GETTING TO LOFOTEN ISLANDS

There are many ways how to get to the Lofoten Islands. Whether you travel by plane, car, bus, or boat, in this article, you will find everything you need to choose the perfect route and mode of transport for getting to Lofoten Islands. 

GETTING TO Lofoten Islands

By plane

Flying is the fastest and easiest way to travel to Lofoten. Two smaller airports that serve domestic flights operated by Widerøe airlines are located directly on the Lofoten Islands, in Svolvær and Leknes.

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By car

Many people, especially those living in Europe, chose to travel to Lofoten in their own car. Traveling from western and central Europe, there are numerous combinations of routes and ferries that you can choose from.

By train

There is no train connection to Lofoten. You can, however, travel by train as close as Bodø from the Norwegian cities in the south. Trains also run to Narvik from Stockholm via Kiruna if you’re traveling from Sweden.

By boat

Hurtigruten arrives at Lofoten at Stamsund on its way north after crossing from Bodø. It then proceeds to Svolvær. On the southbound voyage, the route follows the same path but in reverse order.

Getting To Lofoten ISLANDS By Plane

Flying is the fastest and easiest way to travel to Lofoten. Two smaller airports that serve domestic flights  are located directly on the Lofoten Islands, in Svolvær and LeknesWiderøe airlines have daily departures to Lofoten from Bodø, which can be reached by direct flight from Oslo or Bergen with Norwegian, Flyr, or SAS airlines

If you want to fly directly to the Lofoten islands, your route will probably be HOME – OSLO – BODØ – SVOLVÆR/LEKNES. However, the flight tickets are fairly expensive. Expect to pay about 2000 – 3000 NOK (220 – 340$) one way on your flight from Oslo to Svolvær (2022). 

FLIGHTS TO Lofoten ISLANDS

Svolvær Aiport (SVJ) is located in the eastern part of Lofoten and is only 10 minutes by car to the center of Svolvær, the administrative center of Lofoten. Svolvær airport is the closest airport if your destination is Henningsvær, Gimsøya (Lofoten Golf, Hov Gård), or Kabelvåg.

Leknes Airport (LKN) is located in the western part of Lofoten, close to Leknes city centre. Leknes airport is the closest airport when your destination is Ballstad, Borg, Eggum, Gravdal, Mortsund, Nusfjord, Ramberg, Reine, Stamsund and Å.

FLIGHTS TO THE AIRPORTS LOCATED CLOSE TO LOFOTEN

Bodø Airport (BOO) is close to Bodø city center with a few minutes of travel time by bus or car. It is also possible to walk. Direct flights to Bodø from Oslo and Bergen are much cheaper than those to Leknes and Svolvær

Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes (EVE) serves the two cities Harstad and Narvik and has direct services from Oslo. Although it is not located on the Lofoten Islands, the travel distance to Svolvær is 165 km (2,5 hours) and to Leknes 235 km (3,5 hours) by rental car.

FAQ ABOUT Getting to lofoten ISLANDS by air

The Lofoten islands have two smaller domestic airports: Svolvær and Leknes that are served by Widerøe airlines. However, flying there can be expensive, therefore some people land on one of the two larger airports located on the mainland; Bodø airport or Evenes airport.

Svolvær airport is located approximately 5 km outside of Svolvær city. The airport does not have any bus connections so you either have to rent a car at the airport, take a taxi, hitchhike or walk.

Leknes airport is located approximately 1.5 km outside of Leknes city. The airport does not have any bus connections so you either have to rent a car at the airport, take a taxi, hitchhike or walk.

Evenes airport is located about 1.5 hours drive east of Lofoten. You can either rent a car at the airport or take the bus. There are two bus connections. Either the regional bus route 300, or the Airport express bus. Route 300 is included in the Travel Pass Nordland from the airport and to Lofoten. The bus is going to both Svolvær and Leknes and from Leknes you can change bus to take you all the way to Å. 300 departs only twice a day from Evenes, at 11 am and 5 pm. 

You need to take a 3-hour-long ferry ride to Moskenes in western Lofoten (car ferry, operated all year round) or a speedboat to Svolvær (passenger only, operated all year round). The speedboat is covered by the Travel Pass Nordland.

You should schedule at least two hours between landing and take off when you arrive at Bodø airport. 

Getting To Lofoten ISLANDS By Car

Many people, especially those living in Europe, chose to travel to Lofoten in their own car. Traveling from western and central Europe, there are numerous combinations of routes and ferries that you can choose from, depending on your point of origin.

 

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If you travel from the central and eastern parts of Europe, we recommend the overnight ferry between Gdaňsk and Nynashamn and driving north along the east coast of Sweden, and entering Lofoten via the E10 road from the east.

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If you travel from western Europe, choosing a different ferry route makes more sense, however, driving north along the east coast of Sweden is still the most time, and money-efficient option. The roads in Sweden are better, the speed limit is higher, and there are no toll stations along the way.

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If time is not an issue, driving north via Norway is more scenic. However, we recommend you travel via Norway on your way south; otherwise, you might never make it to Lofoten since there are many beautiful places to see along the way.

FROM WHICH DIRECTION ARE YOU PLANNING TO ENTER LOFOTEN?

Beware that it takes at least 20 hours to drive to Lofoten from Oslo!
You save time and money if you fly to Bodø/Narvik/Lofoten and rent a car there.

Entering Lofoten From The East

The E10 is a European route stretching from Luleå in Sweden to Å in Lofoten. The Norwegian part of the E10 is also named King Olav V’s road, after the king officially opened the stretch between Svolvær – Å in 1963.

Continuously, new bridges and tunnels replaced ferry connections. As a result, Lofoten connection to the mainland, known as Lofotens fastlandsforbindelse (LOFAST), was officially opened in 2007. Thanks to the Lofast, there is no need to use ferries to travel the length of Lofoten anymore.

Part of the E10 road between Raftsundet and Å has been listed as one of the 18 National Scenic Routes. 

GETTING TO LOFOTEN ISLANDS BY CAR FROM THE MAINLAND WITHOUT FERRY

There are no ferries if you arrive to Lofoten via E10 from the east.

Entering Lofoten From The South

When arriving to Lofoten from the south there are four ferry routes that you can choose from – big car ferry between Bodø  and Moskenes, smaller car ferries Skutvik – Svolvær and Bognes – Lødingen and passenger only speed boat between Bodø and Svolvær. 

The ferry routes differ in price, size of the boat, sailing time and frequency of departures. For better idea which ferry works the best for you, see the summary below. 

 

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Bodø - Moskenes

This popular 3 hours long ferry route is operated all year. However, it is pretty expensive if you travel by car. In addition, the crossing can get quite rough during stormy weather, or the ferry might be canceled.

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Bodø - Svolvær

In addition to the Bodø-Moskenes ferry, a year-round passenger-only express ferry takes you from Bodø to Svolvær. Beware that the speed boat departs from Bodø only once a day at 6 pm (7 pm on Sundays).

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Skutvik-Svolvær

The car ferry from Skutvik to Svolvær operates in summer only (June 1 – August 31), with semi-frequent daily departures. From July 1, 2022 this ferry is going to transport cars and passengers free of charge.

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Bognes-Lødingen

The quickest car ferry route from the mainland. The advantage of this car ferry is that it departs roughly every hour, and it is the cheapest ferry route. 

During the high season, it is recommended to book the Bodø - Moskenes ferry in advance. There is, however, an extra fee for pre-booking.

Entering Lofoten from the north

Many travelers fly to Tromsø and then rent a car or a campervan and drive to the Lofoten Islands via the mainland or Senja island and Vesterålen archipelago.

If you travel via the mainland there are no ferries along the way. If you travel via Senja island and Vesterålen archipelago then you will need to use ferry between Kvaløya and Senja islands (Brensholmen – Botnhman) and another ferry between Senja and Vesterålen (Gryllefjord – Andenes.)

GETTING TO LOFOTEN ISLANDS BY CAR FROM THE NORTH VIA SENJA AND VESTERÅLEN
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BRENSHOLMEN - BOTNHAMN

The ferry between Kvaløya island (Brensholmen) and Senja island (Botnhamn) used to operate only in the summer. Since 2021 the sails all year round. 

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GRYLLEFJORD - ANDENES

The road trip via Senja and Vesterålen is beautiful. However,  the ferry between Senja and Vesterålen operates only from May 18 to September 5. The ferry departs three times a day.

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MELBU - FISKEBØL

From Vesterålen, you can either drive to Lofoten via roads 82 & 85 before connecting to E10 or take a ferry between Melbu and Fiskebøl. The ferry works all year round and departs every 90 minutes.

FAQ ABOUT Getting to lofoten ISLANDS by CAR

If you come from the north or the east, you can travel from the mainland onto E10 and enter Lofoten without using any ferry. However, if you arrive from the south you will need to choose one out of three ferry connections to get you and your car over to Lofoten.

From Oslo you could follow the E6 northbound towards Trondheim. This is actually the more scenic route since you pass Dovre National Park. A slightly faster route is to follow the E3 past Elverum going north towards Trondheim. From Trondheim you can continue to Bodø by following E6 most of the way, or you can do the scenic route along Helgelandskysten. Its approximately 1200 km and 16 hours of driving from Oslo to Bodø along the fastest route. From Bodø you can take the car ferry over to Lofoten.

You can book the Bodø – Moskenes ferry in advance. In the high season we recommend to book the ferry since the ferry can be full and it depart only four times a day. You can book your ferry here! 
Note that there is no need to book the ferry as a pedestrian. This is just an unnessesary expense since the ferry is free for pedestrians and you will always find a seat, even without paying the 200 NOK for reservation.

Lofoten in the summer is for many Norwegians synonomus with long ferry ques. Luckily most people only take a ferry when they enter and exit Lofoten. And its usually not so bad. Some of the worst lines can happen when there is a forecasted storm in the middle of July. Then everybody wants to leave Lofoten at the same time and all the ferry departures struggle to deal with the sudden rush of cars. In general it’s a good idea to show up early for your ferry, especially in July.

Getting to Lofoten ISLANDS by train

There is no train connection to Lofoten. You can, however, travel by train to Bodø. If you travel from Sweden, trains go to Narvik via Kiruna. From Narvik, you can catch a bus to the Lofoten Islands.

Traveling by train is environmentally friendly, comfortable, and scenic. However, it is an 18-hour long journey if you travel from Oslo. 

Compared to the price of flight tickets from Oslo to Bodø, the train ride is equally or even more expensive, so if Lofoten is your primary destination, we would recommend you to take a plane instead.

GETTING TO LOFOTEN ISLANDS BY TRAIN
Source: RAILWAYHERO

FAQ ABOUT Getting to lofoten ISLANDS by TRAIN

First of all, there is no train going all the way to Lofoten. The train stops just south of Lofoten, in Bodø, and from there most people take a ferry or catch a plane to get over to the Lofoten islands. You can order your train tickets here. The first stretch is from Oslo to Trondheim, where you have to change train before continuing towards Bodø. The total time spent on the rails from Oslo to Bodø is around 20 h. You can order sleeping compartments on some departures, but they are very expensive, so we recommend you bring a pillow or two as well as lots of food, drinks and offline entertainment, to make your journey easier. The trains have WIFI on board, but this is often unstable and slow. It’s also worth mentioning that it can often be more expensive to travel by train than plane, so if you have a limited amount of time in Norway, we recommend flying to Bodø or Evenes.

From Bodø train station there is a 800 meter walk to the Bodø ferry station. From here you can catch the large car ferry towards Moskenes.  or the passenger-only express ferry towards Svolvær.  The express ferry only departs once a day, at 18.00. The Svolvær express ferry is covered by the Travel Pass Nordland. It’s recommended to book your seat on the express ferry in the high season. Even with the Travel Pass Nordland you are recommended to reserve a seat. You dont pay anything extra when you have the Travel Pass. 

From Stockholm you can catch a train going to the Norwegian city of Narvik, located a couple of hours east of Lofoten. Some departures require no transfer and it takes approx 19 – 20 h. From Narvik you can either rent a car or take bus route #300 all the way to Svolvær or Leknes. The bus journey is covered by Travel Pass Nordland. Book your train ticket here. Check your bus schedule here.

From Narvik train station you walk 4 minutes to Bromsgård bus station. From here you catch buss number 300 towards Svolvær and Lofoten. Find schedules here.

Getting to Lofoten ISLANDS by Hurtigruten ship

Hurtigruten, also known as the Norwegian Coastal Express, is a Norwegian cruise, ferry, and cargo operator. Hurtigruten was established in 1893 by a government contract to improve communications along Norway’s long, jagged coastline.

Vesteraalen was the first ship from the Hurtigruten fleet that sailed between Trondheim and Hammerfest on July 2, 1893, completing this journey in 67 hours. At that time, this was the fastest route between northern and southern Norway, resulting in the route being named Hurtigruten (express route).

HOW TO GET TO THE LOFOTEN ISLANDS BY HURTIGRUTEN SHIP
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The entire Hurtigruten cruise runs along the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, stopping at 32 ports on its way, and completing the round-trip journey in 11 days.

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Hurtigruten arrives at Lofoten at Stamsund on its way north after crossing from Bodø. It then proceeds to Svolvær. The route follows the same path but in reverse order on the southbound voyage.

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Traveling with Hurtigruten is a very comfortable mode of transportation. All the ships except MS Lofoten and MS Spitsbergen carry cars. However, none take caravans and camper vans.

Getting to Lofoten ISLANDS ON FOOT/BY BOAT

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Bodø - Moskenes

This popular 3 hours long ferry route is operated all year. As of now, the ferry is free for passengers traveling without a vehicle. In addition, the crossing can get quite rough during stormy weather, or the ferry might be canceled.

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Bodø - Svolvær

In addition to the Bodø-Moskenes ferry, a year-round passenger-only express ferry takes you from Bodø to Svolvær. Beware that the speed boat departs from Bodø only once a day at 6 pm (7 pm on Sundays).

FAQ ABOUT Getting to lofoten ISLANDS by HURTIGRUTEN

From Bergen to Stamsund, which is the first harbour in Lofoten, it takes approximately 3 days of sailing. Then you will have seen the whole coastline of western Norway, Helgelandskysten as well as parts of Lofoten.

From Tromsø to Svolvær, which is the first harbour in Lofoten, it takes approximately 16,5 h of sailing. This lets you see parts of Senja, Vesterålen as well as Lofoten.

NORTHBOUND
Stamsund: 25 minutes
Svolvær: 55 minutes

SOUTHBOUND
Stamsund: 15 minutes
Svolvær: 2 hours

Traveling from Bergen to Stamsund can be as expensive as 14.000 NOK per person in July. But in the shoulder seasons you can get fairly cheap tickets on the shorter stretches. You can find tickets from Tromsø – Svolvær as cheap as 500 NOK per person. That´s competing with a normal bus ticket. It all depends on when you want to travel, how far, if you want a cabin or not, and if you bring a car. Book your ticket here.

Yes, you can bring your car on Hurtigruten for as long stretch as you would like. Caravans and RVs are not allowed though.

GETTING TO LOFOTEN from other destinations

Oslo to lofoten

Bergen to Lofoten

tromsø to lofoten

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