You have to see this
What a destination for a summer holiday: The landscape of the Lofoten as well as the island Senja, which is a little bit more to the north, is just breathtaking: a stunning combination of steep, mostly green mountains, deep blue sea, white beaches and small cosy villages in between. But it is also about the exciting outdoor activities the islands offer, some of which we tried out here for the first time, various interesting galleries, art & crafts as well as sculptures placed in the middle of the nature, spread all over the islands. And not to forget the excellent local food (try Lofoten lamb or codfish).
But more than all that, we were impressed by the light and the atmosphere it creates. As the islands are quite north of the polar circle, you have midnight sun from May until July (and equally good chance to see Northern Lights during the wintertime). Watching the sun in the middle of the night or even go for a walk at 2 am in the morning, this is just great.
We have to admit though that Norwegian summers are not always very warm, sometimes even rainy, but all the above mentioned things will more than outweigh a little bit of bad weather.
Enjoy our photos and get inspired!
Midnight sun on the Lofoten & Senja
A long weekend on Gisløya, Vesterålen
A friend moved from Oslo back to where he grew up, the Northern part of the Vesterålen. Naturally, we visited him over a long weekend in late summer. We spend most of the time walking around by the seaside or hiking up in the mountains. And even though the weather was quite mixed, the landscape was again unbelievably beautiful: Because of the clouds, it had a very special touch as you can see from the pictures.
We spontaneously decided to come back to the Lofoten right at the start of the next year, then experiencing the winter and hopefully equally dramatic skies. And we were lucky with lots of Northern Lights on December 31!
Cruising the fjords and fishing
One day we rented a boat (after passing the test question "have you done that before?") and for the first time also fishing equipment.
The fishing course done by the boat owner took about one minute - so this could not be so complicated.
We cruised the fjord back and forth, which was great fun, but as it was quite windy, the sea was partly a bit choppy. And we were a bit afraid we would drive onto rocks hidden under the water. In that case we got a telephone number, which we were supposed to call...? Anyway, nothing happened and enjoyed the ride.
After quite some time we started to think about lunch and got the fishing equipment ready. As totally unexperienced fishermen we were mentally prepared that this could take a while. But the echolot (is that cheating?) worked really well and after just 10 min we got our VERY FIRST codfish! But who of us should take this poor fish off the hook, kill it and put it in the box?
After we had fished another two big codfishes and a pollock we got back to the harbour to prepare them on the grill. Clearly the best lunch of that holiday!
Hiking up the Senja mountains
On the islands, Lofoten as well as Senja, you will find plenty of spectacular hikes. So it is just about to put on your shoes, walk out the door and choose one. Or create one yourself if you like.
Some of them offer spectaclular views and challenging heights. These were the ones we went for during the summer holidays as you can see from the pictures.
And as it is light outside the whole time, you fortunately do not need to pay attention to time, just keep on eye on the weather.
So we enjoyed Senja a lot, inlcuding creeping up the back of the mountains, ending at a cliff with view straight down for a couple of hundred meters right into a fjord.
And what we love in Norway: nothing is blocked by fences or signs. It is just you and the nature.
Yep, it goes straight down from here.
Kayaking in Henningsvær
That is truly a completely different way to experience nature.
You do not need to have any experience to try it. Some tour operators offer 2-3 hours trips if you are just curious as we were. We booked such a tour in Henningsvær and got all the equipment, good instructions and went out just in shallow water.
And both of us got blown away: Kayaking is so quiet and peaceful, just gliding through the water and into the sun, getting close to the rocky coastline and small islands, looking out for birds, fished and other animals. Just wonderful.
We hoped though the whole time the kayak would not capsize as the water was bloody cold... It went well and we stayed dry & warm.
Back in Oslo, we made the "driver´s" licence for kayakking so it would be easier to rent out kayaks.
How could it possibly be better?
Buy an eye mask
Of course we knew that there is midnight sun in the north. It was one of the reasons to spend the holidays there. But you do not know what it really means and how it feels until you have experienced it. During our first summer up North in Norway we lost a bit our sense of time. The light outside just kept us awake all day and night. Why should we think of going to bed when the sun is still shining? Very confusing and unsual for all of us that grow up way south of the arctic circle.
At the same time it is exciting and fun! It fills you with energy and life. Everyone is outside until late night or even early morning. Day and night just glide into each other.
You need to work the next day or simply want to maintain your normal sleeping cycle? Buy new solid curtains and get yourself a sleeping mask. That worked! Or just enjoy it: Go on a hiking tour at 10 pm. Read the whole night on the terrace without switching on the electric light. And go the bed at 8 in the morning - who cares during holiday.
Distances from Oslo to the Lofoten
23 hrs by car or 2 hours by plane
Our tour was: By car from Oslo to Trondheim, by Hurtigruten from Trondheim to Finsness, staying on Senja, by ferry from Senja to Vesterålen, by car from the Lofoten to Oslo (and that bit was clearly too long)
Other times, we took a plane to Evenes or Svolvær and took a rental car; or flew to Bodø and took the ferry to Moskenes in the very South of Lofoten
All kinds of sporty activities, photographing or just enjoying the sun at any time you want if the weather allows
Our extra tip
The Lofoten are known for codfish and lamb, worth trying it
The fishermen lived in small huts (rorbuer) which were remodelled to nice holiday apartments
Clothes: also the summer can be pretty cold and rainy in Northern Norway, so it is always good to take warm clothes
Overnight stay we can recommend
Nice appartments at: Hamn in Senja
Boat & fishing equiment rented in a hotel in Medfjordvær
...on the Lofoten
Nyvågar Rorbuhotell, Kabelvåg
Kajakk course: XXLofoten, Henningsvær
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