These islands are often referred to as the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. They are well inside the Arctic circle and are part of Norway. The sun never sets here during the summer from May until July and it is a marvellous experience to take a midnight cruise here. In the winter months of December and January the sun disappears for four weeks although because of the closeness of the Gulf stream the temperature rarely drops below zero even in winter.
There are six main islands, four of which are connected by the Lofoten 120 kilometre-long dual carriage highway and the others by ferry or tunnel. Between all there is a population of about 26,000. There are beautiful sandy beaches everywhere and the main towns are Leknes on the island of Vestvagoy and Svalvaer on the island of Vagar.
A mailboat, called King Olav, does the 80 hour trip from Bergen every week bring the necessary merchandise to the shops which are situated on three sides of the square.
The other side is the harbour which receives cruise ships and other local ferries. In these shops you can find clothes, footwear, electronic equipment, etc. And here too you find the two Banks for the island and a Flower shop. If you want vegetables, apples and even strawberries or potatoes or other root produce you can find all of them being sold beside the taxi rank in the centre.
It is easy to get here. There are international cruise ships calling all year round. The weekly mail boat becomes a tourist carrier in the busy season.The international airport on the islands receives flights from Norway and other countries in Europe and it is easy to continue your journey to the other islands by road or ferry boat.
You will enjoy the midnight sun here and you can explore in the mountains and see the icy glaciers and barren tundra. There are all kinds of water sports with your jetski and rafting and of course you can go fishing and even take part in the World Championship Codfishing trials in March and April and maybe you will catch the largest cod.
And maybe this is the first time when you played midnight golf! See all the mixture of colours in the sky as the sun dips to the horizon hides behind the pointed mountain peaks. Go on a three hour cruise into Trollfjord which has an entry only 60 metres wide and see the perpendicular cliffs on either side.
There is the North Norway Art gallery and many private galleries also. The Lofot museum has many exhibitions of harpoons, hooks and fishing equipment from Viking times. See some of the fisherman’s huts which were constructed to save the fisherment from having to sleep under their upturned boats and one hut from 1789. See some of the early passenger boats which were used there. And why not feed the seals during the summer? Take a look at some of the drawings made by cavemen 200 metres inside in the mountains.
There are several hotels in Svalvaer and cheaper accommodation can be found at a ‘Sea-house’ where you can have a double room and shared kitchen.