Home Destinations Top 28 Things to Do in Lofoten Islands, Norway [Ultimate Travel Guide]

Top 28 Things to Do in Lofoten Islands, Norway [Ultimate Travel Guide]

by Michele
28 Unique Things to Do in Lofoten : A Comprehensive Guide
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The dramatically beautiful Lofoten Islands is something that has to be seen to be believed. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this chain of islands located in Northern Norway. 

The whole time I was in Lofoten I couldn’t put into words how every perfect reflection, pink sunrise, craggy snow-capped mountain peak, winding coastal road, and cute ‘rorbu’ (fisherman’s cabin) made me feel. My heart was so full that it hurt. Being in this part of the world (ie. the Arctic) not only puts life into perspective, but it raises your awareness of both what it’s like to live and thrive here, all while experiencing the awesome power and beauty of nature.

From seeing the Northern Lights to snorkelling with whales, here are 28 unique things to do in Lofoten before you die, in my humble opinion. For more details on how to get to Lofoten, check out my in-depth guide here. Don’t miss my top tips for visiting Lofoten, including when to go, how to prepare, and other things important you probably haven’t thought of…yet!.

Visiting Norway? Get my FREE Norwegian travel phrase guide with pronunciation.

Where are the Lofoten Islands

Lofoten is made up of a series of islands that extend out from mainland Norway into the Northern Sea. The Lofoten archipelago sits above the arctic circle in Northern Norway at 68 degrees north.

Getting to the Lofoten Islands

It can be a little tricky finding information on how best to get to the Lofoten Islands, which is why I dedicated an entire guide to it here. There are 6 modes of transport to choose from, but as you’ll see in my Lofoten travel guide, I recommend renting a car here to get around in.

How long should you stay

First things first, how long do you need to for a visit to arguably the world’s most beautiful archipelago? I’d start with a week, minimum. It may look small on a map, but there’s actually a lot to see and do in Lofoten and activities change depending on the season therefore it also depends on what you want to do.

Check out my Lofoten travel tips guide here for more details on everything you need to know including the best time to go, what the weather is like, and a bunch of other things you probably haven’t thought about yet.

Map of Top Things to Do in Lofoten

To help you locate each place included in this guide to Lofoten, I created this handy map pinning each location.

Here are top 28 things to do in Lofoten in detail

Keep in mind that the items on this list just scratch the surface of what Lofoten has to offer, but are what I would call ‘priority pit-stops’. There is so much to do and see in this part of Norway that you either you stay for a few weeks and or you need to come back multiple times. I’m already planning my own return trip.

1. Visit the ‘Venice of Lofoten’ at Henningsvær

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Henningsvær HarbourHenningsvær is one of of the prettiest seaports in Lofoten. So pretty in fact that it’s been dubbed ‘the Venice of Lofoten’. Located on a byroad of the European route E10 highway, Henningsvær is made up by a string of islets populated by brightly coloured wooden houses. For centuries, Henningsvær has been an important fishing centre and locals even have a special expression for it: ‘A real Lofoten cod am I, for I was born in Henningsvær.’

Henningsvær is also a trendy hangout and popular with visitors. There is a small but vibrant community of 510 residents (as of 2018), a school, plenty of shops, hotels, rorbu cabins, and restaurants. 

Things to do in Henningsvær

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Henningsvær HarbourOutdoor activities

Rock climbing and skiing are popular things to do in Henningsvær. The North Norwegian Climbing School (Nord Norsk Klatreskole) runs a range of climbing and skiing courses with an experienced guide. Booking in advance is essential. Check their website for more details.

Lofoten Opplevelser offers a range of water-based tours all year around. In summer, choose from sea-eagle safaris, midnight-sun safaris, snorkelling, and during winter northern lights tours, and orca safaris in Andenes (4-hour drive) are available.

Relax on this evening cruise to Henningsvær and taste the traditional local cuisine before cruising back in complete silence past Lofoten’s tallest mountains, bathing in the evening sunlight.

Henningsvær Football Stadium

Henningsvær has become a popular spot for drone photography in recent years thanks to the picturesque Henningsvær Fotballbanen (soccer field) which was featured in a promotional film by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), for their one of their “We Play Strong” videos. 

Kaviar Factory

The Kaviar Factory building was once used for manufacturing kaviar paste in the 1950s, today this restored building is now home to an art gallery exhibiting cutting-edge temporary art. It’s open daily from 12-4pm and is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Check the official Kaviar Factory website for more details.

Galleri Lofotens Hus

A major drawcard to Henningsvær is the Galleri Lofotens Hus, which features Norway’s largest collection of painted art from Northern Norway. Much of the artwork dates from the late 19th century to early 20th centuries as is in the Realism style. More information can be found on the official Galleri Lofoten Hus website

Codstock Festival

Move over Woodstock, Codstock is where the party’s at. This cleverly name festival lasts for 3 days and celebrates Henningsvær’s fishing history. There’s lots of cooking, fishing, and sea shanties (a highly catchy type of work song). In 2019, it takes place from June 5-7. Check the official website for details.

How to get to Henningsvær

Henningsvær is located just 25 km west of Svolvær on the E10. From Svolvær Helle Airport it’s 31 km, and 31 km from Stamsund for the Hurtigruten.

2. See the Cod Fish Drying Racks

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Sakrisøya Drying Cod fishFishing is one of the main reasons why people live in Lofoten. Every year some 40 million kilos of codfish are caught, most of which is dried and exported to Italy. Why Italy? Well, we have to go back a few hundreds years to understand why.

It all started with Pietro Querini, an Italian sea captain from the Venice who in 1432 was shipwrecked in Røst, a small island in Lofoten. While recuperating on the island, Querini discovered codfish which he called ‘stocfisi’ (Tørrfisk in Norwegian), which dominated the local economy and was air- and wind-dried until it became “as hard as wood”.

When Querini left for Venice four months later, he took 60 sticks of air-dried cod with him and wrote a report of his travels. Querini is famed for having popularised Stockfish, particularly codfish, in the Veneto region where it is prepared as Bacalà alla Vicentina.

Part of the process in preparing the Cod Fish us to hang them out to dry on these large drying racks. It might sound weird that in order to dry fish you put them outside where it’s cold and snowing, but the air up here in Northern Norway is so dry that it actually dries out the fisk (fish) really well.

These drying racks are all over Lofoten, but you’ll only see them covered in fish between January and April. It’s well worth stopping by and taking a closer look.

3. Explore Svolvær, the Capital of Lofoten

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Visit SvolværLocated on Lofoten’s largest island, Austvågøya, is Svolvær, the region’s administrative and transport centre. As such, you’ll find more accommodation options and excellent restaurants here by comparison with neighbouring islands.

Set beneath a dramatic mountain range, Svolvær’s harbour is lined with red rorbuer, typical fisherman’s cabins from gamle dager (olden days). What makes Svolvær so famous are its two giant granite pillars which tower over the city. But more on that later!

Svolvær may not be the most magical place in Lofoten but it’s a great place to base yourself, refuel, and join the various tours that operate from here.

Things to do in Svolvær

Climb Svolværgeita

If you’re daring enough and want to capture the photo of a lifetime then you should climb Svolværgeita, aka Svolvær Goat. Svolværgeita is a famous vertical climb which is made up two rock formations that resemble goat’s horns, hence the name. Its double peak sits 590 metres above sea level and can only be climbed with an experienced guide.

What makes this climbs so daring is jumping 1.5m from one ‘horn’ to the other. Don’t worry though, if you slip you won’t have to go far to be laid to rest, directly below there’s a cemetery! Someone’s idea of a joke, I’m sure. But seriously, both beginner and advanced climbers can hike Svolværgeita thanks to the multi-pitch routes. Book your climb with Alpine Guides here.

Lofoten Krigsminnemuseum (War Memorial Museum)

When you think of World War II, Norway may not spring to mind but the Germans occupied it with such speed that British allies were stumped on how to respond. They eventually decided on a commando raid. The Lofoten War Memorial Museum showcases a wide range of artefacts from the era including documents, uniforms, and weapons. Not to be missed is the SS’s interrogation centre. Check the museum website for more details and opening times

Join a Tour

As I mentioned, Svolvær is the starting point for many tours. Here are a some of the best tours to choose from:

How to get to Svolvær

Svolvær is well-connected and can be easily reached by car, ferry, plane, and by Hurtigruten. Svolvær is a 2h 30m drive from Harstad/Narvik airport in Evenes.

4. Watch sunrise or sunset at Haukland Beach in Vestvågøya

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - SunsetLocated to the west of Svolvær and in the heart of Lofoten is Vestvågøy, the most populous municipality in the Lofoten archipelago. It’s here you’ll see many of those postcard perfect landscapes and epic sunsets. Haukland Beach is one of those places you have to visit either at sunrise or sunset or both!

Fun fact: Lofoten was the original name of Vestvågøya island. The shape of the island inspired its original name “Lofoten”, which is made up of two parts. The first word, ‘ló’ means “lynx” and the second word is derived from Norse “fótr” meaning “foot”. “Vestvågøy” can be roughly translated as “west-bay-island”.

How to get to Haukland Beach

Uttakleiv Beach can be easily reached via byroads off the E10 highway. Heading north from Leknes (the island’s main town) it’s an 18-minute (11.7km) drive to Haukland Beach.

5. Watch sunset at Uttakleiv Beach

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Uttakleiv Beach SunsetWith its craggy shoreline, rock pools, and sandy beach, it’s no wonder Uttakleiv Beach is the most photographed beach in Norway. Parking is located to the left just above the rock pools and large boulders.

How to get to Uttakleiv Beach

From Haukland Beach, it’s a further 6 minutes (3 km) drive through a tunnel to get to Uttakleiv Beach.

6. Hike up Mannen

Located above Haukland Beach is Mannen, one of the more manageable hikes in Lofoten which is safe and easily accessible all year round. The hike itself is fairly short at 1.75 km and taking between 1-1.5 hours. Sadly, I ran out of time and wasn’t able to hike Mannen (a good excuse to return) but I recommend using this site to help you prepare.

How to get to Mannen

Before entering the tunnel to Uttakleiv Beach, turn left into the parking area directly above you is Mannen.

7. See Arctic Surfers at Unstad Beach

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Unstad Beach Surfer Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Unstad Beach WavesFurther up the north coast of Vestvågøy and surrounded by towering mountains with panoramic views out to sea is Unstad Beach. This is a surfers paradise with awesome swells year around attracting surfers from around the world. Even after sunset in winter you’ll see surfers braving the cold water. For less experienced surfers, Unstad Arctic Surf offers various packages and lessons so you can improve your skills all the while staying in a cosy wooden cabin close to the beach. For information about available packages, visit Unstad Arctic Surf.

How to get to Unstad Beach

Unstad Beach is a 24 min (21.0 km) drive from Leknes via E10. Turn left onto Steinfjordveien (there is a sign here indicating Unstad Beach) and follow the winding road all the way to Unstad Beach.

8. Drink Tran at Möller’s Tran Tasting Depot in Ballstad

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Möller’s Tran Tasting DepotYou know what they say…when in Norway, drink tran :)

Tran is a cod liver oil that Norwegian’s drink for its incredible nutritious value. A single teaspoon provides 90% of your daily requirements for vitamin A and 113% of your daily requirements for vitamin D. Norwegian’s find it particularly useful for its high dose of Vitamin D which is important for mood elevation and helps offset SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which can occur during Polar Night. The most famous and popular brand of cod liver oil is produced by Möller’s.

Whilst staying at Hattvika Lodge, I learned that the one and only factory of Möller’s cod liver oil factory was located opposite our accommodation and that we could sample all three types of tran at the tasting depot. Whether you’re staying at Hattvika Lodge or just visiting the area, make sure you stop by for a tasting and learn about the areas interesting history. Contact Hattvika Lodge directly for details.

How to get to Möller’s Tasting Depot

From Leknes, follow the E10 south to Buksnesveien (Fv818), turn turn left onto Øyaveien, then left onto Hattvikveien. The drive takes just 15 minutes (11 km).

9. Admire Buksnes Church in Ballstad

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Buksnes ChurchAlso in Ballstad is Buksnes Church, a stunning red, wooden church built in Dragestil (“Dragon style”), a popular design in early 20th century Scandinavia. A church has stood in this place as far back as 1324 and since then has either been rebuilt or replaced thanks to either terrible storm damage or being burnt to the ground after it was struck by lightning. The church you see today was consecrated in 1905.

How to get to Ballstad

Buksnes Church is located on the way to Möller’s Tasting Depot. It’s just 7 minutes from Leknes on Buksnesveien (Fv818).

10. See Genuine 19th-century Rorbuer at Nusfjord

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Nusfjord ViewpointNusfjord is one of the most picturesque fishing villages in Lofoten. Set in an idyllic cove under a huge mountain, Nusfjord is one of the oldest and best preserved fishing villages in Norway and where you’ll find genuine 19th-century rorbuer. Evidence shows that people have lived here as far back as 425 BC, yet the road connecting the village to the outside world was built only 50 years ago!

There are a couple of excellent vantage points that you can access by climbing up two different hills. From there you’ll get wonderful panoramic views. Take your time to wander around the renovated buildings including the fish oil factory, old smokery, blacksmith, and boathouses.

For a bite to eat, stop by Landhandleriet Café, located at the back of the old general store with waterfront views. Oriana Tavern serves up pizza and fresh sashimi caught daily. Karoline Restaurant offers a refined dining experience with their specialty being home-made stockfish.

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Nusfjord

“Glatt Brygge. Sett sjøbein” means “Slippery dock. Wear your sea legs.”

How to get to Nusfjord

From the E10, turn onto Fv807 and continue straight until you reach Nusfjord.

11. See the pretty Flakstad Church (Flakstad Kirke)

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Flakstad ChurchSitting in plain sight of the E10 is the pretty Flakstad Kirke, built in 1780 in the cruciform style. The church uses timber from Russia which was obtained in exchange for fish, a common practice during the Pomor trade era from 1740 until the Russian revolution in 1917. You can also spot the Russian influence in the steeple which has a Russian Orthodox vibe to it.

Two minutes form the church is Skagsanden Beach. This is a popular spot for its reflections in the water, especially for Northern Lights photography.

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Skagsanden Beach reflection

Skagsanden Beach

How to get to Flakstad Church

Flakstad Church is a 5 minute drive (4.2 km) northeast of Ramberg.

12. See the Iconic Red hut at Rambergstranda (Ramberg Beach) in  Flakstad

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Ramberg Beach Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Ramberg BeachWith white sand, idyllic turquoise waters and towering mountains as the backdrop, Ramberg beach is certainly one of the most beautiful beaches in the Lofoten islands. In the middle of the beach is a lonesome red cabin, probably the most photographed single cabin in Norway. Just next to Ramberg beach is a small fishing village home to 350 inhabitants.

All year round Ramberg beach is a great spot for taking a stroll along the waterfront. During the warmer months green grass covers the hillside and swimmers can be seen enjoy a refreshing dip. During winter, Ramberg Beach is a magical spot to watch the Northern Lights from.  It’s gorgeous spots like Ramberg Beach that are always included in Winter Photography tours like this.

How to get to Ramberg Beach

Ramberg beach is located on the north side of Flakstad in Jusnesvika bay and very easy to get to as it’s located right on the E10. From the carpark, there is a wooden boardwalk which leads down to the beach.

13. Drive over the Fredvang Bridges

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Fredvang BridgesGetting around Lofoten would be incredibly cumbersome without tunnels and bridges like the Fredvang Bridges. It might sound weird to list visiting a couple of bridges as a top thing to do in Lofoten, but after all I did say they were unique things to do in Lofoten.

What makes the Fredvang Bridges so special is how they leap over the water and curve around to connect four islets, making for a pretty spectacular photo. These bridges were only built as recently as 1988.

How to get to the Fredvang Bridges

The Fredvang Bridges are located just outside Ramberg. Follow the E10 west and they’re on the right on the Fv808.

14. Visit Beautiful Sandbotnen Beach

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - SandbotnenSandbotnen is another beautiful beach and less busy that other beaches. Keep left on the Fv806 for a view over the beach.

How to get to Sandbotnen

With the Fredvang Bridge behind you, continue along the Fv808 then turn onto the Fv806. When you come to a T intersection, turn right and continue straight until you reach the beach.

15. Hike to Kvalvika Beach

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Kvalika BeachKvalvika beach is a secluded beach that can only be reached by hiking an hour up a moderately steep mountain. Kvalvika beach has gained more popularity since it was featured in the documentary film North of the Sun which follows the lives of two Norwegian friends who share their tale of how they lived on the beach during winter and survived in a cabin they built solely from using washed up debris. I highly recommend watching it.

During summer, organised tours like this take small groups to the beach and provide snacks and warm drinks at various lookouts along the way.

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Kvalika Beach

Looking back down at the Kvalika trailhead parking lot

How to get to Kvalvika Beach

Both the trailhead and parking to Kvalika beach are located on the Fv808, a 7 minute (4.6 km) drive from the Fredvang Bridges.

16. Hike to Ryten for Epic Views

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Hike RytenGood things don’t come easy, but luckily reaching Ryten is one hike you can safely do all year round.  You’ll definitely want to block out some time to hike up Ryten and see its sweeping views across the mountains and coastline. Located above Kvalika Beach, you’ll get an awesome perspective of the entire area.  The hike is fairly easy and will take 2-3 hours to cover the 3.5 km distance.

How to get to Ryten

There are a couple of ways to get to Ryten, I recommend this guide to help you plan your trip.

17. See the most picturesque fishing village in Hamnøy

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Sunrise on HamnøyLocated in the municipality of Moskenes, Hamnøy is home to a truly magical fishing village and where I had the pleasure of staying for 3 nights at Eliassen Rorbuer. Hamnøy is a popular spot thanks to its ultra scenic landscape. It’s here you’ll find red cabins hugging the shoreline with the oldest of them dating back to 1890. Each cabin has been restored and maintains its original character and genuine décor. I absolutely loved my stay at Eliassen Rorbuer, the fact we saw Northern Lights on our last night was the perfect way to end the trip. Check prices and book you stay here.

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Sunrise on HamnøyThings to do in Hamnøy

It might be a small village but there are plenty outdoor and cultural activities on offer. Tours can be organised through Eliassen Rorbuer or directly with the local tour operators. Available tours include:

How to get to Hamnøy

Route E10 runs right through Hamnøy and takes 1 hour (56.4 km) to drive to from Ballstad.

18. Wander around the yellow cabins on Sakrisøya

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Sakrisøya DroneSakrisøya is a neighbouring islet located near Hamnøy at the mouth of Reinefjord. It’s on this tiny 3 acre islet that you’ll see beautifully restored yellow cabins and plenty of cod fish hanging out to dry.

Things to do in Sakrisøya

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Sakrisøya yellow cabinSakrisøya is largely occupied by fish racks along with rorbu rentals including the excellent Sakrisøya Rorbuer. Also here is the Lofoten Toy Museum, the first of its kind in Norway to showcase toys from generations passed. Directly above is the Bric-a-brac vintage shop that sells old-fashioned objects which come from all over Lofoten. An ideal place to pick up a unique souvenir.

How to get to Sakrisøya

Located just after Hamnøy, route E10 runs through Sakrisøy. It’s just a 15 minute walk from Hamnøy. A nice opportunity to stretch the legs a little.

19. Visit the delightful town of Reine

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - ReineReine is an old and quiet fishing port set in a promontory surrounded by massive peaks of granite. Considered to be “the most beautiful place in the world”, all around Reine are red and white fishermen’s cabins sprinkled around the shoreline.

This breathtaking village is located on the island of Moskenesøya where you’ll find one of the only supermarkets in this part of the Lofoten Islands. Make sure you stop by and stock up on food supplies. There is also a petrol station nearby, which as you know from my Lofoten travel tips, is important to always locate your nearest one since they are so few.

Things to do in Reine

Hike Reinebringen

This one I feel needs it’s own special mention (see no. 20) since it’s the only hike I would recommend doing if you could only choose one. The breathtaking views from here are unparalleled.

Kayaking in Reinefjorden

Reine is an excellent spot to go kayaking and enjoy the surrounding views. Kayaking tours and kayak rentals are available through Reine Adventure.

How to get to Reine

Located to the southwest of Sakrisøya, the E10 runs right through Reine.

20. Hike the Reinebringen trail

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - ReineHiking the Reinebringen trail has been on my bucket list for so long. So when I booked my flights to Lofoten, I started researching the hike extensively. Turns out hiking Reinebringen is only safe to do during the warmer months and I went in March :( The ascent is very steep and you’ll need to use your hands to pull yourself in parts. Not something you want to risk with a lot of snow still on the ground. The hike will take you between 1.5-2 hours to climb the 1 km distance.

As of March 2019, they’re in the process of building stairs which take you as far as 3/4 of the way up. After which you’ll have to climb more than hike. Be prepared for a slippery climb and take a map with you. Use this map to help you plan.

How to get to Reinebringen

The Reinebringen trailhead is located to the west of town. Just after the tunnel (Ramsvikstunnelen),  there is a small trail with a painted arrow marking the trailhead.

21. Visit Å, the last village in Lofoten

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Å i Lofoten SignThe long E10 route comes to an end in the charming village wedged between the mountains. Named Å (pronounced “oh”), this is the last letter in the Norwegian alphabet which is quite fitting since the village is also the southernmost most town you can visit in the Lofoten Islands via the E10. The road literally ends in a car park! This quaint fishing village once solely relied on cod fishing, but now tourism is just as important.

Things to do in Å

There are a couple of interesting museums to visit in Å including:

Norsk Fiskeværsmuseum

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Norsk Fiskevaersmuseum

Norsk Fiskevaersmuseum

The Norsk Fiskeværsmuseum (Norwegian Fishing Village Museum) documents life in the fishing village over the past 250 years. As part of this open air museum, there are about 15 buildings to visit including Europe’s oldest active cod-liver oil factory, a boathouse, forge, and rorbuer. Guided tours and activities make this museum fun for all ages. Check the official museum website for more details and opening times


Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Torrefiskmuseum


Cod fish is the currency of Lofoten so it’s definitely worth learning more about the archipelago’s main industry. The Tørrfiskmuseum (Stockfish Museum) takes you through the laborious process of preparing this popular Norwegian staple. From hauling the fish from the sea, transporting, grading, to sorting, and shipping. Check the official museum website for more details and opening times

Gammelgården Bakery

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Gammelgården Bakery

Gammelgården Bakery

Set in an antiquated building from the 1880’s, Gammelgården (the Old House) is the best bakery in the Lofoten Islands, preparing fresh bread and excellent cinnamon buns prepared in a vintage oven. The bakery is only open during the summer season from Mid-June to mid-August as a “demonstration bakery” where you can see how things were baked in the olden days.

How to get to Å

Easy! The E10 south until it ends :)

22. Try your hand at glass blowing in Vikten

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - ViktenLocated in a fantastic building on the rocky seaside of Vikten is Glasshytta, a glass blower with a wonderful history. At the end of the 60‘s the fisherman Åsvar Tangrand started crafting unique artefacts including the “Lofotruna”. The Lofotruna symbolise and captures the essence of the Lofoten Islands. The stylised symbol features a boat, fish, and fishermen. In 1976, Åsvar set up Glasshytta (The Glass Hut), the first of its kind in Northern Norway. Take your time exploring the workshop full of beautifully crafted art pieces, relax in a lounge area, or take a stroll down the beach.

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - View of Flakstadoya

View of Flakstadoya from Vikten

How to get to Vikten

Vikten is located in the top eastern part of Flakstadøya at the end of road R811.

23. See Millions of Puffins in Værøy

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Visit VærøyAfter Å, there are two more southerly islands you can visit, but only either by car ferry or by helicopter. Værøy is the second most southerly island, measuring just 7.3 square metres, there is still a lot to see and do on Værøy.  Værøy is made up of two main settlements, Nordland and Sørland. The vast majority of the population, however, live in the town of Sørland.

Fun fact: The Old Norse form of the island was Veðrøy, where “veðr” means “weather”, referring to harsh weather of this exposed island. The last part “øy” simply means “island”.

Things to do in Værøy


It’s here in Sørland that you’ll find various Viking burial sites and the oldest church in Lofoten. Still in use today, Værøy Gamle Kirke, is a red, wooden church that was built in a long church style in 1714 and was moved here 1799.

Måstad and Måstadfjell

Værøy is famous for its bird cliffs located on the Måstad peninsula. Large colonies of seabirds gather in the so-called “lundeura”. Here you’ll find thousands of puffins nests with millions of puffins which come here to during the warmer months. Other birds found here include eiders, gulls, cormorants, terns, kittiwakes, guillemots, sea eagles, fulmar, and gannet. The best way to see the birds is by taking a boat trip.

In the past, puffins were an important food source for the residents of Værøy and dogs were employed to help them catch the birds. Today, there are around 600 puffin dogs in Norway all of which can be linked back to the small hamlet of Måstad.


A great way to explore the island is by renting a bike and cycling along its 22 km road network. Bikes can be rented next to the supermarket in Sørland.

Boat trips

There are several local operators which run birdwatching tours, these generally last for 3 hours and can be booked at the tourist office or by asking around once you arrive.


There a numerous hiking opportunities here, the best is located along the Nupsneset promontory which leads out into the ocean creating an awesome view.

How to get to Værøy

Car ferry

There is car ferry you can get from Bodø, Moskenes, and Røst. From Bodø to Væroy (via Moskenes) the trip is 5 hours and 30 minutes. Departing from Moskenes the trip takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. Ferries run up to 3 times daily during summer and once daily during winter. Plan your trip and check times on 177nordland.no and book your ferry tickets in advance at torghatten-nord.no


The quickest but more costly way to reach Værøy is by helicopter, however, the only departure point is from Bodø. The trip takes 25 min and can be booked via lufttransport.no

24. Visit Røst, the most southerly inhabited island in Lofoten

Remember back in no. 2 of this list of unique things to do Lofoten when I mention how the Italian nobleman Querini discovered the Norwegian way of preparing stock fish? Well, Røst is where he was shipwrecked! It’s said that Røst still produces the best stockfish is Lofoten. With a population of 600, Røst’s landscape is dotted with loads of tiny lakes due to its super flat terrain.

Things to do in Røst

Røst Bryggehotell rents out bikes, boats, and kayaks along with organising boat trips out to the smaller islets to see the bird colonies. They also offer guided tours in their very own stockfish warehouse. For more details and to book your stay, visit Røst Bryggehotell.

How to get to Røst

Røst has a super small airstrip with regular flights from Bødo. These are operated by and can be booked via wideroe.no. Alternatively, the same car ferry that serves Værøy from Moskenes also continues down to Røst.  Plan your trip on 177nordland.no and book your ferry tickets in advance using torghatten-nord.no.

 25. Travel back 1000 year at the Lofotr Viking Museum in Bøstad

Back in 1981, a local farmer stumbled upon the remains of the largest Viking chieftain’s house ever discovered. This find prompted the reconstruction of the house which stood on the site around 500 AD.

Inside the 83-metre (272-ft) Viking hall is the Lofotr Viking Museum where you can wander around and see various archaeological finds. There is an excellent short-film which documents the life of the chieftain and his family. During the summer months the replica Viking vessels are taken out onto the adjoining lake. Lofotr Viking Museum provides a fun and interactive experience suitable for all ages. Check the museum website for opening times

How to get to Lofotr Viking Museum

Lofotr Viking Museum is located on the E10, just 13 km north of Leknes and 53 km south of Svolvær. There is also a public bus which stops just 200 metres from the museum. Plan your bus route here on 177nordland.no

26. Swim with Orcas in Andenes

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Snorkel with OrcasLofoten has some of the best whale watching in the world. Located on the northern side of Lofoten in Andenes, whale watching tours are able to run all year round thanks to its close proximity to a deep underwater canyon where the nutrient-rich ocean is a primary feeding ground.

During summer, Sperm whales are regularly spotted along with the occasional sightings of Orcas and Pilot Whales. Winter sees the return of Humpback whales in great numbers, along with Fin whales, Orcas, and Sperm whales. Book your whale watching tour here with Whale Safari for a 100% whale guarantee.

For the ultimate unforgettable experience, Lofoten Opplevelser run snorkelling with orcas tours. Tours runs daily from 28.12.2018 till 10.02.2019, including New Year’s weekend. 

How to get to Andenes

Andenes is a 3 hour 7 minute (209 km) drive from Svolvær along the E10, Rv85 and Fv82 to Kongshaugveien in Andenes.

27. See the Northern Lights

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - Northern Lights on HamnøyAn excellent reason to visit Lofoten during winter is to see nature’s greatest light show, the Northern Lights. Lofoten is located over the Arctic Circle, making for an ideal spot to see the Northern Lights.  If you’ve got a car and there is a clear night, you can easily spot the lights yourself by looking northward.

Alternatively, there are Northern Lights tours which gives you better odds at seeing the lights since have a team of experts who track the weather and know where to go to get the best weather conditions.

Northern Lights tours operate all over Lofoten, here are a some tours to consider:

28. Take the Side Roads

Unique Things to Do in Lofoten - HorseThe E10 might be the lifeline of Lofoten connecting the mainland to the islands, but I highly encourage you to veer off the beaten path as much as you can. Most people stick to the E10 and only turn off to get to a pre-planned destination. Make time to turn off and carve your own path. This is a great way to experience the quieter side of Lofoten (especially during the busy summer months) to find those hidden gems that make for unique experiences.

For more details on how to get to Lofoten, check out my in-depth guide here. Don’t miss my top tips for visiting Lofoten, including when to go, how to prepare, and other things important you probably haven’t thought of…yet!.

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this list of unique things to do in Lofoten. If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.

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Recommended tours and experiences

Visiting Norway? Check out my other Norway posts

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28 Unique Things to Do in Lofoten : A Comprehensive Guide

SourcesThe 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.

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Iwalani June 9, 2022 - 23:10

Thank you Michele for your heartfelt expression and blog. This will help us tremendously on our trip! Aloha from Hawaii!

Michele July 19, 2022 - 09:37

My pleasure :) Have a wonderful trip!

Lorraine December 16, 2019 - 18:04

Absolutely incredible article ? How was driving in March? I am intrigued about doing a similar trip and hiring a car, but a lot of people online are defeatist about road closures and suggesting not to drive in March. Your pictures and amazing itinerary suggests otherwise? :)
All the best! Lorraine

Michele December 17, 2019 - 10:48

Thank you so much, Lorraine. Driving was fine. My friend, who is Norwegian, drove for most of it. I only drove a little. But yes, you do need to stay alert at all times and be sure to stick to the road and not fall into the side ditches which we saw others do a few times. There are orange florescent sticks the Norwegians but in the snow along the road to help you stay on track. We didn’t come across any road closures either. The Norwegians are excellent at keeping the roads clear :)

Michael November 15, 2019 - 04:13

Did you take these photo?

Michele November 15, 2019 - 21:57

Sure did :)


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