Travel tips

All you need to know before travelling to Lofoten.

Transport

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Accommodation in Lofoten

What is important? Do you want breakfast and housekeeping every day? Do you want your own kitchen to prepare every meal yourself? Do you seek to stay in an authentic fishing village - close to life as it truly is here in the Lofoten archipileago? Do you want high standards and comfort? Or is it price that matters the most? Answers to these questions will tell you a lot about which accommodation you should book.

There are many different alternatives for a great stay in Lofoten. Accommodation which satisfies needs and wishes for the majority. If you're conscious about what is important for you when you travel, the chances of finding an accommodation you’re happy with increases.

Here in Lofoten, you’ll find hotels, fisherman's cabins, apartments, camping cabins, tents and camper vans. Most of these are available digitally on their own websites, pages on social media and/or if you search for it on Google. The way you choose to move around on the islands might determine where you should book: if you travel by car, you can stay anywhere. The distances are short and perfect for daily adventures from almost anywhere. However, put your target to the middle part of Lofoten - like Hemmingodden Lodge - so you’ll minimize the travel times.

If you don’t have access to a car, then it will benefit you to stay in the city center or places where they offer activities/facilities that you wish to participate in while you’re here. Here at Ballstad, we’ve created our own Hemmingodden community - everything you need, is right here! IT doesn’t stop, however, here, because here at Ballstad you can find many different accommodations with different levels of comfort, stunning nature for anyone to explore, tall and breathtaking mountains for those who wish to hike, and a whole lot of seabased activities such as fishing trips, SUP-paddling, kayakk, diving, snorkeling and e-surfing.

In addition to this, we have dining options within short distances. Our best tip is to find a base while you’re here, where you can relax and seek out places explored in less then a day. You’re always welcome at Hemmingodden Lodge! We’re based in the middle of Lofoten. Here travel times are equal whether you wish to explore Vågan in the east, or Å and Moskenes in the west. In other words, a great base to explore the Lofoten islands as a whole.

Traditionally the ‘rorbu’ was built as seasonal housing for fishermen whoc have visited the islands for hundreds of years including the legendary ‘Lofotfisket’. The rorbu’s are often localized in active fishing villages, connected to land, built on stilts and partly in the sea. Here the fishermen could prepare simple food, store equipment and tools, and get some much needed rest.

Historically, these fishermen operated with open boats, with no accomodation, and therefore the rorbu’s were very imporant. Today, many of the older rorbu’s have been renovated and modernized, which in turn resulted in many rorbu facilities all over Lofoten offering comfortable and authentic stays for visitors. Here at Hemmingodden you’ll find both the traditional and modern rorbu’s. We’ll gladly help you to find the right size and level of comfort that suits you and your travel companions!

There are several camping spots in Lofoten with the possibility of setting up tents. **In Norway you are alllowed to tent freely in nature (the woods, swamp, mountains and coastal areas), as long as the tent is placed at least (we always recommend more than) 150 meters from cabins and houses where people live. Remember you can only tent in the same place for two days. If you’re up in the mountains or far away from inhabitants, you can tent for longer. Make sure you check the weather and always let someone know where you are going.

During the summer season, there are a lot of people who tent in Lofoten. Take the locals into account by following the limitations, and stay even further away if possible. Should you need to tent close to a public place or building, make sure to use public toilets.

Weather & seasons of the year

Lofoten is truly magical, all year round - and we highly recommend experiencing all seasons!

Summer is the rome of the midnight sun!

June and August are filled with magical sunsets, and in between, is the unique period where the sun never sets! It’s bright all hours of every day. You can go for a hike in the middle of the night, sleep under the blue sky, and travel by boat to the end of the Lofoten archipelago and watch the sun that never leaves the sky.

Autumn welcomes bright colors and northern lights!

What once was green, turns to gold. Some leafs and heather even turns red! September is known for a colorful transition, with surprisingly steady temperatures and crisp air, which in turn facilitates for many nights of dancing northern lights!

Winter is the season of contrasts!

Nothing compares to the warmth defrosting your face when you get back to lit candles in your cozy rorbu after hours outside in the freezing pastel paradise! The palette of pastels flourish on the sky, almost like a hidden rainbow. For each passing day, we get less and less sunlight. And here is a big misconception! The sun slowly disappears, and leaves us for a few weeks in December - but we still have daylight! When it gets darker, the moonlight reflects in the ice blue snow, and amongst the stars Aurora Borealis lay her green vail which sometimes blossoms into a white and purple dance.

If you seek to experience the famous Lofotfiske, March month should definitely be your aim! All of Lofoten is filled with activity and celebration in relation to their success at catching the spawning cod, who is called ‘skrei’ in Norwegian.

Spring is the long lasting blossom!

Some years, it feels like we have spring all the way into June. The fishing village is boiling with activity, days are longer and the sun starts to feel warm again. This is the time for hiking both on skis and later on by foot. This is the time where hidden gems open and prepare for the summer season. In other words, you can easily find remarkable food experiences with the freshest fish as today's catch. For locals, this feels like an awakening and a new start, a wonderful season, full of expectations!

What’s important to know is that the weather here can change fast! And when we say fast, we mean multiple times a day, no matter which season you visit. If you’re really lucky, you can experience all four seasons in one day, from storm to complete silence only hours/minutes between. Hat, mittens and layers of wool are clever to bring along any time of year - especially if you plan to spend time outdoors. With an archipelago this far into the ocean, we’re exposed to a lot of wind - so make sure to bring a jacket that'll survive both wind and rain.

During summer it can be absolutely breathtaking weather, so there is a reason to bring lighter clothing and swimming suits, if you appreciate a refreshing bath. The winters here in Lofoten are relatively mild, a lot due to the Golf stream which makes it warmer here than most other places on the same longitude. It’s rare for the temperature to drop below 10 minus degrees, so normal winter clothes are good enough for a trip to Lofoten. However, if you’re out on adventures, a shift in temperature from destination to destination is predictable as you travel amongst islands and on different sides of the mountains. Remember sunglasses and good shoes, preferable hiking shoes. A backpack is recommended to make room for extra clothes.

Other

There is little opportunity to use foreign currency in Lofoten. We recommend you to withdraw Norwegian Kroners if you do not wish to use card when paying. However, most places prefer that you use a debit or credit card.

It is possible, but it is mostly only in the bank, and therefore not very practical. We recommend you to exchange foreign currency for NOK before departure to the Northern part of Norway. It is even better if you pay by card where you shop, or if you withdraw Norwegian Kroners from the ATM here instead.

Food and food traditions

Lofoten is built on fishing and the huge amounts of resources we harvest from the “blue field” that surrounds us. When you’re in Lofoten you MUST try fresh fish, prepared in different ways. In summer, fresh pollock is a secure winner for sure, served with potatoes, sour cream and cucumber salad. It tastes even better if you caught the fish yourself!

In February, March and April you get served ‘skrei’ in multiple restaurants here in Lofoten. Try the so called ‘skreimøle’ which is the traditional way to eat the skrei, and it’s served with liver and roe. It doesn’t get more authentic than that!

The skrei that doesn’t get eaten fresh, will be hanged on racks to dry and turns into book fish which is in season in April/May, and can then be dried further to become the famous stockfish. Watered down stockfish is found in restaurants all year round, which we really recommend to taste!

One well-known favorite dish amongst dried and matured fish, is bacalao. It’s made with cuttlefish and most places who serve it, serve the bacalao tomato based. Kaikanten Delikatesser, here at Ballstad, produces their own bacalao which can be bought in every shop here in Lofoten. That's a quick and easy locally produced dinner which you can heat up yourself and enjoy in your authentic rorbu! This bacalao is also sold in Meny, which you can find in other places in Norway, if you miss the taste of Lofoten. There is also no denying that you should try fish soup, either creamy or tomato based!

Fish & Chips is a huge favorite amongst the kids! As it can be both fried and baked in the oven, there are options for delicious meals if you like fish! Vestvågøy is amongst Northern Norway's biggest agriculture municipalities, and Lofoten is rich in local farming culture. In Vestvågøy they produce world class lamb. It’s a sustainable production where the lambs spend their whole life outdoors in the mountains, and it results in tasteful meat, simultaneously as the landscape stays the same. You can choose lamb from many menus.

We also have two award winning cheese factories, where they produce world class goat cheese, here at Vestvågøy. Both factories have their own farm cafè which we recommend a visit to both to taste and do some shopping. It’s truly an experience where you meet both animals and farmers. If you’re not able to visit the farms, you can find many of their products in Coop Extra and Bunnpris at Leknes.

Stockfish is a result of the Lofoten fishing, which takes place in the period January - April each year. The word "skrei" comes from the Norse word "skreið" and means "fish that strides," meaning migrates. Every spring, skrei migrates from the Barents Sea to the Lofoten to spawn. Skrei is muscular, firm in meat, low in fat, and therefore perfect for drying. Fresh skrei is cleaned and head-capped. Two fish are tied together around the tail and hung on fish racks.

Nature does the rest of the job. Wind, sun, temperature, snow and rain affect the quality, taste and color of the dry fish. That is why the taste of each stockfish is different. The fish hangs on racks for several months until it dries out in May/June.

It is then taken down from the racks and matured in storage for several months, just like wine and cheese are stored to get the right taste. Each and every dry fish is sorted by quality, weight, length, color, smell, and appearance. The person as quality sorter, the Wrecker, sorts the dry fish into quality groups. There are 20 different quality categories, and only the best one is given the status of "Stockfish from Lofoten."
Bokne means semi-dry and boknafisk is a variant of dry fish, which is partially dried on racks. Boknafisk is hung out in winter months for drying, usually unsalted. The fish is allowed to hang until it is quite dry on the outside, while still being soft and slightly sour in taste inside. It should still be soft by the backbone, then the fish is considered bokna. Boknafisk is a delicacy in northern Norway, and cod is the most common type used. It is often served with bacon, boiled potatoes, and carrots, cabbage stew or pea stew. Some also use a thick white sauce. This is one of the most traditional dishes you can taste in the Lofoten!

Experience

Lofoten is a playground for all - kids, youngsters and adults! Here you will find everything you dream of, including beautiful beaches, magical northern lights, thrilling mountain hikes, midnight sun, surfing, fishing, and culture in all its forms. Every season has its own magic and the activities often vary with the time of year. At Hemmingodden Lodge, we are happy to provide tips on trips and arrangements for families, friends, or couples of all ages. We also offer guided activities, summer and winter.

Charging stations for electric cars

Here at Hemmingodden Lodge, we have our own electric car charging stations for our guests. You can therefore charge while you enjoy a delicious meal in our restaurant HEIM, or when you relax at your lovely rorbu, or even when you're out at sea with our boats and/or fishing guide!