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Trip Report Lofoten, Norway Trip Report

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My wife and I spent 11 days enjoying Lofoten in July 2014. All but the last few days were in the period of the midnight sun. We visited five of the six primary islands of the archipelago connected by the main highway (Route E10).

The link shown below provides access to a PDF displaying images and brief text. Configure your reader to display either one or two pages at a time, depending on your preference.

I’ll provide other details in a follow-up post.

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    I’ll let the photos and brief text in the PDF mentioned in my first post speak to the beauty and ambience of Lofoten, so the remainder of this trip report is devoted to other details that people can hopefully use to make their own trips as enjoyable as possible.

    Two ships were in use in the summer of 2014 – MV Bodo and MV Landegode. The MV Landegode has more modern décor, better seats, much larger windows and far better eating and drinking options.

    Tickets for passengers with no cars are paid to the agent as you approach the ferry; it is neither possible nor necessary to make reservations in advance if a car is not being transported. The earlier you get there (no more than 45 minutes in advance of departure if you have no car), the better your choice of seat selection. A lot of people got confused about the front and rear of the MV Landegode; the front is opposite from the end being boarded.

    When exiting the ship in Bodo, the taxi stand is on the far side of the small building to the left of the exit area. You may have to call a taxi, so be prepared with the phone number or ask a ferry agent.

    Our first several days were spent at the Sandvika Fjord & Sjohus Camping complex located on the shore of that fjord just a few minutes away from Kabelvåg’s village center. I highly recommend staying there.

    The complex provides a variety of lodging styles including camp sites, electrical hook ups for recreational vehicles and units ranging from small rooms with no kitchen to apartments in the style of rorbuer with full kitchens and multiple bedrooms. On-site recreational opportunities include boat and bicycle rentals, fishing, a short walking trail and swimming at a small beach. Shared barbecue and kitchen facilities and showers are also available. Free WiFi is available at the picnic tables adjacent to the registration office. There is no restaurant of any kind. Staying there casually immerses you in the goings on of families enjoying their vacation as opposed to the relatively quiet solitude of being more on your own.

    I’ve always believed that we learn about the true quality of a lodging facility more from how the staff responds to problems than when there are no problems. We realized upon arrival that the unit assigned to us was not the unit we had reserved seven months earlier. The clerk immediately acknowledged the mistake and offered profuse apologies and a range of solutions including staying at a unit in Kabelvåg. We settled on staying in the incorrect unit the first night at a rate that was discounted 50% and the staff efficiently moved our luggage and food the next day to the proper unit while we were out and about. We then settled in for the rest of our stay and everything worked out just fine.
    We also stayed for a week at the Aronbua rorbu in Valen, a small village not noted on most maps located a few minutes north of Reine. The views from our wrap-around deck extending over the water were absolutely stunning and the sunlit interior of the rorbu met our needs in every way. The unit has no WiFi but we knew that in advance; it was actually quite nice to be unconnected for a week. Its owner, Anita, was always enjoyable and helpful. Unlike the camping site mentioned above, staying at the rorbu provides relatively quiet solitude with immediate access to some of the very best scenery in Lofoten. In more than three decades of international travel, we have enjoyed lodging equal to that of the Aronbua rorbu only once and that was in a completely different environment in the bush of South Africa.

    Anita’s son Carl manages a rental car company located just steps from the Moskenes ferry. The cars are older (ours turned 300,000 kilometers while we were using it), less expensive and just as reliable as the cars provided by the major international firms. This is my second recent experience of renting cars that are older than the norm and I will always look for that business model in the future.

    Renting the car in Moskenes saved us a lot of money for two reasons. As mentioned above, the rental rate is less than when traditionally renting a newer car. Tickets to use the ferry are far less expensive when a car is not being transported.

    As of the summer of 2014, there is a construction site on the main highway (Route E10) just north of Hamnoy. Delays during the day can be as much as 30 minutes each way. The road is closed for hours during the middle of the night. Plan your trip accordingly.

    Impressions, length of time required, degree of difficulty and tips relating to the hikes that we took are in the appendix of the PDF mentioned above. References to photos are included so you can see the views provided on each hike.

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