Travel

Wow factor: Bicycling the stunning Lofoten Isles of Norway’s Arctic Circle, Pt. 2

(Editor’s note: This is Pt. 2 of a two-part post about Kimberly Hanneman’s adventures in Norway‘s Lofoten Archipelago. You can jump to Pt. 1 here.)

Fair warning. Plan this trip well.

When you are a well-informed visitor with reservations you have more freedom to add more activities. Even in high tourist season, the ferry and air travel options to and from the Lofoten Isles are limited. Lodging and fine dining are in high demand. 

If you want to do this tour, plan and take advantage of inclusive packages.

You are far from home in the Arctic Circle on an active holiday in a country that earns its reputation as one of the more expensive tourist destinations in the world.

Use a Norwegian holiday arranger

Discover Norway deserves my referral as a holiday arranger, especially for first-time travelers to Lofoten. These Norwegian self-guided tour specialists are based out of Lillehammer, Norway, now joining Balslev in 2024 to expand their services. The agency has decades of relationships to provide visitors with comfortable hospitality through inclusive packages with fair pricing. 

We booked the tour titled “Bike the Amazing Lofoten Isles” as an eight-day package with a straightforward price inclusive of lodging with a hearty breakfast buffet, self-packed picnic lunches to go, periodic group dinners, bike and accessory rental, and luggage transfer. Our cabins had private bedroom suites at high-end hotel prices and we still shared the cabin’s common areas with fellow bicyclists who were bunking down the hall. 

We appreciated our first group dinner at Låven restaurant, a beautifully restored hay barn just up from the beach at Hov, GimsØysand with views of their Icelandic ponies. We also enjoyed two group dinners at Reine Rorbuer. Our meals throughout the tour were amazingly fresh and wonderfully memorable owing to locally sourced menus. Our group was from Norway, Italy, Malta, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, South Africa, and Botswana.

Their itinerary is the same as in 2022; you can review costs and available dates for 2024.

Discovery Norway’s itinerary for the eight-day Lofoten tour

Day 1, Friday | Arrive in Svolvaer, Lofoten

Day 2, Saturday | Svolvaer | Rental bikes delivered, discover the northern part of Lofoten

Day 3, Sunday | Svolvaer to Hov / Gimsoya, 40 km ride

Day 4, Monday | Hov to Leknes, 53km ride

Day 5, Tuesday | Leknes, discover the seaward and central part of Lofoten

Day 6, Wednesday | Leknes to bicycle ferry to Nusfjord to Reine | 52km

Day 7, Thursday, | Reine, discover the southern part of Lofoten

Day 8, Friday, Rental bikes picked up, depart Reine on the bus to Moskenes to the ferry to BodØ

Sea kyaking near reine

With lodging and itinerary plans in place, we learned about numerous free side activity options. Outdoor activities on Lofoten are abundant. Because the weather during our stay was pleasant, we didn’t step into any of the lovely museums or art studios to escape bad weather. We chose to bike, hike, and sea kayak. Out on a sea kayak tour with a guide, we didn’t see a single white-tailed eagle, razorbill, or cormorant.

Plenty of fjord sightings! 

@kimhanneman

July 1 | View at midnight of the Midnight Sun, Reine Rorbuer

We stayed in a red Rorbu on the coastline in the village of Reine. Our cottage was modernized for needy tourists including blackout curtains.

@kimhanneman 

Getting to Lofoten, Norway

Most people direct their international flight to Oslo Gardermoen. Scandinavian Airlines and other major European airlines have routes from major European airports to Oslo. The main airlines of the region where Lofoten is located are Norwegian Airlines and Wideroe. BodØ is one of the largest cities in northern Norway. We flew in and out of BodØ.  Passenger ships and ferries are vital to the region. Hurtigruten’s MS Nordlys ferried us to Svolvaer.

On the return, we took the free (for foot passengers) Moskenes to BodØ ferry on Torghatten Nord. Some from our group flew into Svolvaer and flew out of BodØ. 

Lofoten Weather

Even in summer, planning to experience all weather conditions during your stay is best. It will rain. You can hope for calm, sunny days.

Pack smart.

Learn which activities require advance booking

You can do many things that are free and do not require a reservation like midnight bicycling, hikes, and beach walks. Kayaking, golfing, surfing, horseback riding, fishing, whale, and birding excursions require reservations. 

Don’t Forget to Pack

• That eye mask for sleeping in the land of the midnight sun 

• Rain gear including rain pants

• Sunscreen, Sunglasses

• Winter hat, and gloves

Disclaimer

(Author’s note: My travel notes from our Lofoten adventure are presented to you with delight from our trip and not for affiliate marketing. I am not paid to guide you to any travel company or country.)

Kimberly Hanneman
Author | Website

Kimberly Hanneman is a writer who travels. She lives near Utrecht in a 115-year-old Dutch cottage she is renovating. In 2019 with her family, Kimberly relocated to the Netherlands from the USA. They enjoy cycling through the Netherlands and traveling outside the country to the mountains to hike. Kimberly worked for a decade in financial communications and investor relations before becoming a National Certified Counselor in career counseling at a Virginia university supporting undergraduates and graduate students by debunking the shallow find your passion advice. She was raised in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and returns each summer.

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