Lofoten Islands Wrap Up

I’ve had a few friends tell me that they were planning on traveling to the Lofoten Islands so I figured I should wrap up and summarize the advice that I have for a trip:

  1. Depending on where you are coming from, you should budget for at least a day to get to the Islands and a day to get back.
  2. Your schedule will probably be dictated by ferry times (many of which you can look up here). The ferry runs fairly infrequently and is the quickest way to get to and from the Islands.
  3. Rent a car. Having a car makes it extremely easy to see the many beautiful sights that Lofoten has to offer. Many of the attractions on the Islands are also fairly spaced out, so it’s handy to have a car so that you can see everything on your bucket list. Alix and I did notice bus stops on our road trip, but I can’t testify as to how frequently the buses run.
  4. If you are planning on seeing some of the sights, double check their opening hours. Many places have limited hours in the off season or only open upon request.
  5. Rent a rorbu. Not only are rorbu fairly cheap and quaint, they also tend to offer you great views. Most of them come with kitchens so that’s one easy way for you to cut back on costs.
  6. This one is fairly obvious, but bring a camera. You’ll kick yourself if you aren’t able to document your trip.

From what I’ve heard and read, I would say that the best time to actually visit the Islands are during the on season (summertime) up through October. Many of the locals said that we had picked a great time to visit since we avoided other tourists, still had nice sunny weather, and were there for the beginning of the Northern Lights season. I would also say dress appropriately and keep an eye on the weather forecast. Alix and I apparently missed a spectacular display of the Northern Lights when we were traveling, so it’s worth keeping your eye on sights like Aurora Forecast and the Geophysical Institute. As for daylight weather, I’d recommend looking at yr.no.

That’s pretty much it for advice! Safe travels!

Lofoten Islands: Bodø, Moskenes, Nusfjord

If there is one place that I felt I absolutely had to visit while in Norway, it was the Lofoten Islands. The Islands are located in the Arctic Circle towards the top of Norway and are supposed to offer some of the most beautiful sights in the country. About a month ago, Alix and I decided that we should plan a trip there, and we have finally begun our journey.

Getting there has taken some planning, and on our first day we traveled by train, ferry, and car. The first leg of our journey involved taking one of the national trains (NSB) up to Bodø. The train ride itself was quite a haul and took ten hours. Originally we debated whether or not we should just take a sleeper train, but in the end we decided that it’d be nice to go during the day and see the scenery. So, having woken up at 6 am on Monday morning, I bundled up my things and headed down to Trondheim’s central station to catch our 7:38 am train.

While the train ride was really long, I would say that it was definitely worth doing. The landscape was incredible and constantly changing; I never really got bored of looking out the window. The train ride also helped me realize how desolate and sparsely populated the country can be. In fact, at one point the train had to stop to let reindeer cross the tracks. NSB trains also tend to be quite comfortable and even provide slow wifi. So, in between napping and looking out the window, Alix and I were able to keep entertained during our journey.

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Yes, Norway is stunning. The funny thing is that this isn’t even a train route well known for its beauty.

After we arrived in Bodø, Alix and I managed to snag some dinner before picking up our rental car at 7. After that, we had about five hours left to kill since our ferry didn’t leave for the Islands until 12:15 am. We ended up walking a few laps around town before settling down at a cozy café called Paviljong.

At around 11:00 pm we moseyed our way down to the ferry terminal. I had bought our tickets over the phone and was a bit anxious since we lacked both the physical tickets and any email confirmation from the ticket company. Surprisingly enough, the ferry operators essentially waved us aboard, and as far as I can tell they never bothered to double check our story.

The ferry itself was quite nice. Everything was neat, clean and cosy. In fact, the most disappointing thing involved a sign with the words “Pet Store.” My sleep deprived brain assumed that we could go to an actual pet store onboard the ferry and play with puppies for sale, but Alix pointed out that it was more likely a holding area for animals (I have since confirmed with Norwegian speakers that “Pet Storage” would have been a more accurate translation). Having been disappointed by this, I resigned myself to a puppy-less night and followed Alix up to one of the passenger decks before falling asleep almost immediately in one of the chairs.

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But our journey did not end there. At the ungodly hour of 3:30 am, Alix and I peeled ourselves off of our ferry seats and returned to the car. We finally arrived at the Lofoten Islands in the town of Moskenes. Unfortunately, Moskenes was not our final destination. So with the help of Google Maps and a few sugary snacks we prepared to drive for an hour to our final destination, Nusfjord. We finally made it to our rental cottage at around 4:30 am, and thanks to our very gracious hosts were able to go to our cottage and fall asleep in our well heated rooms. In short, not a bad adventure for Columbus Day.