Lofoten, Norway

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

Tromsø was beautiful, but now it was high time to see more of Norway.
I hadn't visited the Lofoten islands before and actually I had not yet heard so much about. Coincidentally, I had read about them on another travel blog and if I could believe the beautiful pictures, this was clearly a piece of paradise on earth.
The adventurer was again awakened in me. During my last four days in Norway I wanted to take see and explore as much as possible from this vast Scandinavian archipelago.

Sam Van den Haute CheckoutSam

Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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lofoten norway

The roads in the Lofoten are constantly made snow and ice free, and because of studded tyres it is actually quite easy to drive a car here.

Car rental in Svolvaer

The gate of the Hurtigruten ship opened and we were welcomed immediately by a pungent fishy smell. The salty smell was so strong that some people immediately pinched their noses.
Packed and ready we stepped away from this floating luxury hotel to the port terminal of Svolvaer.

Svolvaer is the largest town on the Lofoten Islands, and from here it was also the easiest (and cheapest!) to rent a car. Renting a car on the Lofoten Islands, in my opinion, is really a necessity. There is public transportation, but it runs relatively slow and you lose a lot of time with it. Moreover, many beautiful places can not be visited by buses and it would be a shame if you couldn’t see them because of that, no?

The friendly man from Rent A Car Lofoten was already waiting for us and a few minutes later we could try for ourselves how smooth we could actually speed over the snow covered roads.
We got the car very quickly, without much paperwork or waiting. Frankly, that made me a little leery. But the whole trip went smoothly so I can definitely recommend this local business.

“You can drive.” my mother said immediately.

Lights on and take off!

I was quite surprised.
The small car had no trouble trudging through the snow and even when driving fast, we didn’t start to slip.

On the way to our accommodation, we stopped at a supermarket to buy some food. Since I was so amazed by the skills of this car, I inspected the wheels to see if they were perhaps haunted.
The car had studded tyres. Basically, these are tyres with small metal studs on them. But those metal pins seemed invisible to the eye. Or maybe they were just not there? I will never know!

lofoten islands car rental

Our small rental car fits perfectly together with the Rorbu where we stay at, doesn’t it?

Rorbu accommodation

Budget accommodations are hard to find in Norway. Especially if you want to stay in a kind-of nice place!

By renting a car we were able to expand our search range and we decided to rent a cottage in Kabelvåg. A cozy village, fifteen minutes driving from Svolvaer.
The traditional Norwegian fisherman’s cabins or Rorbu are wooden huts that are located closely, or partly on, the water. Today they are especially popular with tourists but they are less used by fishermen.
These red, yellow or white cabins fit wonderfully well into the scenery of the Lofoten islands. We were pleased that we could stay in one of these fishermen shacks!

For 5 nights we paid $350 (€334), or $70 (67 euros) per night. All in all, it is not too bad, but for this price you do get a very basic accommodation.

Since it was getting late already, we couldn’t really start to enjoy the beautiful views yet. Impatiently, we closed our eyes only to be overwhelmed in the morning with a phenomenal view from our room.
Once we pulled open the curtains we fell in love with the beautiful surroundings. In the pink sky, cotton candy-like clouds glided by slowly while the sun emerged behind the snowy hilltops and put the spotlight on all of the colorful houses.

It was only the first day in the Lofoten and we were already amazed by the beauty of this part of Norway. Wow.

kabelvag lofoten

Who wouldn’t want to wake up with this view? I absolutely love the Lofoten Islands!

Winding paths along beautiful landscapes

From our colorful cottage we carefully treaded to the car. The wooden balconies and stairs were covered with a layer of smooth ice and we’d rather not slip just yet.

Through the Wi-Fi network I looked up what we could go and see today. And we had a lot of possibilities!
The distances are often not very big, but you should never drive faster than seventy kilometers per hour (45 miles / hour) and that of course slows you down a bit.
Moreover, sometimes you’ll be so impressed by the scenery that you feel the urge to park to enjoy the view just a little bit longer.

From Kabelvåg we drove to the south of the Lofoten. Initially the plan was to drive to Å and Reine (according to many the most beautiful spots of the Lofoten) and to make a few stops on the way.

Around Leknes there was so much to see that we postponed to see the most beautiful spots of the Lofoten to tomorrow, and that today would be a slow day. After all, it was already quite late and it took at least one hour to get to the other villages.
And it would’ve been a shame to get there when it started to get dark…

checkoutsam lofoten islands

While driving through the Lofoten, you pass so many beautiful photo opportunities!

Top sights around Leknes

Wherever you go in the Lofoten: you’ll always see the most beautiful scenery.
Moreover, they don’t actually bore easily, because they are constantly changing. Sometimes it seems like you’re in the midst of the highest peaks of the world, and a minute later you’re driving next to giant lakes or turbulent seas cross your path!

In addition to icy and snowy landscapes, there are a lot of beaches in the Lofoten. One of the most beautiful beaches is located near Leknes. Perhaps the view is even better when the snow has melted, but the combination of the clear water, sand and snow still give you a unique viewpoint.
The beauty of the Haukland beach is clearly widespread, because even during these cold winter days there were a dozen photographers shooting pictures.

Haukland beach lofoten

The Haukland beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the Lofoten. Both during summer and winter!

Anyone who is quite fond of Vikings can’t miss the Viking Museum! If you keep driving along the E10, it’s  impossible miss the Lofotr Viking Museum.
The museum is an exact replica of the chieftain’s house. In addition, you can also see the workspace of a Viking blacksmith, two Drakars (Viking ships) and their boathouses. Sometimes actors also give a real-life feel to this place.
Before you go, I recommend to check the opening hours, because the museum isn’t open that many hours a day…

lofoten viking museum

The Chieftain’s house. Or well… A copy of it!

The Lofoten of course remain an archipelago and so you can find many beaches. One that is certainly worth the drive is the Unstad Arctic Surf.
Beautiful landscapes, huge waves and… Surfers!

The Unstad Arctic Surf is located quite remotely, but at the same time it is very well known among surfers. When you arrive in the village, you are immediately welcomed by a lot of surfing schools.
The surfers splash through the waters especially during warmer summer days, but if you’re lucky you might see a daredevil tearing through Arctic waters during the winter as well!

unstad arctic surf lofoten

Would you jump into the ice cold waters aroudn the Lofoten islands? Brrr!

Everywhere you go around the Lofoten will be a feast to your eyes. To get a better view of all this natural beauty, you can also climb some hills. Around Leknes, the Himmeltinden is a good example. During the winter months such a climb is a lot harder. Moreover, it easily takes you a few hours to get up there, and during the dark winter months this limited daylight sometimes causes problems.
I have to say it one more time… The Lofoten islands are far from boring!

checkoutsam lofoten islands

It seems as if I’m somewhere in the Alps, but just a couple of tens of meters down there are people surfing!

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