Map of Western Norway - Best Of | Guide to Lofoten

Driving in Lofoten

10 Things Tourists Do Wrong
(And How to Avoid Being "That" Tourist)

Driving in Lofoten can be a memorable adventure. However, it’s no secret that some tourists tend to make hilarious blunders behind the wheel. To ensure you don’t become the star of a local comedy show, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things tourists often do wrong while driving in our beautiful Lofoten Islands. 

So, buckle up and get ready for some laughter and valuable insights!

WHY DO WE WRITE AN ARTICLE ABOUT DRIVING IN LOFOTEN?

Hi guys, Radka and Ivar here! 

For those who do not know us, we are the faces behind the Guide to Lofoten page. Having moved to Lofoten three summers ago, we find ourselves in a unique position. 

While the born and raised locals often perceive us as tourists, the visitors see us as locals. This prompted us to dedicate our webpage to fostering understanding and harmony between these two groups.

As we are now entering the busiest summer season, the picturesque roads of Lofoten get filled with campervans and rental cars, often driven by drivers with limited experience behind the wheel. This leads to a mix of comical and dangerous traffic situations. 

While tourists come here to admire the breathtaking landscapes, the locals traverse these roads daily for work or errands. It becomes frustrating to be stuck behind a camper leisurely driving at 30 km/h, captivated by the scenery, or worse, halting abruptly in the middle of the road for a photo opportunity. 

In light of this, we have decided to write an article outlining the most common driving and parking mistakes made by tourists in the Lofoten Islands. 

Our aim is to cultivate a more relaxed and enjoyable summer for everyone—be it tourists, locals, drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians—who shares the enchanting roads of Lofoten.

Are you planning to explore the Lofoten Islands by a car?

#1 Embracing the Narrow Roads like a Contortionist

Ah, the narrow roads of Lofoten! They wind and twist like a contortionist performing at a circus. But beware, dear tourists, for these roads demand caution. Avoid hugging the center line like it’s your long-lost lover.

Give way to oncoming traffic and maintain a safe distance from the treacherous edges. Remember, a relaxed grip on the steering wheel is preferable to white-knuckle panic!

#2 Parking at the Passing Places

Imagine cruising along the breathtaking Lofoten roads, only to encounter a tourist parked at a passing place, obliviously snapping pictures of the stunning surroundings. Please, dear traveler, do not be that person! 

A passing place is a gap on the side of the road big enough for a car to pull into to let another car pass, not a designated parking spot. 

Keep them clear for other vehicles and use proper parking areas instead. You don’t want to be known as the “Instagram influencer” causing traffic chaos, do you?

#3 Mid-Road Photo Ops​

We understand the desire to capture every picturesque moment in Lofoten, but stopping dead in the middle of the road for a photo? That’s a big no-no! It’s essential to find safe and designated pull-off areas or scenic viewpoints to satisfy your photography cravings. 

Trust us, the locals will appreciate your consideration, and you won’t end up as the star of their dashcam compilation videos.

Are you looking for activities in Lofoten, Tromsø, Oslo or Alta?

#4 Slow as snail or fast as lightning

Some tourists crawl along the roads at a snail’s pace, taking in every pixel of the scenery, while others zoom past like they’re chasing the last Moskenes-Bodø ferry. 

 

Find your middle ground, dear visitor. Embrace a steady pace that allows you to appreciate the majestic landscapes while respecting the traffic flow. 

 

Remember, it’s not a race to the finish line—it’s about the journey itself.

#5 Tunnel Trepidation

Lofoten boasts its fair share of tunnels, and some tourists approach them like they’re entering the lair of a fire-breathing dragon. Fear not, brave traveler! Tunnels in the Lofoten Islands are mostly well-lit, excellently maintained, and safe to navigate. 

Embrace your inner tunnel conqueror, switch on your headlights, and enjoy the cool, mysterious ambiance. Just don’t forget to breathe while you pass through!

#6 Blind Overtaking Madness

Picture this: You’re driving behind a slow-moving camper van, and impatience gets the best of you. Suddenly, a gap appears, and you decide to overtake without a clear line of sight. Congratulations, dear driver, you’ve just become a character in a Norwegian traffic fable!

Exercise patience and only overtake when it’s safe and legal. Your fellow drivers will thank you, and you’ll avoid awkward conversations with local law enforcement.

(The locals are more culpable for this particular behavior compared to the tourists, but it arises directly from some tourists driving too slowly. )

Are you at the planning stage of your trip to the Lofoten Islands?

#7 The Nighttime Parking Predicament:

Now, dear tourists, let’s address a pressing matter: parking overnight at places where camping is a big no-no. 

In Norway, the freedom to camp or park overnight is indeed allowed, but only if you abide by the rules. One important rule is to ensure you are at least 150 meters away from the nearest inhabited house or cabin. 

So, while taking advantage of that cozy private parking spot may be tempting, remember that locals treasure their private spaces and aren’t too thrilled with unexpected camping neighbours.

Respect the boundaries, avoid awkward encounters, and seek proper camping areas or designated overnight parking spots

Your peaceful sleep and good relations with the locals will thank you!

#8 Fee-ly Trailheads

Ah, the allure of popular hiking trails in Norway! They beckon adventurers from far and wide, promising majestic vistas and unforgettable experiences. 

 

But, dear travelers, let’s have a reality check. Spending hours driving in circles, desperately searching for that elusive free parking spot at the trailhead, is like chasing the end of the rainbow.

 

Trust us; it’s a time-consuming quest that often leads to frustration. Instead, embrace a novel concept: budget for parking fees!

 

Yes, it’s true. Setting aside a small amount for parking can save precious time and energy, ensuring a smooth start to your hiking escapades. Plus, think of it as contributing to the local economy.

#9 Beware of the Parking Guards

Parking guards are diligent souls that have been newly employed to enforce parking regulations in Lofoten and keep order on the roadsides. 

So, dear tourists, follow the signs, respect the parking restrictions, and save yourself the hassle of explaining to friends and family why that shiny souvenir from Norway turned out to be an unwelcome parking fine. 

Let’s face it, spending your hard-earned money on a mouthwatering plate of Norwegian delicacies sounds way more appealing than funding the local parking authority, doesn’t it?

#10 Neglecting the Norwegian Wave

Last but not least, embrace the art of the Norwegian wave—a friendly gesture exchanged between drivers to express gratitude. 

Whether someone lets you merge into traffic or gives way on a narrow road, extend a hand or a simple nod of appreciation. 

It’s a small act of kindness that builds positive connections and ensures a pleasant driving experience.

Are you planning to sleep in Lofoten in your car or a tent?

What dangerous/funny situations did you encounter while driving in Lofoten/Norway? Or do you have any questions whatsover about driving in Lofoten/Norway? Let us know in the comments!

Picture of Ivar & Radka

Ivar & Radka

Hi! We are Ivar & Radka, an international couple who runs the Guide to Lofoten. We met in Trondheim and lived together in western Norway, Narvik and Tromsø. At the moment we call western Lofoten our home. We hope our page will make it easier for you to explore the beautiful places that made us chose Norway for our home.

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