There are many ways to get to Lofoten. Whether you travel by boat, plane, car, or bus, here’s everything you need to know to plan your trip to Lofoten.
One of the trickiest things I found in planning my trip to the Lofoten Islands was finding information on how to get there and then deciding which was the best option. This detailed guide on how to get to Lofoten shows you the different modes of transport you can take to get there plus some useful tips on choosing the best way to get there.
Where are the Lofoten Islands located
Branching out from mainland Northern Norway is the beautiful Lofoten archipelago located at 68 degrees north and well above the arctic circle.
Located in the county of Nordland, Lofoten share the same latitude as Greenland and northern parts of Alaska but thank to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, enjoy much more temperate weather conditions in comparison.
Map of Lofoten Islands transportation links
How to get to the Lofoten Islands
Lofoten has become much easier and more accessible in recent years with a new section of highway E10 opening up in 2007. As a mentioned in my Lofoten travel tips guide, the E10 will be your lifeline as you travel to and around Lofoten.
The E10 allows for ferry-free access to Lofoten from the mainland which opens up more opportunities to reach this breathtaking corner of Norway.
Let’s take a closer look at getting to the Lofoten Islands.
The Lofoten Islands is made up of lots of well-connected islands and a couple of islands which can only be reached by plane, helicopter or ferry, more on this later. For the large and well-connected part of the archipelago, there are two airports which service the area. Svolvær Airport and Leknes Airport both have regular flight direct flights to several Norwegian airports.
Svolvaer Airport connects Bodø, Oslo, Røst, Stokmarknes and Leknes Airport connects Bodø, Oslo, Tromsø. Leknes offers more frequent flights and are usually less expensive. The main operator to Lofoten is the domestic Norwegian airline, Widerøe.
The closest international airport that can be reach by road is Harstad/Narvik Airport located in Evenes. Alternatively, you can fly in from Bodø Airport which also connects to international destinations.
At the southern tip of the Lofoten Islands and located on the islet of Røstlandet is a Røst airport. Røst airport is smaller again and has flights to and from Bodø and Svolvær.
- From Oslo to Evenes: 1h 40m direct
- From Oslo to Bodø: 1h 30m direct
- From Tromsø to Evenes: 35m direct
- From Tromsø to Bodø: 50m direct
- From Bodø to Svolvær: 25m direct
- From Bodø to Røst: 25m direct
- From Røst to Svolvær: 25m direct
By Car Ferry
The more traditional way to arrive in Lofoten is by taking a car ferry from Bodø. There are three destinations to choose from, Moskenes, Væroy, and Røst. Ferry routes vary during throughout the year but there is usually at least one ferry per day to Moskenes.
Ferry duration from Bodø
- From Bodø to Moskenes: depending on conditions 3h 15m – 4 hr direct
- From Bodø to Væroy (via Moskenes): 5h 30m
- From Bodø to Røst (via Moskene and Væroy): 7h 15m
Tips for getting a ferry from Bodø
- Be prepared for a rough crossing and take seasickness tablets
- Out of season, the ferries work on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you turn up 2 hours ahead of departure. During summer, make a reservation in advance with the operator.
- If you miss out on tickets, it’s good to know that 40% of tickets are tickets are sold in advance while the remaining 60% is allocated for those who stand in line at the harbor.
- Plan you trip and check times on 177nordland.no
- Book your ferry at torghatten-nord.no
The quickest car ferry route from the mainland is from Skutvik and connects to Svolvær. The ferry from Skutvik to Svolvær take 2hr 24m.
Tips for getting a ferry from Skutvik
- This ferry one operates between June and August
- 2-3 ferry operate daily so book in advance
- Plan you trip and check times on 177nordland.no
- Book your ferry in advance at torghatten-nord.no
Another way to reach Lofoten is to take the Norwegian Coastal Voyage Hurtigruten coastal boat. In Norwegian, the phrase “hurtig ruten” actually translates to “fast route”.
As it heads north from Bodø, the Hurtigruten stop at Stamsund and Svolvær. The trip duration from Stamsund is 4 hours and 6 hours to Svolvær.
Tips for getting a Hurtigruten to Lofoten
- Booking a cabin is optional on these short trips
- The Hurtigruten can also transport cars
- Booking in advance is essential and can be make either online at at Hurtigruten.com, by phone, or at tourist office.
The E10 connects the mainland to Lofoten as it weaves all the way down a beautiful scenic route passing over numerous bridges and through tunnels as far as Å i Lofoten. Car hire is available at Bodø, Svolvær, Leknes, and Harstad/Narvik airports.
Drive duration to Lofoten
- From Tromsø to Svolvær: 6h 10m
- From Tromsø to Å: 8h 20m
- From Harstad/Narvik airport to Svolvær: 2h 30m
- From Harstad/Narvik airport to Å: 4h 40m
Tips for driving to Lofoten
- If you’re travelling internationally, picking up a rental car at an airport like Harstad/Narvik in Evenes is probably the best option.
- The drive down to Lofoten is gorgeous so time your flight so you arrive early in the day, this will also ensure you won’t be driving through the night when you’ll need to be more alert and on the lookout for moose.
- Hiring a car in Lofoten is a very popular choice and cars book up quickly, so don’t leave it too close to your departure date to hire your car for a competitive price. Book here at least 1-2 months in advance.
Another option is to catch a train. While you can’t take a train to Lofoten, you can travel by train as close as Bodø and Narvik. If you’re travelling from Sweden, train run from Stockholm, Kiruna, to Narvik. From here you can catch a bus to the Lofoten Islands.
If you’re travelling from within Norway you can get a from Oslo via Trondheim and Fauske to Bodø. The train from Trondheim to Bodø takes approximately 10 hours. Once in Bodø, you can take a ferry or speedboat to Lofoten.
To book your train tickets, visit NSB’s website for prices and times.
Public bus services run every day from Narvik, Bodø, and Harstad to Svolvær. Plan your trip on 177nordland.no. Students get a 50% discount on long trips.
Bus duration to Lofoten
- From Narvik to Bodø: 6h 15m
- From Bodø to Svolvær (via Narvik): 12h 50m including a 2hr stop over
- From Narvik to Svolvær: 3h 52m – 4h 12m
What is the best way to get to Lofoten?
Assuming you’re travelling internationally, I would recommend doing what I did which is to fly into Harstad/Narvik Airport, pick up your rental car then drive down the E10 to Lofoten. Not only is the drive manageable (2h 30m to Svolvær) but it also gives you the opportunity to see much more of Lofoten than if you were to arrive by ferry or plane.
Whilst researching prior to my trip I earned that approaching Lofoten by ferry or speed boat also provides some incredible views of the Lofotenveggen (Lofoten Wall) a 160-kilometre stretch of mountains which line the island. Since I’m not good on rough waters such as what is experienced here, I opted for the drive instead.
That’s it! I hope you found this guide on how to get to Lofoten useful. If you have any questions, please leave it in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.
Planning a trip? Don’t risk it. I never travel without getting travel insurance. I used World Nomads for my trip to Norway.
Like it? Pin it for later!
Visiting Norway? Check out my other Norway posts
- 23 Travel Tips You Should Know Before Visiting the Lofoten Islands, Norway
- 28 Unique Things to Do in Lofoten Before You Die [A Comprehensive Guide]
- Hattvika Lodge Review: Cosy Cabins in the Heart of Lofoten You’ll Never Want to Leave
- Staying at Eliassen Rorbuer: The Most Picturesque Fishing Village in Lofoten, Norway
- Top 10 Free Things to do in Oslo
- Oslo’s Best-Kept Secret
- How to Hike Trolltunga like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide
- 11 Awesome Things to do in Stavanger you won’t forget
- The Ultimate Sámi Culture Experience in Tromsø
- 7 Reasons Why You Should Take an Arctic Fjords Road Trip in Tromsø
- The Best Place to See the Northern Lights You Probably Haven’t Heard of
- How to Choose the Best Whale Watching Tour in Norway and Iceland
Sources /The Rough Guide to Norway
Over to you!
Do you have a question about visiting the Lofoten islands? Ask me below!
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
Like what you see? Subscribe using the form below to have all of my posts delivered directly to your email.