The various islands are joined up by the E10 road, a feat of
engineering every bit as impressive as the Atlantic Road further
south, and making this perfect road trip territory.
The ideal Lofoten trip would involve picking up a car from
Narvik Airport and enjoying the winding road across the bridges and
through the tunnels linking the islands until you reach the western
tip of the last one, Flakstadøy, stopping regularly to scrape your
jaw off the floor at the unbelievable beauty of the landscape.
The good news is that it's also possible to interact with the
surroundings rather than just view them from a car window. Try your
hand at trekking on the region's network of well-marked walking
routes, climbing up to some of the more accessible peaks for
incredible panoramic photo opportunities. Back down at sea level
you should take the chance to explore the sea itself, because it
was the Gulf Stream-warmed waters surrounding the archipelago that
attracted vast shoals of cod, which in turn lured the islands' long
established fishing communities. In many of the picturesque fishing
villages along the way we can arrange sea kayaking or inflatable
rib-boat expeditions to explore remote coves and hopefully catch
site of some of the region's resident wildlife, including majestic
fish eagles and sperm whales.
It's also in these little fishing villages that Lofoten plays
another trump card, the extremely original (something we're rather
partial to) places to stay known as rorbuers. These little wooden
huts were traditionally - and in many places still are - used for
storing fishing nets and equipment and some have been converted
into charming and quirky accommodation. See the What to Do section
for more information.
As for the villages themselves, each has its own idiosyncratic
attractions, and the ones not to miss are Svolvaer, the busiest (a
very relative term in this neck of the woods) settlement in
Lofoten; Storvagan for its Lofoten Museum and aquarium, and
Henningsvaer for the hipster haven of Kaviarfactory, an exhibition
space and shop. On the way back to the airport it's also worth
stopping off at the Viking Museum in Borg to see a reconstructed
Viking longhouse near the site of the largest ever discovered, with
an excellent exhibition about the Viking way of life and their
extraordinary voyages from their Scandinavian heartlands. Seeing
Lofoten in summer it's amazing to think they ever wanted to leave
somewhere so beautiful.