Lofoten: Ultimate Adventure Destination
Hike, Bike, Paddle, and Ride Through This Stunning Region
Felicity—a 20-something travel lover—has teamed up with her friends from around the world to provide readers with local, insider knowledge of today’s most awe-inspiring destinations. Through writing, photography, and video, they’ll share the best tricks and tips for experiencing a place authentically and getting off the beaten path.
It’s rare for me to visit a country and think, “I must get back here ASAP.” Even if I’ve completely fallen in love with it, I can’t help but think about the several (dozen) other spots on my Bucket List. My internal voice constantly reminds me of all the countries in the world I haven’t seen, urging me on to places unknown. There’s one major exception to this personal (and highly illogical) ‘rule’, however: Norway.
The first (and only) time I visited this northern eden was several years ago, and I was instantly smitten; there were so many reasons to fall in love. It was easy to get around. The people were tall, friendly, and more than happy to speak with me in English. The architecture ranged from modern to downright whimsical, including buildings with grass sprouting from their pitched roofs and others like giant sculptures.
Out of everything, however, the feature that hooked me most quickly was the landscape. Norway’s lakes, fjords, mountains, and meadows were impossibly beautiful, and felt like the closest I’d ever been to magic. Yes, I am aware that sounds dramatic! I don’t care.
Norway is an adventure-lover’s dream, and its people lead by example. In every season—regardless of the weather—you’ll find them out exploring the wondrous landscapes that make up their country. And you should, too! Specifically in the Lofoten Islands, where I plan to head upon my impending return.
Why? Because not only is it a spectacular place to run/bike/paddle around, but it’s also in the process of being certified as a Sustainable Destination, meaning they’re working to systematically reduce the negative effects of tourism on the area. Clean and green is the way I love to travel, so here’s what’s awaiting us in this outdoor paradise!
Stay in Svolvær
Don’t worry about Lofoten’s unofficial capital feeling too urban—it may be the largest town around, but it’s still less than 5000 people. Svolvær is the perfect jumping off point for exploring this region, and is very much at the center of the activities here. I plan on making this my home base.
Go Kayaking in The Evening
Because it sits north of the Arctic Circle, Lofoten enjoys 24 hours of daylight (or close to it) during the summer months. So! Much! Sun! As long as my room has blackout blinds, I can’t think of anything better. Apparently, all that sun makes for serene kayaking opportunities in the evening, when the archipelago waters settle into a glassy calm. You can paddle around the many small islands, bays, and beaches in the area, and even stop for a picnic. Sounds sublime.
Bike Through The Mountains
Rising out of all that lovely water are mountains and trails that were made for adventuring. This is the perfect activity for seeing the diversity of this landscape—it’ll show off the region’s mountains, dramatic fjords, white sandy beaches, misty waterfalls, and a landscape covered in green heather. I don’t have much mountain biking experience, but guides can pick routes suitable for every skill level, so it’s a sport for everyone.
Hiking and Horseback Riding
Once I’m ready to ditch the mountain bike for legs other than my own, I plan to get on a horse! Tours often start from the north side of Gimsoy Island, and follow an arctic beach. Horseback riding is one of my favorite ways to explore a landscape while I’m traveling, but up until now I’ve only ever galloped down tropical beaches. As for hiking, there seem to be endless opportunities in the Lofoten Islands; they range from steep scrambles rewarded with unparalleled vistas, to more easy-going stretches along the coastline. For several reasons, including the views and extensive trail options, I’ve got my eye on Mt. Hoven.
When I need a little break from these treks, there are all kinds of other sites to keep me busy. These include the village of Henningsvær, with its distinctive soccer pitch smacked right in the middle of a rocky outcrop, and the distinctive architecture of the Lofoten Islands Cathedral. There’s also a Viking Museum—did you know this region is home to the world’s biggest Viking Age longhouse ever to be excavated?
So there you have it: my Lofoten wishlist for the next time I’m in spectacular Norway. Perhaps I’ll see you there!