Polar Nights – A taste of Lofoten

Who would be mad enough to head to Lofoten for New Years Eve? A place where there is twilight for just 2-3 hours per day? MEEE! I thought it would be great fun to see Lofoten in winter, but this is no trip for the faint hearted.

Hamnøy is famous for photography. Here is the wonderful Anita’s Sjømat cafe. Lofoten, Norway. Canon 5D Mark III with Zeiss Milvus 18mm 2.8

I intended to hire a car and roam around seeing the area, camping in my tent at night. Turned out that perhaps this was an optimistic plan. My journey began in Narvik, flying in from Copenhagen. This is certainly the fastest way to get here, although you can also take the train through Sweden. I hired a car and spent two days in Narvik. A nice little town with much history. Narvik is famous in world war II where it was a major port for Swedish iron ore. It remains so to this day. The German war machine needed this vital supply line, and paid a heavy toll for it. There are many great museums and sights to see from this time.

My mission was to reach the town of A at the western extreme of Lofoten, taking some good photos along the way.

Google map of the Lofoten region, hearts represent stops on the route.

I thought that camping would be fun, but it was a little difficult and they were not great nights. Essentially I had two days of very cold weather, two days of extremely windy weather and two days of constantly pouring rain… The first night I found an area to camp off the beaten track, but turned out that there were moose around – not exactly a relaxing night.

A little snow overnight, Evenes, Lofoten. Canon 5D Mark III with 24mm 1.4 Art

A bit of cooking in this lovely hut. Canon 5D Mark III with 12mm 2.8 Fisheye.

The two nights on the coast were so windy that my Hilleberg 4 season tent bent one of its poles, and sleep was impossible due to the constant noise from the tent shaking about. The next nights had constant and cold rain. I decided to mix it up and get a hotel where I could dry out my gear and get some sleep.

Lofoten is very quiet in winter and few places are open. On top of this, the dark days made it challenging to actually see much – only 2-3 hours each day. Not exactly the makings of a great holiday, but there were some consolations. Lofoten is epic-ly beautiful and rugged. The coastlines are an impossible mix of sharp mountains and beautiful beaches. Small settlements dot the landscape in the typical Norwegian fashion.

Svolvær, Lofoten. 5D Mark III with 135mm f2L

Somewhere in Lofoten, Canon 5D Mark III with 135mm f2L

Lofoten, Norway. Canon 5D Mark III with 24mm 1.4 Art.

Hamnøy, Lofoten. Canon 5D Mark III with 85mm 1.2L II

At the same time you have that typical Scandinavian comfort. Such a modern and cosy place. The cafes are utterly up-beat and serve some of the best seafood in the world.

Delicious seafood burger from Anita’s Sjømat, Lofoten. Canon 5D Mark III with 85mm 1.2L II

I will have to return under some more favourable conditions. A winter trip should be planned in March for more light, and in summer the midnight sun will allow endless light and better conditions for camping. For me I loved the mystical feel of this northern fairyland.

Gallery

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