As far as we’re concerned, nowhere else in the world can truly compare to the dramatic scenery of the Lofoten Islands, and to really appreciate the beauty its best to explore on foot. The mountains rise up 400 – 1000m so it makes the summits very manageable in one day. The air doesn’t feel thin like it does at higher altitudes yet we’re always left breathless when we see the view from the top. We’ve been based in Reine for two months, so our selected best hikes in Lofoten mainly lie in the southern (most beautiful in our opinion!!!) area.
1. Veinestinden | 730m | 10.2km | 8hr
This hike starts off a little boring, through a rocky, muddy forest that goes up and down and alongside the Djupfjord….but persevere because when the trees begin to thin out you’ll arrive at what looks like a tropical lagoon. It’s actually just the back end of the Djupfjord where the water is turquoise and dotted with little islands. We watched the film The Beach the night before and seeing this crystal clear water with mountains all around and a lush waterfall gushing down really made us feel like we’d found a secret piece of paradise. The climb begins here and you’ll need to traverse some rocky ledges towards a pristine alpine lake with the pointiest of peaks above it. The climb gets even steeper as you head up to a plateau where you can peer over the ridge at the drop off to the reservoir in Reine. The view at the end is absolutely breathtaking. In fact when I read about this hike in a book it said the view was ‘indescribably beautiful’ – so I’ll let the pictures do the talking and to read more about our favourite hike click here.
2. Helvetestinden | 602m | 4km | 3hr
To reach this hike we had to catch the 8:30am taxi boat from Reine to Vindstad (costing around 120 krone on the winter timetable). The mountains were dramatic yet unlike Reine the lower slopes were full of vibrant meadows. The village felt slightly abandoned with a few old letterboxes at the end of the jetty but the pretty wooden houses were full of colour. Most people come here for the hour walk to Bunes Beach, but before we reached the beach we headed right up the mountain. After the first climb you reach the ridge line with views across the Bunesfjorden and Kjerkfjorden. You continue to hike up the ridge which starts off wide but as you get closer to the summit areas narrow to just a few meters with 600m drop offs on either side. Not for the faint hearted but a seriously fun hike! A few sections had big rocks we had to get over, using all hands and feet for maximum safety. But we made it and the view was awesome! By reaching the summit you finally get a glimpse down to Bunes Beach and the epic ridge wiggling between the fjords. We went to Bunes Beach afterwards but were left unimpressed. It was hard packed beige sand, not like the beautiful Lofoten beaches we were used to and for us the only reason to visit this area was to see it from above.
3. Mount Rytten (Kvalvika Beach) | 543m | 9km | 5hr
This is one of Lofoten’s most popular hikes, and for good reason! We started along the road south of Fredvang and headed up a small pass where we got our first view of Kvalvika Beach. It was much prettier than Bunes in our opinion. But once again, we weren’t there for the beach we were there to hike up a mountain so we veered right and had a fairly steep climb up an obvious trail. The views on the way up were actually better than at the summit because once we reached the top the sun glared on the sea and it lost the fabulous emerald colour. It’s a jaw dropping view down though with lots of wild cliffs with the sea crashing against the rocks. We took a different route back, heading north and ending the walk in Fredvang village by a gorgeous beach. This route offered some nice vantage points and we always prefer a loop hike.
4. Andstabben | 514m | 5km | 3hr
Starting at the big car park in the little village of Å, this hike heads uphill, parallel to Ågvatnet Lake. The climb was mostly easy but there were a few tricky sections with almost vertical, muddy slopes with the odd rock to grab onto. We aren’t climbers and we managed it but we really needed to find a good foothold and hand grip to get up. Once that part is over the final climb to the summit begins and at the top you will be treated to a view not many people see. Å marks the end of the road in Lofoten so we looked across the wild, southern tip of the islands and it was incredible. Best of all it was a warm, sunny day and we had the place to ourselves, lazing in a bed of moss until we could be bothered to head back down.
5. Munkan | 769m | 16km | 7hr
This is another well trodden route and one of the few hikes we did with actual signposts. We went past gushing waterfalls and there were lakes everywhere. The scenery is at its best when you reach the Munkebu Hut with the red cabins reflected in the lake and dramatic peaks behind. This seemed to be the point where most people went back but we continued up to the summit. Honestly, the summit wasn’t really worth the extra effort. The view to the Reinefjorden was blocked by other peaks – Veinestinden our number 1 hike was right in front of us and at Munkan we felt like we had cheap seats at a football match, sitting at the back of the crowd. We created a loop walk by heading back down a different valley and to the Djupfjord which was slightly shorter than going back the same way.
6. Reinebringen | 448m | 2km | 2.5hr
The classic Lofoten hike that everyone wants to do…and right now it’s ‘closed’ so that Sherpas from Nepal can build a safer path as the hundreds of tourists going up have made it pretty dangerous. But, with the right to roam in Norway it’s still possible to hike up, at your own risk of course. It’s a 450m climb in just 1km, so prepare for a steep climb. Do not attempt it if it’s raining or has recently rained as some sections are extremely slippery, but when it’s very dry, the rocks become loose and are a big danger for rock slides. Craig and I headed up a couple of months ago before the season kicked off when there were only a few people hiking so it was much safer than in summer when I wouldn’t recommend this hike until the Sherpas have completed the trail. One night we went up at 11pm, also a very quiet time as we were the only people at the top just after 12am. The view was magical with silhouetted spiky peaks everywhere and the sun was still high, piercing through the mountain-top.
7. Moltinden | 4.5km | 696m | 3hr
This was the last hike we did in Lofoten, it starts near Ramberg and climbs up 700m in just 2.2km. We woke to a rainbow filled sky with cloud and rain, not the sort of weather we normally hike in, but it turned out to be a blessing as we got to experience the wild Lofoten weather we normally only see from our window. Clouds swooped through the valley and we were high above them. Little puffs of cloud would appear out of nowhere and float above the beautiful bay below us. The hike itself wasn’t that wow compared to what we’re used to, but there were some really exciting sheer walls and viewpoints along the way. The final climb was very exposed and we arrived to a complete white-out in the centre of a cloud. It eventually blew away and the steep mountains around us were revealed along with an incredible fjord on the opposite side with shallow turquoise edges and a deep blue centre, almost shaped like a gigantic whale.
A great resource for these hikes is www.68north.com which has detailed routes and maps, we also use the Maps.me app which has free offline maps and shows most hiking trails. Happy hiking!