolvær, Kabelvåg, and Eggum. Some of the most popular kayaking tours in Lofoten are:

Svolvær: Evening Kayaking Adventure (2 hours)

This Kayaking tour starts in Svolvær, and you’ll kayak along the stunning Svolvær coast for about 2 hours. The English-speaking guide will explain and tell stories about the culture and history of the area. No previous kayaking experience is required, all equipment is included. Season: 1. June – mid-August
Click Here for Info and Prices on the Evening Kayaking Adventure in Svolvaer

This kayaking adventure is also run in winter:
Click Here for Info and Prices on the Winter Kayaking Adventure in Svolvær

Kayaking Adventure In Eggum (3 – 7 hours)

This kayaking tour starts in Eggum in Lofoten, and you get to experience the Arctic sea and the stunning coastline of Lofoten. The guide will provide everything you need to have a fun and comfortable kayaking trip, and no previous kayaking experience is necessary. You can choose a half-day (3 hours) or full-day kayaking tour (7 hours), or a midnight sun tour in the evening (3 hours). Season: 15. May – 1. November.
Click Here for Info and Prices on the Kayaking Tour from Eggum

9. Hike Lofoten’s Spectacular Mountains

Lofoten is famous as a hikers’ paradise with tall, rugged mountains that rise majestically from narrow fjords, making for spectacular views. No matter your experience level, you can find some fantastic hikes here.

Mannen Mountain and Haukland Beach Lofoten, Norway
Maria at the Mannen Mountain, enjoying the spectacular view of the famous Haukland Beach.

Some of these hikes have become Instagram famous for their views like Reinebringen Mountain in Reine, Mannen Mountain in Haukland, Festvågtinden Mountain in Henningsvær, and Fløya Mountain in Svolvær.

Some of these are challenging hikes, however, especially in bad weather. But plenty of walks is suitable for beginners with equally impressive views, like the hike to Kvalvika Beach.

10. Play Golf At Lofoten Links

Lofoten Links is an 18-hole golf course with a spectacular location right by the sea on Gimsøy Island.

It is Norway’s best golf course, and Golf Magazine recently rated it as Scandinavia’s best and Europe’s sixth-best golf course!

Links Lofoten Golf course
Try your golf skills at Lofoten Links on Gimsøy Island.

Playing under the midnight sun, surrounded by the mountains and the sea, is an extraordinary experience. As a result, more and more golf enthusiasts come to Lofoten to play at this unique course.

When you are there, you can stay at Lofoten Links Lodges, a set of modern and comfortable cabins with spectacular sea views.

This area has minimal light pollution and is also a fantastic place to see the northern lights during the winter.

  • Address: Hov, 8314 Gimsøysand
  • Opening Hours: 18-hole course is open 24 hours a day from May to October.
  • Lofoten Links Webpage

11. See The Lofoten Islands From A Bicycle

Lofoten is a popular area to explore with a bicycle. The next town or guesthouse is rarely very far away, and while it is pretty hilly in places, the spectacular landscape makes up for the hard work.

If you want to explore Lofoten by bike, plan well and prepare for sudden bad weather.

Nyvågar Restaurant Kabelvåg, Lofoten
A slightly more modern bike would probably work better for exploring Lofoten…

Our suggested 10 Day Lofoten Travel Itinerary is made for driving. Still, it can be done by bicycle if you shorten some of the distances.

12. Go Horseback Riding

At Hov Farm on Gimsøy, you can go horseback riding. Their most popular tour is a short trip that is also suitable for those with no horseback riding experience. But they can also arrange longer multi-day trips for those who are more experienced.

Horse Lofotr
This one horse was very curious about our camera. Such a cutie!

13. Stay In A Traditional Rorbu/ Fishermen’s Cabin

The iconic small red wooden huts that line the Lofoten coast have become world-famous. I would say that you have not really visited Lofoten if you have not stayed at least one night in a fisherman’s cabin.

When Lofoten’s fishing industry was at its peak, tens of thousands of fishermen would come to Lofoten to participate in the winter cod fishing.  In order to stay close to the sea and the boats, simple huts were set up where the crew could eat and sleep. In Norwegian, we call such a hut a “rorbu”.

Nusfjord Arctic Resort Lofoten
You will find cozy rorbu/ fisherman’s cabins all over Lofoten, like these at Nusfjord Arctic Resort.

Today, the fishing vessels have room for the fishermen to sleep on the boat, and many of the huts have been converted into recreational cabins, and are available for rent. Staying in a rorbu for a night or more is definitely something you should do when visiting Lofoten.

From the outside, they all look more or less alike with their distinctive red and white colors, but on the inside, they can differ significantly. Some are fairly basic while others like the one below at Nusfjord Arctic Resort have been beautifully converted into luxury accommodation with every comfort.

Our fantastic bedroom in our rorbu at Nusfjord Arctic Resort.

To find the perfect rorbu for your trip, please see our guide on where to stay in Lofoten.

14. Surf At Unstad Beach

Lofoten is quite famous for its excellent surfing conditions. The conditions are best during the fall and winter, but if you are a beginner, the smaller waves during the summer might be perfect for you.

Most of the surfing action takes place at Unstad beach on the west coast, where a dedicated community of surfers rides the waves coming in from the seemingly endless north sea.

Unstad is the best place to surf in Lofoten
Unstad Beach is the place to go if you want to try your surfing skills in Lofoten.

You can rent a board here and have a go, or stay at Unstad Surf Camp for a few days, take a surf class, and learn from the experts.

Btw, if you’re passing by to have a look at the surf, stop at Unstad Surf Camp and try their special cinnamon rolls! They are unbelievably good.

15. Mountain Skiing

In the winter (from February until April) and when the weather conditions are favorable, Lofoten becomes a mountain skiing mecca.

Skiing in the Lofoten mountains
Lofoten’s mountains are amazing for skiing

Some of the best mountains for skiing are Geitgalljene (demanding, for experienced skiers), Torskmannen (medium), Blåtinden (medium), and Småtindan (easy, for all levels).

The Lofoten mountains can be dangerous, and the weather can change in an instance, so I’d recommend going with a local guide from for instance North Norwegian Climbing School in Henningsvær or Lofoten Ski lodge.

16. Learn To Mountain Climb

The cozy fishing village Henningsvær is considered Lofotens center of mountain climbing and bouldering.

Nord Norsk Klatreskole is the leading center for climbing in Lofoten and is the perfect place to start if you are interested in mountain climbing and bouldering in Lofoten. They arrange climbing courses and also rent out climbing gear.

The cool restaurant and cafe Klatrekafeen Henningsvaer Lofoten
Even if you are not a climber, you should visit the fantastic “Klatrekafeen” in Henningsvær.

Oh, and by the way, don’t miss the cozy cafe next door, Henningsvær’s famous Klatrekafeen 🙂

Lofoten’s Past – Historic Villages & Museums

Several of Lofoten’s most beautiful fishing villages no longer have an active fishing industry. And while some people still live here, these villages have become incredibly popular with tourists. Some have officially become museums, while others have put up ticketing booths and parking lots to try to control the flow of visitors.

Most Lofotens museums are so-called open-air museums where you can wander around and explore the surroundings, have a peek inside an old fisherman’s cabin or shop, and catch a glimpse of how daily life used to be here.

17. Charming Nusfjord

Nusfjord is not a museum, but you need to buy a visitor ticket if you’re here on a day trip. It is one of the most famous and picturesque villages in Lofoten and one of our absolute favorites.

We spent a couple of days in Nusfjord and stayed at the most beautiful rorbu we have ever seen in Lofoten – Nusfjord Arctic Resort.

The lovely Nusfjord in Lofoten
The charming little fishing village Nusfjord is mentioned by the Unesco World Heritage Site.

If you have time, we highly recommend that you stay here for a night or two in Nusfjord. In the evening and early morning, Nusfjord is much quieter than during the day with fewer tourists, and you can explore the village at your own pace.

Nusfjord also has a fantastic top-end restaurant, a cozy pizzeria, an old-style shop and cafe (try the waffles!),  a rustic bakery, an art gallery, and an exhibition that tells the history of Nusfjord and its fishing industry. So plenty of things to see in Nusfjord.

18. Meet The Vikings At Lofotr Viking Museum

Lofotr Viking Museum is Lofotens’ most impressive museum and largest tourist attraction. When the remains of Europe’s biggest Viking longhouse were discovered here in the 1980s and later excavated, it became clear that Borg had been a significant Viking settlement.

The Lofotr museum does a fantastic job of bringing the Viking age back to life and is more of an experience center than a traditional museum.

Lofotr Viking Museum in Lofoten, Norway
Lofotr Viking Museum is Lofoten’s biggest attraction and a fantastic museum/ experience center.

At Lofotr, you can explore an 83-meter-long Viking longhouse, see and talk to traditional artisans dressed up as Vikings, and learn about the archeological excavation. Then walk outside and meet the animals, try your hand at ax throwing and archery, and have some Viking food before sailing on a real Viking ship on the fjord.

  • Address: Borg, Lofoten
  • Opening hours: Varies by time of year and weekday. During summer, usually 10-17/18 (10 am – 5/6 pm). Check the website for up-to-date opening hours.
  • Ticket Price: Summer Peak Season (1.06-31.8): Adult 225kr / USD 25, Child 150kr / USD 17, student and family packages available. Off-season prices are lower.
  • Lofotr Website

We’ve been to Borg many times, and it has always been a fun day. See our complete guide to Lofotr Viking Museum for more information.

19. Picturesque Reine – Lofoten’s Instagram Star

Reine is well known as one of the most photogenic fishing villages in Lofoten, and a lot of the classic Lofoten motives come from this area.

Reine in Lofoten on a beautiful summer evening
The classic shot of Reine village

Reine consists of several small islands connected by bridges. First, there’s Sakrisøya island, where you’ll find Anitas Seafood restaurant and shop, famous for its fishburger.

Then, on the island, Hamnøy is Eliassen Rorbuer Accommodation, famous for a million Instagram posts of their iconic red fishermen’s cabins.

Reine is all about those fishermen’s cabins, called rorbuer in Norwegian, and this is the perfect place to stay at a traditional (now renovated and modernized) rorbu.

Reine is also the starting point for the hike to Reinebringen, Lofoten’s most famous mountain hike. And for a good reason; the panoramic view from the top is spectacular!

You should also visit Bringen cafe for some cakes and snacks, and stop by Harr Gallery to see the artworks of Eva Harr and her brother Karl Erik Harr.

Reinefjorden Sightseeing Cruise (1,5 hours)

A great way to see Reine and its stunning surroundings is to join this Reinefjord Sightseeing Cruise. This 1,5-hour cruise (hop-on-hop-off) will take you to four fantastic photo stops – Rostad, Kirkefjord (where you can hike to the beautiful Horseid Beach), Vindstad (where you can walk to the lovely Bunes Beach), and Forsfjorden, before heading back to Reine.
Click Here for Info and Prices on the Reinefjorden Sightseeing Cruise

To learn more about Reine, please read our complete Reine travel guide.

20. Travel Back In Time At Lofoten Museum

At Lofoten Museum in Kabelvåg, you can explore Vagar, a traditional fishing village frozen in time, much as it would have been in the 1800s.

First, you can see how the “væreier, “the owner and head of the fishing village, lived in the big beautiful manor house.

Beautiful old houses at Lofoten Museum in Kabelvag
The main manor house at Lofoten museum, where the “væreier” lived.

Next, stop by Skrovabua, Lofoten’s oldest fisherman’s cabin, from 1797. Notice how short the beds are, and imagine that it was common to sleep two fishermen in a bed.

A fun fact about this particular fishing village of Vagar is that the værier was one of Maria’s forefathers, Johan Hammond Wolff (1806 – 1884).

The highlights for us were the væreier house, the boathouse, and the Nordland boats on display there.

Don’t miss stopping by the museum shop, as it looks just like what old Norwegian shops used to look like back in the day!

Shop/ krambu at Lofoten Museum in Kabelvag
Even the museum shop has been kept in the old style. Maria is shopping for some books and gifts to bring back home.

For more about the Lofoten Museum, please see our travel guide to Kabelvåg.

  • Address: Storvågan (a 5-min drive from downtown Kabelvåg, and a 10-min drive from Svolvær)
  • Opening Hours: March – December: 10:00/ 10 am – 15:00/ 3 pm. Closed in January and February. Check their webpage for exact opening hours as they vary throughout the year.
  • Ticket Price: 100 NOK = US$ 12 (adult), 50 NOK = US$ 6 (child 5-15 years old). If you plan on visiting the Lofoten Museum, Lofoten Aquarium, and Gallery Espolin, you should buy the SKREI ticket; it costs 250 NOK = US$ 30.
  • Lofoten Museum’s Official Webpage

21. The Lofoten Cathedral

The Lofoten Cathedral’s real name is Vågan Kirke/ Vaagan Church, but it has become much better known as Lofoten Cathedral.

Today’s church was built in 1898 when it replaced a smaller church dating back to 1799.

Lofoten Cathedral in Kabelvåg/ Kabelvag
Lofoten Cathedral, or Vågan Kirke/ Vaagan Church, was constructed in 1898.

It is the largest wooden construction north of Trondheim, built with timber in a Gothic Revival architectural style that originates from England back in the 1700s.

The church’s main feature is the beautiful altarpiece painted by the priest Fredrik Nikolai (Fritz) Jensen (1818 – 1870). It depicts Jesus’ battle of Gethsemane.

You can read more about Lofoten Cathedral in our Kabelvåg Travel Guide.

22. Take A Walking Tour Of Svinøya

Whereas central Svolvær has seen massive development, its tiny neighbor Svinøya has retained much more of its small village charm with well preserved historic buildings and fishermen’s cabins.

Svinoya Rorbuer Svolvaer Lofoten
The small island Svinoya in Svolvaer is perfect for a scenic walk.

We have made a complete DIY walking route of Svinøya that will take you to all the main sights of Svinøya like:

  • Gunnar Berg Gallery
  • Svinøya Rorbuer
  • Børsen Restaurant
  • Krambua
  • Manor House – The Old Berg Family House
  • Gunnar Berg Statue
  • Fish Flakes With Stockfish
  • Fisherman’s Wife Statue

The walk takes about 1-2 hours and is perfect as an afternoon walk from Svolvær.

23. Feed The Seals at Lofoten Aquarium

Lofoten Aquarium is in Storvågan, just outside Kabelvåg, and is Lofotens only aquarium.

Here, you can learn about the life beneath the sea surface in the arctic, including the North-Atlantic cod or “Skrei,” as it is called in Northern Norway, that migrates to Lofoten every winter to spawn.

Feeding of seals at Lofoten Aquarium/ Lofotakvariet i Kabelvåg
Jumping seals at Lofoten Aquarium during the twice a day seal feeding.

The best part of the aquarium is the otters and seals that live in the outside pool. They are super cute, and the twice-a-day feeding is a real highlight for both kids and adults. Check their webpage for feeding times.

  • Address: Storvågan (a 5-min drive from downtown Kabelvåg, and a 10-min drive from Svolvær)
  • Opening Hours: March – November: 11 am – 15/ 3 pm, open until 18/ 6 pm in July and August. Closed December, January, and February.
  • Ticket Price: 130 NOK = US$ 16 (adult), 80 NOK = US$ 10 (child 3 – 15 years old). Or buy the SKREI ticket, 250 NOK = US$ 30, which gives you access to all three attractions Lofoten Museum, Lofoten Aquarium, and Gallery Espolin.
  • Lofoten Aquarium’s Official Webpage

24. Lofoten’s End Point – Å Folk Museum

The entire village of Å at the southern tip of the Lofoten Islands is like a big open-air folk museum. There is no active fishing industry here anymore.

The southern end-point of Lofoten has the appropriate name “Å”, which is the last letter in the Norwegian alphabet.

Still, strictly speaking, Å  has two museums – the world’s only Stockfish Museum and the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum. These two museums lay next to each other, and you can easily walk between them.

Stockfish museum A Lofoten Norway
Stockfish museum in Å is the only one in the world.

The Stockfish Museum tells how stockfish became a vital export industry in Lofoten, and you’ll get to learn how the Arctic cod (called “skrei” in Norwegian) becomes stockfish. You can either walk around on your own or get a guide that will tell you more about the process.

The Norwegian Fishing Village Museum is the main reason for visiting Å. It is an open-air museum covering a large part of Å, including seven museum buildings built during the 1800s that you can walk inside. You can visit the old post office, the local shop, fisherman’s house, boathouse, blacksmith, and the fish oil factory.

Å in Lofoten
The Norwegian Fishing Village Museum in Å has some of Lofotens best cinnamon buns.

Make sure not to miss the old bakery in Å. It’s still in full swing (during summer) and makes the most delicious cinnamon rolls known to man!

Please read our complete travel guide to Å for more about Å village, including a detailed museum guide, recommendations for where to stay, how to get there, opening hours, and much more.

Urban Lofoten – Cool Cafes & Trendy Shops

Modern-day Lofoten isn’t all about the fishing industry. Tourism has created opportunities for new businesses and with modern-day means of communication, people can settle here while selling or working online.

Many are drawn here by the stunning landscape and the active lifestyle, and some decide to stay and start a small business, a co-working space, a cafe, gallery, shop, or restaurant.

25. Henningsvær – The Hipster Village

Henningsvaer, once a sleepy fishing village, its cozy narrow streets are now filled with cool cafes, arts and crafts shops, galleries, boutique hotels, and excellent restaurants everywhere you look.

Add to that its spectacular location at the foot of a tall jagged mountain and surrounded by the sea on every side it’s no wonder Henningsvaer’s popularity has skyrocketed.

Henningsvaer in Lofoten
Henningsvær with its cozy urban vibe is a must-visit in Lofoten.

The village is relatively small, and once you’ve parked your car, you can easily explore the entire town on foot. Walk around and take in the sights of the old houses, the fishermen’s cabins, and the many fishing boats that go out to sea every night to bring in the fish.

Also, don’t forget to stop by Henningsvaer’s Instagram famous football field, located at the very tip of the island.

Cozy outside seating at Klatrekafeen Henningsvaer Lofoten
Klatrekafeen in Henningsvær is one of Lofoten’s most famous cafes and restaurants.

Some of our favorite things in Henningsvaer include a cafe stop at Klatrekafeen, Maskinverkstedet, and Lysstrøperiet, and a visit to the art gallery Kaviar Factory.

Please see our complete travel guide to Henningsvaer for in-depth details and tips on Henningsvaer’s sights, attractions, hotels, etc.

26. Explore Svolvær – Lofoten’s Capital City

Svolvær is widely considered to be the capital of Lofoten. For many visitors, Svolvær is their first encounter with Lofoten since this is where the Norwegian coastal cruise boat Hurtigruten docks and Svolvaer has one of Lofoten’s two airports (the other one is in Leknes).

Downtown Svolvaer
Svolvær harbor is where you find some of Lofoten’s best restaurants, cafes, and hotels.

Despite being Lofoten’s biggest city, Svolvær has maintained much of its small-town charm. Surrounded by tall peaky mountains like the famous Svolværgeita (means “the Svolvær goat” in English), and with the wide-open Vestfjorden sea right in front of the city center, there are majestic views wherever you look.

Some of our favorite things to do in Svolvær include taking a fjord cruise to Trollfjord, hiking in the mountains, and taking an afternoon walk to the historic Svinøya Island with its well-preserved architecture and traditional fishermen’s huts.

Or hang around Svolvaer harbor, which becomes quite lively during the summer months when boats and tourists from worldwide come here to start their Lofoten adventure.

And if you are a food lover, then Svolvær has some of the best restaurants in all of Lofoten, like Borsen on Svinøya with their famous specialty grilled Stockfish and Kjokkenet Restaurant in Svolvær center.

For more on what to do in Svolvaer, including tips on hotels, restaurants, etc., please see our complete travel guide to Svolvær.

Lofoten’s Best Food – Farms Visit, Seafood & Cinnamon Rolls

27. Try Lofoten’s Cuisine

It’s probably no surprise that seafood and especially cod is Lofoten’s culinary specialty. After all, the abundance and quality of the fish are what made people settle here in the first place.

A must-try dish and Lofoten’s most famous dish is the grilled Stockfish. Grilled Stockfish is served almost everywhere, but it’s worth having it at one of the restaurants that specialize in seafood and Stockfish like Børsen, Restaurant Kjokkenet (both in Svolvær), Lofotmat, Fiskekrogen (both in Henninsgvaer), or Himmel og Hav (in Ballstad).

From Svolvaer: Cultural Tasting Cruise to Henningsvaer (3,5 hours)

A great way to try the local Lofoten cuisine is to join an evening Cultural Tasting Cruise. You get to enjoy a comfortable cruise onboard the brand new and modern hybrid-electric Brim ship. The cruise will depart from Svolvaer, and go along the beautiful Lofoten coast to the fishing village Henningsvaer. The ship has roof-to-floor panoramic windows, so you get to really take in the scenery.

The ship will make a stop in Henningsvaer where you get to walk around and see the fishing village by yourself, and maybe visit one or two art galleries, like the Kaviar Factory and Gallery Lofoten, if that is of your interest. On the way back to Henningsvaer, you get to enjoy a 5-course local dinner with some of the best ingredients Lofoten has to offer. Dessert is also included. Season: mid-April – 1. October.
Click here for Info and Prices on the Cultural Tasting Cruise

28. Visit a Local Farm

Lofoten has a few small farms where you can stop off and try some locally-produced foods.

Sheep Lofoten Gardsysteri
Greeted by the cute goats at Lofoten Gardsysteri

We visited Lofoten Gårdsysteri on our way to Unstad, where some adorable goats warmly greeted us. They have a shop and a cafe to try some of the many different kinds of cheese they produce. We had a tasty cheese platter and couldn’t resist trying some of their delicious cakes and the rhubarb drink.

Another Lofoten farm well worth a stop is Aalan Gård, not too far from the Lofotr Viking Museum at Borg.

29. See The Cod Fish Drying Racks

Traveling through Lofoten, you’ll encounter these fascinatingly large wooden racks used to dry the codfish.

With Lofoten’s winter temperature being just below freezing, the fish does not need to be smoked or salted but is preserved by simply drying on the racks in the sun and the wind from late winter to early spring. The result is delicious stockfish, a big exporting product of Norway.

Stockfish Svinoya, Svolvaer, Lofoten
Codfish heads drying on the racks on Svinøya in Svolvær in summer.

If you visit during winter and early spring, you’ll see thousands upon thousands of fish hanging side by side on these racks. And if you get close enough, you will smell them. The local anglers like to say it smells like money 🙂

In late spring (May/ June), the codfish is dry and can be collected, sorted, and exported. In the summer, the racks fill with fish heads that will be ground into fish flour when dry.

30. Sample The Cinnamon Rolls

So you may well wonder what cinnamon rolls are doing on this list? Well, Lofoten is crazy about cinnamon rolls, and as you travel around, you’ll come across them constantly. There seems to be a bit of a competition on who can bake the most mouth-watering delicious cinnamon rolls imaginable.

We, of course, have made it our mission to try them all, and one day we will complete our comprehensive guide to Lofoten’s best cinnamon rolls. But until then, some of our favorites include Unstad Surf Camp, Å Bakery, and Lysstøperiet in Henningsvær.

If you, like us, have a sweet tooth, we highly recommend stopping and giving these a try. Once you have, please let us know in the comments what you think. 🙂

Lofoten’s Culture – Festivals, Arts, Crafts & Galleries

Lofotens has a rich history stretching back to before the Viking Age, and its unique coastal culture and rugged landscape have inspired countless artists, painters, craftsmen, writers, and photographers. Traveling among the Lofoten islands, you will often come across small and large galleries. Some display the works of local contemporary artists, while others show the art of Lofoten’s most celebrated artists.

During the summer, Lofoten becomes a hive of activity, and rarely a week goes by without a music festival, a market, or a happening.

If you are looking for something to take home with you, then Lofoten’s skilled artisans produce beautiful works of art in glass and metal.

In short, if you’re a culture lover, then Lofoten’s has enough galleries, festivals, and craft shops to keep you busy for a very long time.

31. Hunt For Hidden Artworks

Artscape Nordland (Skulpturlandskap Nordland) is an international project to bring art into the landscape where people live and out of the museums.

International artists have created 33 art sculptures spread across Nordland county.

The Head art piece at Eggum, Lofoten
“The Head” by Markus Raetz stands looking out to sea at Eggum.

The Lofoten Islands has a total of five sculptures and seeking them out while driving across Lofoten is a fun little treasure hunt. Here are the 5 art statues and roughly where you will find them. To discover their exact location, I recommend using google maps.

  • THE HEAD (HODET)  by Markus Raetz, Switzerland – Vestvågøy (Eggum)
  • EPITAPH by Toshikatsu Endo, Japan – Flakstad
  • LAUREL LEAF (LAURBÆRBLAD)  by Cristina Iglesias, Spain- Moskenes
  • UNTITLED (Often referred to as “The Mirror”) by Dan Graham, USA – Vågan
  • THE NEST (REIRET)  by Luciano Fabro, Italy –  Røst Island

32. Watch The Glassblowers At The Glass Hut In Vikten

The Glass Hut at Vikten is northern Norway’s oldest glassblowers hut. Åsvar Tangrand established it over 30 years ago, and it has remained in the family ever since.

Its location is spectacular, far out on the island Flakstadøya, facing the wild sea, surrounded by tall mountains.

Glass Hut in Vikten, Lofoten, Norway
The Glass Hut at Vikten in Lofoten is beautifully located by the sea and is well worth a visit.

The glass blown here is rustic and rough like the landscape and often incorporates elements found in the surroundings, such as quartz rock.

The glassblowers work in the center of the hut where you can see them up close as they create the art pieces. In addition, there is an exhibition, a shop, and a cafe where you can buy some waffles and have a cup of coffee. We bought several gifts here to bring back home.

  • Address: Vikten, 8380 Ramberg
  • Opening Hours: May to August   10:00 -19:00 / January to April Monday – Thursday: 10.00 – 15.00.
  • Glass Hut Webpage

33. Meet The Blacksmith In Sund

Part museum and part working forge, at the Blacksmith In Sund you can watch as the blacksmith hammers out his famous cormorant made of black iron and buy one to take home in the museum shop.

Blacksmith in Sund, Lofoten
The blacksmith in Sund was hard at work at the forge when we visited.

34. Locally Designed Lofoten Crafts – Henningsvær

Lofoten has some excellent craft shops, most of them for some reason located in Henningsvaer.

Some of our favorite Lofoten crafts include:

  • Haddock (Knitted headwear) – warm and comfortable hand-knitted headbands and beanies. You find their main shop in Henningsvaer.
  • Catrine Linder Jewelry – Swedish jewelry designer Cathrine Linder’s shop in Henningsvaer is well worth a stop.
  • Lysstøperiet in Henningsvær – hand made candles.
  • Engelskmannsbrygga in Henningsvær – Local art and glass.
Wool beanies at Cod & Haddock shop in Henningsvaer, Lofoten
Wool beanie, so warm and comfortable with fleece lining at Haddock.

35. Galleri Espolin In Kabelvåg

Gallery Espolin is all about one of Lofoten’s most famous painters, Kaare Espolin Johnson (1907 – 1994). The gallery is in Storvågan, just outside Kabelvåg.

Espolin was a master at capturing the colors and soul of Lofoten. In addition to displaying Espolins works, the museum shows a film about the artist that includes a personal interview, and the museum shops have prints for sale.

  • Address: Storvågan (a 5-min drive from downtown Kabelvåg, and a 10-min drive from Svolvær)
  • Opening Hours: March – December: 11 am – 15/ 3 pm, open until 16/ 4 pm in July. It is closed in January and February.
  • Ticket Price: 100 NOK = US$ 12 (adult), 50 NOK = US$ 6 (child, 5-15 years old). Or buy the SKREI ticket, 250 NOK = US$ 30, which gives you access to all three attractions Lofoten Museum, Lofoten Aquarium, and Gallery Espolin.
  • The Espolin Gallery’s Official Webpage

36. Kaviar Factory Art Gallery In Henningsvær

In 2010 Venke and Rolf Hoff turned what was once a caviar factory into a modern and cool art gallery displaying art pieces, photographs, and paintings from their collection and showcasing exhibitions from national and international artists.

 

You find the Kaviar Factory art gallery in Henningsvær.

We also love the bookstore with many arts, design, interior, and photography books. Every time we visit, we come away with a ton of books.

37. Art Gallery Harr In Reine

In Reine, you can see the works of Eva Harr (art gallery Eva Harr) and her older brother Karl Erik Harr.

Karl Erik Harr paintings at Harr Art Gallery in Reine Lofoten
Galleri Harr in Reine shows paintings by Eva Harr and her brother Karl Erik Harr.

Eva Harr is most famous for her paintings of abandoned houses which symbolize the modern time we live in. A time of unrest and changes with centralization where young people tend to leave the countryside and move into the big cities. Her use of colors is especially striking.

Eva’s older brother Karl Erik Harr paints grand Lofoten landscape paintings where the sea plays the central role.

There is a design and souvenir shop where you can purchase books, arts, local design items, and graphic artwork by Eva and Karl Erik Harr.

  • Address: Kirkeveien 38, Reine (next to one of the few parking lots in Reine)
  • Opening Hours: May – September 09:00 am – 20:00/ 8 pm
  • Gallery Harr’s Official Webpage

38. Salteriet Gallery

Salteriet Gallery is a small art gallery in the heart of the lovely Nusfjord fishing village. It displays paintings and art curated by QSPA – Queen Sonja Print Award. On our last trip, we got to see Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway in person when she visited the exhibition of her art pieces.

Salteriet galleri in Nusfjord
Salteriet Gallery in Nusjord is set in an old wooden building where they used to salt the fish before drying.
  • Address: Nusfjord Arctic Resort
  • Opening Hours: Check their Facebook page for exhibitions and practical information

39. Discover The Street Art by Pøbel

The Norwegian artist Pøbel has made several street art pieces all over Lofoten, and it is great fun to hunt them down and take photos.
Street art Butterfly by Pobel in Lofoten
Pøbel House in Lillevik on Gimsøy island is called “Butterfly”.
The so-called Pøbel House in Lillevik on Gimsøy island is among the most famous of his works. The large painting is from 2009 and is called “Butterfly.”  All in all, Pøbel decorated more than twenty houses around Lofoten, but today only a few of them remain. This one is easy to spot from the main road as you drive by.
In Henningsvær, if you take a walk over to Finnholmen, you can spot the famous street art piece of the pipe-smoking fisherman “Fiskeren” (the fisherman) made by  Pøbel in 2014. Sadly it has faded over the years by the weather, so it is a bit hard to see today.

40. Art Gallery Lofoten In Henningsvær

Gallery Lofoten is located in Henningsvær.

On the 1st floor, they display the works of Norwegian painters from the early 1800s. This period is referred to as the golden age of North Norwegian painting. These are mainly landscape paintings by Otto Siding, Even Ulving, Adelsteen Normann, Einar Berger, Ole Juul, Thorolf Holmboe, and Gunnar Berg.

Gallery Lofoten in Henningsvaer
Gallery Lofoten in Henningsvær has artworks on display by some of Lofotens most famous artists, including Gunnar Berg.

On the 2nd floor, they have more temporary exhibitions that typically change every one to two years.

There is a cozy cafe at the gallery too that serves locally produced cheese and pastries.

  • Address: Misværveien 18, Henningsvær
  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 21:00/ 9 pm (June – August), 11:00 am – 16:00/ 4 pm (April – May)
  • Ticket Price: 70 NOK = US$ 8 (adult)
  • Gallery Lofoten’s Official Webpage

41. Catch A Music & Culture Festival

Lofoten has quite a few festivals and events during the summer, which are well worth catching if you are in the neighborhood.

Some of the most popular festivals include:


Well, that’s it, our complete best-of-list for what to do in Lofoten! Honestly, there are so many great things to do in Lofoten that we could easily have made this article twice as long.

We hope you got some ideas and inspiration for planning your Lofoten trip! And as always, leave us a comment if you have any further questions or think we have forgotten something.


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About The Writer Espen Egeland

Espen is a Norwegian travel nerd who started his independent travels at age 19 when he bought a one-way ticket to Indonesia in search of adventure. He has explored more than thirty countries across six continents, lived in Thailand and studied in Australia. He has a master's degree in computer science, but his true passion is photography, filmmaking, and sharing his love of travel. In 2014, while on a year-long trip across South - East Asia, he co-founded the travel blog Nerd Nomads. Since then he's been a full-time traveler. See our about page for more about Espen.

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