Lofoten - A place to dream of sheep…
Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams that escaping the rat race to a digital detox in one of the planet’s more stunning and remote places might mean you must follow a “sheep code of conduct”?!
Yup. A place where those bundles of wooly softness have their own code of conduct.
We present: Norway’s Lofoten...
This collection of Tolkien-esque Middle Earth-like islands is located far north of the Arctic Circle and is yet another of those magical “lands of the midnight sun”.
With scenery so staggeringly beautiful it will blow your camera lens (don’t even think we’re exaggerating), while we consider it yet another perfect remote location for a Stay Unplugged digital detox, Lofoten is also a land full of surprises.
Yes, you read right, pack your board if you’re heading here, but first, let’s talk basics.
Where, Who and How: Essential Lofoten Facts
Probably, like many, you may never have heard of Lofoten, although granted more recently thanks to the joys of Instagram it has become popular with tourists (when you get there, you’ll understand why)...so much so, that the locals, a little overcome by the influx of people wanting to see all that Lofoten has to offer, have set up a Code of Conduct they ask foreigners to follow during their time in these special islands.
Located off the coast of far northern Norway, Lofoten is a group of islands connected to each other and the mainland by a series of tunnels and bridges. Just over 24,000 locals inhabit this 1200 square km once land of the Vikings that for over 1000 years has been a major centre for cod fishing in Norway.
While remote, there are plenty of options to get to Lofoten: You can fly into one of two airports in Leknes or Svolvær which connect to Oslo, although this is seasonal; you can find your way by water and take the scenic 3-hour ferry ride from Bodø to Moskenes, Stamsund or Svolvæ (Bodø is reachable by both bus and train); or those wanting a more independent approach can take the road journey as it’s possible to drive in through either Norway or Sweden either direct onto the islands (or have the best of both worlds and combine the drive with a ferry ride.
Once in Lofoten, we can help recommend or organise pre- or post-digital detox retreat accommodation for those wanting to push out their stay to enjoy this mystical place for longer…speaking of which, here is probably why you will want to stay...maybe never leave!
The five MUST DO’s while in Lofoten
Take a hike
You’ve heard the cliche thrown about but Lofoten really is a hiker’s paradise, so pack your best walking shoes, make sure you’ve got yourself in tip-top shape (some of these climbs are intense but beyond worth the effort) and bring that analogue camera (ok, we’ll allow your digital smartphone for this one because the snaps you’ll take are going to be epic) with you. From the popular but challenging Reinebringen hike, that will leave you feeling like you’re on top of the world, to the much easier (and more gentle on the calves!) Bunes or Horseid Beach hikes, mark down your trip to Lofoten as a walking one and do as much of it as time permits. And for the rock climbers, take on Svolvaergeita, or “The Goat”, for a truly memorable view of the world you’ll tell others about forever.
Eat the local seafood...all the seafood...nom noms
At some point (or many) during your trip, you are going to get wafts of fresh fish on the breeze due to the huge fishing industry that is Lofoten’s main export, with the locals having fished the waters for nearly 1000 years. This of course means that any restaurant you walk into is going to serve up some of the most spankingly delish seafood dishes you can get your lips around. Be prepared - eating out in Norway is more mid-range price wise (if you’ve been anywhere in Scando, you’ll not be surprised by this), but your tastebuds will thank you for that extra cash you’ll splash when eating out at any of the local eateries. We rate Fiskekrogan for both the food and the location (dockside in Henningsvær), Krambua in Moskenesoy for its seafood and lamb dishes (sheep code of conduct goes out the window here) and the more casual but equally delicious deli Anitas Sjømat in Sakrisoy for the fish soup or pulled-salmon burger. Did we say nom-noms? Lovers of seafood might head home several kilos heavier even with all the hiking they might do!
Hit the beach
You never expected us to talk beaches in Lofoten, right? OK, OK, depending on the time of year, hitting the beach may or may not be an option, although even in the deep chill of winter the beaches on Lofoten are gorgeous to visit. And sure, even in the middle of summer, the water is on the cool side, but the stunning setting you’ll find yourself in as you brave the waters will warm your heart. Packing your swimmers is therefore not just optional if you’re here during the warmer months, it’s mandatory. And, yes, as we mentioned previously, if you’re a surfer DO NOT (we stress) DO NOT forget your board. And your wetsuit for that chilly swell - Unstad beach is becoming one of those world-class wave destinations for serious surfers.
Find the Artscape Nordland Sculptures
Whether you’re an Art lover or not, hunting down the five sculptures scattered across Lofoten that are part of the internationally acclaimed Artscape Nordland collection is a great way to visit some beautiful scenic spots in Lofoten while also seeing some super cool art. Italy, Spain, Japan, Switzerland and the USA are all represented with impressive sculptures of different forms, materials, sizes and shapes...and who knows, maybe you’ll be so inspired by them you’ll hunt down the other 30 scattered throughout Nordland? We say while you’re here, hell yes, why not?!
The lights...those Northern Lights
Anyone traveling this far north into the Arctic Circle has to have in their mind the chance of seeing those famous dazzling Northern Lights. Because it lies beneath the Auroral Oval, Lofoten should be a great spot to see this glorious spectacle, but due to the unpredictable weather, it’s not the number one go-to region for Northern Lights pilgrims. However, if you visit between September and April, and luck it in with a clear night, you’ll see those mystical dancing lights and find it hard to take yourself to bed, wanting to stay up all night under their gorgeous glow.
A trip to Lofoten might not be on everyone’s bucket list, but trust us, it’s one of those places that you’ll arrive at and find hard to leave.
When planning your digital detox with Stay Unplugged, we highly recommend the location for all the reasons above...oh, and did we mention the puffin colony (up to three million of these little cuties!) on Rost...or the fishing huts in Rorbuer you can rent right on the water...and not to forget the Lofotr Viking Museum on Vestvågøy…or the...well, the list could go on and on!
So much to see and do...you might wanna take an extra week (or two) off work...just saying...