When everyone in your department is going to the Algarve with their kids (15 people and counting in mine – it must be an Irish thing), it’s good to go somewhere a bit different.
The Lofoten Isles in summer feel like being on top of the world: beyond the Arctic Circle the light is pearlescent, the air is pure, the days never end.
For photographers and explorers, the opportunities are tripled because dark never comes: the light passes through a spectrum of whites, pinks and reds as the Nordic night progresses.
Views of the fjord:
In Hamnøy or Reine, stay in a classic Norwegian rorbua, a fishermen’s cabin: cosy and wooden, but take portable blackout blinds.
Eliassen Rorbuer on the tiny island of Hamnøy:
Rorbuer at Sakrisøy:
Inside a rorbua:
I became fascinated with the light of the midnight sun in Henningsvær, constantly going to the balcony in the small hours to check what the sky was doing.
Henningsvær at 21.40pm:
Henningsvær at 03.30am:
The villages in Lofoten often look like dinky toy-towns. There are lovely coloured wooden houses to be found in Kabelvåg, in particular.
Rorbu at the strangely-named village of Å:
Going fishing from Å:
Go on a sea safari from Reine and pass over the Moskenstraumen: a whirlpool of fast-flowing currents otherwise known as the Maelström. The desolately beautiful seascapes are lunar and surreal, with plenty of whales and sea eagles.
Everywhere you go you’ll see cod drying in the breeze: this method of hanging fish out on wooden racks has changed little since people first arrived on the Lofoten Isles. The locals’ ties with cod fishing date back to just after the last Ice Age.
Fishermen’s huts at Nusfjord:
Mellow evening views near Reine:
Reine often appears on lists of the world’s most beautiful villages.
There are some great one-day treks in Lofoten. Kvalvika beach is only accessible on foot and is often deserted. It’s a hardy one-hour trek with an amazing pay-off at the end in its stunning view of vertical cliffs and crystalline crashing waters; it feels almost primeval.
Another steep one-day return trek takes you to the top of Reinebringen mountain, for an overview of the fjord, the roads linking up the archipelago and the Lofoten wall in the distance.
Take a cheap round-trip on the scheduled ferry “Fjordskyss” around the Reinefjord; for locals, the only link between curiously quaint but desolate hamlets like the one below. The distinctive curved mountains and distant waterfalls are serene and dreamlike.
Hamnøy by night:
Hamnøy by day:
View of the fjord:
Colours of Lofoten at Henningsvær:
The road to Nusfjord:
Fly Oslo to Narvik (stay at Evenes). Take the E10 at Evenes to the first base, Henningsvær (3 hours and 40 minutes of good road. Warning: multiple views). From Henningsvær, visit Kabelvåg and take a boat trip from Svolvær to the Trollfjord (for sea eagles).
Visit Uttakleiv, Haukland and the beaches around Eggum for the midnight sun.
Second base: Hamnøy, Reine. Take the E10 from Henningsvær calling at Nusfjord for an afternoon. From Hamnøy, cycle to Reine, Tind, Sørvågen and Å as many times as you want. Climb Reinebringen one day, and hike to Kvalvika beach another.
Peace in Lofoten:
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