Sunday, 30 April 2017

Lofoten - A beautiful archipelago in the Norwegian Lapland

Wow, one more breathtaking place in the true north of Europe to chill, hike and take some amazing photos.
As an enthusiast of the north, or better yet, the "true north" (!) meaning that it has to be somewhere inside the arctic circle (> 66°33' N) for it to be cool. For reference, Stockholm is around 59°N and Reykjavik (The northernmost capital of the world) is 64°N.
Being here feels good. Less population density, and a certain sense of freedom. One can hire a wooden cabin in a recreational area and breathe the freshest air one can get in this decaying planet. Air will soon become a important asset just as water is, even though many people don't perceive it.

When reading about the first tourist of Lapland, I discovered the history of Francesco Negri, an Italian Catholic priest who, during 1663-1666, travelled in Scandinavia. In 1670, he published an account of his travels to Lapland entitled Viaggio settentrionale. Back in the days, a journey to these marvelous lands were a real endeavour to accomplish. Our generation should be happy to belong to the age of the fast flying jet planes. Maybe, I can be the first Arctic explorer with a teddy bear! Is there any record about one? ;)

How to get there?

We booked an excursion at Timetravels which provided us a bus departing from Oulu (Finland), but having Luleå (Sweden) as a pick-up/drop-off along the way for those joining from Sweden. Even though I currently live in Sweden, it was easier/faster/cheaper to reach Oulu by plane, then going to the Swedish town of Luleå by any means of transportation. Well, it is not the most comfortable way to go to Lofoten archipelago, it is more like a budget option. If you are travelling with a smaller group and/or as a couple on a romantic getaway, try to fly to Tromsø (Norway) and rent a car to drive to the archipelago, or if you are OK with driving longer, there are much cheaper flights to the town of Trondheim, but then add few more hours of driving.

When to visit?

Even if you like winter and snow, don't be a fool. Winter in Lapland might be as cold as -35C (-31F) and it will be a perpetual darkness. I went in late April/early May and the weather was amazing. Note in this photo I took with the teddy bear: I wear no beanie, no gloves, nor scarf and I am happy! Of course, if you are aiming to see the Northern Lights, you have to go from October to February, but that's another story.

Where to stay?

We stayed at Svolvær, the main island of the archipelago. It is possible to find housing via even. So, shouldn't be a problem. Just be aware that there is not so much infrastructure and it is an isolated area (away from bigger towns), so get your housing fixed before hand.

What to do?

Hiking. Photographing. Drinking. Sauna. Chilling... hmm.. a Viking museum! Yeah, we found one on the way. Here is the address:

Here are some of the climbing paths near Svolvær:

Not much to describe further. Just enjoy some of my photos below.

Some photos (click to enlarge):

Random landscape on the way

Sense of freedom near the top of hill

This is an average village up north in the Lofoten archipelago

... and that's an average lager there ;)

Not like Copacabana, but they do have beaches...

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