Last August we took a roadtrip from Helsinki to the Lofoten Island in northern Norway (above the Arctic Circle). We had seen some magnificent pictures of the nature and small fishing villages. We also wanted to do some day hikes and were really inspired by the blog 68north with awesome pictures of the islands and guidance for the different hikes. The blog also has really good tips on traveling in Norway on budget and what to take along. Our main purpose for this trip was to find good photo locations and capture the beauty of the nature on the islands.
Our drive from southern Finland went through Tornio border town to Kiruna, Sweden and onwards to Abisko (famous for seeing Northern Lights), over the Norwegian border and to the Lofoten islands. All in all this drive was approx. 1600 km one way and took 20 hours total.
We started early in the morning in Helsinki and headed to Oulu and Tornio. I have to admit that as I was not driving I did sleep most of the way. It took about 9 hours to drive to the Swedish border (plus breaks for snacks and lunch). After the border crossing we drove 4 more hours to Kiruna where we stopped for the night.
In the morning we continued to Abisko which is famous for its great hiking grounds and almost guaranteed Northern Lights during the winter season. We had a short stop in the town, walked a little around the visitor center before continuing to Norway.
Just before the border crossing we stopped once more to get some food supplies from the supermarket. The price level of goods is lower in Sweden than in Norway so the stacked up with some breakfast and lunch supplies (we were on a budget). The drive from the border to the town of Ballstad that we were staying in Lofoten Islands was four more hours. We scheduled the drive so that we drove longer on the first day and would arrive at the accommodation early evening on the second day.
As I mentioned before Norway is not the cheapest place to visit however you can travel with budget by cooking your own meals and staying in hostels or even on camp grounds in a tent. We did not go that far though and stayed in hostel cabins. All in all we stayed on the islands for five whole days. For the first three days we stayed in a Rorbu, an old fisherman’s cabin, booked through Hostelling International in town called Ballstad. Staying in a Rorbu was a nice experience. The cabin had two rooms with private bathroom but no other amenities. It was an old hut (and not one made to look like one) and we could even see ground below through the cracks on the floor boards at places. The cabin key was huge and had an additional padlock to it when leaving outside. We were told that renovation project was on its way but had not unfortunately yet reached the cabin we had booked. The kitchen facilities were short 5 minute walk away across the road in another Rorbu. Our plan was to spend most of the day outdoors so really only wanted to have a place to sleep and shower (bed + bathroom) so this was just what we were looking for. This was a nice experience and suited for budget traveler (night in real Rorbu for ¨90€/room). Also the location was great (if you have a car) to get around the islands.
For the last two nights of our trip on the islands we stayed in Ramberg at a Guesthouse cabin. This was more expensive (130€/night) and was better equipped (cooking facilities, separate bedroom, kitchen and bathroom). It was just by the beach on a camping ground and you could sit on the porch watching sunset while having dinner.
We were really lucky with weather and the sun shined for us most of the trip (it was cloudy on the day we arrived and the morning we left back home). As it was summer the dark time during the night was really short, sunset and rise were only few hours apart. During our trip we did some day hikes on the mountains (more on this in another post) and visited fishing villages and beaches accessible by car during.
Å was a very small town farthest from the mainland and at the end of the E10 crossing the islands.
Reine was very picturesque little town and had busloads of tourists walking its streets. One of the hikes we had planned to take was high over this town, Reinebringen, however we chose to skip this as the level was hard and we had heard that the path is very slippery and muddy at that time (they construction of the path had begun during the summer so hopefully next time we will be able to conquer also this peak).
Njusfjord is a small fishing village and during the day an outside museum with buildings dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. We did not go for a walk in the town (small entrance fee) but rather took some pictures from the parking lot above the village.
Gimsøya island is small mountainous patch of land with its highest point the 767-metre tall Bardstrandfjellet.
Vikten is a small village on a rough coast. It is also known for its Glass Hut and glassblowers. These artist can also be often seen at work in the studio.
Haukland and Uttakleiv Beaches – Haukland is just next to the road with camping possibilities and sheep meadows next to it. There is a small stream going through the white sand beach and during late summer it is picturesque especially during sunset. Uttakleiv is the most photographed beach in Lofoten and a place where we ended up couple of times on our trip also to take pictures. Road to this beach went through a tunnel next to Haukland Beach. It has both rocky coastline and white sandy beach. During the day we also saw many sheep grazing both on the grass as well as visiting the beach.