Lofoten in Northern Norway is known as one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world. Much because of its spectacular mountains spread across all of the islands, the long beaches of white shell sand, and the turquoise, clear sea. As long as you are physically able, a visit here is not complete until you have seen it from above. On my five-day trip to Lofoten I did six different hikes that all can be recommended. Read on to find your favourite!
1. FLØYA AND THE DEVIL’S GATE IN SVOLVÆR
Arriving Svolvær and Lofoten after a 2,5 hour drive from Harstad/Narvik Airport, we went straigth out hiking after checking in to our room at Lofoten Rorbuer. Fløya is the mountain behind Svolværgeita (the Svolvær goat), the famous pinnacle with two “horns” where you can rock climb to the top and jump between the “horns” if you dare and your guide allows it. On the way up, you will come across The devil’s gate, a boulder stuck between mt. Fløya and mt. Frosken (the frog).
We could walk directly from our hotel, and the path is well signposted and easy to find. Like most of the popular hikes in Lofoten, the path to mt. Fløya is steep. You are ascending almost 600 metres in only 1,5 kilometres. The first leg of the tour is a long stairway made of rocks by Nepalese sherpas. When the stairs ends there are a few tricky parts where you have to scramble past large rocks. Further, there is a less steep part before you start the last leg to The devil’s gate, and that is where it gets a bit “airy”. It is possible to climb onto Djevelporten, but be careful – if you fall you fall far. From The devil’s gate you follow the ridge to the cairn at mt. Fløya. Enjoy the views down to Svolværgeita, Svolvær town and the surrounding mountains and islands.
Going back, you can take a signposted short cut instead of going past The devil’s gate again.
- Starting point: Blåtindveien in Svolvær
- Height: 590 masl
- Lenght: 1,5 km
- Time: approx. 3 hours return hike
- Parking: A small parking lot next to the starting point, but it is recommended to park in the town centre.
- Children: The first part can be walked by most, you get a nice view rather early and can stop or turn whenever you like. Older children can walk the full lenght, but The devil’s gate is not for children and be careful on the ridge.
2. FESTVÅGTIND BY HENNINGSVÆR
We waited half a day for the fog to clear to hike mt. Festvågtind. Was it worth it? Yes! There is 360 degrees of fantastic views on from the top! The path starts by the road approx. 2 kilometres outside Henningsvær, just after a large turn. It can be a bit tricky to find, as you have to scramble through leaf forest and across some big rocks at the beginning. Chances are you are not the only one there, so ask someone if unsure. Keep to your right and try to follow the blue marks going up the first leg to Heiavatnet lake on 189 masl.
Heiavatnet is a nice place to stop if going with younger children, and also a good place for a breather for all ages. From here, the path is easy to find, but not marked or signposted. The path winds its way up the steep mountain side. After a bit of scrambling again, you enter the wide ridge on 460 masl. You now have views in all directions. The ridge is wide and easy to walk, by several occasions it has actually been used as a concert venue by the local artist Sondre Justad. Follow it until you have the peak just in front of you. There is just one short section of scramble again to the top. If there are already someone on the top, I recommend waiting in line on the ridge below.
Enjoy the views to Henningsvær below you and the horizon to the south. On clear days you can see all the way to the mainland from here. To your east you have the massive mt. Vågakallen, numerous rugged peaks to the north and to the west you sea the wall of Lofoten – an endless row of mountains raising from the sea.
Be careful going downhill, the path is rugged and worn and can be slippery.
- Starting point: By the large turn near Festvåg, 2 km north of Henningsvær
- Height: 541 masl
- Lenght: 1,3 km
- Time: approx. 2,5 hours return hike
- Parking: There is a small parking next to the road just before the starting point coming from Henningsvær. If full, walk from the town centre or catch a bus
- Children: Families with younger children should stop at Heiavatnet lake. Older children whom are used to walking on steep, rugged paths can go all the way to the top.
3. GLOMTINDEN NEAR HENNINGSVÆR
The lesser known mt. Glomtinden is a good choice for families, as an easier evening hike when you stay in Henningsvær, or to stretch your legs while driving. It is also easy to get to by bus if staying in Henningsvær without a car, like I did on my last day in Lofoten. It is a bit longer in distance than most of the other hikes, but less steep and airy. There is, however, nothing negative to say about the views!
If arriving by bus, the first leg of this hike is on the side of the E10 in direction Svolvær. Be careful, as cars drive fast here… There is a small parking lot to the left of the road, from there you follow the gravel road going above the E10 tunnel. After almost 2 kilometres, you can see the path leading to the top. It is not signposted but easy to find. Just below the top there is a wide, flat-ish area perfect for a lunch break. Families with younger children and those not used to scrambling on rugged paths should stop here – the views are basically the same.
From the top you you have views to the sea and Vågakallen to the south and Svolvær to your east. Go back the same way you came up. And if the weather allows it; go for a swim at Rørvikstranda beach!
- Starting point: From Rørvika, where road 816 from Henningsvær meets E10, or from the parking by E10 in direction Svolvær from Henningsvær
- Height: 419 masl
- Lenght: 2,8 km
- Time: approx. 2 hours return hike
- Parking: A small parking lot next to the E10 in direction Svolvær from Henningsvær, at Rørvika junction, or catch a bus to Rørvika from Henningsvær
- Children: This is a good choice for families. Young children should not go the last section to the top.
4. MANNEN FROM HAUKLAND
The spectacular views to not less than three picture perfect white beaches makes the hike to mt. Mannen worth it. You start from Hauklandstranda beach, which is named as Europe’s finest beach by Lonely Planet. The first leg is on gravel road to the right of the tunnel to Uttakleiv. After a few hundrer metres on gravel, you take the first path up to your left. The path is not signposted but easy to find.
The next section zigzags up the hillside. When you come up the first hill, the path splits. Take the one to the left going up the ridge. If you take the other, you will end up at Uttakleiv beach instead. From here the view gets better and better. The ridge is easy to follow and you can see your goal in front of you. Just make sure to not step too far out on the edge – even though it looks safe, there is a reason to why the mountains here are so rugged and jagged. Small parts of the rocky mountains fall down little by little. This is also why you should keep to the paths, as mountains popular by hikers deteriorate even faster.
Reaching for the top, you should wait in line like on mt. Festvågtind. I am quite sure you, as I did, would like to enjoy the spectacular views to Hauklandstranda and Vik beaches, the islands, and the mountain ranges in peace and quiet. Take a moment to appreciate the colour of the sea. Is Norway or the Caribbean?
Return the same way, and make sure to stop by the beach for a swim before you leave Haukland!
- Starting point: Hauklandstranda beach
- Height: 400 masl
- Lenght: 2 km
- Time: 2-3 hours return hike
- Parking: Parking lot by Hauklandstranda beach
- Children: Mt. Mannen can be climbed by most, but better suited for older children. Be careful on the ridge and on the top.
5. KVALVIKA BEACH
This is the only hike on this list that does not end on a peak. Kvalvika (The whale’s bay) is a north facing bay with a large white beach and no road connection. It is an easy hike on a well marked and signposted path. You start b sea level by the road outside Fredvang and ascend the gentle hill for a bit more than 1 kilometre. When the path turns downhill through piles of rocks. Soon you will get the first glimpes of the Norwegian sea and the pretty beach.
Follow the path until you reach the beach. You can either stop here and test the water temperature or you can continue uphill to mt. Ryten which hovers over the beach on your right hand side. We stopped by the beach, but the path to Ryten is supposed to be good and also available for children. Unlike the peaks I hiked, Ryten is more of a plateau with less scambling.
The view and the beach itself reminded me a lot about the hike to Vetvika beach in Bremanger in Western Norway last summer. Except, Kvalvika is a way shorter walk.
- Starting point: Along road 808 from Fredvang or in Fredvang
- Height: approx 170 metre ascent and descent in both directions
- Lenght: 2 km one way
- Time: 1,5 – 2 hours return hike
- Parking: A small parking lot next to the starting point, if this is full park in Fredvang
6. REINEBRINGEN IN REINE
Like Mannen, Fløya, and Festvågtind, mt. Reinebringen is a classic hike to do in Lofoten, and by far the most popular around Reine in western Lofoten. It is not suitable for children, people with reduced mobility, or knee problems, as most of the path is a large stone stairway, the last leg is scramble on a steep, slippery slope, and the top is airy to say the least. But, for those who are fit to do it, the views makes all the effort worth it!
The first leg of this hike goes on the side of the E10 from Reine in direction Å, and continues on a walk way to the left of the tunnel for a few hundred metres. The path is well signposted and cannot be missed. Just follow the stairs that winds up the steep hill. The stairs are made by Nepalese sherpas, a popular way to help popular steep paths from deteriorating. In 2021 there are approx. 1700 steps in total, on every 100 step it is written how far you have come. Is it though? Oh yes. Take a breather on one or more of the beautiful stone benches along the way and enjoy the views of the Vestfjord.
Due to covid, the stairway is not yet complete. The last 150 metres to the top is just a steep slope where you have to be careful. When travel restrictions from Nepal eases up, sometime in the future, the stairway will be completed.
The top is more like an airy ridge than a peak, but the 360 degree view is no less spectacular. You see straight down to the picturesque village of Reine, the Reinefjord and its small fjord arms, the impressive surrounding mountains, and of course the sea. You can also see Lofoten and the mountain range ending in the sea to the west. If you want to go further, you can scramble your way to the next top on 666 (!) masl.
Return the same way you came up. To my opinion, going down is harder than going up…
- Starting point: On the side of E10 in direction Å from Reine
- Height: 448 masl
- Lenght: approx. 1 km, 1700 stairs and 150 metres scrambling
- Time: approx. 1,5 – 2 hours return hike
- Parking: By the junction by E10 and Reine or in Reine
- Children: Not suitable for children