In a remote area north of the Arctic Circle, we were cozied inside an old fisherman’s cabin with majestic mountains jutting out of the Norwegian sea all around us. Known as the Lofoten Islands, it was a dream come true to visit this remarkable destination in Norway. However, before arriving, there were a few things we were unsure about this far-flung destination such as- will we find an ATM or where can we get the best views of the landscape? If you plan on going, here’s a list of our questions–that may be the same as yours–that were answered during our stay:

How do we get to the Lofoten Islands?

There are a few ways to get to the Lofoten Islands. We chose to fly into Bodø from Oslo and then take the ferry across to Moskenes. From the Bodø airport we walked a straightforward three kilometers to the Bodø ferry terminal. It was an easy walk on mostly flat sidewalk and provided a little sightseeing on our way through Bodø. There are also taxis and buses from the airport that could get to the ferry much quicker but for a hefty cost. The ferry ride was about 3.5 hours to Moskenes and once there we took a taxi to our accommodation in Hamnøy. We had to reserve ahead of time our taxi as there are not always taxis waiting at the terminal. 

How do we purchase a ticket for the ferry?

To ride the ferry to Moskenes, no advance purchase is necessary. When the ferry starts boarding, a ferry worker at the entrance ramp will start selling tickets. It’s easy to find them, just follow the crowd of people who are lining up to pay and get on the ferry.

Lofoten, Norway, Moskenes, Hamnøy, Bodø, Visit Norway, Travel, Backpacking, Scandinavia, ferry to Moskenes, hiking in Norway, fishing, Cotopaxi, Gear For Good, Fjord, Reinefjord, Mount Reinebringen

Does the ferry accept card payment?

Yes, they will accept cards or cash payment. However, there are some boat/ferry trips within the Lofoten Islands that will only accept cash.

How much is a cab ride from Moskenes to Hamnøy?

A cab ride from the Moskenes ferry terminal to Hamnøy was close to 250 NOK for us.

Where should we stay?

The most photogenic views of Lofoten are in Reine. We stayed five kilometers from Reine in the Eliassen Rorbuer hostel in Hamnøy. This was the cheapest accomodation we could find on the island, other than camping. From Hamnøy we still had the same amazing views of the mountains and made easy day trips to Reine. We were also told that the west part of the islands we were staying on was less developed than other parts of Lofoten. So it truly was an unspoiled destination.

Lofoten, Norway, Moskenes, Hamnøy, Bodø, Visit Norway, Travel, Backpacking, Scandinavia, ferry to Moskenes, hiking in Norway, fishing, Cotopaxi, Gear For Good, Fjord, Reinefjord, Mount Reinebringen

What hikes are there to do around the area?

We highly recommend Mount Reinebringen, which supposedly provides the best mountain view in all Lofoten. It takes a total of two hours on a very steep trail to the top of the mountain. The trailhead is located just outside the tunnel in Reine. Another hike we did was Mount Tindstind in Sørvågen. The hike took us to two waterfalls and a pair of lakes with a view of the surrounding towns in the area. We spent about three hours on this hike, but the walking opportunities in this area seem endless. 

Should we make reservations?

We could hear last-minute backpackers being turned away at Eliassen Rorbuer with no rooms left each night during our stay. So we recommend reserving a room in advance, especially as Eliassen Rorbuer is one of the few affordable options in the area. We used HostelWorld.com to book our private, twin room in the hostel. Eliassen also rents bicycles and we recommend reserving those in advance too. We wished we had done this as we had only one day of good weather and all the bicycles were already rented out.

Lofoten, Norway, Moskenes, Hamnøy, Bodø, Visit Norway, Travel, Backpacking, Scandinavia, ferry to Moskenes, hiking in Norway, fishing, Cotopaxi, Gear For Good, Fjord, Reinefjord, Mount Reinebringen

Is there an ATM on the Lofoten Islands?

In the west part of Lofototen there was only one ATM. This was located in a small convenience shop in Reine and can only be accessed during store hours.

Can I get by without a car on Lofoten?

We spent four days in Lofoten without a car. We walked or biked from Hamnøy as far as trails just beyond Moskenes. From the ferry terminal we had a taxi driver take us to the hostel and also used a taxi on the day of our departure. There is plenty to see and do around Reine and Hamnøy without a car as long as you’re willing to walk or bike several kilometers. However, having a car/RV/bike of your own will open up many more opportunities while visiting. 

Lofoten, Norway, Moskenes, Hamnøy, Bodø, Visit Norway, Travel, Backpacking, Scandinavia, ferry to Moskenes, hiking in Norway, fishing, Cotopaxi, Gear For Good, Fjord, Reinefjord, Mount Reinebringen

Are the buses efficient?

We didn’t get the chance to ride the buses, but we heard they were efficient and on time according to its schedule. From Hamnøy to the Moskenes ferry terminal would have cost 32 krones per person, but the buses don’t exactly coincide with the ferry schedule. If I had wanted to catch the 2:30 p.m. ferry, I would’ve had to catch the 11:45 a.m. bus, which would have dropped me off around noon. I would’ve then had to wait almost three hours for the ferry, but that was the only option as the next bus would’ve dropped me off too late. 

Are we allowed to ride a bike or walk on the narrow roads?

The roads are so narrow in Lofoten, including the bridges that connect the small islands, that I wasn’t sure if pedestrians were even allowed to walk on them. When we were there we saw plenty of people riding bikes, walking with backpacks and running on the roads with no issues. The bridges had raised sidewalks and all tunnels had side paths on the outside of them for pedestrians and cyclists. There were some roads where it was a tight squeeze as larger traffic passed by, but cars weren’t driving fast and traffic was minimal so it wasn’t a big deal to share the road.

Lofoten, Norway, Moskenes, Hamnøy, Bodø, Visit Norway, Travel, Backpacking, Scandinavia, ferry to Moskenes, hiking in Norway, fishing, Cotopaxi, Gear For Good, Fjord, Reinefjord, Mount Reinebringen

What are the local delicacies we should eat?

We recommend the fish soup and fish burgers at Anita’s Sjomat in Sakrisøy. There are very tasty! We also really loved Kvikk Lunsj (pronounced quick lunch) candy bars, which looked like a Kit Kat, but tasted better… or so say the Norwegians. 😉

Is there a grocery store?

There is a grocery store called the Co-op in Sakrisøy, just 1.5 kilometers from where we stayed in Hamnøy. It was a small store, but still had good selections of fresh fruit, groceries, drinks and more. There is also a post office inside the store. The Co-op closed at 7 p.m. every day during our stay.

Is it worth it to visit the Lofoten Islands?

YES!!! This was one of our favorite spots on the trip. It’s not easy to get to Lofoten as we had to make three flight connections and take a ferry. However, it was well worth the hassle to see these beautiful islands.

4 Responses

  1. theresia

    Hi dear, thanks for your info about traveling around Lofoten. I’m going there on 1st week of Jan when the daylight is only last bout an hour, do you think it will be hard for the hikes ? Do you need hiking sticks, ropes etc to hike the Reinebringen ? I have no idea what should i do for only 2 days trip there with only 1 hr daylight each day. Any good tips ! Thanks :))

    • Mark Johnston

      That sounds like an awesome trip and I’m sure you’ll get a great view of the Aurora Borealis! I would not recommend hiking Reinebringen in the winter, unless you’re an experienced mountaineer or climbing with a guide. It was a very steep and slippery trail in the spring/summer, so I can’t imagine climbing the same route in the snow. There might be other enjoyable winter options, but maybe try emailing your hostel/hotel ahead of time for some local advice.

  2. anna kristy

    Hai Mark and Britnee, I plan to visit Lofoten next April, and still arrange my planning. Do you have ferry schedule from Bodo to Moskenes?