Reading material for those who love the camping life

Text and photo: Sven Furuly
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 5. October 2014

Lofoten in summer garb: Adventure Menu from Z to A

If you are going to experience Norway at its most fascinating, you must do as thousands of foreigners have done before you. A journey in Lofoten and Vesterålen will be full of unforgettable sights and experiences.

I write Norway at its most fascinating, but could just as easily use words as beautiful, spectacular, entertaining or pleasant. Perhaps the tourists are a little too many for the northern Norwegian people's soul to stand out with all clarity, but you should not be many meters away from all the way before you meet the friendliness and hospitality that characterizes this part of the country. The benefits of vacationing in your own motorhome or caravan are many. Lofoten, which we will address in this first of two articles, is a favorite tourist destination for guests from both home and abroad, and everything from fisherman's cabins to hotels and guest houses must be booked well in advance. It is not cheap either, and it can often be difficult to calculate the time consumption in advance. Some sights you would like to spend more time on, and with a summer like this year, it is not easy to turn your back on the sandy beaches and continue just because you have to reach a specific hotel before the evening is there. Then it's okay to have the bedroom right behind the driver 's seat ...

Book ferries

This article is about an adventure menu from Å to A. From Å in Lofoten to Andenes on Andøya. The beautiful Helgeland coast and the coastal highway over Saltstraumen to Bodø is a travelogue in itself, but now we let the ferry quay in Bodø be the starting point for the trip. And with a planned ferry trip to Moskenes on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of the joint holiday, we immediately see the difference between who has planned the trip, and who only travels for happiness and piety. Sure, the ferries are long, but so are the traffic jams on the pier! Pre-purchased ticket with seat reservation (NOK 100.- extra) gives us space in a separate priority on-board lane, and we can enjoy the ice cream in peace and quiet while the other lanes are filled up as the departure time approaches. How to prepare for a two-week trip like this is a lot about what you want to experience, how much you want to drive every day, and also a little about how you want to live. The selection of organized motorhome and camping sites is good, and in addition there are plenty of opportunities to find your own gems, where contact with nature and culture provides completely unique memories.

Good preparation will provide more experiences

My experience after driving for many years in Norway, is to use your creativity when you plan an adventure trip with an exciting and varied menu. There are countless sources of information, and I believe that those who do a thorough homework also get the greatest benefit. Not because you have to "reach everywhere", but because it becomes easier to prioritize along the way. A good map, and a reference work such as the NAF road book are cornerstones in the planning. A book from DNT about cabins and hiking opportunities in the area you are going to visit, we have found that is important to us, and lots of useful information can be found on the internet by google "visit, tourism, tour, norway and similar words together also the county , the area, municipality or place you want to know more about. The websites of Norwegian municipalities also offer lots of interesting information for a tourist visiting or passing through, whether you come in a motorhome or want a place to stay overnight. If you are going to camp, the Norwegian Camping Guide from NHO Reiseliv is also a good tool. For us, the goal is always to find the good experiences, and it can be anything from finding special places to eat to visiting craft businesses or experiencing local cultural events. And as a rule, there is a rich and varied menu - no matter where in Norway you decide to travel.

Something for every taste

Lofoten is a popular tourist destination, and it is not difficult to understand why. The nature experiences are almost in line, and you have to be pretty blasé not to be enchanted by steep mountains, fishing villages that get stuck in small straits and a mirror-shiny sea that in the next second can show itself from its most frightening side. And it is precisely the sea that forms the basis for everything we encounter on our trip. From fisherman's cabins and fishing villages to industry and transport. Even building customs and culture have their roots in the sea and the harsh weather conditions we find in this area. A week is just the right time to get a taste of most of what Lofoten has to offer, but something will surely give more flavor, and maybe next time you will choose your favorite place and stay there for several days. If, for example, you love fishing, the possibilities for going on an organized fishing trip, renting your own boat, or fishing from land with your own fishing rod, are almost unlimited. Others may want to return to go on the many beautiful hikes that go up among many of the mountains.

Nature is always close

The distances are short, and when we came in with the evening ferry to Moskenes, it was only a few kilometers drive to Å. The southernmost turning point in the entire Lofoten road system is also a favorite place for motorhomes. From there there are paths down to a small center with fisherman's cabins, a few shops and a stockfish museum. Even though it is midnight, the sky is bright, the restaurant guests are many and the atmosphere is high. But if there are many people, there are even more seagulls, and at times it was not the sound of the ear to get. The paths also take you further out towards the Lofoten Wall, which forms a majestic backdrop for the sun which again rises in the east a few hours later. A look at the road map shows place names that are a repetition of the youth's geography and social studies classes. Reine, Nusfjord, Napp and Balstad. We make gallery Harr in Reine Kultursenter a short visit before we continue the trip north. After a while we take the main road, E10, and set course for Nusfjord. This fishing village is organized as a living museum, and you actually have to pay entrance fees to get into the small community. In return, we can enjoy a beautifully preserved environment, a museum that shows what life was like in the old days, as well as a country store of the good, old variety.

Be curious!

We had fantastic weather on the trip, and never has the bathing water been warmer than this in Lofoten. We made the trip around Uttakleiv on the outside of Lofoten, and the beautiful sandy beaches - facing the ocean - were full of people, almost as if we were in Sørlandet. There are many great places to park both motorhomes and caravans, but on the hottest sunny days, all available parking spaces are blown up. Some may think it is crowded along the E10 and inside the many small places inland in Lofoten, but there is always the opportunity for small detours and discovery trips. With bikes on the roof or trailer, the possibilities are of course even more. Lofotr Viking Museum at Borg offers both a great exhibition and an outdoor area that invites to play, activities and increased knowledge of what life was like in the Viking Age. Even a "real" Viking ship is moored to the pier, together with older northern Norwegian sailing yachts.

class restaurants

Henningsvær is the origin of one of Ingebrikt Davik's popular children's songs, and the chorus "a real Lofoten cod I am, because I was born in Henningsvær ..." is clear. The restaurants in this popular place naturally offer fish of all kinds. You can not have been in this area without having eaten the local "book fish", and the purchase of local stockfish is also included. Everywhere in Lofoten we find rocks for drying fish, and there is never any doubt that the sea has been the most important food route since time immemorial. At the same time, we also see how relocation and centralization also affect this area. Kabelvåg, which was once an important trading place, is today a sleeping suburb of Lofoten's capital, Svolvær. Where shops of all kinds, from manufactories to hardware, bakeries and country shops used to fill the old venerable wooden houses, today there are eateries, souvenir shops, hairdressers and interior design. Thus, it is inevitable that the place appears considerably more "touristy" than we might have wanted. However, the fine Lofoten Aquarium and the marine environment center are well worth a visit.

Joy lined up

The large motorhome parking space at the entrance to the harbor in Svolvær has a fantastic location. At the end of the pier we find Per Ung's beautiful statue "Fiskerkona". She stands and scouts out over the sea and waits for her loved ones, as fishermen's wives in this part of the country have always done. To the east we can see Skrova, and to the north is the town of Svolvær itself. A separate street is named after the politician Håkon Kyllingmark - the man who took the initiative to build the short-haul airports in Norway. Without his visions, it would hardly have been as easy to travel by plane to the outskirts of Norway as it is today. Svolvær has everything a big city should have, from excellent restaurants to shops of all kinds. If there is a shortage of drinks in the car after a few days on the trip, Svolvær is the place for provisions of all kinds. When Hurtigruta docks, it is not only people who come ashore, but also cars and motorhomes. A combination of "the world's most beautiful boat trip" and driving through our elongated country is perhaps also an exciting thought ...

Step inside to Trollfjorden

When we first talk about Hurtigruten, we do not get around the Trollfjord. This short and narrow fjord arm north of Svolvær - on the way to Raftsund has fascinated thousands of tourists over the years, but you do not have to be with Hurtigruten to experience this. On the contrary - because trips to the Trollfjord are arranged with both passenger boats and high-speed ribs. We chose the latter, which offers both excitement and a long safari where both sea eagles and seals can be part of the experience. The trip, which takes two hours, is worth every penny, and is a wonderful break from the road life. We also tend to break up the car trips with some trips to the mountains. There are DNT cabins all over the country, and Lofoten is no exception. We had checked out some alternatives in advance and in addition we received excellent help from the tourist office in Svolvær. It is good to park the car and put on mountain boots. The hiking opportunities are good in the whole region, and the cabin we had chosen was only a couple of hours walk from the parking lot on the outskirts of Svolvær center. The reward was a fantastic view of the city and the Vestfjord, wonderful close contact with nature, nice exercise and an overnight stay in a rarely well-kept and nice cabin. Lofoten Turlag should be very grateful for their efforts with both the operation of the cabin and beautifully prepared trails in the area.

Easy to drive, easy to like

Thanks to the Lofast connection, it is easy to drive around Lofoten and on to Vesterålen, other parts of Nordland, or to Troms. However, our plan was to drive on to Fiskebøl and take a ferry from there to Melbu, as the main shipping lane was in the "old" days. The short ferry ride thus brings us over to Vesterålen - with lots of new experiences that you can read about in the next issue of the magazine.

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