The hailed loveliest villages – Reine, Nusford, A – lived up to their hype and were all in wonderfully scenic locations too. All were well worth a visit and a stroll(and if you can afford it, a coffee.)
After flying in to tiny and blissfully quiet Leknes airport from Bodo and picking up our car, within 20 minutes of landing we were driving south to Sakrisoy Rorbuer near Reine. Our accommodation for the next 3 nights was about an hour away but I wanted to detour first to see Nusfjord.
It’s around 6km of winding, scenic road off the main E10 to reach the village and it was well worth it.This was our first real taste of the Lofoten scenery I’d so longed to see. Around Leknes, it’s actually quite heavily populated with lots of farmland.This detour took us to a wilder, more remote little place, a picturesque gem of restored red and yellow Rorbuer (fishermen’s cabins) sited in a severely beautiful bay with a big mountain backdrop.
We did very little but wander and take it all in – in the sunshine too, though dark clouds were looming.Racks of dried cod were still on display, a local delicacy.But they were so dried out now that there was only a faint smell in the air.These racks are in every village – the ‘aroma’ in season must be over-powering. Although 19 August seemed peak tourist season to me, in Norway the peak was over with the schools going back and there was no difficulty parking, no big tour buses clogging things up, as we’d read about in the guide books.
Our beautiful accommodation was only a 5 minute drive from Reine and this was a village we popped into several times. It was bigger than I’d imagined with a pretty church and some nice restored Rorbuer.
The setting within the Kirkefjord is the thing – this is the most spectacular of all Lofoten’s fjords, an absolute wow. The mountainscape round here is of a sort of Tolkien-Land, impossibly sheer and quite savage.
There isn’t a lot to the village apart from lots of houses, Rorbuer and a cafe and it hasn’t quite the charm of Nusfjord but it’s handy for the little ferry boat to Vinstad which you use for the easy Bunes Beach hike. Just round the corner is the start of the famous Reinebringen hike which is not recommended as of 2017 because of dangerous erosion of the steep path and exposure.However, we saw quite a few people on the ridge during our time in this area.Given the warning signs, we ruled it out as hike.
This area is much more populated than I thought, with several pleasant small fishing communities all joined by attractive bridges, part of the E10 route.
Sakrisoy was actually an attractive little settlement in itself, with many Rorbuer, fish racks, a couple of old boats on display, a nice looking hostel and cafe/deli.That backdrop of course is the thing – you can’t take your eyes off it.Loved our base here.
When we arrived at The White House (£200 per night – ouch) a pair of sea eagles were being mobbed by crows very close to the house.Saw the eagles every day at some point, a majestic sight.
Just between Reine and Sakrisoy is a good Co-op supermarket ; beer only, no wine or spirits. For that, you have to find a Vinmonopolet – state run, in limited supply and with limited hours.Leknes was the nearest.Luckily we had both packed away champagne and spirits(for Chris) in the hold luggage so had supplies for a few days.Makes us sound like alkies but also saved us a small fortune as alcohol was double what we pay at home.
The village of A (pronounced O)
Gorgeous.My favourite of all. Loved where we stayed but I could have easily stayed here too.Wonderful backdrop, though not quite Kirkefjord standard, an end of the road place, very quiet, nice and fairly inexpensive cafe (for Norway) , little museum and a lake at the rear of the village too.More of an open sea feel than fjord to it. Had a really good coffee here in a small cafe attached to the Museum, with good books to browse and a buzzy atmosphere.
This was also the start of the long hike to Munkebu which I fancied (but which we didn’t do when the day came, due to really foul weather.)
What would bring me back here are the Orca pods which arrive April/May chasing the herring and which can be seen from shore, according to the cafe guy.What a sight.
Sakrisoy and The White House
Can’t praise The White House highly enough, charming, wood panelled accommodation, very spacious – as it should be at the eye watering cost! Better value for families with a bed in every nook and cranny.Great deck to sit out on with tea or a glass of vino and contemplate the wonder of Kirkefjord. The E10 is a short way behind it but it wasn’t that busy and we had no road noise as such (something I really don’t like.)
Opened the Champers I’d brought from home and drank to finally arriving in Lofoten and to , hopefully, a great holiday.Tinned curry and rice for tea which actually tasted pretty good with some fresh chicken added to it.A remnant from summer wild camping trips at home which had now flown here to be consumed.
During our week on Lofoten, Norway we visited Leknes (good for shopping, picking up wine and supplies), Svolvaer – bigger, busy town with a superb Sea Eagle trip on offer.We also stopped to shop in Ramberg: nothing much to it apart from a decent wee supermarket and nice tourist info centre.Lots of holiday cabins which spoiled the pleasant beach for me.Shapely mountains in the distance. Passed through Stamsund on a very wet, dreary day and couldn’t see it’s charm at all.Quite spread out.
None of these places held any great appeal as bases to me though Svolvaer, which our Lonely Planet guide had described as not that attractive, was buzzing and better than I’d expected. More of a town. Well up the Lofoten chain though and perhaps 2 hours or so from Kirkefjord.