Are you considering visiting the Lofoten Islands but wondering if they’re worth it? After spending a week exploring this remote Norwegian archipelago, I can truthfully answer the question many ask, “Is Lofoten worth visiting in summer?”.
I have wanted to visit the Lofoten Islands in Norway since I learned about them. This stunningly beautiful destination is located in the far northwest of the country and close to the Arctic Circle.
The islands are one of Europe’s hidden treasures and have 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.
In this Lofoten blog guide, I highlight why a visit to the Lofoten islands in summer is a must and, in my opinion, why this Norwegian destination, with its stunning untouched landscape, is somewhere everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.
Is Lofoten Worth Visiting in Summer?
When I told people I had arranged a 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?
For those looking to stay active on holiday, there are numerous summer activities, including hiking, walking, climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, and swimming.
Once you have read this post, it will become pretty clear that Lofoten is worth visiting in the summer!
Visiting Lofoten in Summer
The best time to visit the Lofoten islands and see them in all their glory is in the warmer months.
Even though 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 offer.
I had a fabulous trip to Lofoten in July and experienced mainly warm weather with only one day of showers.
On several 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.
Getting to the Lofoten Islands
These beautiful islands are remote, and you will need a car. Getting to them takes some planning, but they can be reached by air, water and land, so one of those modes of transport will be perfect for you.
You can read exactly how to plan a road trip in my post:
- By Road: Lofoten is a brilliant destination for a road trip, and you could start off as I did in Tromso: hire a car and work your way down to the islands from there.
- By Sea: The car ferry to Lofoten sails from Bodø on the mainland to Moskenes and takes 3-4 hours.
- By Air: Flights to Lofoten from Oslo serve Leknes Airport. Flights into Svolvær Aiport go via Oslo and Bodø.
Best Accommodation in the Lofoten Islands
Accommodations in Lofoten can range from the popular traditional rorbuer (fishing cabin) to luxury hotels and privately run guest houses.
In summer, the most popular places to stay in Lofoten get booked quickly, so book your accommodation in advance and don’t leave it to chance, especially if you want to stay in a particular area.
Nusfjord Arctic Resort is the premier place to stay in Lofoten. It is the most historic fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago and is stunning. I stayed here for three nights in July but had to book up months in advance to secure my cabin. I am glad I did because it was out of this world!
Reine is another popular fishing village, probably the one you are most familiar with. Images of the red and white rorbuers in the summer months are used in promotional material for the islands.
The fishing village of Å is the last place to stay at the foot of the Lofoten islands. Book a stay in a stilted rorbuer by the harbour.
A Guide to the Best Things to Do in Lofoten in Summer
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 many images (like the one below) on your camera or phone!
Relax on a Beautiful Lofoten 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, 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 enjoying yourself on the beach all day and all night if you wish, as the sun never sets!
If you still can’t believe there are such stunning beaches in Lofoten, look at these beaches 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.
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.
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.
Visit Svolvaer – the Capital of Lofoten
Svolvaer is the capital of Lofoten and is a busy port with hotels, restaurants, and numerous boat tours that leave 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.
This gateway to the Lofoten islands appears to be more of a commercial hub for the many great boat trips and holiday cruise liners that use it as a base than the pretty Lofoten location we were expecting.
That said, the hotel we stayed in for one night, Thon Hotel Lofoten, was modern, 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 found good coffee and light bites at BRENT. Of course, many exciting trips leave from Svolvaer, including sea eagle spotting, 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. Undoubtedly, these villages will feature heavily on any Lofoten Islands itinerary.
The Lofoten fishing huts are easily recognisable with 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 village with one initial 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 with its own unique charm and identity.
Make sure to visit the cute artisan shops selling Lofoten island crafts and the cafes and restaurants serving great coffee and local Norwegian dishes; you won’t be disappointed.
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. We had a fabulous time enjoying the activities in the village (including an outdoor hot tub and sauna) while using Nusfjord 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.
Rorbuers are usually situated in the remotest coastal locations in Lofoten and are amongst the world’s most unique places to stay.
Explore the Historic Nusfjord Arctic Resort
Whether or not you stay at Nusfjord Arctic Resort, you can still experience it as a day visitor.
Nestled in a small cove, this historic fishing village is Lofoten’s oldest and best preserved. It is the epitome of everything you could imagine a Norwegian fishing village to be like.
Wander the boardwalk past the red stilted rorbuer and explore the historic buildings. They detail the history of Nusfjord and how the village was a major production hub for cod liver oil.
Climb the small rock in the centre of Nusfjord and gaze out to the horizon. After that, visit the bakery or village shop for coffee and waffles.
The resort’s fine dining restaurant, Karolina, serves delicious local dishes, and Oriana Pizza Cafe is a cosy place to grab a quick bite.
Experience the Midnight Sun
Nothing quite prepares you for the midnight sun, an event occurring in Arctic meridian locations.
The sun never sets between the middle of May and the end of July. This means you will experience 24 hours of daylight. The advantage of the sky never going dark is that you can 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 cool phenomenon that we also experienced in Tromso. The only disadvantage is that if you stay 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!
Visit the Lofotr Viking Museum
No trip to northern Norway would be complete without learning more about the Vikings. Therefore, the Lofotr Viking Museum is a must-visit attraction in Lofoten.
Don’t miss the star of the show at the museum. It’s a reconstruction of the 272-foot-long chieftain’s longhouse, the largest Viking building ever found.
Visitors can also participate in an interactive exhibition and see artefacts discovered during excavations. For a fun experience, sail around the fjord on a reconstructed Viking longship and try some 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!
Take Part In Lofoten’s Outdoor Activities
Lofoten is the number one spot for fantastic Norwegian outdoor experiences. You can cruise the crystal clear waters, kayak, surf, and explore the numerous hiking trails.
There are so many summer activities in Lofoten that you certainly won’t run out of options.
Organised tours are a good way 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 ocean views, this is one of the best golf courses in Norway and attracts Norwegians and international golfers.
Lofoten Links Lodges offers good accommodation for both golfers and road-trippers. I stayed one night as a tourist rather than a golfer and loved the rugged vibe of the area. Hof Beach is nearby with its white sand and shallow waters.
Lofoten Links is glorious in summer, 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!
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. The Lofoten Islands have been one of the world’s top cod exporters for over 1000 years.
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 my stay, so I am unsure where they farm them in Lofoten!
One of the must-visit places for seafood in Lofoten is Anita’s Seafood Shop and Bar in Sakrisoy. Fish burgers and soup are popular tourist choices, with fresh salmon, prawns and lobster plates 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. They grow everywhere and are a stunning colour contrast to the black granite mountains and vivid green landscape.
The fluffy cotton plants are a variety I hadn’t seen before and are quite charming.
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 how about camping for the night on the sunny shores of a Lofoten beach?
You can do just that because wild camping is permitted in Norway! This gives you the freedom of the road and is 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. Respect the environment by taking home rubbish, etc, then sit back and enjoy the scenery – you will be the envy of many other travellers!
Follow the rules for wild camping in Lofoten
Wild camping in Norway is permitted. However, since 2021, a few places have been removed from the wild camping map due to overcrowding and a lack of respect by campers for the land and local people.
You can see these areas marked in red on this Lofoten map. Areas on the map marked in orange indicate where camping is NOT permitted within 150 meters of a residential building. Follow these rules, and you and the local people will be happy.
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