Ryten is one of the most popular hikes in the western part of the Lofoten islands. It is no wonder, by Lofoten standards, it is a relatively easy trip you can do all year round. The views from the top are stunning, especially the view towards the isolated Kvalvika beach, with its ice-cold turquoise waters roaring on the white sand between massive vertical cliffs rising straight from the ocean.
The cherry on top of the cake is the cliff close to the summit, which resembles a miniature Trolltunga and belongs to classical Lofoten Instagram shots. You have probably seen the picture of people hanging from a stone with nothing underneath them. Unsurprisingly, it is all about taking the photo from the right angle, and the stunt is safer than it looks. However, if the surface is wet or you do not like heights, you should skip it.
Moreover, you can kill two birds with one stone by prolonging the hike and descending to the stunning Kvalvika beach.
Hi guys, Radka and Ivar here!
For those who do not know us, we are the faces behind the Guide to Lofoten page.
We love the hike to Ryten since we were privileged to live in the village of Fredvang and have this spectacular nature outside our house.
We love the view of Innersand, and the mountains of Flakstad that you get in the first section of the hike, as well as the gentle ascend toward the top, which is so unlike the other Lofoten trails that usually take your breath away, not only because of the view but because of their steepness. Kvalvika is also a fantastic place, and even though you will probably not have the beach to yourself, it still feels unique and secluded, especially outside of the summer season.
Moreover, unlike the more famous Reinebringen, Ryten and Kvalvika are reasonably accessible even in winter months. (Contact us if you need to rent snowshoes/ice cleats or crampons or if you would want to have mountain guides).
But why do we feel like writing an article about hiking Ryten and Kvalvika when there is already so much information online? Many of the articles you find on the first page of google contain outdated information due to the ever-changing and evolving parking situation in Fredvang. Every year, residents of Fredvang and Krystad face difficulties dealing with illegally parked cars. To address this issue, they continuously put up additional signs prohibiting parking, trespassing, and highlighting private property.
Hence, we recommend reading this article to acquaint yourself with the updated parking regulations. By doing so, you can avoid a 900 NOK fine imposed by the recently appointed parking attendant.
Trust us, your money is better spent on paying the parking fee (100 NOK), and then you can still enjoy four delicious sandwiches at the BY THE WAY LOFOTEN food truck parked at the entrance to Fredvang.
Thank you for reading the article, and if you find the information useful, we would greatly appreciate it if you could share it so that we can all maintain a positive relationship between the locals and tourists.
Several routes take you to the top of Ryten mountain. The most common and convenient summer approach is from Innersand/Indresand, where a local farmer set up a big parking place on his property (100 NOK parking fee).
Distance: 7 km (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 520 meters
Duration: 3 h(out and back)
Starting point: Paid parking in Innersand/Indresand
In winter, Ryten is one of western Lofoten’s most popular mountain peaks for (snowshoe) hiking and ski touring. However, the ascent from the parking lot in Innersand/Indresand is steep and can be icy and dangerous. Therefore, in winter, it is easier to start hiking/skiing from Fredvang’s “centrum.”
You can also prolong the hike to Ryten by descending to the Kvalvika beach and turning the trip into a loop. In that case, it is still the best option to park at Innersand/Indresand.
There is a small parking place at the trailhead to Kvalvika in Torsfjorden that has about eight parking spaces. However, it gets quickly filled and people choose to park illegally along the narrow road, creating traffic jams and giving headaches to people who live in Krystad village.
Distance: 12,5 km (loop)
Elevation Gain: 930 m ascend in total
Duration: 5-7 h (loop)
Starting point: Paid parking in Innersand/Indresand
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Please note that the parking situation in Fredvang has been undergoing constant changes and improvements. Older articles may direct you to park in Torsfjorden, which is the closest parking to the Kvalvika beach. However, that location is inadequate to accommodate the high number of visitors to Kvalvika Beach.
The municipality is even considering canceling parking there entirely. In the past, it was somewhat accepted (meaning locals hated it, but there was nobody to give people a fine) for cars to park illegally along the narrow roads and in areas designated for local bus turnarounds.
However, the municipality has recently hired a parking guard, and failure to comply with the parking restrictions puts you in a risk of getting a fine of 900 NOK.
To provide you with a comprehensive understanding of parking options in Fredvang, we have created an interactive map showcasing different parking spots.
Each parking location is represented by an icon color-coded similar to traffic lights. The green color indicates legally permissible parking, although a fee is required. The orange color signifies areas where parking is currently allowed, but please note that these spots tend to be small and often reach maximum capacity during the busy summer season. Finally, the red icon indicates strictly prohibited parking in that specific location.
The best parking for Ryten is undoubtedly Parking for Ryten/Kvalvika in Indresand. There are other alternatives, but this is the best for “sustainable parking.” The parking lot belongs to a local farmer, Leif, who built a new parking lot on his property when the municipality couldn’t find a solution for the insufficient parking possibilities for Ryten and Kvalvika.
Leif has a place for about 100 cars on his property, and you will need to pay a parking fee of 100 NOK (2023), which you can pay in cash, by card, or by VIPPS (a Norwegian mobile payment application.)
The parking has a staffed reception from approx. June 20 to August 20. There is also a public restroom. Note that there won’t be any other option to use a bathroom during the hike.
Check Ivar´s video interviewing Leif about why he decided to turn his fam in Innersand into a parking place for Ryten and Kvalvika and why this place is your best starting point for hiking Ryten. Leif also gives some tips about when is the best time to avoid the crowds 🙂
The best parking for hiking Ryten and Kvalvika would be the same as the abovementioned one.
You could also park in Torsfjorden. However, this parking is tiny (approximately ten cars), and people tend to park illegally along the road on both sides, creating traffic problems. If you plan to hike Kvalvika/Ryten in July, you can be 99% sure there will be no legally available parking spots.
Sadly, the best parking for hiking to Kvalvika is the free parking in Torsfjorden.
Yes, the one that we advised you against using in the previous paragraph. The road to Torsfjord is not wide enough for two cars to pass each other at an average speed. Road shoulders are scarce and are primarily meant for vehicles to be able to pass each other.
To put it shortly, it has been parking chaos there summer after summer.
Now imagine the locals living in Krystad who have to take this road daily to work/school/shop. Moreover, the ambulance and fire truck has been unable to pass the road because of the illegally parked cars.
So, if the parking at Torsfjorden is full, and you can bet that it will be full in the summer season, we recommend the paid communal parking directly after the Fredvang bridges at the old school.
From there, it is a 3-kilometer walk (one way) on the gravel road to the Kvalvika beach trailhead.
Sorry, guys, but there is no better option if the parking in Torsfjorden is full. Well, you can still hike to Kvalvika through a slightly more challenging mountain pass above Indresand and use the same parking space as for Ryten.
Traveling in Lofoten by public bus is a challenge. There is no bus connection to Fredvang except for the school bus. The nearest bus station is “Fredvang kryss.” That is the crossroad between main road E10 and the road that takes you over the famous bridges to Fredvang.
Even though the hike to Ryten is relatively easy by Lofoten standards, you should not underestimate it. The weather changes quickly, and even though it is sunny down by the parking lot, there could be a strong wind on the top, or fog might come from the ocean. Pack for a day hike in the mountains.
Leave your drone in the car/at your accommodation. Ryten and Kvalvika are located within the Lofotodden National Park. Flying drones are prohibited, and the footage found on social media is reported to police. By flying your drone in the national park, you risk a 12,000 NOK fine.
Bring solid boots, and do not be afraid to get dirty! Many people go hiking without proper footwear, and to avoid getting wet feet, they walk on the side of the path and damage the vegetation. As a result, the soil gets eroded and washed away, which creates deep wounds on the mountain. So, please stick to the muddy path!
Leave no trace! In 2022 the Norwegian Institute for Nature and Research found E.coli bacteria in streams where tourists fill their drinking bottles. The cause was human/animal feces. However, there is no toilet on the Kvalvika beach, even though there might be up to 100 campers on sunny summer days.
So what should you do when nature calls?
From the car park in Innersand, there is a clear signposted path. The first part of the trail is quite steep and can be challenging for those not used to hiking.
However, as you ascend, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the agricultural landscape of Innersand and Yttresand and the jaggy mountains of Flakstadøya Island.
After circa 100 altitude meters, the trail flattens, and you will pass two small lakes that mirror the surrounding mountains. It is an excellent place for a break before you continue west toward Ryten.
One rocky section requires easy scrambling between the Einangsvatnet lake and the Fredvangshytta mountain hut. There is a mounted chain that will aid you with the climb. Otherwise, the trail is manageable and easy to follow.
Shortly after the lakes, the trail splits, and you can choose between heading straight to Ryten or taking a little detour via Fredvangshytta (Fredvang cabin).
Both paths are nice; however, going to Fredvangshytta is a small detour, and since it can be rented via Airbnb, it is nice to give the people staying there some privacy and not to walk through the porch.
After passing the Fredvang cabin, you will come to another lake, Forsvatnet, where you must decide whether to continue up to Ryten or turn left and descend to Kvalvika beach.
Let’s go up to Ryten, you say?
Then get ready for the last steady climb. Here the trail often gets boggy, and while people tend to avoid the mud, they create new tracks, which causes the erosion of the mountainside. Please keep this in mind and stick to some of the paths!
You can walk more on the left side near the cliffs for more spectacular views of Kvalvika beach and the ocean, or stay more towards the right, where the path is not so exposed.
Right below the summit is the viewpoint with the famous “mini Trolltunga” cliff, where you can get a picture of Kvalvika beach far below you.
The official summit of Ryten is just a five-minute walk up the hill from there, and even though you can not see the Kvalvika from the top itself, it still provides great views and is worth the extra 5 minutes.
To get back to the parking, return the same way.
If you want to extend your hike and visit the remote Kvalvika beach, follow the instructions for Ryten above. However, on the way down from Ryten, turn right at the Forsvatnet lake and follow the wooden boardwalks. An excellent photo opportunity is standing at the end of the wooden bridge and taking in the view.
After the boardwalk ends, the trail continues as a rocky path that can be muddy, slippery, and tiring. It is a rather steep descend, and it can be helpful to have hiking poles to help you keep balance.
In winter, we recommend you wear hiking crampons/ice cleats. Please get in touch with us about rental possibilities if you do not have your own.
When you reach the beach, you can explore the beach and perhaps visit the hidden cabin from the movie North of the Sun. Or you can treat yourself to a nice refreshing swim. Not many can claim they’ve swum above the Arctic Circle!
The shortest way back from Kvalvika to the road is over the col behind the beach (or on your left side when descending to Kvalvika from Ryten). The path is not clearly visible when standing on the beach; however, walking toward the col, you will easily find it.
The ascend is shorter and easier than the descend from Ryten. After you reach the top of the pass, the path slowly goes toward the parking place in Torsfjorden.
From there, it is an easy walk on the asphalt road back to Fredvang and the parking at Innersand/Indresand.
From the paid communal parking at the old school in Fredvang, walk through Fredvang “centrum” and follow the signs toward the Kvalvika trailhead. It is a 3,5 km walk along the asphalt road to the parking place in Torsfjorden.
I want to emphasize again that this parking place has space for about ten cars. In the summer, there are easily more than 100 cars daily that want to find parking for Ryten/Kvalvika.
From the Torsfjorden parking place, follow the marked path up the hill.
There are some wooden planks bridges over the boggiest sections at the beginning of the trail. Please stick to them and do not create new tracks. It damages vegetation and causes erosion.
In winter, use hiking crampons/ice cleats. The planks are slippery when wet!
Please contact us about rental possibilities if you do not have your crampons.
Rather than looking at the weather forecast for Fredvang, check the weather forecast for Ryten on yr.no. Ryten is 541 meters above sea level, and the weather up there significantly differs from the sea level.
Sometimes the clouds sit as low as 300 meters above sea level, and then there is no point in hiking up to Ryten as you will be in the clouds. You can see the prediction for the cloud base height on windy.com.
Also, the ocean fog can sometimes lay heavy over the mountaintop. In these conditions, we do not recommend going to Ryten, as you will not see anything. However, it is possible that the fog will lay low and the summit will peak over a sea fog, which is a magical experience.
The neighboring peaks, Volandstinden or Røren, can be a good alternative when Ryten is engulfed in clouds. Or you can go for a coastal walk between Nesland and Nusfjord.
Unlike Reinebringen, Ryten and Kvalvika can be safely done in winter (under the right conditions and with the right equipment). Together with Stornappstinden, Ryten is a local favorite among skiers. If you are not an avid skier, hiking up the mountain peak is still possible.
Depending on the current weather conditions, you might need snowshoes in the upper section of the mountain. There might also be a few icy sections on the first climb, so microspikes/hiking crampons are also handy. If you do not have the proper equipment, contact us for the rental possibilities.
In winter, the first climb from Leif’s parking in Innersand can be challenging. There is one steep exposed section that can be tough under icy conditions.
Therefore, for skiers it is easier to walk up to Einangsvatnet lake from Torsfjorden (road Fv 7708). A small parking place right at the trailhead (the trail is not marked) fits two cars. The closest parking option is at Kvalvika trailhead in Torsfjorden or at Fredvang old school if it is full. However, during the off-season, it is usually possible to get a spot at Torsfjorden.
One thing that we love about Norway is the right to roam. So even though Ryten and Kvalvika are located in the Lofotodden National Park, it is allowed to wild camp there.
In fact, Kvalvika has become one of the most popular wild camping spots in the whole of Lofoten, which has brought up specific challenges.
The best place to pitch a tent is the grassy meadow near the sandy part of the beach. A stream is nearby, but we would not recommend drinking from it without boiling the water first.
As we mentioned earlier, wild camping at Kvalvika beach is quite popular, and on a sunny summer day, there can be as many as 100 people who stay overnight to see the midnight sun. Since there is no toilet on the beach, people do their business wherever they find it private and convenient enough and do not bother much about staying away from the streams.
The researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Nature and Research conducted a survey on Kvalvika beach in the summer of 2021. They mapped the areas where feces were found and took water samples from the streams where people fill their water bottles to test them for E.coli and other bacteria. The water samples revealed relatively high values of E.coli bacteria in two out of three of the streams.
Before your trip, stop by the Lofotodden national park visitor center in Reine and buy some WAG bags.
(A WAG bag is a plastic bag used to carry human feces out of a wilderness area. WAG is an acronym that stands for Waste Aggregation and Gelling.)
If you do not have the WAG bag when nature calls, leave the trail, campsite, or water stream and dig a hole for your waste. Put the used toilet paper or wet wipes into a plastic zip-lock bag and bring it back to civilization, where you can dispose of it.
Regarding Ryten, it is possible to camp on the summit, where you will find some flat areas to pitch a tent. The nearest drinking water is at Forsvatnet lake, which is a nice place for camping.
In general, the same rules as for wild camping apply for overnight parking. You are not allowed to stay overnight in your car in a place closer than 150 meters from the nearest inhabited building.
In Lofoten, the road often goes between the ocean and a steep mountainside, leaving not too many opportunities for road shoulders and parking areas. Also, some parking places belong to private houses and cabins, and you will find notice boards saying that camping and overnight parking there is prohibited.
You will still find some beautiful wild camping spots with epic views. We put them into our camping map of Lofoten, where we also wrote a short description of each of those places, including if the place is sheltered from the wind and if it is possible to pitch a tent there.
If you travel in the high season (end of June to the beginning of August), we recommend you start looking for a camping spot fairly early. Around 5-6 pm, most of the good ones are already taken.
But let’s talk about the overnight parking options close to Fredvang!
Honestly, there are not too many.
One of the popular options to overnight is at the parking place at the Fredvang krysset, where the bus stop is. However, it can get quite noisy because it is next to the main road.
In between Fredvang bridges is a private camping/parking place where you can stay overnight for a fee. It has no facilities, but a nice view and good fishing possibilities exist.
Right after you cross the Fredvang bridges, there is a small rest area on the left side of the road. It has some picnic tables and a small toilet. Camping there is prohibited, so please do not stay there overnight. But stop by at the BY THE WAY LOFOTEN foodtruck! Their sandwiches are epic!
If you cross the bridges and turn right on the first crossroad, you will come to the old school in Fredvang, used as the municipality parking place. There is a small parking fee, and campervans can stay there overnight. There are no facilities.
You are allowed to stay overnight at the parking place for Ryten/Kvalvika in Innersand. It is the best option due to its location and access to facilities.
People often park and camp at the small parking place at the end of the road in Ytresand. The place is a “snuplass,” which means that it is meant for the local school bus to be able to turn around there. Therefore, parking and overnight stay there are prohibited.
There is a space for maybe four cars behind the “snuplass,” where parking is technically legal (or nor anymore since the municipality discussed prohibiting parking there entirely), but please do not stay there overnight. It is a parking place for several trailheads in the area, and it is not nice to block it for the whole night and morning for the other people who want to use it.
The same goes for the small parking place at the trailhead for Kvalvika in Torsfjorden. It has a place for about eight to twelve cars (depending on their size) and even though overnight stay there is not strictly illegal, it is not meant for overnight camping.
There is a campsite in Fredvang with a spectacular view. The next nearest campsite would be the Lofoten Beach Camp at Skagsanden beach, which has new facilities and a fantastic location for watching the northern lights/midnight sun.
In 2020, the municipalities in Lofoten decided to limit wild camping at certain popular spots in Lofoten. Therefore, it is newly prohibited to camp on top of Reinebringen or at Haukland beach. Please, familiarize yourself with this Lofoten map that shows you the areas where it is not allowed to camp (orange and red spots).
There is not a wide selection of accommodations in Fredvang either. A few local people rent their houses on Airbnb. Otherwise, the only accommodation option is Lydersen rorbuer.
Lydersen rorbuer offers hostel-style accommodation with female and male dorm rooms, private rooms with shared kitchens and bathrooms, and four private apartments for 2-7 people.
The accommodation has a convenient location and an unbeatable view. However, the standard does not reflect the price, and the place deserves a renovation. (And we say it in the most loving way since we managed the accommodation in 2021 and 2023 and we believe that the place has a great potential). So, if you have a car, you will get more for your money elsewhere. If you travel by public transport, Lydersen is your best (and only) option.
You can also book a night at Fredvanghytta on Airbnb. The cabin belongs to Fredvang Bygdelag, which is a local organization that reinvests the money from renting the cabin into improving the living conditions in Fredvang. So we would highly recommend you to spend a night there.
All the other accommodation possibilities, like Reine or Nusfjord, involve at least 30 minutes of driving.
We hope this article has given you a better idea of what to expect when planning a hike to Ryten and/or Kvalvika beach. Here is a short summary of the article.
✅ The best parking for Ryten and Ryten+Kvalvika Beach is at the paid parking place in Innersand. It is right at the trailhead, and you can access facilities like toilets, showers, electricity, etc.
✅ The hike to Ryten and back is 7 km long and takes about 3 hours.
✅ The hike to Ryten and Kvalvika (loop) is 12,5km long and takes 5-7 hours.
✅ You can also hike Kvalvika only. In that case, it is most convenient to park at Torsfjorden. The parking there accommodates only about ten cars. Do not park along the road!!!
✅ In winter, it might be safer to hike to Ryten from Torsfjorden. If you need to rent snowshoes/crampons, contact us!
❌ It is illegal to fly a drone at Kvalvika Beach and Ryten.
❌ Camping at Kvalvika Beach or Ryten is possible. Do not drink the water from the streams without boiling it.
💩 If you plan a camping trip to Kvalvika Beach, get a WAG bag from the Lofotodden information center in Reine, or bring at least a shovel and a zip lock bag.
🎥 Check out the Norwegian movie North of the Sun to get in the mood for visiting Kvalvika!
Are you overwhelmed by planning a trip to Lofoten/Norway? Then, schedule an online travel consultation with us! We are happy to help you plan the perfect vacation!