The Lofoten Islands are amazing in my humble opinion. Driving through these islands (with epic bridges connecting them all together) is a sensational feast for the eyes.
I remember the first time I visited the Lofoten Islands. My eyes were literally stuck to the car window at every moment and at every turn. There was so much staggering beauty to see.
But it’s when you make the effort to complete one of the many great hikes in the Lofoten Islands that you really get to experience the true beauty of this region of Norway. The breathtaking views are endless.
My name is Niels Tichelaar. I was born in Amsterdam and raised in a small town called Hoorn which is a half an hour drive from our capital. Traveling abroad was something I wanted to do since my early teenage years, at the beginning of the 90’s.
As a big soccer fan, especially of the Brazilian national team (Romario and Bebeto!), it became my big wish to go to Brazil one day. Years were passing by and I didn’t let it happen until 2014. I finally decided to overcome all negative thoughts and went solo to Brazil for two months.
It was the best decision I ever made! After that trip I decided to travel as much as possible. In 2017, I went to the Lofoten Islands for the first time and wow – what an experience it was!
My passion for photography began when one day I was shopping in a massive Scandinavian furniture shop. I bumped into a big photo print of the canals of Amsterdam. Instead of buying it, I thought it could be fun to buy a camera instead to create my own wall decoration.
While practicing photography in nature and in cities, I experienced all the joy that photography brings. I’ve had a love for photography ever since. In 2016, I started my Instagram page to share my travel photos: @niels_tichelaar_photography.
My Favourite Place in the Lofoten Islands: Horseid Beach
One of the most memorable places I have visited in the Lofoten Islands is Horseid Beach. The two hour hiking trail to this beach starts at a point that can only be reached by boat.
Only two other people took this boat when I visited. They decided to head off in another direction, so I ended up walking the trail solo to this completely abandoned beach.
The beach is situated between huge smooth u-shaped rock formations. It’s a beach down a valley almost. To me, it was the most unreal kind of landscape. I had never seen something like this before. Not even on TV.
In my opinion, Horseid Beach is the most breathtaking place in the Lofoten Islands. I still don’t know why such a beautiful place doesn’t attract many people. But I felt grateful to be there completely alone. My thoughts about nature are always: the less people, the better!
Best Things To Do in the Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands are scattered across the waters of the Norwegian Sea, high above the Arctic Circle. They are famous for their rugged and dramatic mountains, epic beaches, quaint little towns and dazzling natural phenomena such as the awe-inspiring northern lights and midnight sun.
Below I have outlined my top recommended experiences for first time visitors to the region.
Discover the Incredible Beauty of Horseid Beach
This narrow stretch of beach is wedged between high mountain walls on the northern coast of Moskenesøy. The isolation and wild beauty of Horseid Beach makes it one of the most jaw-dropping destinations in Scandinavia. Take the ferry from Reine to Kjerkfjorden to reach the starting point of the trail to this beautiful situated beach.
Walk up the Epic Ryten Mountain in the Lofoten Islands
Either stroll up on a leisurely afternoon hike or camp at the summit to witness a spectacle of nature: a sunrise over Kvalvika Beach. Standing on the beach, Ryten Mountain appears as a massive cliff rising to a height of 543 metres above sea level.
Chill on the Beautiful Ramberg Beach
On the north side of Flakstad you will discover the white sands and sparkling coloured water of Ramberg Beach. It almost has a tropical island vibe to it – which is insane because it’s located in Norway!
In the summer months you can take a refreshing swim here. Although the waters are still a bit chilly due to the Gulf Stream. You can also enjoy the midnight sun here in the summer months when the sun never sets!
Hike to the Top of Mount Mannen in the Lofoten Islands
If you hike to the top of Mount Mannen you will be offered a beautiful view of Haukland Beach and the turquoise sea water below. The azure waters of Haukland, its white sands and bright green fields nearby resembles something out of a South Pacific island paradise.
Although Mannen is a small peak, the hike is a wonderful outdoor adventure to enjoy in the Lofotens.
Summit the Iconic Reinebringen Peak
Reinebringen is a relatively easy but crowded hike. Yes it’s super touristy but the view on top of the 448 metre peak is worth it. It’s one of the most popular and iconic views in the Lofoten Islands. You have probably seen this photo a million times on the Internet and social media. In summer, the hike is extremely busy but does die down a bit during the winter months.
Take Photos at Hamnoy Bridge Viewpoint
From the Hamnoy Bridge you have the classic view of the cute little red cabins which you have probably seen on postcards of Norway. It’s a popular photography spot and the best thing is that you don’t need hours of hiking to get there. The red cabins are called Rorbu houses and are located in the Hamnoy fishing village in Moskenes Municipality.
Experience the Aurora Borealis in the Lofoten Islands
Better known as the northern lights, the spectacular Aurora Borealis season starts around October and finishes in March.
There are a couple of aurora prediction apps like “My Aurora Forecast & Alerts” which work quite well. Seeing the dazzling green lights shimmer in the sky is an experience unlike anything else in the world. It’s something that should be on every travellers bucket-list.
Fly a Drone Above Henningsvær Stadium
This recommendation is especially for drone + camera owners. You have probably seen online the type of amazing shots you can take from this unique soccer field at Henningsvær. The stadium is located on a tiny islet surrounded by dramatic mountains, jagged peaks and the open sea.
Visit Senja Island for more Epic Scenery
Senja is not located in the Lofoten Islands but if you are here already then I’m sure you can hire a car and visit the beautiful Senja with its epic mountain landscapes. The island is situated in Troms og Finnmark county. It’s the second largest island in Norway and is famous for its wild mountainous outer side which faces the Atlantic.
Allemannsretten: Freedom to Roam in Norway
For accommodation in the Lofoten Islands there are a variety of choices you can make. Expensive or less expensive hotels, cheap hostels or camping. You can find it all in Lofoten. In general, Norway is an expensive country for accommodation.
One of the great, special and free things about Norway is the “allemannsretten“. It means something like “every man’s right to roam” and it gives the public the right to access certain public or privately owned land, lakes and rivers for recreation. This also applies to Lofoten.
In short, it means you can camp almost anywhere in nature as long as you don’t harm the environment. Stay for a few days only and keep a distance of at least 150 meters from private buildings and private land where you don’t have permission to stay. Allemannsretten is such an adventurous feeling of freedom and it gives you the chance to save some money too.
The Best Time of Year to Visit the Lofoten Islands
I have been to the Lofoten Islands twice now, both times in September. So I honestly cannot compare it to other months. But I strongly believe it’s a very good month to go there.
The summer tourism peak is over and the chance of witnessing the northern lights is not bad at all. Your chance of seeing the lights is getting better and better with each day that passes while the temperatures are still pleasant, between 10-20 degrees during the daytime.
Tips for your Visit to the Lofoten Islands
If you ever make the great decision to visit the Lofoten Islands my main recommendation is go hiking. From the road you can see the beauty of these islands but having different and higher points of view really brings nature to another level. Hiking in beautiful quiet environments can bring you so many wonderful moments that you will cherish forever.
You can Google hikes to find in the Lofoten Islands. I used the website www.rando-lofoten.net when I was preparing for these trips. The site has fantastic info on hiking in Lofoten. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your visit to the amazing Lofoten Islands.