Round trip - 7 Days in Lofoten
On this trip we discover the villages of Henningsvaer, Reine and Å i Lofoten. We do the hikes to Reinebringen, Tindstinden and Helvetestinden/Bunes beach. The word "tind", the Norwegian word for summit.
This round trip starts in Kiruna in Sweden. It is an excellent choice if you travel from Sweden. One reason is that it is a lot cheaper to rent a car in Sweden than in Norway. Another one is that if you fly to Lofoten you have to change flights in Oslo to reach Svolvaer in Lofoten or Bodö on the mainland.
Flying in from other cities in Europe you can just as well fly to Oslo, change flights there and go straight to Svolvaer. That shortens this round trip with two days. The downside is that you miss the beautiful northern part of Sweden between Kiruna and Narvik and part of the road on Lofoten from Narvik to Svolvaer which is absolutely stunning with its tunnels and narrow roads.
Highlights on this trip
7-days round trip in Lofoten
Arrive in Kiruna
Drive to Henningsvaer
Drive to Reine
Go by boat to hike Helvetestinden
Swim at Bunes beach
Drive to Kiruna
Arrive in Kiruna and drive to Lofoten
Arriving in Kiruna you first collect your rental car at the (very small) airport.
The drive from Kiruna in Sweden to the start of Lofoten Islands outside Narvik takes about 2,5 hours. From Narvik it is another 3 hours to Henningsvaer in Lofoten. Continuing from Henningsvaer further south to Reine is another 2 hours drive, a total of 7,5 hours or 500 kilometres if you drive non-stop. The beautiful road is narrow and windling and passes through a lot of tunnels.
After about one hour west of Kiruna you pass the small village of Abisko. It is well worth it to make a short stop here and walk down to the canyon right beside the Abisko mountain lodge.
The Abisko mountain lodge was built in 1952 and is probably not what you visualize as a traditional mountain lodge. It is typical 1950s architecture. Being the most northern mountain lodge owned by Svenska Turistföreningen it is one of the largest and most popular ones with 300 beds spread in dorms, double rooms and cottages.
Abisko is the starting point for a famous 5-days´ hike along Kungsleden (The Kings route) to Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden. It is for sure one of the more popular hiking trails in Sweden and often regarded as "the" trail for a lot of new hikers. The route passes by Kebnekaise mountain lodge by the foot of Kebnekaise.
You can also choose to stay overnight in Abisko. In that case, a hike up to Trollsjön is highly recommended.
After passing by Abisko and Narvik you continue along the road passing by the Lofoten islands and arrive in Henningsvaer south of Svolvaer after about six hours from Kiruna.
Henningsvaer is a lovely little village along the main road E12 and it is great to stay here for one night. The village and the environement is lovely and there are several really nice restaurants here. This village is also the home of the famous photo of a soccer field in the middle of the ocean.
Where to stay in Henningsvaer?
Staying in Lofoten you should really try to rent a rorbuer. That is houses traditionally built and used by fishermen often beautifully situated by the fjord. The houses are built on land, but part of the poles are in water allowing easy access to boats.
Nowadays most rorbuers are newly built, but the location is like in the old days with amazing views of the landscape and fjords. There are not many rorbuers for rent so be sure to book early!
Where to eat in Henningsvaer?
There are so many really nice restaurants in Henningsvaer. We had lunch at Restaurant Lofotmat which turned out just great. The restaurant is located along the main street in the middle of the town and easy to find. Pre-booking might be necessary for the evening but you can often book the same day.
Drive to Reine (2 hours)
Start your second day walking through the little village of Henningsvaer to see the lovely houses and fishing boats. It is then time for your first hike up to Festvågtind!
Just before entering Henningsvaer
Length of time
It is a quite well marked and popular hike so you will have no problem finding the way up.
After coming back down it is probably time for lunch.
From Henningsvaer to Reine is a 2 hours drive along the E10 through a beautiful landscape. If not before you surely by now realize how far stretched out in the Atlantic ocean the Lofoten islands are.
Where to stay in Reine?
There are some rorbuer for rent in Reine equipped with their own kitchen. Be sure to book well in advance since Reine is a very small village and the demand for lodging is high during summer months. You will stay here for five nights.
We rented a private rorbuer, Majbua, which was totally amazing with the most beautiful view of the mountains and situated right by Reinefjorden. It even had its own jacuzzi! We booked it one year in advance and arrange the whole trip according to the dates is was available.
Where to eat in Reine?
Reine is a very small village and during our stay in August no restaurant was open. Seems most people arriving here live in rorbuer with their own kitchen. Of course that saves you some money and also makes it easy to prepare your lunch pack in the morning.
Just before you arrive in Reine you find Anitas sjömat, with an almost endless supply of fresh fish. We stopped there and bought our daily fish every day. The staff stands ready to give you their best advice on how to best cook the fish and how to serve it. The place is a very popular place so it is easy to find it since there are always lots of cars parked outside.
This is probably the most famous hike in Lofoten and you easily walk to the start of the hike no matter where in Reine you stay. The path was officially closed until 2019 but is now open again. A large part of the hike is made of step stones that is easy to walk even though it is quite steep. If it is rainy it gets muddy and you have to take good care at the end.
Actually, if you are not tired when getting back down you can also hike Tindstinden on the same day. Or you simply take a really long break on top of Reinebringen to admire the views and then go down just in time for dinner.
Boat trip on Reinefjorden
Hiking to Bunes beach and Helvetestinden
This is a really nice full day´s trip! It is like an all-inclusive trip with a boat trip through a fjord, a stunning sandy beach and mountains to die for!
The starting point is by the harbour in Reine. From here there are daily boats in the morning in summer time. The boat leaves from a small bridge on the left hand side when you arrive in Reine. Be sure to be early, especially on a sunny day. If you arrive by car you need time to find a parking and buy tickets. Our little rorbuer actually turned out to be right beside the bridge so we just walked there in no time at all.
You buy tickets in a small ticket shop by the bridge. The boat trip is about half an hour and takes you across Reinefjorden to Vindstad.
Arriving in Vindstad you walk along an unpaved road to Bunes beach.
The path to the summit of Helvetestinden starts on the right hand side before you arrive at Bunes beach. Be sure to hike up along one of the first paths on your right hand side when arriving from Vindstad. Otherwise you may end up among large blocks of stones that are difficult and time consuming to walk across.
Tindstinden and Å i Lofoten
Today you will go to the most southern point of Lofoten, Å i Lofoten.
Driving E10 from Reine it is only a 15 minutes drive to Å i Lofoten. Drive as long as you can until the road ends and park your car at the large parking lot. Walk through the little lovely village, stroll along the small harbour and visit the bakery to buy some freshly made buns in the bakery.
In Å you also find a restaurant.
Now that you have bought what you need for a typical "fika", drive back to Sörvågen, the little village that you passed on your way from Reine to Å i Lofoten.
There is one parking by the main road and another one a little further in if you follow the unpaved road.
This is the starting point for a lot of hikes and Tindstinden is one of the more spectacular with an aerial view of Å i Lofoten where you just bought your buns.
Today it is time for "gone fishing". There are several activities to do starting in Reine. You can go kayaking on the fjords, go with fast speed boats to see birds and go deep sea fishing with a fishing boat.
We chose to go fishing. Even though both of us got sea sick it was a fascinating experience.
What kind of fish you will be fishing depends on the time of year. In summer time it is mostly saithe and you can be sure to bring some fish back home for lunch! Even we, who usually never get any fish, got enough for lunch this day!
Driving back to Kiruna
Today is a long drive back to Kiruna for about 7 hours.
Instead of going by E10 you can also take a boat to Bodö, but that will in total be a longer drive.
A third option is flying from Svolvaer to Oslo if you have rented your car in Lofoten.
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