My would be world traveler column should appear on the last Sunday of the month. Imagine my surprise when I realized that was last week. So, by exception, this time it’s the last Saturday of the month.
Today, I would like to take you to the Lofoten Islands in Norway. Beautiful scenery, cosy villages and exceptional free camping.
In 2013 Husband and I went traveling through northern Norway for our honeymoon, with our backpacks. We started this trip on the Lofoten.
There is so much to see and do on the Lofoten. Unfortunately, we did not go in the right season for the northern lights or the midnight sun, but we still saw a lot of amazing things.
Our plane left Zaventem airport and landed at Bodø airport. From there we took the ferry to Moskenesøya, the southernmost island.
We arrived in the picturesque town of Moskenes and decided to walk to the last town on the island: Å .
At the end of the road in Å, you come to a beautiful clearing on top of the cliffs, where free camping is allowed. Waking up in the morning with the pretty lights, right by the water, it’s amazing.
What a morning view…
We put up our tent late in the evening so had to wait to go exploring the next morning. We took a short hike around the cliffs and hills.
Don’t pay attention to my horrible outfits…
Check out these yummy, freshly baked cinnamon rolls!
We had a lovely meal from the local bakery in the sun and continued our journey to Reine. We replenished our supplies and hopped on the boat to Vindstad, a small place outside Reine where only few people live. Apart from some typical Norwegian houses (rorbuer), there is not much ‘civilisation’ to be found. Just over the hill from Vindstad though, lies Bunes Beach, a gorgeous beach and the ideal place for wild camping. We spent the night, along with 4 other tents. In the right time of the year, this is a good spot the enjoy the midnight sun in peace.
Can you spot the face in this rustic house?
View of Vindstad.
This is also the place where I dared to take a (rather quick) plunge in the water, above the polar circle! Chilly, but refreshing, and a little badass I think!
After a very quiet night in Bunes Beach, we hiked back to Vindstad and took the boat back to Reine. During these boat trips there is so much to see, great coastlines and more. Upon arrival we immediately pushed through to Ramberg. Because we already had quite the journey behind us, we figured we could do with a little recharge and spent our night in a more comfortable way. We opted for one of the typical hytter and ate a (ridiculously expensive) dinner at the camping’s restaurant.
We took a stroll around the beach, soaked up some vitamin D by the rocks and just did absolutely nothing. After a comfortable night (yay a real toilet!), we tried out the local bus to Kabelvåg. That bus stopped in the middle of nowhere, after a ride through the magnificent countryside. I did not know where to lok first. But there we were. Thankfully we found directions to the campsite real quick. We rented a place for our tent and found said place by the water in the lovely bay.
Here too, I took a dive (two times even!) in the clearest water I’ve ever seen. I ran into some hermit crayfish and fish. In the photo above, you can see we had some nice weather during our stay in Kabelvåg, but make no mistake, that water is relentlessly cold! That night we had a relaxed walk in the hills around the camp site, ate fiskesuppe and had a drink in front of our tent.
We enjoyed our stay so much, we saw no harm in staying another night. We left for the actual town of Kabelvåg on foot. It’s a nice fishing village (like most of the Lofoten villages) with a cosy town square. We ate a sandwish there and discovered there is an aquarium just outside of town. Excursion time!
In this aquarium, we saw a lot of amazing and interesting things, but also something I can only describe as the ugliest fish in the world…
The aquarium also had a viewpoint with an incredible view of the surrounding countryside.
After our second night in Kabelvåg, we had to continue our journey because we wanted to see as much as we could in the time we had. We ended up in Svolvær, a somewhat bigger city. Unfortunately for us, it was raining cats and dogs at the time. We had a chat with some guys who were taking the trip from Kirkenes to Bergen by bicycle. They had a great story! We did not stay there but took the bus to the mainland instead, but that’s a story for another time!
Must sees & do’s on the Lofoten:
- Free camping on the cliffs in Å.
- If you have time (and the budget), rent a boat and go fishing yourself in one of the fishing villages => fresh fish on the menu!
- Make the trip to Vindstad and go camping on Bunes Beach (and enjoy the midnight sun if it’s the right time).
- Make as much of the journey on foot if you can and go hiking.
- If walking and hiking is not your thing, a lot of tourist like to take the trip by bike. There are bridges that connect the islands and many places have bikes for rent.
- The public transportation is, in comparison to everything else in Norway, not too expensive. The buses go almost everywhere and you can get off wherever you want.
- Just like in the rest of Norway, almost everything is expensive on the Lofoten islands: renting a hytte for the night can easily cost you 100€ (and often even more) and restaurants are even more expensive. The cheaper option is to go to the supermarket and cook yourself a fresh meal. Camping spots for tents are on the pricy side too so if you have the choice, go camping in the wild instead. It’s allowed in most places, as long as you respect nature and obviously don’t go camping in someone’s backyard!
- In Å we encountered some impolite staff in the only restaurant/hotel. We were shoo’d out in a rather rude way and were told we could not have lunch in the restaurant because large groups of tourists would be arriving by boat soon. We could however have coffee or tea outside IF we did not get in the way! We were astounded! The oldfashioned local bakery is a better option. Buy some sandwiches there and things to put on them in the fishing shop next door and have a nice picnic in the sunchine!
If you have any questions, please ask! Have you guys been to the Lofoten before of is it on your bucket list? I’d love to hear!