Lofoten Islands some enjoy it from the bottom, others force themselves to the top

In August 2020, I traveled to the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago in Norway far above the Arctic Circle and known for its dramatic scenery. I had carefully planned my trip to have as many options as possible in case the weather was against me, and decided to fly into Leknes to then slowly make my way west.

In 7 days, I hiked to 7 peaks or summits for a total of 6,000m of elevation. It was sometimes sunny, sometimes foggy, sometimes rainy. But that didn’t matter much — the beauty of Lofoten’s majestic mountains gives you energy to keep going, even if it’s in the mud and on slippery rocks.

The average elevation for most of the hikes I did was around 30%, which is a totally different experience to hiking in Patagonia or the Dolomites. It gets vertical and you’ve got to be careful. I almost slipped dozens of times during that week, but only really fell a couple of times, often on the easiest paths, probably as I stopped focusing as much.

The other big difference with my previous trips is that trails often aren’t very visible and you end up having to make your own, which is both cool and challenging. That gives you a lot of freedom as there’s zero restrictions as to where you should be walking or not (looking at you Patagonia…)

I’ve talked enough and I know you came for the photos, so here ya go.

Himmeltindan Summit

One of my top 3 hikes during that week. Started with a warm welcome 🐑

You might see more of them than humans — they’re friendly but don’t talk much 😉

All right, here’s what you get from the top (I waited 2 hours for the clouds to go for those shots so you’d better like them)

Heading back to my hotel with more enjoyable views.

Offersøykammen Summit

Not the most interesting but a short one I picked as the weather would get bad in the afternoon.

Nusfjord village

Nusfjord is one of the oldest and best preserved fishing villages in Norway.

Both the restaurant and the bakery in Nusfjord have tasty food, highly recommended while you wait for the rain to stop.

Here’s a few images from driving around the area — you never get bored in Lofoten.

Ryten Summit and Kvalvika Beach

I spent the night around Ryten so I could start the hike early in the morning. I woke up to this view:

Then started the hike, making new friends 🐑🐑

The view from the summit on Kvalvika Beach was beautiful.

Andstabben Peak

Probably my favorite hike of the trip. It’s one of those where you don’t suspect how beautiful it’s going to be until you’re close to the top. But man, was it beautiful up there!

Hamnøy Bridge

A very famous spot for lazy photographers who won’t go up the mountains :).

Olenilsøy, Sakrisoy and Reine area

I stayed for a couple of nights at the Rostad Retro Rorbuer in Olenilsøy, which I highly recommend.

This was my view:

Very close was Sakrisøy, a place worth going to just for Anita’s Seafood. In case you’re wondering what’s in my plate, it’s a delicious creamy fish soup.

I then drove further west on the E10 towards Reine. I stopped in a few nice locations.


Helvetestinden Summit and Bunes Beach

Helvetestinden is a very exposed summit and guides advise against going up if the conditions are bad. The view of Bunes Beach you get at the top is however incredible.

And back down, the beach was as spectacular, despite the weather.


Sørvågen and Holmen Lofoten Hotel

Sørvågen is another beautiful area of Lofoten. A number of amazing hikes start from this area.

Even though I didn’t stay at the Holmen Lofoten Hotel (I might in the future!), the architecture of the buildings was worth a little trip.


Veinestiden Summit

Another incredible hike with a number of beautiful intermediate stops, including this lake:

And the view from the summit:

On the other side, you get to see the whole Reine area.

Markan Summit and Horseid Beach

This is from the deck where you get the ferry to Kirkefjord, the starting point for the hike to either the beach or Markan.

The valley leading to the beach is quite beautiful. At some point you take a right turn to start going up to Markan (yeah steep!)

After a bit of scrambling, the view from the top.

Some prefer to enjoy it from the bottom… not bad either :).

Heading back to my apartment, I stopped in Tind, a pretty beautiful village. Seagulls are pretty vocal there.

Heading back home

And that’s… almost it!

The photos that never made it to Instagram

A few squares for you Instagram addicts. Photos from my lunch breaks mainly 🙂

Hope you enjoyed following me around — it was a pretty full week.

If you’re looking to plan a similar trip, I recommend you get this book with 60 day hikes and read this blog. They are roughly the two competing resources for hiking in Lofoten and both do a great job at describing the hikes.

Always keep in mind that the difficulty levels mentioned in those guides are very subjective. Some of their medium hikes felt hard while some more difficult were just fine. It depends a lot on the conditions on the day — wind and rain can make things a lot trickier! The weather app will be one of your best friends in Lofoten.

Be safe in the mountains! 🏔

Emmanuel Nataf

I'm a founder at Reedsy (www.reedsy.com) and a street photographer in my spare time.


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