Norway Road Trip ItinerariesLofoten Islands

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

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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 wanted to write about.

When the borders finally re-opened, I made the 3000 km drive from Austria to Lofoten in my campervan with Jasper, intending to spend the next two months there. Long story short, I quit after six weeks. Lofoten tested my love for travelling from day one.

Luckily, I still managed to tick off some hikes, and today, I can share with you my suggestion for a five-day road trip 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 can plan a spontaneous trip when the weather forecast is good, then do so. I will try to do the same when I visit again one day.

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

Weather warning for the Lofoten Islands

Mannen Hike Lofoten Islands 5

I had good weather for around seven days during my six weeks on the Lofoten Islands. 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. The Lofoten Islands are magical, and I don’t regret my time there, but I also want to be transparent.

TIP: The picture-perfect Lofoten Islands you see on Instagram with sunny days and turquoise waters are highly curated. Days like these are the exception from the 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

You have a couple of options if you want to follow this Lofoten Islands road trip itinerary. First, catch an internal flight from Oslo, Bergen, Ålesund, or Trondheim up to Bodø, then 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 little airport. Flights are limited, but if you start 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 tourist highlights are, including the village of Reine, the hike to Ryten, and Unstad Beach.

TIP: If you only have five days, don’t try to see all of the Lofoten Islands. You will spend 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 to Lofoten in my campervan, which was a lifesaver. After experiencing the weather 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 van life, Norway is the perfect country. Please visit my other article to learn more about campervan travel in Norway.

Campsites in the Lofoten cost about 400 NOK ($40) per night. You can rent a campervan in Bodø and bring it on a ferry. The downside is that campervan rental in northern Norway is costly, and in the high season, it can cost even $1000 per night.

TIP: If you want to check and compare campervan rentals in Norway, use Motorhome Republic. There, 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 more accessible.

TIP: I highly recommend Discover Cars when comparing compact car rentals. 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 five days and explore from there.

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

Below are a few affordable hotel accommodation options. I have also marked some campsites on the map for campervan travellers.

Best Value

Ramberg Gjestegård

A 35-minute drive from Moskenes Ferryport

Top Rated

Lofoten Cabins – Kåkern

A 25-minute drive from Moskenes Ferryport

Top Rated

Lofoten Basecamp

A 1-hour drive from Moskenes Ferryport

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- on your first day. I did it 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 must 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 the most beautiful view ever.
  2. The million steps that you need to tackle to get to the top. Just kidding, there are only 1800 of them.

Read more: Guide to Reinebringen hike

Explore the Reine village

Reine Lofoten Islands

Thanks to its epic location, Reine has risen to a special high status among visitors to the Lofoten Islands. Unfortunately, accommodation prices have risen with it. You will need a big budget if you want to stay in Reine. 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 map), 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 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 of an adventurer who loves to explore off-the-beaten-path trails and avoid people, then hike 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 more challenging trail that requires some navigation skills.

For the best hike description, I highly recommend purchasing the West Lofoten Hikes e-book by fellow photographer Cody Duncan. His book was one of my best resources for planning a road 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 looking at its pyramid-shaped western face, but it is one of the most accessible trails on this Lofoten Islands road trip itinerary.

From the summit, you can enjoy great views of Ramberg Beach and Fredvang Bridge, which you must cross before reaching 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 favourite hike in the Lofoten Islands if it hadn’t been for the mishap I had at the top. I accidentally dropped my camera. It 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 has far fewer crowds than 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 hike to Hestræva on a sunny day, you will be graced with fantastic views towards the Flakkstadpollen Bay. Its turquoise colours 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, you can easily fit two hikes daily.

Day 4: Explore the Vestvågøy Island

Option 1: Hike to Offersøykammen

  • 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 starting the hike from the one near the east entry to the Nappstraum Tunnel. This will make the trail slightly longer but less steep, and you will have great views from the start.

I fondly remember this trail, as I did it with Jasper and three of my friends. After a straight week of storms, heavy rain, and cold temperatures, the sun finally came out. We certainly made the most of this rare day.

Read more: How to Hike to Offersøykammen, A Highlight of the Lofoten Islands.

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 concise trail with a tremendous view-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 primarily 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 watch the sunset and photograph the surfers brazing in the cold Arctic waters for a chance to surf that perfect wave.

TIP: Visit the Unstad Arctic Surf Pub & Café and try their cinnamon buns. They claim they are the best in the world, and I must admit I have yet to find another 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 must return to Moskenes to catch a ferry, the drive from Haukland Beach will take approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. If you fly out of Leknes Airport, it will take only 15 minutes to return.

That’s a wrap. I hope you enjoy following my Lofoten Islands road trip itinerary. If you have any questions, post them in the comments below.

Other road trip itineraries around Norway

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4 thoughts on “Lofoten Islands Road Trip Itinerary: 5 Days Hiking On Norway’s Stunning Archipelago”

  1. I enjoyed your hiking suggestions, especially the tip for Offersøykammen. But the information you have for the Hike to Hornet appears to be wrong. I searched for it and couldn’t find anything for where you had it pinned on Flakstadøya Island. I then looked up Cody Duncan’s ebook and it has a Hornet hike there, but it is on Vaeroy Island

    • Hi Marcia. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. You are not wrong and neither am I. There is a hike called Hornet on the Væroy Island (which I haven’t done) and there is another one on the Flakstadøy. If you have the Cody’s book you can find it in there (page 362) to be exact. I do recommend buying it. I used it myself when researching my own trip and recommend it in the text too.

  2. 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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