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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Norway > Lofoten Cottages: an Arctic Island Discovery

Lofoten Cottages: an Arctic Island Discovery

Lofoten Islands – awe-inspiring landscapes

With the freedom a hire car brings, you can explore as much of the archipelago and its astonishing scenery as you wish.

Walking

We provide notes for seven routes so that you can enjoy the best of the archipelago's walking, but please be aware that the wild and rugged nature of the terrain means that some of the walks are quite remote and challenging. Most of the walks are linear, requiring you to retrace your steps to your car, a fact which means that you can shorten most routes if you so wish.

• ABOVE MORTSUND (5-10km, 2-3hrs)

Starting from the door of your accommodation, this route rises to the panoramic ridge above Mortsund, along which you can walk as far as you like before retracing your steps.

• EGGUM TO UNSTAD (13km, 5hrs)

As well as affording views of the archipelago’s highest mountain, this walk around the headland from Eggum is great for wildlife-spotting – it is relatively common to see seals playing in the surf, white-tailed sea eagles soaring over the waves, and numerous red-billed oystercatchers on the rocks. You return to Eggum along the same path. As there is nothing north of Eggum until the North Pole, it makes an excellent place from which to view the Midnight Sun if you are travelling between early June and mid-July.

• TJØNNDALEN (18km, 4hrs)

Paths lead up through the remote Tjørndal Valley to a viewpoint offering vistas of Vestvågøy's north and south coasts, then crosses high moorland before descending into the neighbouring valley.

• JUSTADTIND (12.5km, 5.5hrs)

For a high-level walk, choose to ascend stony paths to the summit of Justadtind – one of the highest points on Vestvågøy which affords a memorable 360-degree view of the island. The scenery through which you walk is reminiscent of Britain's Lake District.

• NESLAND TO NUSFJORD (12km, 4.5hrs)

This moderate walk takes you from Nesland, a tiny fishing hamlet, to the larger fishing village of Nusfjord. Requiring a head for heights, the path follows the coastline beneath impressive mountains with expansive views east to the mainland and south along the chain to the village of Å.

• KVALVIKA BAY (5km, 2.5hrs)

Although relatively short, this is an unmissable walk which leads uphill through heather to a rocky pass before descending to the expansive white sands and towering cliffs of deserted Kvalvika Bay. Truly awe-inspiring.

• MOUNT MUNKEBU (11km, 5.5hrs)

We also highly recommend this walk to Mount Munkebu. Your path ascends gently through beech woods to the first of several lakes. You then rise more steeply, alongside a waterfall and above a fjord, before crossing grassland to reach Mount Munkebu. On a clear day, you can see as far as Bodø on the mainland from here, as well as the island's various lakes and fjords.

Other activities

For a change from walking, you can hire rowing boats to experience the sea at close quarters, and bicycles are also available to hire from Mortsund harbour, just 100 metres away from the cottages.

Driving tour

We thoroughly recommend taking a driving tour (for which we provide directions) across the islands to gain a fuller perspective on the Lofotens and their landscapes. The spectacular E10 (a designated National Tourist Route) is a joy to follow as it winds its way around wide sweeping bays, over moorland passes beneath jagged peaks, and along the shores of Flakstadøya and Moskenesøya. The various islands of the archipelago are linked by tunnels or elegant arched bridges, while the nature of the scenery at every bend in the road will make you want to take your time. Head south to visit the interesting fishing museum and bakery in Å, stopping in Reine for a boat trip and to explore the Norwegian Whalers’ Museum on the way back; or north to the Loftr Viking Museum at Borg, for a sail on the lake in a replica viking longship.

Museums

The archipelago boasts a surprising range of fascinating museums which include the Lofoten Aquarium; the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum in Å, where much of the village has been turned into a living museum showing what life was like for itinerant fishermen in the 19th century; the Lofoten Regional Museum, which looks at life on the islands from the Middle Ages to the 19th century; the Espolin Gallery, home to over 100 works by Kaare Espolin Johnson, who captured the Lofotens so beautifully on canvas; and the Viking Museum, the focal point of which is a reconstruction of the Viking chieftain’s house that was found on the archipelago (pay locally in all cases).

Add a stay in Oslo

To extend your holiday, why not add a couple of nights in Oslo – where we offer a centrally located hotel – if you are flying via Norway's cosmopolitan capital?

To find out more or plan your trip

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At home with the Vikings
To experience what life was like for island communities in the past, visit the remarkable Viking Museum at Borg. Read more >
See our blog
To see more fabulous photos from the Lofotens Islands, take a look at our blog >