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Olenilsøya, eine Insel der Lofoten, Bild: Felix Lipov / shutterstock

The Lofoten Islands – a destination of longing with silence and space

The Lofoten Islands, the archipelago north of the Arctic Circle, are a wild and quiet beauty. From the approximately 160-kilometre-long island chain of Norway , it is known that the summers there are only very short and the winters very long. But the people who have made Lofoten their home have long since come to terms with nature and its austere idyll. And on the nights of the cold season, they still look spellbound at the firmament when the aurora borealis ignites a mystical celestial fire there. The Lofoten Islands are one of the pearls of the northernmost country on the European continent. With spectacular landscapes that rise in a sea full of wonders with orcas, humpback and fin whales.

Superstition in a “fairy tale world”

It is said of Lofoten that in this region in the far north, haste is something of a foreign word. It is leisurely between the rugged rock faces that defy the storms of the Atlantic and where the wildly foaming rivers and waterfalls shine like diamonds under the rays of the sun. This is how the Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann saw her homeland. And for the polar explorer Fridjof Nansen, the Lofoten Islands were a “fairytale world” or a “land to dream of”. Undoubtedly, this does not only apply to the time when the sun returns to Lofoten after its long hibernation and does not disappear from the sky for less than a month. According to a Norwegian superstition, a wish always comes true for every inhabitant of the archipelago when they see the sun for the first time after winter.

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Lofoten – Island hopping with tunnels and bridges

Lofoten, Narvik
View of Narvik, Image: Michal Knitl / shutterstock

If you head for Lofoten from Narvik, you can look forward to an interesting island hopping. This is because the rocky elevations in the sea can be easily reached through an extensive submarine tunnel system and thanks to many bridges. This applies to the Vesteralen as well as to the Lofoten Islands. To get to the island of Austvagoya, the visitor uses a ferry. In Storvagan, the Lofot Aquarium provides an in-depth look at life in the depths of the sea. The exhibition “Coexistence in the Ocean” intensively searches for solutions on how the fishing industry and oil production can coexist. Another attraction for the families is the seal pool, where the seals living there are fed twice a day.

Henningsvaer – “Venice of the North”

Henningsvaer, Image: Harvepino / shutterstock

One of the most interesting and largest wooden churches in Norway is the Lofoten Cathedral of Vagan. It dates back to the 12th century and, with its current neo-Gothic appearance, is one of those places where fishermen ask for divine assistance when they weigh anchor on their ships. The fascinating magic of the north unfolds on the southern archipelago of Lofoten – especially in the fishing village of Henningsvaer with its historic lake houses and numerous fishermen’s huts. Over the years, the small town has earned the nickname “Venice of the North”, and anyone approaching this idyll from the small harbour basin is almost always moving on wobbly boardwalks. In summer, the famous cod dries here as stockfish on wooden racks.

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The Viking Museum in Borg

In the period between 500 and 1000 AD, the region around Borg on Vestvagoya was the seat of a dynasty of powerful Viking chieftains. The former house of the rulers has been reconstructed in a museum. Scientists have determined that in the heyday of the Vikings, around 1,800 people lived there in around a hundred farms. They all obviously enjoyed not only the magnificent surroundings, but above all the climatic conditions due to the warm Gulf Stream. In the museum’s harbour, you can also see a replica of the famous Gokstad ship from the 9th century. If you visit the town of Borg, you will be immersed in one of the most interesting historical periods of Lofoten.

When the white-tailed eagles circle high above

Lofoten is a paradise for people who are good on foot and who absorb their impressions of this archipelago as hikers. But anyone who travels to this region will also be delighted as an angler when the white-tailed eagles circle high above their heads and the “Petri Heil” sets in surprisingly quickly on the fish-rich waters. In recent decades, Lofoten has also developed into an interesting tourist attraction because even in the smallest towns you can find good guesthouses or holiday apartments. Tradition and a cosy ambience maintain a pleasant coexistence here. This is without a doubt a longing destination in the Norwegian Sea. And not only at the solstice in the weeks of summer, but also when holidaymakers in Lofoten have the feeling that they can finally take a deep breath between the times. Thanks to the vastness, the silence and the incredible size of this impressive landscape.