Europe / Norway

14 Great Reasons To Visit the Lofoten Islands in Summer

Red Cabins on stilts
Very Best Things To Do in Lofoten in Summer

The stunningly beautiful Lofoten islands in Norway are located in the far northwest of the country and close to the Arctic Circle. This Norwegian destination is one of Europe’s hidden treasures and has been on my bucket list for years, and it seems I am not alone. Lofoten holidays are gaining popularity with travellers as an emerging summer destination for those who love discovering remote and wild locations and enjoy spectacular road trips.

When I told people I had arranged a 5-night Lofoten travel itinerary as part of my two-week holiday to Norway, I was asked, “where is Lofoten, and what is there to do in the Lofoten islands?”.

With breathtaking mountain, lake and sea views, turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and charming fishing villages to explore, including one simply called Å, what’s not to like about Lofoten. And for those looking to keep active on holiday, there are numerous summer activities, including hiking, walking, climbing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, sailing and swimming.

Best Time to Visit Lofoten

The best time to visit the Lofoten islands and see them in all their glory is in the warmer months, and while Lofoten is better known as a magical winter destination for visitors hoping to witness the outstanding phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis light display, the Lofoten archipelago in summer, with its midnight sun, is even more special.

The weather in the Lofoten islands in summer is a mixture of blazing sunshine and sudden showers. The summer months are the perfect time for first-time visitors to get a taste of what the Lofoten Islands have to offer.

I had a fabulous trip to Lofoten in July and experienced mainly warm weather with only one day of showers. On several of the days, the temperature rose to a blistering 30 degrees, which, as the locals told me, wasn’t something they had experienced before in the arctic hemisphere – unfortunately, a sure sign of climate change.

Discover the Lofoten Islands

I hope the information in this Lofoten blog guide will help highlight why a visit to Lofoten was high on my travel bucket list and, in my opinion, why this Norwegian destination, with its stunning untouched landscape, is somewhere everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

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Turquoise waters in Lofoten with mountain backdrop

Gaze at the Breathtaking Views in Lofoten

One of the main reasons we wanted to experience a Lofoten road trip in summer was to see the stunning views of the snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes and traditional fishing villages scattered throughout the islands. And of course, we just had to experience a stay in a traditional fisherman’s rorbu on stilts!

Our trip to the Lofoten islands ticked all the boxes and exceeded our expectations – there really is nowhere quite like this magnificent Norwegian peninsula.

As you drive through the Lofoten islands, there are photo opportunities at every turn and with plenty of official viewpoints to pull into, you will soon be racking up a large number of images (like the one below) on your camera or phone!

Mountain and Lake View in Lofoten

Relax on a Beautiful Sandy Beach

You are in for one mighty shock when you set eyes on the beautiful Lofoten beaches and would be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean!

I must admit that even in summer, the water temperatures are cold, but with golden sand and mighty mountains all around, they are some of the most beautiful places in Lofoten to spend the day.

In summer, the Lofoten beaches come alive, with visitors enjoying beach games, sunbathing, BBQs, and camping. In Norway, wild camping is allowed in almost every place, so you can pitch up and wake to the sound and sight of the turquoise water gently lapping the sandy beach just metres from your tent or camper van!

And don’t forget that in summer the midnight sun means that you can enjoy yourself on the beach all day and all night if you wish as the sun never sets!

If you still can’t believe that there are such stunning beaches in Lofoten, just look at four of the beaches in Lofoten that we visited.

Lofoten Tip: Surfers wanting to experience surfing in the Arctic circle should head to Unstad Beach in Lofoten for some of the best breaks in Norway.

Kabelvag Beach
Kabelvag Beach
Haukland Beach with the word LOFOTEN in seaweed
Haukland Beach

Hike the Wild Landscape

Get back to Mother Nature by hiking or walking in the Lofotens. There are plenty of trails winding their way through the islands. One of the best hikes in Lofoten is the 1km uphill Reinebringen Trail starting on the road that runs outside the Ramsvik tunnel. From this viewpoint, there is a fantastic bird’s eye view of Norway’s much-photographed fishing village of Reine.

View of Reine

A pretty coastal walk taking in views of the crystal-clear aquamarine waters is from Haukland Beach to Uttalkliev Beach along the Mannen Ridge. The route takes around 2 hours to complete, and Uttakliev Beach has interactive QR codes to scan, telling you more about the area’s history.

Haukland tops Norway’s most beautiful beach list, and Uttakleiv is the most romantic, probably due to the giant heart of stones on the grass.

Uttakliev Beach in Lofoten

Visit Svolvaer – the Capital of Lofoten

Svolvaer is the capital of the Lofotens and is a busy port with hotels, restaurants and numerous boat tours leaving from its harbour.

I’m not going to sugarcoat the fact that Svolvaer was my least favourite place in Lofoten. After driving through some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet to get here, it was a bit of a letdown, with its grey commercial buildings and run-down vibe.

It appears that this gateway to the Lofoten islands is more a commercial hub for the many great boat trips and holiday cruise liners that use it as a base than the pretty Lofotens location we were expecting.

That said, the hotel we stayed in for one night, Thon Hotel Lofoten, was modern and with lovely rooms and a coveted restaurant Paleo Arctic which seemed to draw boatloads of guests to its Nordic delicacies.

A wander around Svolvaer didn’t uncover anything amazing; however, we did find really good coffee and light bites at BRENT, and of course, many really exciting trips leave from Svolvaer, including sea eagle spotting trips, evening kayaking, photography cruises and Lofoten fjord trips.

Lofoten Tours Departing From Svolvaer

Discover Charming Fishing Villages

One of the most popular reasons to visit Lofoten in summer is to see the traditional fishing villages. Without a doubt, these villages will feature heavily on any Lofoten islands itinerary as a must-see experience.

The fishing huts are easily recognisable with their red or yellow wooden facades, with many on stilts and offering the most unique accommodation in the Lofoten islands. These charming Lofoten fishing villages attract many tourists and give a snapshot of life in this remote part of the world.

The most visited fishing villages in the Lofoten islands are Å (the one initial village and the last village to visit before the land stops and the sea continues!), Reine, Hamnoy, Henningsvaer and Nusfjord. We loved wandering around these traditional coastal destinations, each one with a unique charm and identity.

Make sure to visit the cute artisan shops selling Lofoten island crafts, cafes and restaurants serving great coffee and local dishes and plenty of interesting things relating to each village’s fishing history; each village has its own identity. Boat trips, including fishing and wildlife cruises, can be booked from the villages.

Henningsvaer Fishing Village
Fishing Village of Å

Stay in a Fisherman’s Rorbu

One of our favourite things to do in Lofoten was to stay in a traditional fishing rorbu. We stayed at Nusfjord Arctic Resort for three nights and had a fabulous time both enjoying the activities in the village (including an outdoor hot tub and sauna) while using Nusfjord as a base to visit the surrounding Lofoten attractions.

A rorbu is a wooden fisherman’s hut normally painted in red or yellow and found in small fishing settlements around the Lofoten islands. Many of the original rorbuer are stilted above the water, with some newer replacements being on solid ground.

When planning where to stay in Lofoten, the rorbuer accommodation in the Lofoten islands is the perfect way to experience a traditional fishing village with modern and luxurious comforts. The rorbuer are usually situated in the remotest coastal locations in Lofoten and are amongst the world’s most unique places to stay.

Lofoten Rorbuer

Explore the Historic Nusfjord Arctic Resort

Whether or not you choose to stay at Nusfjord Arctic Resort, you can still experience how wonderful it is as a day visitor. Nestled in a small cove, this historic fishing village is the oldest and best preserved in Lofoten and is the epitome of everything you could imagine a Norwegian fishing village to be.

Wander the boardwalk past the red stilted rorbuer and explore the historic buildings detailing the history of life in Nusfjord and how the village was a major production hub for cod liver oil. Climb the small rock that is in the centre of Nusfjord and gaze out to the horizon before a visit to the bakery or village shop; great for good coffee and waffles.

The resort’s Restaurant Karolina serves delicious local dishes for a delightful evening meal, while Oriana Pizza Cafe is a cosy place to grab a quick bite.

Nusfjord fishing resort
Nusfjord Arctic Resort

Experience the Midnight Sun

Nothing quite prepares you for the midnight sun, an event that occurs in locations that sit on the Arctic meridian. Between the middle of May to the end of July, the sun never sets, so you get to experience 24 hours of daylight.

The advantage of it never going dark is that you can continue to enjoy outdoor activities well into the early hours. We went for a midnight hike and saw people out and about well after that time! It’s a really cool phenomenon to experience. The only disadvantage is that if you are staying somewhere without blackout curtains, it may be hard to sleep, but then again, who wants to sleep in this amazing location!

Lofoten Tip: Make sure you bring an eye mask to sleep in summer in the Lofoten islands!

View of midnight sun on the water
Midnight Sun at 1 am

Visit the Lofotr Viking Museum

No trip to northern Norway would be complete without learning more about the Viking era, so the Lofotr Viking Museum is a must-visit attraction in Lofoten.

Don’t miss the main star of the show at the museum. A reconstruction of the 272-foot-long chieftain’s longhouse, the largest Viking building ever found. Visitors can also take part in an interactive exhibition, see artefacts discovered during excavations, sail around the fjord on a reconstructed Viking longship and try some of the free Viking activities; I have to say I was pretty good at axe throwing!

Lofoten Tip: Make sure to try the traditional Viking stew and glass of mead that is served in the longhouse; they are delicious!

Viking Ship
Viking Ship
Viking longhouse
Viking Longhouse

Enjoy Outdoor Activities

Lofoten is the number one spot for some fantastic Norwegian outdoor experiences. From cruising the crystal clear waters to kayaking and surfing and, of course, exploring the numerous hiking trails. There are so many activities to do in Lofoten you certainly won’t run out of ideas to add to your Lofoten itinerary.

Organised Tours are a good idea to experience the hidden treasures of Lofoten.

Play a Round of Golf

If you want to play a round of golf in a spectacular location, the Lofoten Links Golf Course is perfect. With views of the ocean, this is one of the best golf courses in Norway and attracts both Norwegians and international golfers.

Lofoten Links Lodges offer good accommodation for both golfers and road-trippers. I stayed for one night as a tourist rather than a golfer and loved the rugged vibe of the area and Hof beach with its white sand and shallow waters.

In summer, Lofoten Links is glorious, and in winter, it is one of the best places to stay to see the Aurora Borealis; it’s even classed as a Northern Lights Base Camp. They even offer alerts to wake you up if the lights appear at some ungodly time of night!

Pricing and Availability for Lofoten Links Lodges

Lofoten Links Golf Course

Taste Norwegian Seafood

One thing you can be sure of in the Lofoten islands is that seafood will be very fresh and tasty. With fishing villages around every corner, the Norsk cuisine is based mainly on fish, and the Lofotens has been one of the world’s top cod exporters for over 1000 years. Make sure to try Lofoten stockfish, a dried cod delicacy sold all over the islands.

Lamb dishes also appear on many menus, although I only saw a few sheep throughout the whole of my stay, so I am not sure where they farm them in Lofoten!

Three sheep standing on grass in Lofoten

One of the must-visit places for seafood in Lofoten is Anita’s Seafood Shop and Bar in Sakrisoy. Fish burgers and fish soup are the popular tourist choices, with fresh salmon, prawns and lobster plates also on the menu.

Anita also sells local goodies from seaweed chocolate (don’t judge!) to cod and reindeer jerky and other Norwegian specialities.

Find Anita’s Seafood at Sakrisøya, 8390 Reine, Norway

See Norwegian Wildflowers

It was a pleasant surprise to see an abundance of beautiful wildflowers growing in a country blanketed in snow for most of the year,

My favourites were the pink and purple lupins that grow everywhere and are a stunning colour contrast to the black granite mountains and vivid green landscape. The fluffy cotton plants are a plant variety I hadn’t seen before and are quite charming.

Wild coastal flowers

Wild Camp in Lofoten

Imagine driving through breathtaking scenery on a Lofoten road trip and pulling up in the shadow of one of the mighty Lofoten mountains or on the sunny shores of a Lofoten beach and camping for the night. In Norway, wild camping is permitted, giving you the freedom of the road and perfect if you have a camper van (which most visitors bring) or a tent to pitch.

Make sure to only camp in public areas, not private land and then enjoy the scenery – you will be the envy of many other travellers!


About Author

Angela Price

Angie is a full-time travel writer with over 30 years of travel experience. She has always had a passion for travel, and after a 3-month world trip with her 18-year-old son, she created her popular travel blog to share her adventures with a wider audience. When Angie is at home in the UK, she enjoys exploring the English countryside, visiting castles and gardens and planning her next big adventure. Her motto is "Live Life Wandering not Wondering".

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20 days ago

Northern Norway and especiall the Lofoten Islands have been on my travel wishlist for years. Your post and the pictures reminded me why – because of the spectacular scenic landscapes. Visiting the Viking museum would be a priority for me. And staying in a traditional fishing hut would be nice too.

Reply to  Natascha
20 days ago

I hope you make it there one day Natascha, the Viking museum is incredible, as is a stay in a rorbu.

Tami Wilcox
20 days ago

I would have been like all the others, asking where are the Lofoten Islands and what do you do there? But of course, you did a great job of telling us! Norway has been on my bucket list for quite a while, mostly because I would like to see the Northern lights. But it would also seem that there are many benefits to visiting in the summer months. Apparently there are many incredibly beautiful places to see and to explore!!

Reply to  Tami Wilcox
20 days ago

I am glad I could highlight to you other places to visit in Norway. Most travellers know it for the Northern Lights but in summer it has so much to offer.

20 days ago

Wow, staying in a fishing rorbu seems like such a serene escape, and something I would have never thought of! Thank you so much for sharing, this sounds like an amazing trip 🙂

Reply to  Jill
20 days ago

It was an awesome trip, and a highlight was my rorbu stay – absolutely amazing.

21 days ago

Oh these islands look delightful! I hadn’t heard of them before, but would love to visit for the fabulous seafood, those views, and to experience the midnight sun!

Joanna Rath
22 days ago

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this detailed post, and it fuelled my desire to return to Norway, which I haven’t visited since the 70s.

Reply to  Joanna Rath
21 days ago

I am glad you found inspiration in this Lofoten post for a return visit to Norway

22 days ago

Just like you had I also have Lofoten in my bucket list and hope to visit this year if possible! I’m sure it’s even more beautiful there in real life and I loved all your tips of things to do, super complete, I’ll book mark it for a futute trip!

Reply to  Amalia
21 days ago

I do hope you get there, it is a very special place and quite unlike anywhere else I have visited.

22 days ago

We always spend our summers in Finland and the last 5 years my plan has been to visit Norway too. Something else always comes up.. ha ha. Lofoten looks stunning and it was THE destination to Finns right before the pandemic. It got so crowded at that point that we decided not to go. But we definitely want to visit there. When I was a kid we did a road trip to Norway every summer but we never went to Lofoten.

Reply to  Paula
21 days ago

I was really interested to hear that it was a very busy place pre-pandemic, I am not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if there had been so many visitors.

Alaina Thomas
22 days ago

I think the first activity on my list would be kayaking in these beautiful waters.

22 days ago

I am impressed by the striking beauty of the picture in this post. I have visited Norther Europe in the Summer and Winter time but never the Lofoten islands. Those fishing villages with mountains so close the coast and the playful clouds formations are a gift for the eyes. These islands must be “The Destination” for Summer Solstice. I would like to visit them sometime soon.

Last edited 22 days ago by Pilar
22 days ago

These photos honestly look like something out of a fairy tale. Very magical!

22 days ago

Lofoten islands and indeed all of Norway are on my list. So many opportunities for photography, and I am especially interested in some good hikes. Thanks for the lovely post. Very useful, I am saving it for future reference.

22 days ago

Ohh you made me miss Norway so much!! Beautiful photos and great article. I still havent seen Lofoten but I save this for the next trip!

22 days ago

I would definitely enjoy visiting this region and seeing all the open and raw landscape, trying some of the delicious soup, lobster and cod specialities and being outdoors. I’m in awe of places that stay true to their environment and have amazing wildlife, nature and beautiful landscape to explore, and the Lofoten islands sound just like that.

Reply to  noel
22 days ago

Hi Noel, Yes, you are right, the Lofotens really are unspoilt and let us hope they remain that way for future generations to enjoy.

Puloma Bhattacharya
Puloma Bhattacharya
23 days ago

The Lofoten Islands in Norway are on my bucket list priority. Watching the midnight sun at 1 am or catching a glimpse of the Aurora borealis in winter is an experience of a lifetime. And I can imagine how exciting it must be staying in one of those fishing rorbuers,and enjoying the stunning views of snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, beaches and wildflowers all while camping on a road trip to Lofoten with a platter of Norwegian seafood. It would be a dream come true for me.

Annie H
24 days ago

Oh dear, you almost completely missed what would be the most important reason for me to go there – seabirds! Atlantic Puffin are the most numerous but there are also Razorbill, Common Guillemot, Brunnich’s Guillemot and Black Guillemot. Other breeding seabirds include Arctic Skua, gulls, Common Tern and Arctic Tern and there are also Common Eider and various waders.

On the other hand, you’ve mentioned all sorts of things that I wouldn’t even think about. It hadn’t even occurred to me there would be a golf course – you might guess that I don’t play golf.

So when I do get there, it will be with a much broader view of the place than I had before. Thank you.

Reply to  Annie H
24 days ago

The birds you mentioned can be found on the Rost islands, which I didn’t visit and is why they weren’t included in this post dedicated to the Lofoten islands. I have seen puffins in Wales and would have loved to see them here but the Rost islands are a separate remote island from the Lofoten archipelago and very remote only reached on a dedicated cruise. I had hoped to see more seabirds than I saw on my trip as I had heard about the sea eagles that frequented Lofoten but I was told it wasn’t the right time of year to spot them. The only seabirds we saw were black guillemot which could be seen and heard nesting in abundance on window ledges, rooftops in fact anywhere possible that was free!

Jennifer Mostert
24 days ago

A photo opportunity at every corner! The Lofoten Islands have been on my bucket list for years. One day, I’ll get there. And when I do, your article will be my go-to guide. Thanks for the great advice

Reply to  Jennifer Mostert
24 days ago

Glad you enjoyed the Lofoten post

Linda (LD Holland)
25 days ago

We were sad we missed the Loften Islands in Norway when we visited in the summer. I know this is a place with so many attractions that we need to go back and visit. A road trip is the perfect way to see stunning views and explore the small villages. Even if I am too wimpy to enjoy the cold waters. It would be fun to book accommodation in a traditional fishing rorbuer. We definitely need to get this on a travel plan.

Reply to  Linda (LD Holland)
24 days ago

If you can make it back there, I would 100% recommend a visit – it is quite unlike anything else you can imagine.

25 days ago

The landscape is simply stunning! Lofoten Islands is so different to our usual island destinations but one that I would love to explore. Norway has been on my bucket list for ages.

Reply to  Alma
24 days ago

It was my second visit to Norway, the first being on a fjord cruise in the South of Norway, this was even more magical and I feel a third visit might be on the cards in the future to see the Northern Lights!

26 days ago

Hi Angie, Just received your latest news letter, and I must say, you have some great reads on it since the last one. Your latest Norway (Lofoten) post was really nice, the scenery looks amazing (and I do like scenery). How was it coping with 24 hour day light?

Reply to  Donny
24 days ago

It was really exciting to experience light for 24 hours a day and most places we stayed had blackout blinds in the rooms so that guests could get to sleep. It was nice to be able to go for a walk at midnight with the glow of the sunlight!

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