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Sea kayaking, traditional fishing cabins, the northern lights, and rugged landscapes, all in the Lofoten Islands.

Bare-rock mountains, jagged coastlines, blue-black fjords, and an ancient fishing tradition all combine to make this stony archipelago one of the best places to experience Norway’s most primal landscapes as well as its seafaring culture.

Reine, Lofoten IslandsLife here revolves around the traditional villages of red-and-white fishing cabins known as rorbuer. Driving along the craggy string of islands, you’ll see plenty of still-active fishing communities with wooden racks that are festooned with stockfish drying in the sun. Additionally, many of the villages have been wholly converted to on-the-water stays where you can wake up to the sounds of seabirds and views of the Norwegian Sea.

Though it’s well inside the Arctic Circle, the archipelago's (relatively) mild climate makes it a great destination for outdoor adventures year-round. In the summer, you can go hiking, kayaking, and take boat safaris to search for the wide-winged sea eagles that thrive here. Visit during the winter months to enjoy snowshoeing, sea kayaking, and exceptional northern lights viewing.

Where to stay on the Lofoten Islands

Every winter, huge schools of cod migrate to the waters off the archipelago. While fishermen have flocked here to reap this bounty for millennia, there was a particular boom in cod fishing during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. During that time, many of the islands were populated with rorbuer villages.

Today, they’re still used for fishing in many parts of the archipelago. However, many more have been converted into summery stays for mainland Norwegians and visitors alike, who flock here to soak up the long Arctic summers and relax amid the remarkable landscapes.

Summer and outdoor activities

Reine, Lofoten IslandsFrom May to September, the long Arctic summer days stetch out, giving you plenty of time to explore amid the rugged landscapes. And, if you visit between late-May and mid-July, you’ll get to see the phenomenon of the midnight sun, a stretch of about 70 days when the sun never sets.

Take to the water on a guided kayaking trip or a sea safari to search out the many species that thrive here, including the enormous sea eagle. Or you could try your hand at the region’s oldest pastime with a fishing tour, followed by a gourmet dinner featuring your catch of the day. On land, you can take a guided hike to explore the mountains up close.

Winter and the northern lights

Not only are the Lofoten Islands far from any light pollution, they’re also tucked between the 67th and 68th latitudes, the so-called ‘aurora oval’. As a result, a stay here offers an excellent chance of seeing the northern lights.

Timing is always a matter of luck, of course, but you can improve your chances by visiting during the longer nights between the autumn and spring equinoxes — September to March.

I love the Lofoten Archipelago in the summer, when the days seem to stretch out forever and the dark fjords glitter the midnight sun. It's a great option for anyone who enjoys being outside, especially on the water.

Aislyn, Norway specialist

Best time to visit the Lofoten Islands

For outdoor adventures, you’ll have the best weather from May to September. You’ll likely have some rain, but it’s intermingled with plenty of sunshine thanks to the long days, especially from late May until mid-July, when the sun shines 24 hours a day.

If you want to see the northern lights, plan to visit between September and March, when the weather is wintry, and the nights are longer.

Speak to someone
who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Aislyn

Start planning your tailor-made trip to the Lofoten Islands by contacting one of our Norway specialists

Suggested itinerary featuring the Lofoten Islands

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in the Lofoten Islands, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of the Lofoten Islands

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near the Lofoten Islands

    Accommodation choices for the Lofoten Islands

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit the Lofoten Islands. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.