Getting around Lofoten Islands without a car can be challenging. Whether you travel by bus, bike or on foot, in this article, you will find everything you need to make the best of your prefered way of travelling in Lofoten!
Getting around in Lofoten by bus is becoming easier every year. Especially in the summer. If you only plan to travel between the larger populated areas like Svolvær, Henningsvær, Leknes, and Reine, then getting around Lofoten by bus is no problem.
The Lofoten islands are perfect for biking. Being on a bicycle really lets you take in the surrounding sights as you are slowly rolling by! If you are in an average shape, you can easily cross the whole Lofoten by bike in as little as three days.
The ultimate way to explore the Lofoten Islands. For those who want to cross Lofoten by foot, there are many highlights to look forward to. Just make sure to check the weather forecast regularly!
If you want to avoid renting a car and travel in the Lofoten by public transport, you pretty much have to plan your trip around the main road E10. Whenever you want to explore some place off the main road, your options for using the public transport drop dramatically. That makes visiting places like the Nusfjord fishing village, the beaches in Unstad & Uttakleiv, or the famous golf course Lofoten Links quite challenging and sometimes impossible.
Unfortunately, there is no official map of public transportation in the Lofoten Islands. Therefore, we made a map that shows you all the places in Lofoten where you can catch a bus. The green line shows the main road E10. You can travel to Lofoten on the daily regional bus service from Narvik all the way out to Å. The red lines show all the different side roads that have limited bus connections (Nusfjord fishing village, Uttakleiv Beach) and orange/yellow lines show the roads where you won´t have a chance to go by bus (e.g. Fredvang or Eggum).
For checking the bus schedules, we recommend reisnordland – the official web page for public transport in the Nordland municipality. It is a handy page. However, there are specific challenges. For example, when you write in a particular location, say, Sund, you are offered every single town or place with the same name, and unless you know precisely in which municipality the site is, you have to guess. Therefore, it might sometimes be easier to use the page/app entur.no.
The Lofotenekspressen bus line (Bus 300) runs the length of the Lofoten Islands from Narvik to Å along route E10, passing the Evenes Airport, Svolvær and Leknes. The journey from Narvik to Svolvær takes four hours. There are usually two daily departures from each direction.
The Lofoten Express Bus (300) departs from Narvik at 09:55 and 15:50, passes Evenes Airport at 11:05 and 17:05, and arrives at Å i Lofoten at 17:15 and 23:10 (Monday – Sunday).
In the other direction, it departs from Å at 06:30 and 11.45, passes Evenes Airport at 12:40 and 18:10, and arrives at Narvik at 13:35 and 19:10 (Monday – Sunday).
If you want to spend a couple of days in Lofoten and use public transportation, then it can pay off to buy a multiday bus ticket, especially if you want to use the speed boat between Bodø – Svolvær. If you do not plan to use the speed boat, then we recommend you to do some math and check the buses that you need to take to see if it would not be cheaper to just buy separate bus tickets. If you decide to go for a multiday bus ticket, then you can choose from a popular Travel Pass Nordland or Stromma Charter Bus.
The travel pass Nordland (TPN) is a seven day bus ticket that works on any public bus route in the Nordland municipality. It also includes the Bodø – Svolvær passenger-only express ferry. It’s now priced at 1290 NOK for 7 days.
Stromma Charter Bus is a good alternative to the TRAVEL PASS NORDLAND. It might even be cheaper for a certain amount of days! Their multi-day pass also gives you discounts on certain activities.
* Stromma is not going to operate in Lofoten in the summer of 2023.
Unfortunately, there is no bus going to the trailhead to Kvalvika Beach and Ryten. The nearest bus stop is Fredvang Kryss on the crossroad to E10. From there it is a 4 – 5,5 km walk to the trailhead, depending on where you want to start the hike. The bus lines 300 (Lofoten Express) and 742 going between Å and Leknes both stop at Reinevågen.
Getting to the trailhead for Reinebringen by public bus is fairly easy, since it is located close to the main road E10. The nearest bus stop is called Reinevågen and it is about 1,5 km from the trailhead. The bus lines 300 (Lofoten Express) and 742 going between Å and Leknes both stop at Reinevågen.
Getting to Nusfjord by public bus is challenging, bordering impossible. A school bus (line 771) leaves from Nusfjord early in the morning and heads to the school in Napp. It goes back in the afternoon. So if you want to visit Nusfjord, you could go there in the afternoon on the school bus from Napp, but then you can only go back the following day. Or you have to hitchhike.
Traveling to Unstad by bus is practically impossible. It is served only by a school bus (line 764) which goes only from Monday to Friday at pretty inconvenient times.
Over the summer (June 21 – August 22) you can take a bus (line 765) from Leknes to Haukland and Uttakleiv Beaches. The bus departs from Leknes twice a day at 09:30 and 13:30 (Monday – Sunday). For the way back it departs from Uttakleiv at 10:05 and 14:05.
We recommend renting a car if you want to travel to Gimsøya island, for horseback riding in Hov gård, or to play golf at Lofoten Links. It is nearly impossible to reach these places by a public bus. There is a bus line 762A, but it goes only once a day and not all days a week.
Getting to Ballstad by a public bus (line 766) can be pretty easy if you travel on a weekday in the summer. There are nine daily bus departures from Leknes to Ballstad during the weekdays. There are four departures on Saturdays and only one on Sundays.
Getting to Stamsund by a public bus (line 767) is pretty easy if you travel on a weekday in the summer. There are five daily bus departures from Leknes to Ballstad during the weekdays. There are four departures on Saturdays and three on Sundays.
Bus line 743 goes between Svolvær, Kabelvåg, and Henningsvær quite regularly. There are several daily departures, not only during the weekdays but also on Saturdays and Sundays. In winter the number of bus departures is reduced.
Getting around Lofoten by bus can be a lot cheaper than renting a car. At least for solo travelers and couples. For multiday trips, we recommend getting the Travel Pass Nordland or the ticket from the charter bus company Stromma.
Driving on the narrow roads in the Lofoten Islands can be challenging, especially in winter. If you plan to visit Lofoten in winter and you do not have experience with driving on snow, go for the safer option and travel by bus.
Every year there are more and more cars on the roads in Lofoten. The amount of cars causes a number of problems in the high season (e.g. parking issues) and so the more people take the bus, the better it is for everybody! Also the environment!
It is going to take you some time to plan your days in Lofoten when you want to rely on public transport. Hopefully, this page will make the planning easier!
Renting a car allows you to be flexible. You can drive from Svolvær to Å in 2 hours in the summer. If you want to travel by bus, it’s going to take you at least 3 hours if you go by bus. And this is the most frequented route in Lofoten. You will spend much more time on other routes when traveling by bus than traveling by car.
The northern lights and the midnight sun are two main reasons why people travel to Lofoten. The best locations to observe these phenomena are places like Uttakleiv Beach or Skagsanden Beach. They are not easy to reach by bus during the daytime, and at night there is no chance to get there by public transport.
You can buy the Nordland Travel Pass at the Sentrumsterminal Office in Bodø, right at the quay were the boat leaves. But book your seat online prior to that!
Fill in (how many you are travelling) ‘Travel Pass Nordland’ adult (if you are adults travelling) and take out the normal ‘adult’ price at the top – put a zero there. Then you will get a 0,00 payment but it creates reservation at the express boat. It is very busy in the summer time, so please reserve on beforehand.
You can also buy the travel pass on your mobile via the app, but then it starts immediately, so that you should do at the day you leave.
The interactive map of Lofoten is a set of more than 200 points of interest in the Lofoten islands entered into the Google Maps app.
All POI are marked with icons and divided into layers according to categories: hiking trails, churches, and museums, recommended accommodation and campsites, practical information, activities, etc.
In addition, all places include a short description and links to official sources of information.