This post will hopefully give you all the practical information you need when entering the beautiful area of Lofoten Islands. When going to a new place, everything takes time to figure out...either its where to camp for the night, where to find a grocery store, or even where to go. We will in this blogpost guide you through it all.
Driving in Lofoten - The roads in Lofoten are sometimes very narrow, and the traffic is quite busy during the summer season. A lot of huge campervans are invading the islands, so be ready to meet someone in every turn. You chose the right van in terms of size, but still it can be tight sometimes. Do not camp places where you are in danger of blocking the traffic, and stay away from the meeting points. You will see a “M” signs on most of the meeting points, but not everyone. Use common sense and respect the norwegian traffic regulations.
First night - If you arrive late in the evening you probably just need a close spot to camp. There are some good camping spots just in the area of Svolvær where you pick up the van. Check out the map with location underneath! (Or you can check out park4night - an app where people share cool places of where to camp.)
Food and water - In Svolvær you find all the shops you need to buy food, and all the stuff you forgot to bring along. Svolvær Amfi is the shopping mall in Svolvær, and have pretty much everything. Just make sure you remember to pay for the parking, or else you might get a fee.
There are many grocery stores in Svolvær and the prices are more or less the same. Rema 1000 tend to be a bit cheaper than the other grocery stores, but there is no big difference. If you want to buy coffee for the French press which is in the van, make sure to buy the coffee which has the right symbol. Or if you want to impress, you can ask about the “Presskanne” coffee.
The campervan have a fresh water tank with drinkable water. If you need to refill it during the trip, the water you get at gas stations, public toilets and hoses is drinkable. Basically every public water tap in Norway have high quality water.
Toilet -The campervans have fresh water, fridge and a kitchen, but no toilet (except the Exclusive which is located in Oslo). Here is a map of all the public toilets in the Lofoten area: Map of public toilets
Showers - You will find showers at Camping sites. Ask the staff if you can pay to take a shower. Or, if you want to make your own shower, you just pull the kitchen faucet in the campervan out of the window and take a refreshing shower outside (only VW vans). If you are a real “vanlifer” you would probably just jump into the arctic sea.
What to see - Many guests ask us where they should go, and what they should see. The fact is that everything in Lofoten is beautiful. It just can't go wrong! But, we would recommend to at least go to Gimsøya (great place to hike), Unstad (surfing) and Ramberg (white, clear beach). Of course Reine and Å is amazing places, but I guess those names are already on your list.
The road from Stamsund to E10 which is called "Valberg veien" is amazing in the morning because of the morning sun. The road are narrow and a bit bumpy, so do not rush;)
To see the midnight sun you should definitely be on the north side of the Island since the sun might get shadowed by mountains when reaching its lowest point.
Activities - If you would like to try some surfing you should go to Unstad. Here you can rent gear at Lofoten Surfsenter. They have the best prices, and beyond the best surf instructors.
Henningsvær area is world famous for all of its climbing routes. Beware that it has only one small area which has boltet routes (“Junior-Veggen”), all of the rest is traditional secured routes. Along the road from E10 to Henningsvær there is hundreds of bouldering routes. So if you are an climber, make sure to bring your climbing shoes and mat, you will not miss this!
Lofoten is loaded of steep dramatic mountains, so the opportunities for hiking is endless. Be careful where you go and do not t take any chances! Every year people get stuck or injured by hiking in the mountains.
Here are some options of where to hike: Hiking tips