You'll never forget your first glimpse of Norway's Lofoten Islands. The islands' tall, rugged silhouettes stand against the clear sky like a spiky sea monster. The natural beauty is simply staggering. Lofoten's main islands are Austvågøy, Vestvågøy, Flakstadøy, and Moskenesøy; they remain separated from the mainland by bridges and tunnels. Each island includes sheltered bays, rural pastures, and charming villages: the vistas and the stunning Arctic light's call to artists worldwide. One of the best ways to enjoy the exceptional views is to follow the E10 road – which runs along with the islands from top to bottom – and stop and take every detour you can. Here are all the reasons you need to discover them before the crowds of tourists do.
Lovely Climate (a Good Bit of the Time)
Lofoten lies north of the Arctic Circle, so most people expect subzero temperatures, but it is typically much sunnier and warmer than you would think. The region has the most significant temperature anomaly in the world related to its latitude. Visitors can anticipate temperatures more in line with Nova Scotia or northern Italy than the Arctic.
Experience the Midnight Sun
Between May and mid-July, the sun doesn't set; it is above the horizon 24 hours a day. So if you have been dying to live out your Midnight Sun fantasies (looking at you, Stephanie Meyer, haha), you will be thrilled with a trip to Lofoten.
Discover Polar Night
The opposite of the Midnight Sun is Polar Night. From early December to early January, the sun never rises, and you can expect sleet and snow. The storms can be fierce. However, its climate makes Lofoten a generally surprisingly mild place to visit for such a northern location.
Lofoten sits underneath the auroral oval, a geographic zone above the geomagnetic north pole. When you combine its position with its warm climate, you should have the perfect spot to view the Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately, Lofoten's rainfall can make for many misty nights. So if you hear that the viewing will be excellent on a specific night, clear your schedule!
The hills, valleys, jagged mountains, and coastlines of the islands make for perfect hiking; hiking the Lofoten Islands will provide excellent beach and coastline views. There are trails for every skill level. So grab your boots; you are going to need them.
Make Some Fine Feathered Friends
Bird lovers most likely have Lofoten on your travel list because it is home to one of Europe's largest seabird colonies. They have a vast population of sea eagles, cormorants, and puffins. A rumored sighting of the long-extinct great auk set the bird-watching community a twitter. Unfortunately, it was a case of mistaken identity.
Step Into History
The locals are the gatekeepers of Norwegian history and tradition. Nowhere is that more evident than in the tiny fishing village of Nusfjord. Explore the open-air museum, which is home to a sawmill, general store, blacksmith, and cod-liver oil factory.
Hang Ten Arctic Style
Arctic surfing is not what you would expect. First, it's not cold, thanks to the incredible technology behind the wetsuits. In the summer, you will find waves of 3 to 8 feet, so it is appropriate for all ages and skill levels.
Tips for Lofoten
Pack for all types of weather; the weather in Lofoten is unpredictable at best. So come prepared and make sure to bring rain gear.
Book well in advance, especially if you are traveling in the summer. Lofoten is small, and accommodations fill up quickly.
Rent a car. Public transportation in Lofoten is almost nonexistent. The best way to get around to have a car. In the summer months, there will be lots of hitchhikers because of the influx of adventure travelers.
Hiking during the winter months can be hazardous. While you can use snowshoes, skis, or even standard hiking boots, you'll need to be extra mindful of the weather. Storms can come quickly, and I suggest using a guide to go out in the winter.
Many photographers are heading to Lofoten, so if you get up early if you want iconic sites to yourself.
The ferry from Bodø to Lofoten can be a rough ride. If you are prone to motion sickness, you will want to avoid it or pack Dramamine.
If you want to impress your friends on Instagram, you need to plan a trip to the superb Lofoten Islands. It is the perfect destination for couples that love the outdoors and desire to commune with the local population. But if you want to experience it, before it becomes the next 'it' destination, you will need to soon. It's time to discover Lofoten before everyone else does.