5 Reasons Why You Should Visit The Lofoten Islands

Lofoten is an archipelago in Norway known for its untouched beauty. It lies within the arctic circle yet has relatively mild weather, considering its location. The average temperature drops below freezing for only a few months each year, and the summer can be quite warm sometimes. In fact, Lofoten even has a great place for surfing!

For photographers especially, the Lofoten Islands are an ideal place to visit. The archipelago offers plenty of opportunities to get awesome shots. It seems like no matter where you look, there’s something incredible to capture.

Jakob Nilsson-Ehle – Fjord Sunset
Jakob Nilsson-Ehle Fjord Sunset

Here are the top five reasons why you should put Lofoten on your photography bucket list.

1. Stunning Beaches

Lofoten has an impressive number of beaches worth visiting for photographers. You won’t get the same type of shot at every beach, either. Each one has its unique appeal. For example, you can photograph waves and surfers at Unstad beach, focus on the rocky shoreline at Uttakleiv beach, and then capture the white sand and blue water at Haukland beach.

You can drive to the majority of the beaches in Lofoten, but a handful can only be reached by hiking. These beaches are ideal if you want more seclusion and wild, rugged beauty.

johnny myreng henriksen – LOFOTEN UTAKLEIV
johnny myreng henriksen - LOFOTEN UTAKLEIV

Peter Edwards – Haukland Beach, Lofoten Islands
Peter Edwards - Haukland Beach Lofoten Islands

2. Scenic Mountain Views

Lofoten’s jagged mountains seem to rise straight out of the ocean. They’re arctic mountains, too, so they’re covered in tundra–green in the summer, white in the winter. You basically get the feel of Alpine mountains, with glaciers and sharp ridges, only at a much lower altitude. The mountains are less than 1,200 meters high.

Best of all, Lofoten has 24 hours of daylight during the summer, so you get awesome mountaintop views at all hours. You don’t have to go by yourself, either. There are photo tours that specialize in photographing mountain views at midnight, when the sunset blends into sunrise.

Arnstein Rønning – Ballstad i Lofoten
Arnstein Rønning - Ballstad i Lofoten

Ghislain Mary – Ågvatnet
Ghislain Mary - Ågvatnet

3. Picturesque Fishing Villages

Cod fishing has been a big part of Lofoten’s economy for centuries. In other words, while visiting Lofoten, you’ll have many opportunities to both eat delicious seafood and photograph quaint fishing towns.

One of the most beautiful towns is Reine, which has just over 300 inhabitants. Despite its small population, it’s been a commercial center for more than 250 years. It receives thousands of visitors every year due to its amazing beauty.

Svolvaer, Henningsvær and Kabelvåg are also worth seeing. With a population of around 4,500, Svolvaer is the largest town in Lofoten and one of the most important fishing villages. Henningsvær and Kabelvåg have a lot of charm, too, with their traditional fishing village architecture.

Jakob Nilsson-Ehle – Lofoten Fishing Village
Jakob Nilsson-Ehle - Lofoten Fishing Village

Christoph Strässler – Reine
Christoph Strässler - Reine Lofoten islands

4. Northern Beauty

The unique light and atmosphere of the Far North is part of why Lofoten’s beaches, mountains, and fishing villages are so spectacular. They’re charming enough as it is, but then you add the Aurora Borealis or Midnight Sun and end up with a truly remarkable scene.

The Northern Lights are famous for their otherwordly beauty, but the Midnight Sun (and the weeks before it  appears) can be equally incredible for photographers. During this time, sunsets and sunrises connect to create a stunning ‘golden hour’ that lasts from 8 to 12 hours long. You don’t have to rush to get outside at the right time; you just have to be willing to flip your schedule and go out at night.

Marek Marynistyka Ostasz – The Arctic Light
Marek Marynistyka Ostasz - The Arctic Light

Dave Weber – The Aurora Borealis
Dave Weber - The Aurora Borealis

5. Less Driving, More Shooting

You could argue that the previous four points could apply to the rest of Norway, too, not just Lofoten. While that’s true, Norway is a large country. You could end up with long drives between each sight. If you love driving in the mountains, a road trip in Norway might be exactly what you’re looking for. However, if you want more time with your camera instead of a steering wheel, Lofoten is the place to go.

The Lofoten Islands cover a relatively small area, so you can easily take day trips from any location. You’d still want to rent a car or camper van to get to the best photography spots, unless you plan on hiking and camping a lot. (In that case, the bus would be fine.) No matter what you choose, you’ll spend less time trying to reach each location, and more time enjoying your destination.

Ghislain Mary – Lofoten – Fjord de Reine
Ghislain Mary - Lofoten - Fjord de Reine

Roderick Eime – Hurtigruten Lofoten leaves Raftsund
Roderick Eime - Hurtigruten Lofoten leaves Raftsund