Top 4 Ways To Spend Your Holiday At the Lofoten Islands Guilt-free!
By Niels Thomas of Lofoten Northern Lights
The Lofoten Islands are a sight to behold with the distinct and varied topography, including hills, beaches, crystal clear waters, and more.
Consequently, it is a must-visit place for every “wanderluster” out there, especially those who love to be one with nature. So, do you want to explore the untouched lands of the Lofoten Islands without impacting the ecosystem?
Of course, causing no pollution at all is impossible, but we’ve curated a brief travel guide for you, wherein you’ll be using public transportation and indulging in sustainable activities. From riding the hydrogen ferry to gazing at the Northern Lights – you’re in for a treat!
So, without further ado, let’s get into the deets…
A Brief Guide To The Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands form a traditional district in Nordland, situated in the north of Norway. Notably, Lofoten is the world’s most populated northern region yet manages to boast untouched lands and lush nature!
Another interesting fact about this diverse archipelago is its subpolar oceanic climate, meaning that the area experiences mild winters, despite being a part of the Arctic Circle. And while anyone can enjoy their stay here, we highly recommend Lofoten for all the adventure seekers and photography enthusiasts.
How To Reach The Lofoten Islands?
Despite the rural location, getting to the Lofoten Islands is fairly easy. Depending on your current location, you can travel to the island group by bus/car, boat, train, or plane. However, we highly recommend opting for public transportation if you want to enjoy a truly sustainable and eco-friendly trip.
Additionally, with Torghatten Nord (a Norwegian ferry company) joining hands with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, you can travel from Bodø to Lofoten by hydrogen ferries from 2025.
This new initiative is definitely a welcome change in the travel and tourism sector, considering the significantly lower emissions the newly built vessels will produce. In fact, Norway’s first full-scale hydrogen ferry is said to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions equivalent to that produced by 13,000 diesel-fueled cars. Now, that’s massive!
The new contract will also allow more vehicle capacity, meaning more convenience for a larger group of inhabitants in Norway. And as tourism makes a significant contribution to the local economy, with hydrogen ferries in the picture, the sector can continue to thrive without harming the environment.
4 Sustainable And Eco-Friendly Travel And Activities On The Lofoten Islands (Norway)
1. Hunt For The Northern Lights
It is no secret that catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights in Lofoten is on every traveler’s bucket list. And if it isn’t yet, let us change your mind! While many tourists head to Norway in search of the Aurora Borealis, not many know that Lofoten is the best place to do so.
That’s because it’s situated in the center of the Northern Lights Oval, offering the brightest and the most stunning view of nature’s best-kept wonder! Further, the strategic location allows you to gaze at the lights from all directions and enjoy the view for a longer span from late August to mid-April.
We suggest hiring a boat ride to chase the dreamy trail of lights from one island to the other. Or, learn the basics of nighttime photography from an expert to capture the aurora borealis in its full glory. Whatever you choose, we are sure the experience will be like a dream come true!
2. Swoon Over Majestic Sea Eagles
Want to try bird watching but don’t have the patience to sit still with a pair of binoculars? How about going on an adrenaline-pumping Safari to the Trollfjord as you pass through mesmerizing reefs and islets with groups of sea eagles keeping you company?
Not surprisingly, Trollfjorden is the most visited summer spot in Lofoten, thanks to its geographical terrain and rich historical significance. In fact, the tales of the Trollfjord have inspired popular painters and writers alike.
Hence, we recommend an exciting boat ride through the area, as it is known to be populated by large sea eagles, porpoises, sea whales, seals, and basking sharks. However, you must keep in mind that spotting these creatures depends on various factors, so do expect a no-show in the worst-case scenario.
Other than that, we think this activity is suitable for families with kids too, but make sure you check the age limit of the tour you opt for.
3. Bask In The Rays Of The Midnight Sun
If you’re not much of an adrenaline junkie but still want to pass through the glittering waters surrounding the island, a peaceful kayak ride is your best bet!
And as Lofoten is known as the most stunning archipelago, cruising around the nearby islands to experience the midnight sun makes even more sense. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some exotic birds and marine creatures during the cruise.
Note that most of the kayak tours available in the area will include a qualified kayak guide who will teach some paddling techniques and announce safety instructions. They will further narrate interesting myths and folklore about the Reine harbor, white beaches, wild shores, and more.
All-in-all, the tranquil kayak ride to catch the midnight sun will be an enriching and once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Lofoten Islands.
4. Visit The “Venice of Lofoten”
Historically known as a fishing center, Henningsvær is a seaport in Lofoten, known for its gorgeous islets and colorful wooden houses. No wonder it is dubbed as the “Venice of Lofoten,” and there’s no way you should miss it!
Inhabited by a small community, Henningsvær is a popular spot among tourists, and you’ll easily find plenty of rorbu cabins, restaurants, and shops to hang around.
Again, for the adventure seekers, the small town has a lot of fun-filled activities to offer, like skiing and rock climbing. You can even enroll in courses at The North Norwegian Climbing School (Nord Norsk Klatreskole).
Further, you can indulge in some water sports, varying according to the season. For instance, summers are for snorkeling, sea-eagle safaris, etc., while winters are ideal for orca safaris and northern lights tours.
Points To Keep In Mind While Traveling Sustainably
1. Say “No” To Plastic Bags
Needless to say, plastic is the environment’s worst enemy. It takes ages to dispose of, chokes the land and waters, emits harmful gasses, and much more. So, if you truly want to go green while traveling, it’s best to avoid plastics, especially plastic bags.
Instead, use jute or canvas bags, both of which are not just eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags but also quite stylish! We mean, what’s a vacation without a post on your Instagram? And what’s a better accessory to a tourist-y OOTD than a classic tote bag?
2. Avoid Printing Tickets
When you can use your phone to enter movie halls, museums, clubs, etc., why not use it in airports and wherever you travel too? E-tickets are acceptable almost everywhere, so do check beforehand to avoid printing physical copies and wasting paper unnecessarily.
Plus, with downloadable tickets right on your phone, you never have to worry about forgetting tickets at home. Sounds like a win-win situation to us!
3. Opt For Organic Products
While traveling, try opting for organic products like reusable water bottles, takeaway containers, bamboo or metal cutlery, soap and shampoo bars, etc. These products will keep your waste production in check, and are super convenient for traveling.
For instance, solid bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner are easier to carry than liquid products. Think about all the accidental spills you’ll be able to avoid. So, again, you’re not only taking one step towards a greener and cleaner environment, but also making your traveling experience a lot more hassle-free!
4. Commute Wisely
Opt for public transportation even when you’ve reached your holiday destination. If you’re in a city, look for subways, buses, trams, and more. Alternatively, if you’re commuting to nearby places, try bicycling or walking.
For road trips, you could rent hybrid cars, the eco-friendly alternatives to diesel and petrol cars. However, you will have to do some research beforehand to locate charging stations on the way.
5. Choose Local
The most sustainable way to travel is to become one with the locals. Maybe choose what the locals would while ordering a meal at a restaurant – it is usually more delicious, fresh, and locally-sourced. Or, you could opt for local shacks over expensive restaurants.
While shopping too, we recommend choosing local brands as they are often more sustainable and ethical in their production and manufacturing practices. This way, you’ll not only help save the environment but also support the local culture and heritage of the Lofoten Islands.
Although a thriving tourism scene is great for a country’s economy, its negative environmental impacts are often irreversible. If we don’t act now, perhaps our future generations will never get the chance to enjoy the bounty of nature, or even travel for that matter.
Hence, eco-tourism is the need of the hour, with its benefits for both the economy and the environment. As such, I hope you could pick up a thing or two from our carefully curated travel guide on sustainable and eco-friendly travel activities on the Lofoten Islands.