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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Norway > A Journey to Å

A Journey to Å

Lofoten Islands - scenery unequalled in Europe
Starting point:

You begin with a boat journey from Bodø to the Lofoten Islands (you may choose to add a night in Bodø, depending on flight arrival times – see price panel for details).

The boat journey from Bodø to Svolvær is a highlight in itself, with breathtaking views of the Lofoten ‘wall’, looming ever-larger as you approach. (Read a personal view of the boat ride here.) Svolvær, where you spend your first two nights at the Svinøya Rorbuer, is the small capital of the Lofoten Islands and the ideal introduction to the region – the cod fishing on which Lofoten’s economy was founded, the pivotal role the islands played in WWII, and also the artistic influence of the unique light and landscape which has produced many artists of note.

Day 1

Your hire car will be delivered in the morning, so should the weather be inclement you can use it to explore, otherwise you have a choice of walks for your day here:

• SVOLVÆR WALKING TOUR: 10km, 3hrs

Start from your door on a walking tour of Svolvær town and of Svinøya, the main island forming part of Svolvær harbour.

• TJELDBERGTINDEN: 10-16km, 3-6hrs (grades 2 & 3)

A short bus ride to nearby Vågan church, known as the ‘Lofoten Cathedral’, brings you to the start of this fairly challenging walk, crossing moorland and lakeside before the option to climb the twin-peaked summit of Tjeldbergtind for exceptional views along the Lofoten 'wall', over the sea towards the mainland, and of Svolvær itself.

Day 2

Enjoy a leisurely drive (1h20) to the island of Vestvågøy, linked by a high arched bridge, stopping en route for the Lofoten Museum – an old hamlet, with manor house, fishing huts and boat houses, as well as a gallery and an aquarium. Relax over lunch at the pretty harbour of Henningsvær, a fishing village-turned artist’s colony, with its bustling cafés and restaurants.

• BRENNA TO NEDRENESET: 12km, 3hrs (grade 2)

Alternatively, explore the north coast from Brenna on an easy walk, which winds between rocky coastline and woodland. This quiet side of the island is excellent for wildlife spotting – you may see white-tailed sea eagles, cormorants and seals from one of several white-sand beaches along the way to Nedreneset.

However you spend your day, the roads are pleasant to drive and the scenery outstanding as you make your way to Mortsund, where you stay in the Statles Rorbusenter for three nights.

Days 3 & 4

We suggest a choice of three walks for your time in Mortsund, all easily accessed by car:

• SLETTHEIA: 8.5km, 3hrs (grade 2)

This relatively easy walk takes you to a dramatic headland for outstanding views in return for little effort. A beautiful woodland start gives way to moorland, climbing a long whaleback of open country and returning by the same route.

• UTAKLEIV: 8-10.5km, 3.5hrs (grades 2 & 3)

A relaxed circuit takes you from the white-sand beach by Haukland, over a small pass, following an ancient fisherman’s way to the hamlet and beach of Utakleiv. From the pass an optional steep ascent of ‘Mannen’ gives extraordinary views for keen peak-baggers. The return from Utakleiv is a level, traffic-free track around the headland of Veggen, with good birdlife between the coast and the nearby island of Tåa.

• JUSTADTINDEN: 13km, 5hrs (grade 3)

For a high-level walk, choose to ascend the summit of Justadtind – one of the highest points on Vestvågøy which affords a memorable 360-degree panorama of the island. The majority of the walk is a steady ascent over stony paths, only becoming steeper and more strenuous as you make the final ascent to the summit. The rewards, in fine weather, are well worth the effort.

If you prefer not to walk, then you can hire bikes or a rowing boat from Mortsund; or visit the open-air Viking Museum at Borge, the focal point of which is a reconstruction of the vast Viking chieftain’s house that was found here – in the shape of an 83-metre-long upturned hull.

Day 5

From Mortsund, you drive west through the Nappstraum Tunnel to Moskenes, the last large island, taking the winding coastal road to the village of Reine. If you like, you can stop en route for a walk as there is plenty of time.

• NESLAND TO NUSFJORD: 10.5km, 5hrs (grade 2-3)

This charming walk takes you from Nesland, a tiny fishing hamlet, to the larger fishing village of Nusfjord, which is widely considered to be the best-preserved fishing village in the whole of Norway and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The path follows rugged coastline over diverse terrain, with short challenging sections across rock, with chains and a ladder to assist you. To the east you can see mainland Norway, while to the south-west you can see all the way down to the tip of the Lofoten archipelago. Orca (killer whales) have been spotted off the coast here but you are more likely to see seals in one of the rocky coves.

• VIKTEN TO HORNESET LIGHTHOUSE: 7km, 2.5hrs (grade 2)

Just the drive to Vikten and its beautiful glass studio and gallery is worth the journey. The walk beyond follows the beach and then a rocky coastal path, below a huge cliff face rising over 500 metres above you. The path climbs in the final metres to a lighthouse on the headland of Horneset before returning the same way.

In Reine, you stay in the Reine Rorbuer for two nights.

Day 6

We provide notes for four varied walks while at Reine – two beach trips (one of which by boat), one into the mountains and one to a northern headland for far-reaching views.

• KVALVIKA BEACH: 14km, 6hrs (grade 3)

A visit to the perfect sands of Kvalvika has become one of Lofoten’s most popular walks and rightly so. Starting from Fredvang, a short walk along the shores of the Torsfjord is followed by the main route over to the beach. From there, a steep climb leads to the lake of Forsvatnet, with the option to continue up to the peak of Ryten which towers over 500m above the bay, for classic Lofoten views. From the lake an undulating, pretty mountain path descends to traverse coastal fields of reeds and grasses to reach Fredvang.

• MUNKEBU: 10km, 5hrs (grade 3)

One of Lofoten’s classics, the relatively demanding walk to the Munkebu hut ascends through beech woods to the first of several lakes before climbing more steeply, in a series of steps alongside waterfalls and above further lakes. Two smooth rock sections involve chains fixed across the slabs but the majority of the walk is on ‘normal’ mountain path, though the views are anything but. The final section crosses high mountain terrain to reach the unmanned hut beneath the summit of Munken. You return by the same path.

• BUNES BAY: 6km, 1.5hrs (grade 2)

The Post Boat from Reine across Reinefjorden to the small outpost of Vindstad makes an excellent start to this leisurely walk over a low pass to the deep sandy expanse of Bunes Bay. Enjoy a stroll along the shore and a picnic on the beach and still have time to explore the fjord near Vindstad before returning by boat. Check boat times before setting out and get to the jetty early to ensure a place; you pay locally. If there are too many people for the return trip, the boat makes a second run – you won’t get left behind!

• YTTERSAND: 5.5km, 2hrs (grade 2)

This is a perfect late walk for views north of the evening sun. The brisk climb follows good paths that zig-zag up the steep hillside to reach the long, rolling headland of Roren. A path skirts the clifftop for tremendous views east, though a parallel path can be followed away from the edge, crossing to the hilltop of Litleberget before returning the same way.

You should also try to fit in a visit to Å, the last village on the island of Moskenes, which is preserved as a fascinating open-air museum and vividly paints a picture of life on the islands. Don’t miss the guided tour, available in English, of an old rorbu which will leave you in no doubt about just how tough life was in 19th-century Lofoten for visiting fisherman.

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?

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In the footsteps of Vikings
To truly get a feel for life on these remarkable islands, visit the home of a Viking Chieftain...  Read more >