Are you a passionate photographer of nature, Nordic landscapes and the Northern Lights? Then keep reading this article that will guide you step by step to the best photo spots of one of the most beautiful places in the world. I’m talking about the Lofoten Islands. A wonderful archipelago located north-west of Norway where life slows down, the senses are heightened, nature reigns with its mountains plunging into the ocean, the northern lights dancing in the skies and the midnight sun with its golden light that warms the panorama and the heart.
Now we will start with this iconic shot that many of you have probably already seen before, one of those images that seem to belong in children’s storybooks of places that never existed, I’m talking about the village of Hamnoy.
The best villages in Lofoten Islands Norway
The villages in Lofoten are small and quaint, with traditional red and white fishing huts dotting the landscape. Each village has its own unique charm and character, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, and exploring the local culture. Some of the most popular villages to visit include Hamnoy, Reine, Å, Sakrisoy, Nusfjord, and Henningsvaer.
Hamnoy is a small fishing village located in the municipality of Mosknes and is one of the oldest in the whole archipelago. Here you can capture and enjoy this wonderful view (easily accessible from the main road, exactly on the bridge over Hamnoya) and the typical red houses (Robuer) located at the foot of the majestic Festhelltiden mountain.
A few km from Hamnoy there is another charming fishing village, nestled between the sea and the foot of the Reinebringen mountain, Sakrisoy, another very famous place, this time characterized by yellow robuers and crystalline sea. Proceeding towards the south there is A, the village with the shortest name in the world, where the land ends and the sea extends.
(The typical red rorbuers)
(The most famous view of the Lofoten islands)
Nusfjord is a small fishing village south of the island of Flakstadoya. Among imposing fjords, in a small port, there are red and yellow cabins, swaying boats and seagulls flying over the sky. The road to reach it is spectacular, surrounded by high and bare cliffs and it is the easiest to take a photo of the Northern Lights with the backdrop of the endless road and majestic mountains. Nusfjord, already inhabited since 425 BC, today is an open-air museum and stands around a small sheltered port. Here there are a sawmill, an old-fashioned shop, a blacksmith and a factory that produces cod liver oil. The road leading to the village was only built 50 years ago, so there are no modern buildings and everything has remained as it once was. This, then, is the best place to experience the authentic feeling of the old fishing villages of Lofoten.
(Nusefjord, the fjord where time seems to have stopped)
One of the most important place to visit in Lofoten is Henningvaer, a fishing village located at the end of a narrow promontory, which has become very famous for the presence of a very special football field set in the rocks and surrounded by poles for drying of the cod. This locality is today one of the brightest, cheerful and trendy of Lofoten.
(Norway’s most famous football field)
(The characteristic port of Henningsvaer)
The best beaches in Lofoten Islands
The beaches in Lofoten are also a major draw for visitors. The coastline is rugged and dramatic, with sandy beaches nestled between towering cliffs and turquoise waters. Some of the most beautiful beaches in Lofoten include Haukland Beach, Vik Beach, and Uttakleiv Beach.
1. Vik beach
The least known of the three beaches and therefore the best for relaxing under the sun’s rays in the months of June and July and for photographing the legendary Northern Lights in the dark.
Here the ocean offers Caribbean colors, shallow and calm water that caresses the fine golden sand, it is difficult to resist diving if it weren’t for the Arctic temperatures.
This beach is nestled between mountain ranges and surrounded by a green meadow full of farms.
(A starry winter night at Vik beach)
(Vik beach, one of the best beaches to photograph the Northern Lights)
2. Haukland beach
It is perhaps the most popular beach in the Lofoten Islands, not only for photography but also among locals for relaxing, playing sports such as kayaking and beach volleyball. In the hottest summer months this beach is quite crowded and becomes the summer fun for sea lovers.
Haukland beach is crossed by a river which, based on the temperature, changes its course every hour, digging into the sand, creating incredible shapes and attracting landscape photographers ready to capture a magical scenery.
Even in Haukland beach the sand is fine and clear and the sea is Caribbean blue.
One of the most famous and spectacular hikes of all the Lofoten Islands starts from Haukland beach. Leaving the car in the large parking lot behind the beach, a path of about 1 hour and 400 meters in altitude reaches Mount Mannen. From up there the view is amazing, you can see all three beaches, Vik, Haukland and Uttakleiv beach.
(View from Mannen)
3. Uttakleiv beach
At Uttakeiv beach the ocean is always rough, with powerful waves crashing on the black rocks. This beach full of round and black stones is stunning to photograph, but not to relax like in the other two beaches nearby.
Uttakleiv beach is also known as the “Dragon’s eye beach” due to the presence of a large perfectly round stone, set in a hole in the rock, which attracts landscape photographers from all over the world.
The wind, the powerful waves and the clouds that cover the peaks of the mountains often create a dramatic mood that makes this beach truly wild and with a mystical scenes.
(The famous dragon’s eye)
All three beaches have an unobstructed northern horizon, making them perfect for viewing and photographing the Northern Lights.
During the summer, with the midnight sun warming you with its golden light, pack some food in your backpack and something to drink, because there are so many places where you can have a barbecue and I assure you that the feeling of enjoying food warm in that panorama and with that light, it is an emotion that you will not forget easily.