Visit Norway – Plan Your Trip

Visit Bergen
Visit Flam
Visit Geiranger
Visit Olden
Visit Oslo
Visit Stavanger
Visit Svalbard

One of the best ways to discover Norway is to let Hurtigruten plan your trip. Check out their Norwegian Discovery Cruise. Hurtigruten’s Norwegian Discover Cruise travels from Bergen to more than 25 coastal villages including Trondheim, the Lofoten Islands and Tromso. The voyage takes you beyond the Arctic Circle and finishes in Kirkenes. You can also travel the Norwegian coastal waterways with other major cruise lines.

Best Time to Visit Norway

July and August are the best time to visit Norway, because summers are short and cool at this northerly latitude.

Norway – Visa Requirements

Norway participates in the Schengen Zone and Schengen Visa requirements, even though it isn’t a member of the European Union. There are no border controls between members and no border inspections by rail or vehicle when traveling from Norway to Sweden and Finland. Some countries that are not members of the Schengen Zone require a Schengen Visa to enter Europe. More than 40 countries outside the Schengen Zone do not require a visa. Exemptions include citizens of Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Check your specific country at VisaHQ. For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.

Norway – Currency

Norway does not participate in the Euro, so be prepared to use the Norwegian krone.

Electrical Adapters for Norway

When you Visit Norway you will need a two prong European electrical adapters. Type C and Type G electrical adapters will work. Electrical adapters for Norway will work in many European countries, like Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Spain and Eastern Europe.

Lofoten Islands

Ytresand near Ramberg, Lofoten Islands

Ytresand near Ramberg, © Can Stock / Harlekino

Lofoten Island by Rental Car

The Lofoten Islands are very isolated and they are north of the Arctic Circle, so you will need a rental car for your visit.   If you fly in, pick up a rental car at the airport in Leknes or Svolvaer.  The best way to get to Lofoten Islands is through the town of Bodø, in northern Norway.  Bodø offers half hour direct flights to either Leknes or Svolvaer on the Lofoten Islands.  You can fly non-stop to Bodø from Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim or Tromsø.

You can also take a rental car on the 3 hour long ferry ride from Bodø to Moskenes on the island of Moskenesøya.  The ferry arrives in the most photographed and popular part of the islands.  You won’t be renting a car in Bergen, because it’s a 4 day road trip one way to get to Lofoten Islands.

Hurtigruten, Fram

Hurtigruten, Fram

Hurtigruten in the Lofoten Islands

Another way to get to the Lofoten Islands is on the Hurtigruten ships that sail the 7 day one way voyage between Bergen and Kirkenes.  In summer the Hurtigruten voyages offer several day trip options on the islands.  Passengers leave the ship in Stamsund for their excursion and re-board at the next port in Svolvaer.  These tours are about 3 hours long.  You won’t see the more famous area of Reine area on a Hurtigruten cruise though.  The Hurtgruten cruises are a great way to see the entire Norwegian Coast.  In summer the Hurtigruten ships also travel to the popular Geiranger Fjord.

Reinebringen Viewpoint, Lofoten Islands

Reinebringen Viewpoint, © Can Stock / ildi

When Should You Visit the Lofoten Islands?

You can visit the Lofoten Islands any time of year, but summer is when you can enjoy the sun that never sets.  Summer temperatures can reach 65 F, so it never gets hot.  The seas get warmer in summer because the islands are at the end of the Gulf Stream, but a trip to the beach isn’t going to involve swimming.  The Gulf Stream also helps keep temperatures from going much below freezing in winter even though you are in the Arctic.  Winter isn’t a great choice for your visit though because the sun doesn’t even come up in December.  July and August are likely the best time to visit the Lofoten Islands, but if you want to see the norther lights choose the winter.

Find you Favorite Villages

Once you arrive on the Lofoten Islands by rental car, it’s time to find your favorite villages.  Study the islands in advance because you have lots of options.  You can travel across the islands on the E10 highway, which has many bridges that join the isolated islands and communities.  You can even drive the E10 all the way from Moskenes to Narvik on the mainland of Norway in about 5 hours.

Sakrisøy, Lofoten Islands

Sakrisøy, © Can Stock / Harlekino

Reine, Sakrisøy and Hamnøy

My favorite villages are Reine, Sakrisøy and Hamnøy.  All three of these favorite villages are close together and just a few minutes from the ferry landing at Moskenes.  These villages are where you will see traditional scenes of cod fish drying on open air racks beside rustic fishing cabins called “rorbu”.   The background of steep mountain peaks and Norwegian fjords makes the scenery amazing.  You won’t find any tourist attractions or shopping districts.  You won’t see major cruise lines stopping by either.  The isolation is part of what makes the Lofoten Islands so special.  If you are an adventurous hiker, climb up to the Reinebringen viewpoint for fabulous views back down over these villages.

Ramberg

The town of Ramberg is on the Atlantic coast side of the islands about a half hour from Reine.  The scenery here is very different than the east coast of the islands, because there are some sandy beaches on the Atlantic coast side. Find an AirBbB in Ramberg and enjoy the sand and sea views for a few days.

Rorbuer Fishing Houses, Reine, Lofoten Islands

Rorbuer Fishing Houses, Reine, © Can Stock / Harlekino

Rorbuer – Where to Stay in Lofoten Islands

When you look for places to stay in the Lofoten Islands, you keep seeing the words Rorbu and Rorbuer.  What’s that all about?  Well, these words come from the traditional cod fishing history of Norway.  Rorbu refers to a cod fishing cabin.  Rorbuer is simply the plural in Norwegian, so it means cabins.  When the economy of Norway was based on cod fishing, cabins were built along the shores where fishing boats could easily be launched.  Today tourism has taken off in the Lofoten Islands and it’s too isolated for major hotel chains.  So, locals have converted their rorbuer fishing cabins into tourist rental units.

Reine, Lofoten Islands

Reine, Lofoten Islands, © Can Stock / Harlekino

Lofoten Islands Slide Show

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