Bunes Beach + Helvetestinden, Vindstad
Updated: Jan 28, 2018
take the little ferry from Reine
- 3 ferries per day....choose if you want to return at midday or take the last ferry in the afternoon
With its vast expanses of white sand and imposing mountains, Bunes is one of Lofoten’s most scenic and isolated beaches. Reached only by ferry from Reine, a sunny summer day will see people lined up on the pier to make the trip. In high summer, the boat often fills to capacity, so make sure to arrive early. Most people visit only for the day and as afternoon approaches, the crowds begin the walk back over the pass on their return to civilization. The beach now becomes empty and quiet, with only a few groups of campers remaining, their tents spread out across the grassy dunes at the back of the beach. Sleep might be hard to come by as summer sun will shine until late in the night when it finally passes behind the mountains to the north.
The beach is larger than it first appears and it will take you 10-15 minutes to reach the water after first touching the sand. High, glacially carved cliffs surround the beach, the massive 600 meter west face of Helvetestind being the most impressive. Facing north-west, Bunes is a good place to catch a sunset from late summer to early autumn. Wander out to the cliffs on the left, past the single house, for the best view. Storms can unfortunately leave sections of the beach rather covered in debris, particularly towards the back. Though on the bright side, a ready supply of driftwood can be found for evening campfires.
Bunes Beach is located on the northern side of Moskenesøy, in the western part of Lofoten. It is only reached by a local ferry, with daily departures from Reine. The ferry is located approximately 300 meters from the gas station in the center of the village, there are signs from the main road pointing to the ferry. Exit the ferry in the small village of Vindstad.
Turn right once leaving the pier in Vindstad and follow the easy path through the village and towards the back of the Fjord. After about 2 km and just before the last houses, there will be a small trail on the left. This should be marked with a sign saying ‘Bunes.’ An easy and well worn trail leads over the small pass and down onto the beach. Be sure to measure how long you’ll need to get back to catch the ferry on time, but 1 hour each way should be plenty for most people.
The best camping is on the flat grassy dunes found at the back of the beach. The area is large so even if some other groups are present, there is no feeling of crowding. No supplies are available in Vindstad, so be sure to bring everything you would need for typical wilderness camping. Fresh water can be collected via several waterfalls towards the back-left side of the beach. A door-less drop toilet is on the side of the trail just before reaching the beach.
A note of caution should be made to the weather. The beach and camping areas are completely exposed to the north-west and any weather which may come from there. And once the afternoon ferry leaves, you are stuck there until the following morning, so be sure to check the forecast for the following days if planning on camping. If bad weather does arrive, there are several large boulders on the Vindstad side of the pass that have enough room for 1-2 tents and should provide enough shelter from the wind, depending on the direction.
RT Distance: 2.5 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1975.1 Feet
Summit views of surrounding fjords along exposed ridgeline
In the town of Reine in the Lofoten Islands, you need to take the small ferry to Vindstad. There is one that leaves at 10:30 in the morning. Most people on that ferry will be headed to Bunes Beach, which you will be able to see from the Helvetestinden summit. Once at the dock, you will follow the trail to the right through the village. Near the end of the fjord, you will see the path split to go up over the rounded ridge to the beach, and another up the steep mountain. You go to the right.
There is a bit of scrambling and trail searching in the beginning, but once out of the scree you will find a well worn trail that will take you up the rest of the mountain. Follow this trail up to the ridgeline, where you will have amazing views of surrounding fjords. Go left once on the ridge, where you will continue to the summit. On this section, the trail has decent exposure, with defined cliffs on the northern side. There are numerous places to enjoy views while nearing the summit, but only when you get to the very top will you have unparalleled views of Bunes Beach below.