Lofoten Islands Road Trip Itinerary: 5 Days Hiking On Norway’s Stunning Archipelago

I have always been fascinated by the Nordic countries and after seeing countless photos of the Lofoten Islands I knew this was the next destination I want to write about.

When the borders finally re-opened I made the 3000 km drive from Austria to Lofoten in my campervan and with Jasper with the intention that I would spend the next two months there. Long story short I quit after 6 weeks. Lofoten tested my love for traveling from day 1.

Luckily I still managed to tick off some hikes and today I can share with you my suggestion for 5 day road trip itinerary around the Lofoten Islands.

Lofoten Islands road trip itinerary: the logistics

Best time to road trip around Lofoten Islands

The official hiking season lasts from June until September, but there is no perfect time to travel to the Lofoten. If you have the possibility of planning a spontaneous trip when the weather forecast is good then that’s what you should do. When I visit again one day I will try to do the same.

However, if the forecast is bad think twice about going. Lofoten Islands are very expensive and the last thing you want is to put your money down the drain and for your holidays to be ruined by bad weather. Unfortunately, nice weather is an exception rather than reality here.

Weather warning for the Lofoten Islands

Mannen Hike Lofoten Islands 5

During my 6 weeks spent on the Lofoten Islands, I had good weather for around 7 days. The rest was a combination of cold, rain, and wind. I hated the weather up there so much that my frustration levels reached a zenith and I left from one day to the next, cutting my trip short by a month.

I don’t want to be a negative Nancy here. I do think the Lofoten Islands are magical and I don’t regret my time spent up there one bit, but I also want to be transparent.

TIP: The picture-perfect Lofoten Islands that you see on Instagram with sunny days and turquoise waters are highly curated. Days like these are the exception from a very harsh reality of grey skies and lots of rain.

Getting to the Lofoten Islands

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Option 1: Flight to Bodø and ferry to Moskenes

If you want to follow this Lofoten Islands road trip itinerary you have a couple of options to get here. First is to catch an internal flight from Oslo, Bergen, Ålesund, or Trondheim up to Bodø, then from here catch a ferry to Moskenes.

This is perfect if you want to follow one of my itineraries for southern Norway first, then spend a few days in the Lofoten.

Option 2: Fly directly to Leknes

Leknes is the biggest town on Vestvågøy Island and has its own little airport. Flights are limited but if you start your planning early enough you can catch an internal flight within Norway and rent a car directly on the Lofoten Islands.

Lofoten Islands road trip itinerary outline and map

Following my Lofoten road trip plan you will visit three Islands: Moskenesøya, Flakstadøya, and Vestvågøy. That’s where most of the tourist highlights are, including the village of Reine the hike to Ryten, or Unstad Beach.

TIP: If you only have 5 days don’t try to see all of the Lofoten Islands, because you will end up spending most of your time driving instead of enjoying nature and landscapes. Instead, focus on one area by following my itinerary.

The best way to road trip around the Lofoten Islands

I travelled the Lofoten in my campervan which turned out to be a lifesaver. After experiencing the weather up there I would never bet on bringing a tent and camping here.

Rent a campervan with Motorhome Republic

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If you want to experience vanlife, Norway is the perfect country for it. If you want to know more about campervan travel in Norway visit my other article.

Campsites in the Lofoten cost ca. 400 NOK ($40) per night. You can rent a campervan in Bodø.

and bring it on a ferry with you. The downside is that campervan rental in northern Norway is ridiculously expensive and in the high season can cost even 1000 bucks per night.

TIP: If you want to check and compare campervan rentals in Norway use Motorhome Republic, where you can find the best deals and request a booking.

Rent a compact car with Discover Cars

Lofoten Island Roads 1

This is a more economical option, not only due to lower fuel consumption (gas isn’t cheap in Norway) but mainly due to the rental price. The roads in the Lofoten Islands can be very narrow too, so a smaller car makes navigating much easier.

TIP: For comparing compact car rentals I highly recommend Discover Cars. It’s an award-winning site where you can reserve your car and insurance.

Where to stay on the Lofoten Islands during this road trip?

Thanks to the proximity of all the hikes and photography locations I included in this itinerary you can stay in one hotel for all 5 days and do your exploring from there.

If you want to be right in the middle of it all I recommend that you stay on Flakstadøya (the middle of the 3 islands you will be exploring) or the western side of Vestvågøy.

Below are a few hotel accommodation options that fit the bill and won’t break your wallet. If you are traveling in a campervan, I also marked some campsites on the map.

Suggested 5-day Lofoten Islands hiking itinerary: day-by-day breakdown

Day 1: Fly to Bodø, take the ferry to Moskenes, and hike on the Moskenosøya Island

Bodø Airport and the ferry terminal are only 3.7 km ( 2.3 mi) from one another. If you plan your flight for early morning you can still get a lot of your first day once you cross to the Lofoten Islands. The journey from Bodø to Moskenes takes approximately 2.5 hours.

TIP: Look for your ferry connection on Direct Ferries. Prebooking your ferry trip a few days before is a good idea to ensure you get a spot.

Hike to Reinebringen

  • Distance: 2.8 km / 1.7 mi
  • Elevation gain: 410 m / 1350 ft
  • Hiking time roundtrip: 1.5 – 2 hours

Take advantage of those long daylight hours and tackle your first hike – the classic Reinebringen, right on your first day. I did it in the late afternoon and stayed until the golden hour before the storm rolled in.

The trailhead is located on the western side of the Ramsvik tunnel, only a 5-minute drive from the ferry terminal. However, you will need to park your vehicle in Reine Village first and then walk to the trailhead.

Reinbringen hike is known for two things:

  1. The jaw-dropping views of the Fjords. I won’t exaggerate when I say this was by far the most beautiful view I have seen in my life.
  2. The million steps that you need to tackle to get to the top. Just kidding, there is only 1800 of them.

Explore the Reine village

Reine Lofoten Islands

Thanks to its epic location Reine has risen to a special high status amongst the visitors to the Lofoten Islands. What’s risen with it, unfortunately, are the accommodation prices. If you want to stay in Reine you will need a big budget for it. It’s not unusual to spend 800-900 Euros a night here.

After the hike to Reinebringen, spend a couple of hours in Reine taking photos at the classic location, such as Hamnøy bridge (more marked on the mao) before moving on to your next destination.

Day 2: Hike on the Flakstadøya Island

Option 1: Ryten from Innersand

  • Distance: 6.8 km / 4.2 mi
  • Elevation gain: 510 m / 1670 ft
  • Hiking time: 2-3 hours
Lofoten Islands Road Trip And Hiking Itinerary

Ryten is another classic hike on the Lofoten Islands. The peak is located on Flakstadøya Island and stands high above the famous Kvalvika Beach and Vestervika Beach.

On a rare sunny day, there is usually a pilgrimage of people going to the top. I was there for sunset together with dozens of other hikers. There are several ways to get to the summit. I chose to hike to Ryten from the little village of Innersand.

Option 2: Kitind

  • Distance: 6 km / 3.7 mi
  • Elevation gain: 750 m / 2460 ft
  • Hiking time: 4-5 hours

If you are more the adventuress type who loves to explore off-the-beaten-path trails and stay away from people then opt for hiking to the top of Kitind instead.

Kitind is another summit on Flakstadøya Island with beautiful views over Vestervika Beach. Compared to Ryten this is a much harder trail that requires some navigation skills.

For the best description of the hike, I highly recommend that you purchase the West Lofoten Hikes e-book by fellow photographer Cody Duncan. His book was one of my best resources for planning a trip to the Lofoten Islands.

Day 3: Continue exploring Flakstadøya Island

Option 1: Hike to Volandstind

  • Distance: 5.4 km / 3.4 mi
  • Elevation gain: 440 m / 1440 ft
  • Hiking time: 2.5-3 hours

Volandstind is one of those peaks that looks unscalable when you look at its pyramid-shaped western face, but it is one of the easiest trails on this Lofoten Islands road trip itinerary.

From the summit, you get great views of Ramberg Beach and Fredvang Bridge which you crossed before to get to Innersand.

Option 2: Hike to Flakstadtind

  • Distance: 3 km / 1.7 mi
  • Elevation gain: 460 m / 1510 ft
  • Hiking time: 2-3 hours
Flakstadtind 1

photo credit: Kate from Bags Always Packed

This would have been my favorite hike in the Lofoten Islands if it wasn’t for the mishap I had at the top. I accidentally dropped my camera which then rolled down the mountain and off the cliffside. All my photos from the previous days were lost in seconds.

Bad memories aside, the hike to Flakstadtind Summit is pretty awesome and with far fewer crowds compared to Ryten or Reinebringen. I only met a few other hikes on the way to and from the summit. At the top, you get great views of the Skagsanden beach down below.

Option 3: Hike to Hestræva

  • Distance: 4.8 km / 3 mi
  • Elevation gain: 450 m / 1480 ft
  • Hiking time: 3-3.5 hours

The trails in the Lofoten Islands tend to be very short but intense. You gain elevation quickly and the paths are steep. The hike to Hestræva is the opposite. It is quite gentle which is a welcomed change.

If you happen to hike to Hestræva on a sunny day you will be graced with fantastic views towards the Flakkstadpollen bay. Its turquoise colors might let you forget for a second that you are above the Arctic Circle and instead think you are on holiday on some tropical islands.

TIP: There are plenty of daylight hours during the Arctic summer so If you are a strong hiker and the weather permits it then you can easily fit two hikes per day.

Day 4: Explore the Vestvågøy Island

Option 1: Hike to Offersøykamen

  • Distance: 6 km / 3.7 mi
  • Elevation gain: 430 m / 1410 ft
  • Hiking time: 3-3.5 hours

Offersøykamen has two trailheads but I recommend that you start the hike from the one which is located near the east entry to the Nappstraum Tunnel. This will make the trail slightly longer, but less steep and with great views right from the start.

I have very fond memories from this trail as I did it with Jasper and 3 of my friends. The sun finally came out after a straight week of storms, heavy rain, and cold temperatures. We certainly made the most of this rare day.

Option 2: Hike to Hornet

  • Distance: 3.9 km / 2.4 mi
  • Elevation gain: 290 m / 950 ft
  • Hiking time: 2-2.5 hours
Hornet 3

Hornet is a very short trail with a great views-to-effort ratio. You only gain ca. 300 meters of elevation on this hike, yet you still get to stand on a little summit with a 360-degree view around you.

Hornet is actually on Flakstadøya Island, but its trailhead is only a 20-minute drive from the previously-mentioned Offersøykamen. This hike will be the perfect addition to your 4th day of your Lofoten Island road trip.

Afternoon: Visit Unstad Beach

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You won’t need a swimsuit on Unstad beach. A balmy 5 degrees Celsius in mid-July

Unstad Beach is mostly famous for surfing, but you don’t need to be a surfer to enjoy the beach and its surroundings.

There is a lovely coastal walk from Unstad Beach to Eggum or you can just watch the sunset and photograph the surfers brazing the cold arctic waters for a chance to surf that perfect wave.

TIP: Make sure to visit the Unstad Arctic Surf Pub & Café and try their cinnamon buns. They claim that they are the best in the World and I must admit I am yet to have another one that’s better than theirs.

Day 5: Vestvågøy Island + ferry back to Bodø

Morning: Hike to Mannen

  • Distance: 4.5 km / 2.8 mi
  • Elevation gain: 420 m / 1380 ft
  • Hiking time: 2.5 -3 hours

The hike to Mannen is the last hike that I recommend on my Lofoten Island road trip itinerary. It leads to a small summit with panoramic views over two beautiful beaches: Haukland and Vik.

It only takes around 3 hours to get to the top and back down, so unless you have an early flight or ferry, you can easily plan this hike for your day of departure.

Afternoon: return to Reine and ferry back to Bodø

Reine From Above Lofoten Islands 20

If you need to head back to Moskenes to catch a ferry then the drive from Haukland beach will take approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

If you fly out of Leknes Airport then it will take you only 15 minutes to get back.

That’s a wrap. I hope you follow my Lofoten Islands road trip itinerary and have lots of fun doing so. If you have any questions post them in the comments below.

Other road trip itineraries around Norway

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Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Marta! I’m sorry to hear about the unfortunate weather you had, and hope it is much better whenever you return. I read that you stayed for 6 weeks and saw that a photo caption said mid-July. Would you mind describing the time period that you were there? Was it June to end of July?

    Thank you, and beautiful photos as always. The lighting and clouds in the 3rd Offersøykamen photo are my favorite. Cheers!

    • Hi Megan. I hope the same. Lofoten Islands weather is very capricious. Worse than in Scotland! haha I stayed from mid-July until the last week of August. I hope that helps!

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