Looking beyond the Arctic Circle

Looking beyond the Arctic Circle

Dramatic ice-cliffs and age-old Viking tales dominate Lofoten Islands

Ramberg Beach, Flakstad, Lofoten Islands

While planning a trip to Scandinavia, my research led me to believe that Norway was a spectacular destination. My research showed that everything in Norway was beautiful, but a small archipelago beyond the Arctic Circle caught my eye, and I decided that I must go there. 

After days of exploring Oslo, Bergen, gorgeous fjords and waterfalls, and doing some unbeatable treks, I made my way to the Oslo Airport to catch a flight to Bodø in the north. Everything was automatic at the airport and I barely encountered another person while checking myself in. If it was going to be so deserted at the capital’s airport, would I meet another human being in the faraway Viking Islands? The flight took off on time and even though it was night, I could not sleep because we flew over the sea along the amazing Norwegian coast dotted with several fjords and variegated mountains whose black summits were sprinkled with white snow and ice. It was around 11.30 pm when I landed in Bodø, and I decided to walk to the port to catch my boat to Lofoten
Islands, which was scheduled to leave a couple of hours later. As I approached the sea, the sun dipped delicately to touch the surface of the water and at midnight rose back up, and started making its way up towards the sky. The subdued lights painted the sky pink and blue which reflected in the water like an impressionist painting. I was thrilled to witness the midnight sun!

Walking along the sea, I reached my ferry to Moskenes, one of the four main islands of Lofoten, and embarked on the short journey. The boat was fairly empty and once again I wondered if I might be the only one on this remote island. A few hours later, I arrived in Moskenes and got down at the port, from where my Slovakian host picked me up. We drove to his house nearby and went to sleep until around 11 am.

He lent me his bicycle which I rode around Moskenes. I visited the fishing village of Tind with its pretty fishing cabins called rorbuer. Codfishes were hanging from a wooden framework to dry, a practice harking back to the days of the Vikings more than a millennium ago. I rode the bike on the main road, stopping at lovely sights like little fjords between green hills, and reached Reine, rated consistently as Norway’s most beautiful village several times in a row. A viewpoint opens onto a calm sea framed by little red cabins to the right and dark mountains all around with one tall peak dominating the landscape.

Reine, Lofoten Islands
Reine, Lofoten Islands

Here, I stumbled upon an adventure sports centre run by Camilla, who gave me all the information I wanted about hiking, kayaking, cycling and boat excursions. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for long and had to leave because I had met Tom, a traveller from England, and he was arriving at the port at 1 pm, and I was to pick him up. 

Tom and I went to the village of Å to his hostel and explored this quaint fishing hamlet with its red cabins. We saw huge fish and walked around near the fish museum. We continued visiting the quiet and serene environs and wandered outside the village. After some time, I decided to ride back to Martin’s where we had some home-made beer.

Since the weather was now glorious, I wanted to climb Reinebringen because the view from the top was supposed to be great. I had developed a knee pain since my previous treks, so even though the peak was barely 450 metres high, the steep incline took a toll on me. After a struggle, I made it to the summit which was but a narrow ridge with a sheer drop on either side. The view did not disappoint. In fact, it was so beautiful it felt unreal. It was like witnessing a magical land beneath my feet.  

The next day I and my newly found friends spent around 10 memorable hours driving through dramatic mountains, fantastic viewpoints and virgin beaches like Ramberg and Haukland, and reached Narvik at night.