The Lofotens - the Norwegian name Lofoten is singular (Lofot + the definite article -en) - are a chain of hilly islands strung out from northeast to southwest and separated from the mainland by the Vestfjord. The four main islands of Austvågøy, Vestvågøy, Moskenesøy and Flakstadøy, together with a number of medium-sized islands, lie so close together that they appear from a distance to be a single long jagged range of mountains.
Address: Box 210, N-8301 Svolvær, Norway
Lofaten Islands - Access
Boats to Svolvðr from Bodø (six hours), Skutvik (two hours) and Narvik (nine hours). The coastal steamers also call in at the Lofotens. Air services from Bodø, Evenes and Narvik to Svolvðr and other places.
The chief town and administrative center of the Lofotens is Svolvðr, on the south coast of the island of Austvågøy. The town has a normal population of 4,000, which swells during the fishing season to almost 10,000. It is the main fishing port (fish-processing industries), the hub of communications and the principal commercial center of the islands.Tourism in Svolvær has become increasingly popular as tourists use the town as a base for visting the surrounding islands.
Lofotens - Painters
In the "Artists' House" (Kunstnernes Hus) on the island of Svinøy is an exhibition of works by the many painters who have found inspiration in the Lofotens.
Gunnarholm - Gunnar Berg's Grave
On the little island of Gunnarholm, opposite the landing-stage, can be found the grave of the Nordland painter Gunnar Berg (b. Svolvðr 1864, d. Berlin 1894).
An attractive trip is by motorboat (two hours) from Svolvðr to the south end of the island of Hinnøy, in the Vesterålen group, where Digermulkollen offers a rewarding climb (1.25 hours). The boat sails through the southern part of the 8km/5mi-long Raftsund between the Lofotens and the Vesterålen group.
From the Raftsund a narrow rocky opening gives access to the Trollfjord, beyond which can be seen the snow-capped Higravtinder (1,161m/3,908ft) and the jagged Trolltinder (1,045m/3,429ft), rising above the Trollfjordvatn, a 3km/2mi-long mountain lake which is usually frozen over.The most popular day trip to the Trollfjord is by bus from Svolvðr by way of Fiskebøl to Stokmarkness and back by the express boat, which sails via the Trollfjord.
10km/6mi southwest of Svolvðr is Kabelvåg, where there are many of the holiday houses known as rorbuer or sjøhus. Here too there are a Fisheries Museum and the Lofoten Aquarium (fish and other marine fauna of the Vestfjord). The church of Vågan is the largest wooden church north of Trondheim.
At the southwestern tip of Austvågøy, under Vågekalle (942m/3091ft; 3.5 hours' climb), is Festvåg, from which there is a ferry (12 minutes) to the typical little fishing settlement of Henningsvðr, in the middle of a group of little islands where a large fishing fleet gathers in winter.
The chief place on the island of Moskenesøy is the fishing village of Reine (Reine Kro; holiday houses), on the Kirkefjord, a favorite haunt of painters and climbers. 10km/6mi southwest is the little settlement of Å, at the end of the Lofoten road. From the higher ground above the village there is a view of the Moskenstraumen, between the cape of Lofotodden and the island of Mosken - the Maelstrom described by Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe.Reine has been a notable commercial center since 1743 and in modern times a well-known tourist destination, with thousands visiting annually.
From Reine there are boat trips to the little island of Vðrøy to the southwest. At the south end of this island is the Mostadfjell, rising steeply above the abandoned village of Mostad. These hills are a paradise for birds, where more than a million birds - mainly puffins, but also guillemots, cormorants and white-tailed eagles - breed between May and August. The nesting sites can be reached by hiring a boat from the village of Vðrøy (20 minutes).On Vðrøy are the last specimens of a curious breed of six-toed dogs, known as puffin hounds, which are used in catching puffins.
Røst Islands - Bird Crags
There are also boat trips from Reine (five hours), as well as from Bodø (five hours) and Vaerøy (2.25 hours), to the remarkable Røst Islands, almost 100km/62mi from the mainland, with a series of high crags (Vedøy, Storfjell, Stavøy, the Nykan rocks) inhabited by a large colony of seabirds, including some three million puffins as well as rare species like the greater and lesser storm petrel and the fulmar. The crags can be reached by boat from Røstland, and during the season by helicopter from Bodø.
More Lofoten Islands Pictures
Map of Narvik Attractions