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Lofoten - Norway

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Lofoten is a group of islands in the northern part of Norway. Lofoten is located at the 67th and 68th degree parallels North of the Arctic Circle. It is well known for its exceptional natural beauty within Norway. About 24,500 people live there. The coastline is dominated by high mountains and on the west coast also sandy white beaches. The midnight sun is above the horizon from May 26 to July 17, and in winter the sun does not rise from December 9 to January 4.

 

The Lofoten Islands are characterised by their mountains and peaks, sheltered inlets, stretches of seashore and large virgin areas. The sea is rich with life and Lofoten has a very high density of sea eagles and cormorants, and millions of other sea birds.

 

Lofoten have for more than 1,000 years been the center of great cod fisheries, especially in winter, when the cod migrates south from the Barents Sea and gathers in Lofoten to spawn.

 

The first people came to Lofoten about 6,000 years ago. Lofoten´s Stone Age inhabitants survived on fishing and hunting in an area which provided good living. All of Lofoten was covered by large pine and birch woods at that time. There were deer, bear, wild reindeer, lynx and beaver, and the sea was full of fish, seals and whales.

 

The winter fisheries for cod are still crucial for the settlement in Lofoten. Fishermen from all over North Norway take part in the Lofot Fisheries, which are based on the Norwegian Arctic cod´s spawning in the Vestfjord between January and April. The Lofot Fisheries have been strictly regulated for many years, and the stocks are recovering

 

The industry is largely connected to the fisheries, but there is also other industrial activity in the region. The tourist industry is becoming increasingly important, now counting approximately 200,000 visitors per year.

 

Due to the warm Gulf Stream, Lofoten has a much milder climate than other parts of the world at the same latitude, such as Alaska and Greenland. More information about Lofoten here, here and here.

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Map

Lofoten from Værøy to Svolvær

Å

The E10 King Olav’s Road ends at Å. There is a stockfish museum in Å. Here you can learn about the thousand-year old history of stockfish as a trade commodity. More information here.

Å - view toward Værøy island

The end of E10 – King Olav’s Road. Here you have a great view toward Værøy island. Værøy is the penultimate municipality in Lofoten counting approximately 740 inhabitants (2005). The Island is dominated by a long mountain ridge running from northeast to southwest. More than 80 % of the workforce is employed in the fisheries. There is also salmon farming. Every day, a car ferry runs between Værøy, Røst and Bodø. A helicopter service also operates to/from Bodø.

Å

Å fishing village

Reine

Reine is a traditional fishing village in the borough of Moskenes, outermost in the Lofoten Islands. There are approximately 1200 inhabitants and the main industries are fishing and tourism. The landscape has been sculpted by glaciers and other elemental forces that have turned it into one of the wildest and most fascinating spots in Norway.

Reine - rorbu

rorbu (a fishermen's shack)

Reine

Reine

Reine

This view from Reine, overlooking the Kjerkefjorden, was voted the most beautiful vista in Norway, and not without reason!

Kjerkefjorden by night

Kjerkefjorden near Reine.

Hamnøya

Straumsnes

Straumsnes, overlooking Selfjorden - Fredvang.

Fredvang

This fishing village, situated on the northern part of Moskenesøy island, is the point of departure for hiking trails leading to Yttersida, «the Outside».

Nusfjord

Nusfjord is one of the best preserved fishing villages in all of Lofoten. The entire village has been listed by UNESCO as worthy of preservation. During the traditional Lofot fishing season, Nusfjord serves as a fish receiving station and during the summer the village is the site of extensive fish-drying for the export market.

Vikbukta

Vikbukta

The beach at Vikbukta

Utakleiv

View toward Bjørnarøya

Utakleiv

Utakleiv is by the British newspaper The Times ranked as the number one most romantic beach in Europe.

Utakleiv

A great place to watch the midnight sun!

Fish drying

Heads from cod

Fish drying

Thousands of heads from cod

Unnstad

A mountain lookout. The houses here are grouped together as they would have been in the Middle Ages. Great tracks and facilities for hiking.

Unnstad beach

Unnstad beach is supposed to be one of the best surf spots (wave surfing) in Lofoten and a very famous place too watch the Midnight sun.

Borg The Viking

The Viking Era saw the emergence of several large chieftain seats. Tofts from a Viking chieftain seat have been found at Borg, containing the largest Viking banquet hall ever found in any country. The building was 8.5 metres wide and as much as 83 metres long. A reconstruction of the building has been raised as show at the picture.

Borg The Viking

Borg The Viking

Straume near Eggum

Eggum

A snug community, attractively situated at the foot of tall cliffs. Beautiful pebble beach; lookout for viewers of the Midnight Sun. The village is savaged by sea and wind all year round, yet people still choose to live here. Even a major rockslide some years ago wasn't enough to scare away the people who live at the foot of the imposing mountain.

Eggum - Borga

Borga, built in stone during World Ware II, was one of the first German radar stations in northern Europe.

Straume

Straume

Bø - near Kvalnes

Henningsvær

Henningsvær

The Venice of Lofoten and one of Lofoten´s largest fishing villages, counting approximately 540 inhabitants. Henningsvær is situated at the foot of Mount Vågakaillen, and consists of a group of isles and islets spread out at random in the blue waters of the Vestfjord. With the mountain at its back and otherwise surrounded by the sea, Henningsvær was a natural hub of activity during the Lofoten Winter Fishery, and in the 1800’s, the island community prospered, and Henningsvær became one of the most prominent fishing villages in Lofoten. Unlike many other fishing villages, the population of Henningsvær has remained stable in recent years. A combination of an active, vibrant environment and well-preserved architecture, makes Henningsvær something quite unique.

Stockfish - Henningsvær

Stockfish

Stockfish is fish, especially cod, dried by sun and wind on wooden racks on the foreshore called flakes. The drying of food is the world's oldest known preservation method. Stockfish, produced from spawning cod (”skrei”), was the staple good, and it was sold to almost all of Europe. Italy is still the most important market for high-quality stockfish from Lofoten.  Cod is the very basis of Lofoten´s existence. In historical records, we can read how dried fish was one of the foods which the Vikings brought with them when they went raiding. Towards the end of April, an area of 400,000 m2 of Lofoten is covered in stockfish. The weight of the cod is reduced by about 80% when it is dried. More information here.

Henningsvær Harbour

Henningsvær Harbour

Henningsvær Harbour

Henningsvær Harbour

Henningsvær lighthouse

Henningsvær

Great view from Henningsvær lighthouse toward the south part of Lofoten (Å and Reine).

Sunset at Henningsvær

Drying flake ('hjell') in Henningsvær

"Day of the Cod" takes place on the first Saturday in March, every year. Cod is the very basis of Lofoten´s existence, and on this day a number of programmes are carried out all over Lofoten. The purpose of this day is to celebrate the Lofoten Fisheries history and the interesting coastal culture that has evolved around it.

Svolvær

Svolvær is located on the south coast of Austvågøy, facing the open sea to the south, and with mountains immediately to the north. Svolvær is Lofoten´s regional centre with about 4.200 inhabitants (2005). The great cod fisheries in winter has always been the most important economical foundation for the town, but fish farming (salmon) is also important. Tourism is becoming increasingly important, and Svolvær is a transport hub and favourite starting point for tourists visiting the islands.

Svolvær

Svolvær

Svolvær

Svolvær with the famous Svolværsgeita (Goat) in the background.

Svolværsgeita

The Svolvær Goat (Svolværsgeita) is one of the most popular climbing pinnacles in Norway.

The Svolvær Goat wasn't climbed until 1910. Svolværgeita has many routes, but all end at the Storhorn (big horn) with the following jump to the Lillehorn (little horn). The jump is 1.5 meters across.

Brenna

Brenna

Lofoten Cathedral - Kabelvåg

Vågan Church, also known as Lofoten Cathedral. It was built in 1898 and can accommodate up to 1.200 people. Kabelvåg was originally a centre of trade and the biggest fishing village in Lofoten.

Skrova

This island jewel of the Vestfjord offers the best views of “Lofotveggen”, the “wall” of mountains that runs through the Lofoten Islands. With its population of around 230 (2005), Skrova has been a centre for fisheries and whaling for many decades. This authentic fishing village offers visitors the chance to relax in peaceful surroundings.

Skrova lighthouse

Skrova lighthouse outside Svolvær. More information about the lighthouse here.

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