Lofoten Islands, Norway
The Lofoten Islands is an Arctic archipelago in northern Norway. Thanks in part to the Gulf Stream, the island chain enjoys remarkably mild weather all year round. With dramatic landscapes galore, this area has been ranked one of the most appealing destinations in the world by National Geographic.
Peppered with small, traditional fishing villages and populated by friendly locals, the Lofoten Islands has been a popular cruising destination for over 30 years. The islands offer enough beauty, adventure and cultural insight for more than a couple of days of exploration, and the chance of witnessing the spectacular Northern Lights makes a visit to the Lofoten Islands a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Cruise ships dock at one of two places in the Lofoten Islands.
Most cruise ships dock at Leknes Port. Depending on the size of the ship, passengers will either be docked at the port or tendered ashore. There are usually shuttle buses and taxis that can take passengers into the town centre. Alternatively, the scenic walk into town takes around 40 minutes.
Some cruise ships also dock at Svolvaer Harbour, which is only a short walk from the town centre. There are also shuttle buses to take passengers into town.
Svolvaer Harbour has limited facilities of use to cruise passengers. However, the harbour is only 1 kilometre from the town centre, where passengers can find everything they need.
The passenger terminal at Leknes has many of the amenities cruise passengers need when arriving in a new port.
- Tourist information service
- Public toilets
- Internet access
- ATMs and money exchange
- Souvenir shop
- Fishing gear rentals
- Post office.
Taxis and buses are available outside both ports.
How to Get Around
Both Leknes and Svolvaer are quite small and can be easily explored on foot. However, most of the islands’ main attractions are some distance from town.
Travel times from Leknes Port:
- It is a 15 minute drive to the Lofotr Viking Museum
- It is a 30 minute drive to the Nusfjord fishing village.
Travel times from Svolvaer Harbour:
- It is a 30 minute drive to the Henningsaer fishing village
- It is a 1 hour drive to the Lofotr Viking Museum.
- Currency - The local currency in the Lofoten Islands is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). Coins come in 50 øre (1/2 krone), 1, 5, 10 and 20 kroner denominations. Notes come in 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 kroner denominations.
- Time Zone - The Lofoten Islands archipelago runs on Central European Time (CET). They are 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather - The Lofoten Islands boasts a subpolar oceanic climate, enjoying mild temperatures in winter despite their high latitude. Summer temperatures (June to August) average 12 degrees Celsius, while the average winter temperature hovers around -1 degree Celsius. The Lofoten Islands experience most of their rainfall during October. May and June are the region’s driest months.
- See the Northern Lights - Sit in awe and take in one of nature’s most spectacular light shows: the Northern Lights, otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis. The Lofoten Islands region is one of the best places in the world to see the lights, due to the northern latitude and mild winters. The best way to experience the northern lights is through an organised tour. Time your visit to the Lofoten Islands between late autumn and early spring (November to March) for the best chances of seeing the lights.
- Nusfjord fishing village - A fishing hamlet surrounded by towering mountains and rocky outcrops, Nusfjord is one of Norway’s oldest and best preserved traditional fishing villages. Set on the banks of a fjord, the photogenic village is a living museum with 100-year-old fishing cabins populated by some of the friendliest folk up north. Sit back with a warm drink and scrumptious food at Restaurant Karoline and appreciate the stunning natural scenery before your eyes.
- Lofotr Viking Museum - Pay a visit to the Lofotr Viking Museum for a fascinating glimpse of what life was like during the times of the Vikings. Only 15 kilometres north of Leknes, the museum is built on the site of an impressive 83-metre Viking house, which is 1,000 years old and the biggest in all of Scandinavia. Inside the museum, costumed guides lead multilingual tours, giving guests a crash course in Viking history and culture. Visitors to the museum can also sample some traditional lamb soup, a popular Viking lunch. The museum is open all year round, with longer opening hours from May to September (from 10am to 5 or 7pm).