Lofoten Itinerary + how to get there? When to go?
Updated: Feb 2, 2018
I spended 3 weeks at the Lofoten Islands, living in a Airbnb for a week and on the road in a rental car for the rest of the time.
I want to give you different informations than the usual websites where you can find better infos regarding the location, history, population, etc. than I could ever give!
But what you can find here are more practical tips and things I would have liked to know before I went to the Lofoten Islands, so you hopefully can learn from my experiences ;)!
I also like to keep it simple and short, so you don't loose precious time reading nonsense.
Here we go :)...
How to get there:
The Lofoten Islands are located in the Nordland of Norway and look like a Peninsula.
You can get there by car coming from the mainland and crossing many picturesque bridges but this is the longest way obviously.
The shortest way would be to take the plane and fly to the Islands, the main airport to get there would be Leknes. It's a really teeny tiny airport but cute. I believe most of the flights would take off from Bodø.
If you're coming from Oslo, most of the times you have to fly via Bodø.
The other option would be taking the ferry from Bodø to Moskenes.
Don't mix it with the ferries going to Værøy and Røst! They are part of the Lofoten Islands but they're tiny Islands located farther away and you would have to take seperate ferries and do Island-hopping. I didn't visited them because I was really late in season and therefor the ferries wouldn't go frequently enough (I believe only once a day).
Definitely check the time table for the ferries before you consider going there.
However they are really beautiful parts of the Lofoten Islands and I'd recommend going there!
I heard really good things about Værøy and saw beautiful pictures of a certain hike that you can do there!
When to go?
Peak season is from 20th of May - 20th of July.
Everything before and after that is considered off-season even though the winter tourism is growing immensly with photographers and the business of northern lights tours.
I had no clue about seasons and happend to visit the Lofoten Islands at the end of peak season and the beginning of off season.
So I experienced what off-season means beside the fact that it's less crowded:
The downsides are that the weather is changing really drastically and surprisingly accurate starting from this date, that's why there even exists something like off season right :D?...
It starts to be even more unpredictable and chances for rainy and stormy days rise dramatically.
That's what locals told me and they were right. I had really good weather and as soon as off season started, the weather got worse but I still had sunny days, you have to plan how this will affect your length of your trip because you will have days where it is raining the whole day. and you can't d
o as much as you'd like.
The time tables for public transportation like buses and ferries change!
They are much more frequently in peak-season and you have to plan for long waits. Sometimes the buses wouldn't come at all, so be prepared for that option.
When you want to take a ferry back to Bodø you have to consider, that there'll be only 2 per day in off-season!
One in the morning and one in the afternoon. The ferry in the morning might be to early when you have to give back a rental in Leknes (like I did), you have to take the afternoon ferry which will arrive in Bodø at midnight!
That means you have to stay a night in Bodø and book accomodation there.
Also check if your accomodation has check-in's that late and how to get there.
How to get around the Island?
Lofoten Islands shape is long and rather slim. But you can easily drive from the southernmost point to (for example) Svolvær in one day. It's just a 130 kms drive!
buses are school buses... tourist buses have wifi
ferry: you don't have to book a ticket in prior as a passenger and I believe even when you take a car with you, it's ok to buy the ticket at the day of departure or one day before, depending on what season you're going.
You just go to the ferry port and buy your transfer ticket right in front of the ferry from a staff member.
Where to stay?
accomodation / campsites
Local supermarkets are:
When you need electronical devices:
smaller local ones
Weather / Muddy
getting money / ATMs
I got my local prepaid sim card at the town Svolvær in a shopping mall called "AMFI".. That was the only place that sold prepaid sim cards with data packages. The other ones only sold prepaid cards which were just for calls oder text messages but didn't had internet plans.
I was send there by a tourist information centre in Leknes.
Free Wifi frequency is low at the Lofoten Islands and you rather only have it in the few bigger cities like Lenknes or Svolvær at the tourist informations. The buses that drive during high season have free wifi, the ones that drive in off-season are school buses and don't have wifi.
There're no Starbucks/Subways/MC'Donalds/Burger Kings at all ;)....just saying...
- information centre: Reine, Leknes, Svolvær
- Svolvaer: Fast Hotel - self check-in
Where to get a rental car?
Moskenes / Leknes rent a car Moskenes
- you can walk from the bus station to the airport to get your rental..about 20 minutes walk, or take a taxi
Where to sleep? shower? public toilets?
where to sleep / shower / campsites
public toilets...pay / open toilets with credit card