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Spend 7 days exploring the spectacular Lofoten Islands, traveling by bus and boat. A week in Lofoten gives you a chance to explore the different islands and hike some of the famous trails.
The Lofoten Islands are made up of 5 main islands and many small ones. This itinerary travels from Svolvær in the northeast down to Å in the southwest. While you can drive between these two towns in only 2.5 hours, traveling slow is the best way to appreciate the beauty of Lofoten.
With its tall mountains, white sandy beaches, and dramatic coastline, Lofoten is one of Norway’s top hiking destinations. If you find the famous trails a bit busy and crowded, there are plenty of quieter alternatives that offer outstanding views. Download the Outtt app for Android and iOS to explore the trails and save the descriptions and maps offline.
The boat ride from Bodø to Svolvær is in itself a great journey as it travels along the coast, with constant views of the Lofoten mountains. Svolvær, on the mountainous Ausvågøy Island, is a typical starting point for many Lofoten travelers and a comfortable place to get your bearings. From here, you can hike Fløya and Djevelporten or Tjeldbergtind, visit Kabelvåg, or take the boat to Skrova Island.
Hennningsvær is a picturesque small fishing town sprinkled across many small islands. Nearby is Festvågtind, one of Lofoten’s most popular trails.
As you travel further on towards Leknes you will notice the big difference in landscape. After crossing the small Gimsøy Island you will reach Vestvågøy Island. Vestvågøy Island has large areas of pastures along the main road and although there are mountains here as well, the island has a very different feel than the other Lofoten islands. Along the way, Hellostinden has 360-degree views of the island.
The village of Ramberg on Flakstadøy Island has its own white sandy beach and nearby peaks like Nubben and Volandstind. The beach is also a great place to go kayaking or try other watersports. Ramberg can also be used as a base to reach the popular Kvalvika Beach and Ryten trails.
The final island along this stretch of road is Moskenesøy Island. Moskenesøy and Flakstadøy are probably the most photographed of all the Lofoten islands and they look and feel just like the Lofoten you have seen in pictures. Both islands features mountains plummeting straight into the ocean, small fishing villages and beaches sprinkled around the coast.
Reine is perhaps the ultimate Lofoten destination and an excellent base for a couple of days. Nearby trails include Reinebringen, Bunes Beach, and Helvetestind, not to mention the pretty village of Å with its famous bakery.
Traveling by Public Transportation
The Lofoten Islands are connected by a good bus network with express boats and ferries connecting to the mainland. Traveling by public transportation provides more time to relax and take in the beautiful nature instead of concentrating on navigating the busy, windy roads. Public transportation is also a more affordable option than renting a car and with a bit of planning you can travel to most places around Lofoten.
Travel Pass Nordland provides 7 days of travel on public transportation for €99 (€49 for children). The pass includes all buses and express boats in the region. Ferries (big boats that carry cars) are not included, but the only ferry in this itinerary is from Moskenes and Bodø (230 NOK one person, one-way). The pass is a physical card which you scan as you board buses and boats. Buy Travel Pass Nordland in advance and activate it on your first journey.
Entur is a country-wide route planner and a very useful resource when traveling by public transportation in Norway. Use the website, or download the app, to find the nearest stops and schedules.
Still considering renting a car? Cars are available in Moskenes, Leknes and Svolvær. You can also rent a car in Bodø, but then you need to add about 1,000 NOK to take the car on the ferry to Moskenes. Expect to pay a minimum of 3,500 NOK for 7 days of car rental in Lofoten.
Getting to Lofoten
Bodø is the most common entry point when traveling to the Lofoten Islands because of its cheaper and frequent connections to other cities in Norway. Bodø is a coastal city on the Norwegian mainland, about 100 kilometers directly south of Svolvær. The city has both a train station and an airport.
There are multiple flights every day from Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Tromsø, and Trondheim. Norwegian Air, Widerøe, and SAS fly to Bodø. Norwegian Air flies only from Oslo, but is often the cheapest option if you are flying in from the capital. SAS has flights from Oslo, Trondheim, Tromsø, and Bergen. Widerøe has connections from other smaller airports around Norway.
The airport in Bodø is situated right by the city center, and it’s just 1.5 kilometers to the ferry terminals (about a 20 minute walk).
It is possible to fly to both Leknes and Svolvær in Lofoten, usually with a stop in Bodø, but these flights are usually quite expensive.
Day 1: Bodø to Svolvær
From Bodø, take the express boat to Svolvær. Pre-book tickets for this boat as it is quite popular during the summer months. If you have purchased the Travel Pass Nordland, mention this on the booking page and you won’t have to pay for the booking. You will need to show the pass when you board the boat.
The express boat has only one departure each day at 6pm, arriving at 9:25pm in Svolvær. There are several ferry terminals in Bodø so make sure to look for “Bodø sentrumsterminalen kai”. It is located right by the Radisson Blu Hotel which is pretty easy to spot as it is the tallest building in the city center.
The trip to Svolvær takes 3 hours and 25 minutes and travels up along the coast north of Bodø, passing Steigen, before crossing Vestfjorden to Svolvær. The boat is not direct and stops multiple times.
With a late arrival in Svolvær it’s a good idea to book accommodation in advance. There are hotels, rorbuer, and a campground. Most accommodation is within walking distance of the ferry terminal, except for the camping site which is 2.5 kilometers from the ferry terminal on the northern side of the town.
Day 2: Svolvær
Svolvær has plenty to offer and it’s well worth staying here for another night before heading further west. Start the day by hiking to Djevelporten and Fløya. On the way up you will also get good views of the famous Svolværgeita rock formation.
Another option is to hike Tjeldbergtind located between Svolvær and Kabelvåg. You can hike a one-way route across Tjeldbergtind, down to Prestvatnet Lake on the western side of the mountain, and continue from there on to Kabelvåg. This route takes about 4 hours.
If the weather is not good enough for a hike in higher terrain, consider a bus trip to Kabelvåg or take the boat out to Skrova Island. Skrova is a small island situated right outside of Svolvær and it has great views of the Lofoten mountains from a distance. The boat from Svolvær to Skrova has multiple departures each day and takes 30 minutes.
On Skorva, take a walk and make sure to try out the local cuisine at Skrovabrygga or Fotobrygga. You can also hike up to Høgskrova, the highest peak on the island, for even better views of the surroundings.
Day 3: Henningsvær
From Svolvær travel west towards Henningsvær. Henningsvær is a small fishing village spread across many small islands on the southern side of the mountains. Whether you want to hike or just relax, Henningsvær does not disappoint with its fantastic views.
The bus from Svolvær to Henningsvær has multiple departures daily and takes 30-50 minutes depending on the departure.
Once you arrive in Henningsvær you can hike Festvågtind, one of the most popular hikes in all of Lofoten. The trailhead is just a couple of kilometers outside of Henningsvær and rises to 530 meters above sea level with great views of the islands around Henningsvær. The hike is not particularly long so it should leave you with some time to explore Henningsvær.
With a population of 500 people Henningsvær is one of the few towns around Lofoten fully spared of modern concrete buildings. All around town are original wooden houses with colorful walls. Head over to the Climbers Cafe for a quick bite, warm drinks, or a cold beer.
Henningsvær has multiple accommodation options to choose from, albeit no camping sites.
Day 4: Ramberg
Take the bus further west towards Leknes and Ramberg. You can head directly to Ramberg, or stop for a hike along the way. Heading straight to Ramberg will give you more time to explore the famous hikes on Flakstadøy and Moskenesøy islands.
On the way to Leknes there are great views on either side, and you will notice the landscape on Vestvågøy Island is less dramatic than the other islands. From Leknes to Ramberg try to sit on the right-hand side of the bus for the best views.
Just after departing Leknes the bus enters the undersea Nappstraumen Tunnel, and immediately after exiting the tunnel you will see that the landscape is much more rugged than the area around Leknes. The bus follows road E10 around Flakstadpollen and after 35 minutes arrives in Ramberg. Just before reaching Ramberg there are lovely views of Flakstad Beach on the right-hand side.
Leknes is not the most interesting city, but has much better options for stocking up on supplies than any of the other towns around Lofoten.
There are not a lot of accommodation options in Ramberg, but Ramberg Gjestegård is a good option. They offer a campsite by the sea, cabins, and apartments.
Option 1 - Direct to Ramberg
Head straight from Henningsvær to Ramberg for an extra day to spend on the famous hikes like Kvalvika Beach, Reinebringen and Bunes Beach on Flakstadøy and Moskenesøy islands. The downside is that you don’t get to do any hikes on Vestvågøy Island.
The bus journey from Henningsvær to Ramberg takes about 2.5 hours with multiple departures per day. If you need, you can stop in Leknes to do some shopping.
If you’re looking for a short hike or activity in Ramberg, check out the suggestions for Day 5.
Option 2 - Stop for a hike or museum visit on the way to Ramberg
Take bus route 18-743 for 12 minutes from Henningsvær to “Rørvik bussmøteplass”. There are two departures in the morning on weekdays, but just one on Saturdays and Sundays. From there continue on route 18-741 towards Leknes. Check the schedule.
After about 18 minutes hop off at “Lyngedal”. Just ask the bus driver to stop there if you are unsure about where to get off. From the bus stop, continue walking around the road for 200 meters to the to the trailhead for Hellostinden. As long as the weather is nice there is no problem leaving your bags by the start of the trail. Walk 10-20 meters off the main road and leave them by the trail.
Hellostinden provides a great overview of Vestvågøy Island with 360-degree views. The return hike usually takes 4-5 hours. Check the schedule for the buses from Lyngedal to Leknes and keep an eye on the time so you’re not waiting a long time for the next one. In Leknes you can stock on supplies before catching the next bus to Ramberg.
If the weather is bad or you want to do something other than hiking, take the bus to Borg instead of Lyngedal and visit the Lofotr Viking Museum. The museum includes a traditional viking house, farm animals, a viking ship, and more. The museum is well worth a visit for a good introduction to the vikings that once roamed the Lofoten Islands.
You can also stay in Leknes and leave for Ramberg the next day, but keep in mind that Leknes is not the most interesting place in Lofoten. Leknes has lots of different accommodation options, but there are no camping sites close to the city.
Day 5: Ramberg
Ramberg is a very small town with not much else than a few houses and a supermarket. However, Ramberg has lots of great hikes and activities available.
Enjoy a relaxing day at Ramberg Beach or head to nearby Nubben for an easy hike with views. Volandstind is a good option if you are up for a longer hike. For Volandstind, take the bus south along road E10 from Ramberg to “Skjelfjord Kryss”. The trip only takes 2 minutes and you could also walk there as it is only 2 kilometers away. From the bus stop walk along Skjelfjordveien Road to reach the trailhead.
Alternatively, if you have lots of energy, head for Kvalvika Beach and Ryten. Unfortunately the bus doesn’t pass the trailhead of these two hikes, but you can take the bus to “Fredvang Kryss”. From there follow Strandveien across the large bridge, over towards Fredvang, and continue straight to the trailhead. The walk from the bus stop to the trailhead is about 3 kilometers. Although you are walking along a road the views are pretty nice as you cross the bridge.
From Ramberg take the bus to Reine. The bus ride is only 35 minutes and in Reine there many accommodation options. The road to Reine travels across many small islands just before reaching Reine itself where you can also find restaurants and a supermarket.
Day 6: Reine
At the very end of the main road E10, about 10 kilometers south of Reine, lies the small town of Å. Å is perhaps the cutest of all the small towns in the southwestern end of the Lofoten Islands. Catch the bus from Reine to Å which takes just 20 minutes. Check the timetable.
As with all the towns in this area Å is not very big so 2-3 hours is more than enough to explore. Make sure you head to the local bakery where they bake great cinnamon rolls and bread in an old-fashioned wood-fired oven from 1844. The Norwegian Fishing Village Museum is another great option if you would like to learn more about the 1,000 year-old fishing culture in Lofoten.
Head out to one of the piers to snap some great photos of the town and the surrounding mountains, or take the very short hike out to the viewpoint on the western side of town. For a longer hike, walk around Ågvatnet Lake or trek out to Stokkvika on the western coast.
At the end of the day take the bus back to Reine for another night there. Check the timetable.
Day 7: Reine
This is your last full day in Lofoten so try and make the most of it. For many visitors staying in Reine the hike up to Reinebringen is a must. It is certainly a spectacular hike and it is arguably the most popular hike in the Lofoten Islands. However, the trail is currently under maintenance and during early summer 2019, it will be fully closed. Find updated information about the status of the trail on this Facebook page.
An even more spectacular adventure is to take the boat across Kjerkfjorden to the western side of the mountains. The boat ride itself is an unforgettable trip, traveling over the sheltered fjord and surrounded by tall mountains. The boat departs from Reine and sails to Vindstad on the other side of Kjerkfjorden. Check the timetable.
From Vindstad you can tackle Helvetestind or, if you would like an easier hike, then head for Bunes Beach. Or do them both! Helvetestind has amazing views of the entire island but can be demanding if you have a fear of heights. Bunes Beach is a very family-friendly hike and leads to perhaps the most beautiful beach in all of Lofoten.
Keep track of how long it takes you to reach the beach so you know how much time to allow on the return trip. You don’t want to miss the last ferry back to Reine.
Day 8: Reine to Bodø
Travel back to Bodø by taking the ferry from Moskenes. Note that this ferry is not included in the Travel Pass Nordland. The fare for 1 person to Bodø is 230 NOK and you can purchase tickets at the dock.
The ferry has different departure times depending on the day, so check the timetable for travelling by bus to Moskenes from Reine and connecting with the ferry to Bodø. The bus to Moskenes from Reine takes 20 minutes and the ferry to Bodø takes about 3.5 hours.
If the weather is nice, then make sure to go out on deck when the boat is leaving. You can get some great views of all the Lofoten Islands from the sea. The mountains shoot up straight from the sea, and from a distance it looks like a wall. For Norwegians this view is called “Lofotveggen” or the “Lofoten Wall”.
In bad weather the sea across Vestfjorden can be very rough, so bring sea sickness pills if that concerns you. There can be cancellations if the weather is especially bad, although this is not very common during the summer months.