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Best Western Svolvaer Hotell Lofoten
Best Western Svolvaer Hotell Lofoten
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Lofoten islands in Norway – one of the most beautiful corners of the world

Reine Village, Lofoten Islands
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Reine Village, Lofoten Islands

Looking down at these islands of the Lofoten Peninsula, they seem like little pearls on a string. Occupying the same geographic location, they greatly differ in weather, the lifestyle their inhabitants prefer, and natural resources. These islands are characterised by distinct cultures, histories and natural environments, although they’re all affected by the warm Gulf Stream, responsible for the prevailing soft climate. If not for these warm waters, the archipelago would be a stark and largely uninhabited place.

If you decide on coming to Lofoten by car or bus, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to enjoy the view of not just one, but of many islands, connected by myriads of small bridges. Thanks to the jagged peaks in the background, the houses here look tiny. The coastline is full of bare cliffs, surrounded by sandy strips, washed over by waves and streams. Most things in northern Norway are determined by nature.

Fisherman´s house on the Lofoten islands
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Fisherman´s house on the Lofoten islands

The first thing people usually notice is drying fish, hung on special wooden frames, laid out at the outskirts of fishing villages, and on strings in backyards and lofts. Around 16 million kg of salmon is dried in Lofoten every year. Salmon dried in a small island of the archipelago, called Røst, is considered to be the best. Due to the prevailing winds, Røst is excellent for drying fish, which, by the way, is nothing like our traditional small fish – salmon is dried salt-free. This tradition comes from ancient times when fishermen simply did not have enough salt.

Drying stock fish in Norway
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Drying stock fish in Norway

Plunging into a deep nirvana of tranquillity is easy here - just cast a glance at the sea and enjoy the myriads of islands, some larger, others barely above the water. At night, many visitors choose to stay up and watch the tide, submerging the islands with each succeeding respite, and enjoy the pink skies and midnight sun that appears among the clouds. Between May 25 and July 17, the landscape of Lofoten is lit by the sun even at night.

The small wooden houses, built on poles and frequented by tourists, are really fishing huts. They are very comfortable – visitors are greeted not just with comfortable beds and showers, but also with modern kitchens, equipped with fridges, stoves, pots and cutlery. As the winter comes, however, the huts are completely occupied by fishermen, headed for work, as fishing is the main occupation of Lofoten’s inhabitants. During the winter, salmon come to the Norwegian Sea to spawn.

Fisherman with fish on the boat near the Lofoten island
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Fisherman with fish on the boat near the Lofoten island

In the summer, tourists usually join fishermen at sea. Here they can enjoy special fishing expeditions, organised for them in exotic little ships. Sometimes they may even go on whaling “safaris” that last for 6 to 7 hours.

In Borg, you can visit a Viking museum that exhibits what’s left of the largest Viking house ever discovered. The farm of Tore Hjort – one of the most powerful leaders of Northern Norwegian Vikings and previous owner of Lofoten – was found during joint Scandinavian research of 1986-89.

Breathtaking aerial view of Henningsvaer, fishing port on Lofoten islands
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Breathtaking aerial view of Henningsvaer, fishing port on Lofoten islands

The museum was founded in the summer of 1995, when the impressive 83-metre-long and 8.5-metre-wide main building and its surrounding objects were completely rebuilt. These artefacts suggest the Vikings were in contact with Germany, France and England as early as from the 7-8th centuries.

For the Vikings, the celebration hall was a holy place, which served as the setting of religious and political rituals. Entering the house of the leader makes one feel like stepping into a time machine – a crackling fireplace, dim light emanating from lamps on the ceiling, the smell of tree resin tickling the nostrils… Here you can also see handiwork that’s produced on the spot and hear the sounds of food being prepared. The smell of lamb soup permeates the whole building. Visitors are encouraged to try this soup with a thick slice of bread and some cream. You can also try mead – a traditional Viking drink.

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