Spending 4 days in the Lofoten Islands out of our full 10-day road trip in Norway was one of the best decisions we have ever made. This portion of the trip is one of my most cherished travel memories to date.
This portion of the trip convinced me that you NEED to add the Lofoten Islands in Norway to your Norway travel itinerary! If you can’t feel my excitement jumping off the screen already, just take a look at the photos below to help support my case.
In this post, I’m going to show you the perfect 4-day Lofoten Islands Itinerary including where to eat, stay, and how to get there!
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- How to Get to the Lofoten Islands in Norway?
- How Many Days do you Need in the Lofoten Islands?
- What is the Best Way to Get Around the Lofoten Islands?
- Driving in the Lofoten Islands
- The Lofoten Islands Norway Itinerary
- Lofoten Islands Itinerary Day 1 – Drive E10 Starting from Å to Ramberg Beach
- Lofoten Islands Itinerary Day 2 – Nusfjord & Reinebringen
- Lofoten Islands Itinerary Day 3 – Drive North Towards Henningsvær
- Lofoten Islands Itinerary Day 4 – More Lofoten Hikes
- Additional Overnight Trip to Værøy
- Best Places to Stay on the Lofoten Islands
- Where to Eat on the Lofoten Islands
How to Get to the Lofoten Islands in Norway?
Getting to the Lofoten Islands by Plane
The flight costs to the Lofoten Islands and northern Norway were extremely expensive by European flight standards. But believe me when I tell you, visiting the Lofoten Islands was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
From any major city in Norway, you can fly to the Lofoten Island via connecting flight likely with a layer in either Bodø or Tromsø. From there, you will catch another flight into the Leknes airport, the only airport on the Lofoten Islands.
Once you arrive at the Leknes airport, I suggest renting a car from the airport for your time exploring Lofoten.
Getting to the Lofoten Islands by Boat – Bodø to Svolvær
Alternatively, if you have already made your way to Bodø, you can take the express boat to Svolvær which makes multiple stops along the way.
The express boat has only one departure each day at 6pm, arriving at 9:25pm in Svolvær. Make sure to pre-book tickets for the express boat because it is a popular mode of transportation in the summer months.
How Many Days do you Need in the Lofoten Islands?
I would suggest at least 3 full days in the Lofoten Islands to make the travel time worth it.
Once you arrive in the Lofoten Islands in Norway, I promise that you won’t want to leave.
It takes so much time and money to get there, that you would be kicking yourself if you didn’t have at least 3 full days to explore. If you are able to spare a 4th day, this opens up some additional hike opportunities that I don’t think you will want to miss!
What is the Best Way to Get Around the Lofoten Islands?
The best way to get around the Lofoten Islands is via rental car. While not the cheapest option, it is the most flexible.
Trust me, you will want the freedom to explore remote places of the islands on your schedule.
There is a public bus system on the island, but you could spend hours waiting at bus stops if you plan to see multiple villages.
There is surprisingly an option to rent a car from the Leknes airport that you will likely fly into. Surprising because the Leknes airport is so small the guy that brings in the airplane is also the one that works the rental car desk. We rented our car directly through Discover Cars as we always do because of their competitive pricing anf great cancellation policy.
Driving in the Lofoten Islands
Driving on the Lofoten Islands is such a treat! You will be rewarded with the most amazing views of your life. I mean, you can get postcards views right from the parking lots!
Driving in the Lofoten Islands is not difficult at all, but there are a few rules and precautions that you should be aware of ahead of time.
Here are my top 6 tips on driving in the Lofoten Islands:
- You will drive on the right side of the road, easy enough right?
- Don’t drink and drive, the tolerance in Norway is 0.
- You must always carry a safety vest and warning triangle in your car – it’s compulsory. Just check that these are in your rental car before driving off.
- If you are driving during the winter, you must have winter tires on. Again your rental car should come equipped with these, but double check.
- On roads without the “Yellow Diamond” sign, all traffic from your right hand side has the right of way. This is a strange concept to Americans (and even some Europeans), so be aware.
- Be on the lookout for animals, we saw sheep many times using the roadways!
The Lofoten Islands Norway Itinerary
Now to the good stuff! You will probably spend close to a full day just getting to the Lofoten Islands in Norway. We arrived at right before dusk which made for a beautiful first introduction to the islands on our drive to our Airbnb.
We will call this travel day Day 0, as you probably won’t get to do much else. However, if you are visiting in the Summer, remember that the days are really long, so you may be able to catch a scenic drive like we did.
Lofoten Islands Itinerary Day 1 – Drive E10 Starting from Å to Ramberg Beach
Driving up and down the E10 is going to be your main route. Here you can find some of the most famous villages in the Lofoten Islands. It is even where I have captured some of the best viewpoints on the islands. You can check out my photography guide to the Lofoten Islands in Summer for more inspiration.
Village of Å
The furthest point that you can drive on the Lofoten Islands is to the village of Å. Here you will find the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum Å which is a museum that uses the historical fishing houses to recreate the daily life of fishermen, their families, and a traditional village life from the 20th century.
One stop in Å that you won’t want to miss is the Bakery. Only open from June 1st through August 31st, make sure to stop by the bakery for a famous cinnamon bun.
There is a fee to enter the museum/village at 100 NOK per adult, roughly 12 USD.
Village of Sørvågen
We actually stayed in the village of Sørvågen, so we didn’t make this one of our stops on Day 1. It is an extremely small town, that many tourists don’t even stop in. However, I thought it was extremely charming, and all the more reason to check it out!
If you were to stop the notable things to do would be stop for refreshments or a bite to eat at Maren Anna, walk along the Sørvågen and admiring the drying fish, or do a quick 7-minute walk to the Lofoten Waterfall starting from the Tindstinden hike trailhead.
Village of Reine
The Village of Reine on the Lofoten Islands is one of the most well known and also claims to be the prettiest. There is no entrance fee to this village like Å. We enjoyed just walking around, looking at the fishing boats coming by, and the seagulls diving for fish in the harbor.
There are numerous places to stay on Reine in the traditional Rorbuer fishing houses and 2 resturants.
Parking in Reine Village
There are two places to park to visit Reine, one is outside of the town right as you turn off of E10. This is also the parking lot with what I call the best parking lot view in the world. This is a small lot, accommodating maybe 15 cars and has a lock box accepting payment for parking. From here it is just a short walk into town.
The second lot is further into town and from what I remember was quite costly. However, it is much larger accommodating more cars if the first lot is already full.
Village of Sakrisøya
Then next village you will encounter as you continue along E10 is Sakrisøya. Sakrisøya is notably different as all the Rorbuer here are painted yellow instead of the traditional red color.
Here you will also find Anita’s Sjømat, one of the best places on the Islands to stop for a fish sandwich or a coffee. There is an outside sitting area that overlooks the fjord, and it is an absolutely magical place to enjoy a quite bite, have a full dinner, or just relax with some wine.
Village of Hamnøy
Admittedly there isn’t much to do in Hamnøy, but you simply can not drive past without stopping by the Hamnøy Bridge for the classic photo of the Rorbuer and the mountains in the background.
This photo is published in magazines everywhere as the classic “Lofoten Islands” photo.
From Hamnøy, you will drive about 30 minutes north until you get to Ramberg Beach. There are many great photography locations along the way which you can find in my photography guide to the Lofoten Islands in Summer.
Ramberg Beach is very large and a great place to stop and enjoy some sandwiches.
Lofoten Islands Itinerary Day 2 – Nusfjord & Reinebringen
On day 2 we tried to get off of the main E10 and just drive around the smaller roads on the island. This is another great day to explore without much of an itinerary and to pack snacks and sandwiches for the car ride! You can pull over and have an instant picnic with guaranteed views.
Village of Nusfjord
The village of Nusfjord is much like Å in that there is a museum located here where you can learn about the life of traditional fishermen in Lofoten.
We walked around admiring the traditional fishing Rorbuer and enjoying a slow morning. This was probably one of my least favorite of the villages that we explored, so if you feel like you had enough from Day 1, I would say to skip over Nusfjord.
Hike to Reinebringen
Ever since I started researching the Lofoten Islands, the Reinebringen hike kept popping up. I knew we had to do it!
In recent years large stones have been laid along the pathway that allow you to more easily make the journey. The hike is not long, but it is STRAIGHT UP. I mean, if you didn’t think you’d be walking straight up for this view you’d be crazy.
It took us about 45 minutes to get up, and less time to get down. The last little bit of the hike did not have stone stairs when we did it, so it was a bit of a scramble, but do-able. Just make sure that you do not kick rocks onto anyone further down the trail.
How to find the Reinebringen trailhead
The Reinebringen hike starts just outside of the village on Reine. To start the hike. we parked our car in the Reine parking lot right off E10. This lot can get really full during the day, so you may need to circle by a few times. The good thing about Norway in the summer is that you can do this hike late into the evening and still have great light.
From the Reine parking lot, you can walk along the side of the road on a designated path which will take you around the car tunnel. Don’t try to walk through the tunnel! The trailhead actually starts on top of the tunnel – you can find the offical Reinebringen trail head here on Google Maps.
It was a bit tricky to know which was the right trail when we went because there is was old dirt trail that still had a sign up saying “Reinebringen hike this way”. The new trail has stone steps the entire way up, and I have seen photos that there is a new sign at the trail head marking the new official trail.
We hiked to Reinebringen in August at about 9pm with great lighting!
Lofoten Islands Itinerary Day 3 – Drive North Towards Henningsvær
Ready to explore another day in the Lofoten Islands? Today we decided to drive further north than we have any day before an explore the town of Henningsvær.
The drive all the way from where we were staying in Sørvågen to Henningsvær took about 2 hours one-way. However, part of the fun WAS the drive and exploring more of the northern islands.
Village of Henningsvær & Festvågtind Hike
The drive out to Henningsvær village was almost an activity on its own. We pulled over many times along the road to take photos. Take the journey slowly and really enjoy the view!
Once you reach town, there will be a big parking lot right as you pull in. The whole town is walking distance, so make sure to park here.
We spent some time looking through the small shops and art galleries that greeted us as we made our way through the village. We even stopped for a glass of wine that we enjoyed outside along the harbor. Honestly, it was the perfect afternoon.
Then we continued our way further into town crossing by the Henningsvær Gjestehavn, where the above photo was taken.
Only about 3 minutes walking from the Henningsvær Gjestehavn you will find the famous Henningsvær Football Stadium that looks like its practically floating in the middle of the water. To get that instafamous shot though, you will need a drone.
If you want to do a hike, the famous Festvågtind hike is located nearby. If you have time and want to explore further north, consider a stop in the village of Svolvær.
Lofotr Viking Museum
Either on the way from the lower Lofoten Islands to the Village of Henningsvær, or on the way back, you will pass by the village of Bøstad which is home to the Lofotr Viking Museum.
At the museum you can walk through traditional viking long houses, partake in axe throwing, horse riding, riding on recreated viking ships, and even stay for a dinner with the vikings.
We did not see the need to purchase tickets in advance. The museum hours change based on the season, so check the times and prices before heading that way.
Lofoten Islands Itinerary Day 4 – More Lofoten Hikes
Bunes Beach Hike
Bunes Beach is located on the northern side of Moskenesøy, in the western part of Lofoten.
This is an easy hike, only needing about 1.5 – 2 hours round trip, however most don’t do this hike because it is only reached by a ferry. The ferry departs daily from Reine and drops you in the small village of Vindstad.
Once you leave the pier in Vindstad, turn right once walk through the village and towards the back of the Fjord. In just over a mile you will find a sign on your left labeled ‘Bunes.’ An easy and well worn trail leads over the small pass and down onto the beach.
Be sure to keep track of time to make sure you catch the ferry back to Reine on time.
Ryten Beach Hike
Another stunning hike on the Lofoten Islands is the Ryten hike to the Kvalvika beach overlook. This hike is a little longer and takes about 4 hours (5.4 miles round trip). The trailhead for this hike is located on road Fv806, right next to one of the possible parking lots.
The first parking lot costs 100 NOK to park in, however you might find it full. A little ways down, you will find a second parking lot that costs 50 NOK during the day to park.
Keep following the signs towards Ryten and you will make it to this spot in no time.
Additional Overnight Trip to Værøy
If you have some additional time, you can take a 1-hour ferry to the island of Værøy from the port in Moskenes, located between Sørvågen and Reine villages.
There is only one ferry that departs daily from Moskenes to Værøy, so you will need to plan overnight accommodation on the island. You can check the ferry schedules here.
However if you are able to spare the time, I have hear amazing things about the hike to Mastadfjellet viewpoint and the hikes to Kalkomnan and Måstadheia where you can spot puffins in late June through August. That’s on my bucket list for a next trip to Norway!
Best Places to Stay on the Lofoten Islands
The absolute best place to stay when you are visiting the Lofoten Islands is in one of the traditional fishing rorbuer on the water.
Below I have listed some of my favorite Rorbuer with stunning mountain views and cozy interiors. Book fast, because the best locations will book out months in advance!
Staying at the Rostad Retro Rorbuer, directly from your front porch, you can actually capture one of my favorite epic photos in the Lofoten Islands. There are many different rorbuer options to accomodate your party from 2 to 6 people. You can heck current prices and availability using the button below.
Have you seen the photo from my epic photography spots in the Lofoten Islands of the little lone yellow cabin and the aligned mountain?
Well this is that yellow cabin and you can actually stay there making this one of the most unique places to stay on the islands. You not only do you have an unobstructed view of the mountain from you couch, but you will basically be living in a postcard.
This property is located further away from the cluster of lower lofoten islands near Fredvang. Here you will find four separate bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a washing machine. This property is even pet friendly!
One perk of staying in this area is that it is close to the Ryten Beach Hike and you have access to a private hot tub with views of the fjord!
If you want more comforts of a hotel, but with the same stunning views, then check out the Tide Hotel on Sørvågen. We stayed on Sørvågen and loved the location for the closeness to the other main cities of Reine and Hamnøy, but it was much quieter.
If you still want to stay in a traditional rorbuer, check out the related Tide Rorbuer.
Another iconic set of Rorbuer are the Eilassen Rorbuer on Hamnøy. The island here is largely just the Rourbuers and one restaurant which makes for an extremely peaceful experience.
Can you imagine waking up every morning to the view of the Lofoten Mountains from your balcony?
Catogården is an extremely unique property located on Reine, which is the most populated town in the lower Lofoten Islands.
Close by you can easily explore the Stockfish Museum and Norwegian Fishing Village Museum, go snorkeling and surfing/boogie boarding nearby, or enjoy the great outdoors with hiking/biking trails and mountain climbing. The ferry to Bodø is close by and you are walking distance to the Reinebringen Hike.
For current rates and availability, click the button below.
Another classic in Reine are the Reine Rorbuer, with different cabin layouts to choose from sleeping between 2 and 6 people.
Every details has been considered to make the fishermans cabins feel like the comfort of a hotel room. The location is excellent nearby to the ferry to Bodø and walking distance to the Reinebringen Hike.
Staying here, you will feel like you are a part of a living museum. The village of Å is the location of the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum Å (including the delicious bakery) and is the furthest point you can drive in the lower Lofoten Islands.
There is a restaurant located on the property as well as a bar and lounge available for guests to enjoy.
The Nusfjord Artic Resort is located a little ways out in Nusfjord, but is said to be one of the best preserved fishing villages in Norway.
I also added it to my suggestion list because the interiors are so cozy with a perfect Nordic design.
Here you have access to all the amenities including a wood-fired hot tub, fishing, kayaking and hiking, and an onsite restaurant, Restaurant Karoline, offering seafood and fjord views.
Where to Eat on the Lofoten Islands
There are not a ton of food options on the Islands. And when you find a restaurant, it is going to be pricey, even by Norway standards.
To combat the prices, for a majority of meals we went grocery shopping and cooked dinner in our airbnb, or made sandwiches to take in the car for lunch. We did splurge on a few meals when we felt it was worth it. See below for restaurant options in the Lofoten Islands (I have * the ones that we ate at and can recommend!):
- Brygga Restaurant – Å
- Havet Restaurant – Sørvågen
- Maren Anna* – Sørvågen
- Anita’s Sjømat* – Sakrisøya
- Restaurant Gammelbua – Reine
- Gadus – Hamnøy
If you are looking to do a big grocery store run, try to do it when you are passing through Leknes where there are larger grocery store options. Otherwise, you can get a smaller selection in the lower lofoten Islands at Joker Grocery Store or Coop Reine.
You may have gathered from this post how obsessed I am with the Lofoten Islands. If you are currently planning a trip the Lofoten Islands and have any questions, drop them in the comments below. For more travel inspiration and tips, follow me on Instagram for current updates.
Looking for more Norway Inspiration? You may also enjoy these Norway related posts:
- 24 Epic Photography Spots in Lofoten
- Norway Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Days through Norway
- Hiking Trolltunga: Norway’s Most Epic Hike