This trip from Høvringen consists of short daily stages full of history in a fantastic landscape. The starting point is Bodø, with frequent flights and plenty of car hire options. History buffs will therefore have plenty of time to explore the local history, taste traditional food and stay overnight at distinctive locations.
Day 1: Arrival in Bodø
The centre of Bodø is characterised by revival architecture, such as the town hall and Bodø Cathedral as well as the innovative Stormen cultural centre with its library. The Norwegian Aviation Museum (Norsk Luftfartsmuseum) explains aviation history in relation to both the country as a whole and Bodø. The northern Norwegian city has a wide range of shops, eateries and night-life.
There are two excursions from Bodø city centre that simply must be done.
- Kjerringøy is the queen of the Northern Norwegian trading posts from the 1800s. Offering well-preserved interiors and excellent tours, a good way to prepare can be to read Hamsun's "Benoni and Rosa". Read more.
- Saltstraumen is the world's strongest tidal current. The best way to experience it is to join an organized RiB trip. Check with the tourist office for the tide tables to see when the current is at its strongest. Read more.
Must taste: Møsbrømlefse; The "Rolls Royce" of griddle cakes. Chocolate from Craig Alibone. Cheese from Kjerringøy. There are also plenty of good restaurants.
Accommodation: Bodø has plenty of hotels
Day 2: The Extremes of Lofoten
The four-hour ferry ride from Bodø to Moskenes offers a view of the 100-km (62 miles) long and 1000-metre (3280 feet) high Lofotveggen. Winter cod spawn in the waters below during the winter in the world's largest cod fishery, the Lofoten fishery. The day is devoted to the colourful, well-preserved fishing villages beneath the impressive peaks at the extremes of Lofoten. It is recommended to allow plenty of time to stop at the viewpoints and for walking around the fishing villages.
- The Norwegian Fishing Village Museum (Norsk Fiskeværmuseum) in Å presents a broad picture of coastal culture from the owner of the fishing village to the common man as well as including boats and equipment. There are guided tours in the summer. Read more.
- The Lofoten Stockfish Museum (Lofoten Tørrfiskmuseum) in Å explains all aspects of our oldest export product; the guided tours are fascinating! Read more.
- Nusfjord is a well-preserved old fishing village, complete with a main house, shop and fishing shacks, all around a small natural harbour under steep cliffs. Read more.
Accommodation: The traditional fishing shacks where the fishermen lived during the era of the Lofoten fishery are today often refurbished and equipped with all modern conveniences. These are available in various price categories.
Must taste: Fish! Several good restaurants offer seasonal fish specialities. The fresh cinnamon rolls at the Fishing Village Museum are absolutely irresistible.
Day 3: Lofoten from east to west
Today we explore Lofoten along the National Tourist Route (Nasjonal Turistvei). As always, it is worth taking some detours to enjoy some natural beauty such as Rambergstranda beach and Eggum.
- Lofotr Viking Museum (Vikinghuset Lofotr) at Borg. Following the excavation of a chiefdom from the Iron Age/Viking Age, the main house was reconstructed and is an impressive 80 metres (262 feet) long. Read more.
- "The Shower Cabinet" ("Dusjkabinettet"); a sculpture that is part of the art project "Artscape Nordland" ("Skulpturlandskap Nordland"). Read more.
- Henningsvær is a traditional fishing village in which the harbour is the main street. Lofotens Hus gallery shows how painters discovered Lofoten in the 1800s, while KaviarFactory (Kaviarfabrikken) is an exhibition of contemporary art. Set aside plenty of time to sniff around. Read more.
- Lofoten Cathedral, built in 1898, towers over Kabelvåg, the former centre of Lofoten. Seating for 1200 people makes it Northern Norway's largest church; it is full during the Lofoten fishery. Read more.
- Lofoten Museum (Lofotmuseet) in Storvågan has a broad representation of the history of Lofoten in the old halls of an elegant house that formerly was the home of the owner of the fishing village. Read more.
Must taste: There is a large selection of restaurants and you can choose between the rustic and the somewhat more elegant. Stockfish and boknafisk prepared in new or traditional ways are among the specialities to look out for. Smoked cod roe and Lofoten caviar are also recommended, as well as cheese from Aaland farm and Lofoten cheese factory.
Accommodation: There are many fishermen's cottages here too, but there's also a variety of conventional hotels in Henningsvær/Kabelvåg/Svolvær.
Day 4: From Lofoten to Hamarøy
We leave Lofoten via the LOFAST road through beautiful but very sparsely populated regions. There is a ferry from Lødingen to Bognes on Hamarøya, from which we explore beautiful Hamarøy in the afternoon.
- Before leaving Svolvær, a visit to the War Museum (Krigsmuseet) is recommended, in which an impressive collection depicts the war in Lofoten, including a painting of Adolf Hitler that hid a secret... Read more.
- At Leiknes, a minor detour from the ferry port at Bognes, there is a collection of rock carvings that are among the oldest in Norway. They are best seen in the evening light. Readmore.
- The Hamsun Centre (Hamsunsenteret) is something unique; a building that interprets literature where you can take part in a humorous, and very different tour. You can also visit Hamsun's childhood home next door. Read more.
- Arran is a Lule Sami cultural centre, and has a small exhibition about this special Sami group with their own Sami language. Read more.
Must taste: The food offered at Kafe Knut in the Hamsun Centre includes traditional food inspired by "Markens Grøde". Tranøy lighthouse and Dorotea's House are also among the most distinctive places to eat.
Accommodation: Several distinctive places to spend the night such as Tranøy lighthouse and Edvarda's House.
Day 5: From Steigen to Bodø
The day is devoted to a detour to beautiful Steigen. From Tømmernes (a small rock carving worth stopping at for a breather) the tour continues through Steigen tunnel, the landscape changes dramatically from wilderness to cultural and coastal. Take plenty of time exploring Steigen Folk Museum (Steigen Bygdetun) with its park-like rectory garden if you can. Then it's a three to four hour drive in the afternoon to reach our starting point of Bodø.
- Steigen church, with its oldest parts dating from around 1300, and the impressive Sigardshaugen from the Iron Age form the old centre of Steigen. Read more.
- Vollmoa is the remains of a military facility from the Iron Age. Follow the marked path through the cultural landscape, but obtain some information first from Steigen Folk Museum.
- Batterie Dietl, a huge fortification from World War II, was built for large cannons
Day 6: Farewell
Departure from Bodø
- The tour is primarily meant for summertime. This is when ferry departures are frequent, all museums and attractions have long opening hours and no restaurants are closed for the winter.
- The more adventurous will of course try it in winter. You do have to take the darkness and limited opening hours into consideration. In return you get Lofoten to yourself, along with the Lofoten residents. Not a bad idea, either.
- April and May are great, with long, bright days and a lot of nice weather. The autumn colours in September and October make this an exceedingly beautiful period.
- The Bodø-Moskenes ferry is extremely popular all summer, and you are recommended to book in advance.
- However, Lødingen-Bognes is much shorter with more frequent departures, and if you are not in a hurry all you need to do is turn up.
- Booking in advance is a good idea all year round.