I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Lofoten twice, this time completely dressed in white. The 1.5-hour flight from Stockholm to Kiruna, Sweden went smoothly and about seven hours after landing my friend and I reached Lofoten in our rental car. Five days of landscape photography and exploring awaited.
We stayed in cozy red cabins by the water in a small place called Ballstad about an hour away from the southern end of Lofoten. Solsiden Brygge offers fishing excursions, hikes, and stand-up paddling. Unfortunately, we never managed to fit any of that into our schedule.
One of the highlights of the trip was the hike to the top of mountain “Mannen”, literally translated to “The Man.” Mannen lies beautifully in the remote village of Uttakleiv. The one hour and thirty-minute climb which is considered to be fairly easy is filled with a long-stretched view in every direction. When reaching the top, the skies were clear and we could actually see all the way to the mainland. The view was extraordinary in every way. A majority of the islands hold snow covered jagged peaks and a few are dotted with small houses and cabins. In the middle of our mountaintop-coffé break a sea eagle whom we spotted earlier sailed closely and gracefully above our heads. We managed to get a few good shots of it before we headed back to the car.
The one hour climb up to the mountain “Ryten” during sunset hour must have been the absolute highlight of the trip. Never have I experienced a more windy location. But the wind, snow and the setting sun created the most beautiful of scenes.
Ryten is overlooking the arctic Kvalvika beach - tucked away between aggressively looking peaks. Later that night we met up with a few other photographers for a bonfire hoping to see the Northern Lights. After falling asleep a few days prior, this time we managed to catch it dancing in the sky. It was such a rad experience listening to waves crashing in, feeling the heat from the fire and having the green light circling beautifully above our heads in the arctic night.
If I could go back in an instant I would find myself a kayak and go for a tour outside Haukland beach. From the beach, the gigantic Atlantic Ocean opens up to the west. In the bay, you can still enjoy the presence of steep mountain slopes in the north and the south until you eventually reach open water.
My tips for considering a trip to Lofoten:
Be prepared for anything weather-wise, especially during winter. The water surrounding Lofoten is never frozen which means that the weather can change in an instant. A set of proper outdoor clothes and a hood on your jacket is always a good idea. A car is very much needed to reach all locations. In terms of restaurants, I think Reine is your best shot. Not bad having a cod dinner with the most beautiful mountains just outside your window.
My essential items for any trip:
I always bring my laptop for editing and work and also a fat cream for my hands due to all the shooting. I make sure to bring a pair of extra socks for the hikes, a thermos of coffee and loads of nuts to keep me energized throughout the day.
General tips for any traveler:
If possible book trips ahead to get the best price, depart on a Thursday rather than Friday and travel back on Mondays instead of Sundays. Or you could just try to save up money and go on longer trips if possible. Going on longer trips with no set destinations during the trip gives you great chances of finding cheap flights.
Benny Bystrom is a lifestyle and landscape photographer based in the Nordic countries. So far his main focus has been landscape photography and especially moody and melancholic scenes. No matter the season he’s drawn to fog, mist, and cold especially in the mountains or by the water.