In February I went on an adventure to Lofoten – a group of Norwegian islands, located above the polar circle. On the adventure, I brought my 60-year-old mom, to a mom and daughter trip.
Starting in Bodø we drove all the way up Lofoten from Moskness to Andenes and ended the trip in Narvik. The idea was to explore as much outdoors as possible, on the beautiful islands.
The adventure started at the islands, Moskenesøya and Flakstadøya. The islands have a dramatic landscape with beautiful beaches and small fishermen villages. The names of the islands are as difficult to pronounce as it is to recap all the thing to do while being there. So, here’s a quick guide for a couple of things we recommend to do while being there:
Hike to the secret beach, Mulstøa
Just driving at road Fv808 you’ll get an experience beyond the ordinary. Majestic mountains on each side of the road and the Atlantic Ocean in front of you. But if you don’t want to fight over good picture spots with the other tourists, you can drive all the way to Ytresand, hike the 1,7 kilometers hike to the secret beach Mulstøa.
The hike is on the side of a mountain range, which makes it a bit steep on some parts of the hike. The hike isn’t marked well, so you might end up hiking off the trail from time to time, which can be a bit tricky. I would, therefore, not recommend hiking this is you never have hiked before, but it might be easier during the summer though.
You start the hike from the parking lot by Ytresand. From there you follow the trail straight ahead. We had to cross some snow piles which was covering the trail. The underlay was a bit wet so I was glad that I wore my hiking boots. In two weeks Lofoten has gone from 3-meter snow to 5-8 degrees Celcius, so as you can imagine it was a bit wet hike.
It was stunning with the massive cliff rising directly from the sea. And the landscape with yellow grass covert mountains made me think of hiking in Ireland. When we turned around the corner, we saw the small secret beach in front of us. There was a small cabin at the beach, but the locals told us that there almost never was anyone staying there, so we had the beach all to our selves. We had lunch and drank coffee at the beach before heading back again. I would love to come back here when it’s summer and you can swim in the water.
Fredvang is a small village located at the northern part of Moskenesøya. To get there, you have to leave E10, and drive down Fv808 and cross two bridges. Drive all the way down to Ytresand and then you can park at the end of the road and just start to hike up the mountainside.
It’s not a very long hike, but it is a bit steep and the trail is a bit rocky some places.
Eat at the famous Rorbua in Reine
If you go to Lofoten you’ll get to know the word ‘Rorbua’, because these colorful fisherman cabins are a trademark of the Islands. Because of the success of the fishing industry, many foreign fishermen had to come to Lofoten, and they needed places to stay. That was the beginning of the Rorbua’s. Today most of the cabins are being used as accommodation for tourists and there are many to choose between. This is a great way to get some authentic Lofoten culture.
We went to Reine Rorbua on our first day, to have dinner at their restaurant ‘Gammalbua’. The place is from the end of 1700 and it is like going back in time when you enter the charming restaurant. The wood stove made a cozy, homely atmosphere and the maritime interior made me feel like being on board of a ship. And the food was amazing. Local ingredients, well prepared and well tasting. This was absolutely the best meal on the entire trip.
The world’s most northern arctic surf location
For many surf and cold isn’t something that they normally would combine. But in Lofoten tourists flock to the islands to surf above the polar circle. With the wild North Atlantic ocean giving a perfect swell and the breathtaking nature, surfing at Lofoten is a very special experience for any surfer.
Unstad is the most popular place to hit the waves. Unstad has a population of 15, but around 2000-3000 travelers visit the beautiful beach – many of them with a surfboard. With ‘everyman’s right’ you can camp close to the beach and if you are lucky you get to see the northern light – maybe while surfing. And with the midnight sun during summer, you can even surf in the middle of the night.
Unstad Arctic Surf offers courses and rental of boards. You can also stay at the surf resort, where they offer different possibilities for accommodation. Definitely a recommendation to check them out if you want to try arctic surfing: www.unstadarcticsurf.com
SKREI – the gold of Lofoten
You can’t help noticing the cods hanging from racks all over Lofoten. Mostly because you can’t help smell them, from you enter the ferry from Bodø. So what is the deal with the hanging cods?
The cods are the gold of Lofoten. The temperature of the Gulf stream makes the water around Lofoten perfect for the Norwegian Arctic cod to spawn. For centuries, fishing has been the main source of income for the Lofoten Islands and it has been the main food since the Vikings. Today Lofoten still has the riches cod-fishing each winter and the hanging cods at every flat place in Lofoten are the proof. The Norwegians call this cod a ‘Skrei’.
The cod drys for around 16 weeks, based on optimal weather and wind conditions until it becomes a stockfish. We first noticed that all the cod’s had their head removed and where hanging separately from the rest on racks. We were wondering what this was about and asked a local fisherman. He told us that many of the heads are being dried and grind and used as protein powder for the food in Nigeria.
There are so many things to see while driving around on these beautiful islands. This was a few things that I wanted to point out. Maybe you know some other things and areas that are worth a visit?