Long, lazy hours relaxing on the edge of a jetty, lots of interesting things to see and do, and plenty of good food. Or hanging from a rope off a mountainside, riding a roaring breaker, or paddling in the swell in the wake of a Hurtigruten vessel. The Lofoten Islands pose a delightful summer dilemma ‒ you can’t do it all!

Lofoten summer

When you sail or fly into the Lofoten Islands, the first thing you see is the magnificent Lofotveggen – the Lofoten Wall ‒ the 100km/60 miles long and 1000m/ 3,300 ft high chain of mountains rising steeply from the Atlantic Ocean. In summer the mountains are green right up to the peaks, there is 24-hour daylight, and the Lofoten islanders are even happier and crazier than otherwise during the year. All the ingredients for a truly relaxed summer atmosphere!

Sleepy fishing villages in the summer sun

There is a calm and a serenity over the Lofoten fishing villages in summer. The busy winter fishing season is over, and now the only noise is from the seagulls. Shiny grey planks on wooden quays, fishermen’s red-painted “rorbu” cabins, and little yellow- and white wooden houses gleam in the sun. The fishing communities lie almost cheek-to-cheek along the inner coastline of the archipelago: the charming village of Henningsvær on little islands beneath the monumental Vågakallen mountain, or picturesque and well-preserved villages at Nusfjord or Å, where the road ends.

Lots to see

Nowhere in Northern Norway is as compact and as full of things to see as here: the Lofotr Viking Museum at Borg; the monumental Lofoten Cathedral near Kabelvåg with a seating capacity of 1200; the Stone Age cave paintings on the island of Moskenesøy on the archipelago’s outer coast; Norsk Fiskeværsmuseum (Norwegian Fishing Museum) at Å; or Dagmars dukke- og leketøysmuseum (Dagmar’s Doll and Toy Museum) at Reine.

A playground for artists

Joie de vivre is quickly transformed into art in the Lofoten Islands; by lauded Norwegian artists like Kaare Espolin Johnson and Gunnar Berg, but also artists’ studios showing new art, the famous wrought-iron cormorants created at the smithy in Sund, or the pioneering sculptures placed in beautiful and striking landscape settings by Skulpturlandskap Nordland (Artscape Nordland) . Look out for the graffiti on cowshed walls and buildings round about in the islands – created by young artists making their presence felt.

Out on the Vestfjorden

Everyone wants to take a boat trip when they are in the Lofoten Islands, for the mountain chain that defines the archipelago looks truly magnificent from the sea. There are boat trips along the entire archipelago, from Trollfjorden farthest to the east all the way to the great bird nesting colonies on the island of Røst. The boats themselves offer a lively variety of transport, ranging from fast, modern, rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) to well-kept, good old-fashioned wooden boats with “dunk-dunk” engines.

By kayak and cycle

The shallow waters between many of the islands are perfect for paddling canoes to uninhabited islets and inaccessible beaches. If you are new to kayaking, we recommend you join an organised trip. Cycling on the virtually empty country roads that hug the coastline, you can get quickly from one fishing village to another; the distances between all these fascinating places and sights are short. Join a guided tour, or hire your own cycle or kayak.

Breathtaking

The Lofoten mountains rise steeply one thousand metres into the blue, and are a paradise for walkers and climbers. Any walk or climb, big or small, is rewarded with breathtaking views of the mountains, islands and sea. The steepest cliffs should only be attempted using a climbing rope; contact Northern Alpine Guides for professional guides and instruction.

The north coast: Golf and surf

The mile-long beaches on the little visited outer islands of the Lofoten archipelago are perfect spots to see the Midnight Sun over the sea. The Lofoten Golf Links at Hov on Gimsøy, open all night, lie amid a stunning coastal landscape of sea-smoothed rocks, heather and sand. At Unstad you can learn to surf in the summer waves, ideal for novices, and return for the autumn storm waves when you are more expert at the sport.

Lofoten summer festivals

The Codstock rock festival, Kabelvåg Market and Lofoten International Food Festival are all thriving festivals that attract a great many people. It’s all about celebrating the fact that summer is here, and no-one needs to go to bed and sleep until the autumn. The Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival takes the classical music heritage to the islands’ old wooden churches and boathouses, and on boat trips to Værøy and Røst.

Lofoten for everyone

The Lofoten Islands have long been a very popular travel destination in Northern Norway, which means there is a host of activities and a wide variety of accommodation options and places to eat and dine throughout the entire island kingdom. Visitor attractions are open until late, and activities can be booked at short notice.

More about Lofoten

Destination Lofoten has an informative website with lots of interesting content where you can read about and book trips and experiences online. Read more about the Lofoten Islands in other articles and products.