The weather in Lofoten changes rapidly in winter. These swift changes provide you with magnificent light conditions that have inspired artists and drawn them to this area for several decades. The result of having Lofoten as a source of inspiration is evident in the many art galleries and photo exhibitions, as well as at the blacksmith's and the weaver's, or in the local glass, ice and ceramic arts.
The magical northern lights will often flicker across the night sky, and if you are lucky, you might even catch one of the raging storms.
The greatest experience is actually just being in Lofoten at this time of year. Watch the fish being hung out on the drying racks. Enjoy life in the harbour in the fishing villages. Have a "skreimølje" dinner and enjoy this local cod dish. Chat to the local fishermen in one of the pubs. Sun for breakfast, storm for dinner and a calm sea for supper.
And what is there to do in the evening? Enjoy a delicious meal, with ingredients from Lofoten, prepared by chefs that consider every dish a work of art. Traditional fishermen's cabins (rorbu), cosy bars, hotels with character, a crackling fireplace, a good book, a glass of wine, and great conversation.
Video by Andy Keen
Winter activities in Lofoten
Nature and seabird orca excursions
Nature and seabird excursions are arranged during winter. Take part in a trip and experience spectacular landscape, nature and birdlife, a fantastic bluish light, and the possibilities to watch the sea eagles in the Vestfjord.
Northern Lights hunt in Lofoten
Lofoten is situated right beneath the Auroral Oval. This is a belt of light that encircles the geomagnetic poles, beneath which you have the best chance of seeing the colourful, flickering Northern Lights. They will often start low in the northern sky, moving higher up as the evening progresses. Join a northern lights hunt to maximize your chances to spot the nature phenomena from September to April.
The open sea, steep mountains, narrow straits and luxuriant islets. Shifting light conditions and crystal clear water. This is an experience you will never forget. The rubber dinghies are extremely robust and will carry you to new adventures.
Diving and snorkelling
The coastal currents pump pure water from the Atlantic Ocean between the numerous islands. The characteristic marine life and the excellent visibility here are due to the location - far out to sea and far to the north. In the currents and on the cliff walls there are blankets of soft corals that filter the nutritious waters.
Cracks and crevices in the seabed are encompassed by swaying sea tangle, like endless forests reaching down towards the bright, white coral sand. Down there the wolf fish waits, in abundance. Diving and snorkelling in Lofoten is the experience of a lifetime. The arctic, crystal clear water provides you with a unique opportunity to discover life beneath the surface.
Lofoten is one of Norway's best sites for surfing, and one of the world's northernmost. The waves are normally of excellent quality and quantity, and surfing in the arctic is a fantastic experience. Imagine yourself lying on your surfboard in a beautiful bay surrounded by mountains, waiting for the right wave to surf towards the sandy beach. If you are lucky, you might spot a sea eagle or a seal while you are waiting between the waves. Unstad has become a very popular surfing destination, because of its world class waves and beautiful surroundings. Because of the cold water, a wetsuit is recommended. At Unstad Arctic Surf you can rent surfing equipment, get surfing lessons and stay in a cabin at the camp site with sauna and hot tub.
In July 2008, the British newspaper The Guardian put Lofoten on its list over top ten sea kayaking destinations:
- No collection of sea kayak venues would be complete without including the Norwegian fjords and islands. The ultimate experience is the Lofoten Islands. This is a mountainous archipelago with deep blue shimmering seas where kayaking trips can be combined with climbing and mountaineering. Wilderness is just around the corner yet civilisation is reassuringly close at hand.
Find more information at lofoten-aktiv.no.
Travel back to the Viking Age
Experience the Viking Age as it really was. At Borg, archaeologists have discovered the largest house ever found from this era. It is the house of one of the most powerful chieftains in Northern Norway. The building is 83 meters long and has been reconstructed as a living museum with findings, reconstructions, exhibitions and domestic animals. In 2012 the museum expanded with a new exhibition hall including a film and audio guides, and it was nominated for the "European Museum of the Year" award in 2013.
One of the world's greatest seasonal fisheries takes place in Lofoten. From mid-February until the end of April, Lofoten is full of life. The arctic cod swims down from the vast, nutritious areas of the Barents Sea in its millions, en route to the spawning grounds near Lofoten in order to ensure the survival of the species. Professional fishermen from the entire coast of Norway participate in this event.
You can learn more about Lofoten from a historical perspective, for better or for worse, in the museums that describe the everyday life of traditional fishermen and farmers, and in the galleries, where artists have been inspired by this challenging way of life.
Come out to sea and try your luck at fishing. Experience the atmosphere and the excitement at the fishing area. One thing is certain; you will not be bored with the scenery while you are waiting for the fish to bite. Every winter, hundreds of people travel to Lofoten to see who gets the most and the largest arctic cod in the World Championship in cod fishing.
Experience skiing in steep mountains overlooking the fjords and the breathtaking scenery. Lofoten has two alpine ski centres. For extreme skiers, the jagged peaks are a big hit. In Lofoten you can ski from summit to sea with spectacular views. There are unlimited options of peaks and lines that offers fresh powder snow and first class skiing. The mountains here are easy accessible from the roads so you can quickly gain terrain. Several certified guide companies offers guided ski trips, ski courses and avalanche courses on different levels, such as alpineguides.no, for instance. Hiring a guide is highly recommended to get the best and safest skiing experience in Lofoten.
Snowshoes offer another kind of winter adventure, and make it is so much easier and safer to get around. If you have ever been on a mountain hike beneath the magnificent northern lights, or as the sun is just flirting above the horizon, you should try it in Lofoten. It will be an unforgettable experience.
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