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Winter at Sakrisøy in Lofoten, Norway - Photo: Robert Walker
Winter at Sakrisøy in Lofoten, Norway Photo: Robert Walker

Winter in Lofoten

If you want to experience the genuine atmosphere of the many fishing villages, you should visit Lofoten outside of the hectic summer season.

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, seabird and & orca excursions
Nature, seabird and & orca 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 orcas in the Vestfjord. 

Ocean rafting
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.

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.

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.

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 extremes skiers, the jagged peaks are a big hit. 

Snowshoes offer another kind of winter adventure, and make it is so much easier and safer to get around. Have you ever been on a mountain hike beneath the magnificent northern lights, or as the sun is just flirting above the horizon? Try it in Lofoten. It will be an unforgettable experience.

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Last updated:  2013-12-19
 - Photo: Stig Einarsen
 - Photo: Terje Rakke

Interest:  Diving, Rafting, Fishing, Winter without skis, Wildlife safari

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Winter at Sakrisøy in Lofoten, Norway - Photo: Robert Walker

Winter in Lofoten

If you want to experience the genuine atmosphere of the many fishing villages, you should visit Lofoten outside of the hectic summer season.

Winter in Lofoten

Source: Visitnorway


What to do in Lofoten

Explore Lofoten by foot, go rafting in the Trollfjord and visit Lofotr Viking Museum. Taste stockfish and be amazed by the midnight sun.

World Championship in Cod Fishing

Every winter, hundreds of people travel to the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway to see who gets the most and the largest arctic cod.

Eagle safari

"Of all the things I get to experience, I think this is the big one," says Norway host David Spinx, out to meet sea eagles in the Lofoten Islands.

Kayaking and fishing

Norway host David Spinx tries to get as close to the Lofoten nature as possible. He chooses a double kayak. And he ends up cod fishing.

Lofoten Kajakk

Lofoten Kajakk offers a choice of sea and land-based activities year round, including kayaking, sailing, hiking, cycling, skiing and snowshoeing.

About Lofoten

Tourist information in Lofoten

There are several tourist information offices in Lofoten. Some of them are closed during winter.

Key facts about Lofoten

Lofoten consists of seven main islands with 24,000 inhabitants.

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