We spent three days in the Lofoten Islands of northern Norway in August 2022. We were supposed to have an extra half day, but with flight cancellations and delays, we ended up getting in a day later than planned. Fortunately, that didn’t set us back too much, and we really only missed out on one hike.
There are a few options for flying into the Lofoten region. The airport that is the furthest into the Lofotens is Leknes. We stayed not far from this airport and it would’ve been a great place to fly into. However, it involved taking even more flights to get there and was about double the price of the flight we ended up getting. We flew into Evenes, which is about 4.5 hours from the southernmost point of the islands. This meant more driving, but the views were amazing the entire drive, so I enjoyed it. We also got to see more of the islands and stopped near Svolvær, the capital city of the Lofoten Islands. Another option is to fly into the Bodo airport and take the 3 hour ferry across. Mike and I tend to get seasick on the ocean, so we decided against this option.
We landed in Evenes at 10:15am. The airport is TINY. It took awhile for our bags to arrive at the carousel (which doesn’t make much sense because our plane was about 100 feet away). The rental car counters are right by the baggage claim, so two of us waited in that line, while the other two waited on the bags. The four of us got two mid-size cars since we each had a large suitcase plus carry-ons and had a four-hour drive to our Airbnb.
We were on the road by 11am and were starving. There aren’t many food options near the airport. We did learn on the way back that the gas station next to the airport has a fast food restaurant inside. We drove about 15 minutes north and stopped at a grocery store to get food for lunch. Next was a 2.5 hour drive to our first stop, just past Svolvær.
Skårungen Sauna and Hot Tub
This was an amazing and much-needed first stop to relax after our stressful 24 hours of travel. This spa is located at the end of a pier with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. You can book a private 1.5 hour time slot and you get it all to yourself. We spent most of our time in the hot tub, because the sauna was really, really hot! The afternoon we were there was actually really nice outside (in the 60s F) so we didn’t need to warm up too much. Mike and Ashley jumped into the Arctic Ocean and used the sauna to warm back up quickly. I would definitely recommend this spot!
Henningsvær Football Stadium
From Skårungen, we drove another 30 minutes south to the town of Henningsvær. The drive is gorgeous, especially once you get closer to Henningsvær. We drove straight to the famous football stadium, which is known to be one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world. It is free and open to the public to play on the field. We spend a little time taking in the views and climbing up the hill next to it to look down at the field. From Henningsvær, we drove another 1.5 hours to our Airbnb in Ballstad. We picked up groceries for the next couple days in the town of Leknes on the way.
Dinner and watch the sunset
It was nice to chill at our house for the evening. We did some laundry and cooked dinner. The sunset was after 11pm, so we sat on our back deck and enjoyed a drink with our view.
The weather on Tuesday was not the best. It was predicted to be raining the entire day, which is especially unfortunate since all of our planned activities were outside. We decided to sleep in a bit and see if it cleared up at all. The rain cleared around noon and we went for a hike right next to our Airbnb.
This hike was gorgeous! The views look out over the town of Ballstad most of the time. Read about our experience here.
It rained off and on all afternoon, but we had a couple hour break so we decided to leave Ballstad after our hike and check out some of the surrounding area. We had passed a beautiful red church on the way to our Airbnb that we decided to stop at to take a closer look. We just stopped here for a few minutes to see it and continued on.
The Lofoten Islands are known for their beautiful beaches with bright-blue water. We wanted to make sure we saw at least one! We visited Haukland Beach, which was about 30 minutes north of where we were staying. This beach is one of Lonely Planet’s best 20 beaches in Europe. It was cloudy and cold while we were there, so we didn’t stay too long. It wasn’t quite as pretty as we expected, but still nice. I’m sure it would’ve been better if the sun was out!
We thought we would stop at a restaurant for dinner in Ballstad on our way back to the house. After attempting to go to three different restaurants in town and their hostesses claiming they were fully booked for the night, we drove back up to Leknes to try a restaurant there since it is a bigger town. No luck there either. We ended up picking up groceries to make dinner at our Airbnb again. I recommend making dinner reservations or getting there early if you want to go out!
It cooled off a lot overnight and the high for Wednesday was in the low 50s (F). It was supposed to rain for the first part of the day, so we decided to explore a couple towns and then finish the day with a hike.
The town of Å is a tiny fishing village that lies at the end of the road in the Lofoten Islands and is the southernmost village. Parking is free and the village is foot-traffic only, so you will have to park at the end of the road. This village is tiny and it doesn’t take long to see it all. They have a couple museums you can check out if you want to spend more time there.
15 minutes north of Å is Reine, a larger village in southern Lofoten. It is known for its red and white fishermen’s huts that contrast nicely against snow in the winter. It is very beautiful in the summer as well. We parked at this spot and paid 50 NOK to stay for an hour. We knew we had places to go, so we kept our visit short, only walking around to see the village and stopping to pick up hot tea to warm us up.
Anita’s Seafood for lunch
From Reine, we stopped for a late lunch at Anita’s Seafood, possibly our favorite food of the trip. This is located just about 5 minutes north of Reine and it has its own parking lot. Mike and I got the fish burgers topped with shrimp. Ashley got the fish burger topped with smoked salmon. All were amazing. Mike loved it so much, he went back and got a second one!
After we got fueled up, we drove 30 minutes north to Ryten. You can read details about our hike here. I had been looking forward to this hike since we booked our trip and it did not disappoint! We finished our hike around 8pm and started the 50 minute drive back to the house.
We drove by another pretty beach on our way back home and it was the perfect place to stop for a bit and enjoy the sunset. What a lovely, action-packed day!
Our flight from Evenes was at 1pm, so we left our Airbnb around 7am to make sure we had plenty of time to make the four-hour drive. We got there with no difficulties and only stopped for gas at the Circle K just outside the airport. Not knowing if there would be a restaurant inside the tiny airport, we ate at the Circle K, which had a fast food restaurant inside. The food was decent. Then we hung out at the airport until our flight, which was amazingly gorgeous! There did end up being a restaurant inside the airport as well.
-It was really nice having a house to be able to do laundry and spend time while the weather was bad.
-We found this weather app, which is supposed to be more accurate for Norway, since the weather is often unpredictable here. It ended up being better than any of the weather apps I use normally.
-Bring lots of layers, even if you don’t think you’ll need them. One day I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, two days later I was wearing two jackets, a beanie, and gloves. You never know what it’ll be like in the Arctic Circle!
-There aren’t a lot of flights going in and out. Keep this in mind while planning how much time you are spending here. We ended up getting delayed by half a day, which really cut into our time there.
I can’t recommend the Lofoten Islands enough! They are absolutely stunning and any outdoor lover will be hooked.