Lofoten Islands

Adventure in Lofoten

Norwegians say that the Lofoten Islands must be visited at least once in a lifetime, and if the inhabitants of a country with some of the world’s most spectacular natural scenery say so, there must be a good reason!

We went to this northerly archipelago last winter in search of adventure in the form of free riding, kayaking, and surfing. Below are the results, as well as some tips on how you can enjoy an ultimate winter adventure in Norway. Welcome to the Lofoten Islands.

Winter adventures

When you fly in by airplane, the Lofoten Islands appear below like a sea of mountains. Now, season those mountains with the dominant force of winter and spring in these northern latitudes: snow. Three elements – sea, snow and mountains – merge almost into one in this iconic Norwegian destination. When viewed in the magical light of dawn or dusk, it can provoke in the unaccustomed eyes an enormous sense of fascination. Perhaps that’s why the famous Lonely Planet guide defines Lofoten as “the most beautiful archipelago in the world”.

It’s precisely this mix of elements that allows Lofoten to offer several unusual combinations of activities: sailing and freeriding, ski touring and surfing, or kayaking in almost polar conditions (the archipelago is located above the Arctic Circle). So, get your skis, kayaks and surfboards ready as we invite you to join us on our little winter adventure in Lofoten.


Surfing in polar conditions

Surfing in polar conditions? Are you crazy? Well, believe it or not, surfing isn’t limited by temperature. With good wetsuits — and without forgetting your hood, gloves and booties – it’s possible to enjoy riding the waves even in polar environments. And in Norway, one of the best places to practice surfing is Unstad, which is blessed with frequent (and excellent) waves.

Anyone who dares to break the ice and paddle to the peak will surely never forget the feeling of surfing with views of snow-capped mountains. There may even be snow on the beach itself! What you won’t find is crowds. On the contrary, there are just some extremely friendly locals who are happy to receive surfers “from the outside”. Anyone up for it?


Skiing with sea view

Where the sea ends, the mountains begin, while at the same level of the sea, the snow makes an appearance. For the ski mountaineer or free rider, this fact quite literally opens up a sea of possibilities. One of the most striking options is to stay on a sailboat, which can access a new area you want to explore each morning. Thus, the next thing after mooring would be to put on the climbing skins and begin the ascent to the desired peak. Once the descent is done, or the day is over, you simply return to the sailboat to have dinner and sleep after having decided the next mooring point.

The possibilities are virtually endless because, no matter where you look, the mountains are omnipresent. Although their heights do not usually exceed a thousand meters (the highest mountain in the area is Higravstinden at 1,161 m) don’t forget the important fact that when approached from sea level, their slopes offer considerable challenges. Of course, do not forget your avalanche rescue kit, shovel and probe!


Fjords of astounding beauty

Sea kayaking is one of the most beautiful ways to intensely enjoy the landscapes of Lofoten. It’s also the perfect vehicle to discover hidden corners and enjoy an amazing outdoor experience. Obviously, the best time of the year for this is summer. However, winter and spring can also be an adventurous time for anyone willing to stoically endure the humidity and low temperatures, as well as equip themselves in the best possible way to stay warm and comfortable. The irregular coastlines of the archipelago make possible some vast crossings, with the option of entering solitary channels and fjords of astounding beauty.

Less experienced paddlers can enjoy a planned half-day or full-day activity without straying too far from the coast. The most experienced paddlers will certainly not be able to give up the chance to link several days of crossings, camping in the rugged wilds of the Lofoten coast. Oh, and don’t miss the chance to visit the unmissable Trollfjord.


Borsen Spiseri

The sea has been the larder that has fed the people of Lofoten since time immemorial. This includes herring, crustaceans, salmon, whale and, above all, cod.

We strongly recommend that any visitor to Lofoten treat themselves to lunch or dinner at the Borsen Spiseri restaurant, located on the old pier in Svolvaer. It is one of Lofoten’s most renowned fish restaurants, with dried cod as its house specialty.


Enjoy the northern lights

The aurora borealis is one of the most beautiful and impressive natural phenomena that anyone can experience. These so-called “northern lights” occur when solar activity is more intense than normal, giving rise to large electrical discharges that light up when colliding with the Earth’s magnetosphere, producing a phenomenon in which the sky is illuminated with strange and twisted shapes of different intensity and color.

It can only be observed in the night sky of areas like Lofoten located around the magnetic poles.

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