Silver Travel Explorers Club: The Lofoten Islands with Hurtigruten

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Our new Explorers Club spotlights a port of call from favourite cruising areas each month, looking at what its particular appeal is, what you can look forward to seeing there, little known facts about the place – and how to get there. The world was first explored by sea and in many cases, it remains the best way to discover a new destination, from the Mediterranean to Malaysia, from Alaska to Australia, from Scandinavia to South America. We hope you enjoy taking a look at this new feature!

The Lofoten Islands, Norway

The Lofoten Islands, Norway

Why go there?

With jagged mountains rising out of the sea, small fishing towns scattered along the rugged coast and sandy beaches bordered by fjords, Lofoten is a group of islands in Nordland County, northern Norway, that offer some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.

In spite of its location above the Arctic Circle at the same latitude as Greenland Lofoten experiences a notably warmer, but still subarctic climate, thanks to the circulation of the Gulf Stream.

What’s good to do there?

Get a feel for the old fishing life – surrounded by water, it's not surprising that fishing in Lofoten dates back 1,000 years. Take a look inside a Rorbu, one of the many authentic fishermen’s cabins that can be found at the water’s edge along the Norwegian coast, often built atop sturdy timber piles. Picturesque now, back in the day these huts provided fishermen with essential refuge from the elements.

Alternatively, enjoy a whale safari or kayak trip. Go horse riding or hit your stride hiking in thrilling mountain scenery.

Rorbu - Fisherman's cabin - Photo credit: Tommy Simonsen

Little-known facts about Lofoten?

The Midnight Sun

The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in Lofoten between 28 May and 17 July. During this time, the sun does not go under the horizon at all. Locals say that this rare sunlight is best viewed from Lofoten’s western beaches, some of which are a popular spot for surfers.

The Northern Lights

Northern Lights, NorwayFrom late September until late March/April, the Northern Lights are frequently seen in Lofoten. They are also known as the Aurora Borealis, a name given to them by astronomer Galileo. Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Borealis is derived from the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas. The Northern Lights can appear in different forms. They can look like a swirl of colours dancing through the sky, rays of green, yellow, red and violet light reaching up into space, and sometimes they appear as a giant fissure stretching across the sky.  

The Vikings believed the Northern Lights illuminating the sky were the reflections of the Valkyries’ armour as they led the warriors to Odin.

Puffin Heaven

PuffinsAt the tip of the Lofoten archipelago, a small island called Røst is home to the greatest number of nesting birds in Norway about 25 percent of the country's seabird population. A clifftop colony of Atlantic Puffins is the largest in Norway. Also known as the Sea Parrot and Clown of the Sea for their colourful faces, the Atlantic Puffin is a bird that holds a special place in Norwegian hearts and even has its own festival. 

King Crab

Introduced to the Barents Sea by Russian scientists in the 1960s, the red king crab native to the Pacific Ocean is now considered a delicacy and a vital part of the local fishing culture. King crabNothing can taste fresher than red king crab prepared just minutes after it has been hauled up and delivered directly on your ship's deck by local fishermen.

The Svolvær Goat

No one travelling on the sea route to the Lofoten Islands and the town of Svolvær could miss the sight of Svolværgeita: two rock formations shaped like goat horns that loom over the town. This double peak, 590 metres above sea level, has been the subject of legend and superstition. In the old days, fishermen trekked up to offer the year's first catch of Lofot cod to the Svolværgeita. And today, dare-devils still leap the meter and a half from one goat horn to the other.

Reine, Norway - Hurtigruten

How to get there

Hurtigruten offers the most comprehensive selection of scenic Norway cruises, including visits to Lofoten ports of call, and sails throughout the year. In 2021, 2022 and 2023 there are many opportunities to sail to Lofoten and North Cape, from and back to Dover. 15-day fares start at £2,879pp for an inside or £3,148pp for an outside cabin based aboard MS Maud’s Dover- North Cape-Dover Northern Lights and Fjords Expedition sailing on 17 November 2021. This includes savings of up to 20% when you book by 31 March 2021 and Hurtigruten’s Northern Lights promise.

More sailing opportunities with Hurtigruten from Dover in 2021/2022/2023:

Read more about the Lofoten Islands with Hurtigruten, and the majestic scenery of the Loften Islands.

Question: What is it about Norway that most makes you want to visit?


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Other Members' Thoughts - 63 Comment(s)

  • Starling
    7 months ago
    Norwegian scenery is magnificent - we have been many times mainly to Oslo but there is tsill much to do & explore in Norway.
  • shellee1
    7 months ago
    ultimately the scenery and wildlife are what puts Norway right up the bucket list of places I would love to visit - my fascination with Vikings and Scandinavian folklore are of course an added reason!
  • GrahamRobinson
    7 months ago
    We've been to Bergen and Oslo a few times and Lofoten is definitely on the list for our next trip to Norway.
  • StephEmmo
    7 months ago
    The scenery looks absolutely amazing. I would love to visit there and it certainly is on my bucket list.
  • Everton-Bill
    7 months ago
    Ah true Norway in Scandinavia and land of vikings trolls myths and legends and northern lights a must see place on my bucket list !
  • Itsinthebag
    7 months ago
    Firstly it would be to see the Northern Lights, obviously the great hospitality and amazing food - what a dream holiday
  • Ers
    7 months ago
    The Lofoten Islands are truly beautiful. Remember hitchhiking there when I was younger.
  • you
    7 months ago
    Have travelled to Norway several times, I always find more to see and do any month of the year.
  • Hardyplant
    7 months ago
    As I'm not a good sailor I've never felt the urge to go on a cruise, particularly the type that seems to concentrate more on the `dressing up for dinner` side of things - and I would hate to be limited to a short time exploring ports of call. However, I have in recent years been drawn to the Hurtigruten cruise model as it looks far more my sort of thing. We had a talk about the Lofoten islands at an Alpine Garden Society meeting and it looked really interesting. I'd also like to visit the Tromso Botanic Garden to see their amazing collection of Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine plants, but that would need to be between May and October.
  • Carline
    7 months ago
    Totally unspoilt
  • Happy3
    7 months ago
    Our first ever cruise was to the Norwegian fjords and we loved it! You could see great scenery and get of the ship and explore the local areas. We have booked to see the Northern Lights in October [Covid permitting] and can't wait! This guide would really be helpful.
  • JoSoap
    7 months ago
    We've booked our first ever Norwegian fjord cruise (for the third time, due to Covid). This fab guide would be so useful for us.
  • catty
    7 months ago
    How good does a Whale Safari sound?
  • MrPhilS
    7 months ago
    Once travel restrictions are over we are looking at going to the Fjords to see the Trolls, fingers crossed
  • Lynn_20
    7 months ago
    Norway is travel heaven--even Hell, a place in Norway means " lucky ! "
    Wherever you venture in Norway, you'll feel lucky to have experienced beautiful incomparable Norway, and be
    forever hooked !
  • philsw
    7 months ago
    Studied Norway at school during Geography. Would love to visit Norway once this Covid crisis is over. Having my first vaccine on Saturday.
  • LRT
    7 months ago
    Can’t wait to explore this beautiful area.
  • GypsyWanderer
    7 months ago
    Fascinated by cold countries. Does ice and snow make a country look clean or are the people less likely to drop litter?
    Love the crisp air, bright sunlight, being out in the freeze but feeling cosy in insulated clothing. Love the light.
  • Bertiebad
    7 months ago
    Norway had always held and attraction for me and Gillian. It would be wonderful to see the sights close to.
  • czechitout
    7 months ago
    Have been to Norway on cruises several times. one of the best ways to see it. Love the scenery and uncrowded places. Want to take partner to Geiranger to walk to the waterfall which you can stand behind. Would love to walk up Pulpit rock too. .Handily., have never met a Norwegian who doesn't speak English. Very useful if one gets lost.
  • PeteHoll
    7 months ago
    To see the Northern Lights and the lovely food and hospitality Norway has to offer would make it a special holiday.
  • Jani
    7 months ago
    In 2013 I was on a day trip to Finland from Bournemouth Airport. Do everything in a day. Not enough people to drive the Husky sleds so they gave us extra insurance and off I went with a pack of 5 dogs and 1 bitch into deep snow for an hour, The lady with me was quite happy to sit back and admire the view. After lunch we had a slide show on Aurora Borealis before going up a nearby mountain for an evening meal and light show. Unfortunately we had a blizzard. So disappointing.
    By the time we were on the plane at Ivalo the pilot had asked around airspace and found the Northern Lights over Norway. We were very happy to finally see this amazing show.
  • doublet
    7 months ago
    We had to cancel last year's holiday to Norway, so we are desperate to get out there into that beautiful scenery this time round.
  • Ray_16
    7 months ago
    To see the Northern Lights in Norway would make it a special holiday.
  • Teggie
    7 months ago
    In Norway they charge a deposit on glass bottles bought in shops. Knowing this I went round the ship shortly before departure, collected a couple of dozen bottles and whizzed off to a supermarket. Put "my" bottles in the machine, received my small cash reward and hastened back to my ship Initially I went down the wrong quay. From there i could see the crew preparing to hoist the gang plank. New world 200 metres record. Well, certainly Norwegian record. and I was a few krone more wealthy.