Let's be honest, mainland Lofoten wasn't where we were headed. It was out to the islands, and from the Evenes Airport it was a solid 4 or so hour drive out to the small town simply called Å. Why were we headed so far away from the rest of the world into the Arctic Ocean? Because the Lofoten Islands have some of the most amazing scenery in the world.
The Lofoten Islands are a craggy bunch of islands with steep dramatic cliffs overlooking gorgeous weathered fishing villages. They're just enough of a pain to get to that it hasn't become super touristy yet and still makes you get that 'where am I' kind of feeling. It's also very expensive, there aren't any hotel chains, and no nightlight to speak of. Sounds like my kind of place.
The first town we hit was Reine, which is probably the most famous of all the outer towns [for obvious reasons]. The views of the harbor are just insane. Sadly this was about the only sun we saw for the entire time we were out there. Varying intense rain was a bit of the norm.
As we got out a little further it became a bit more sparse with the houses and we got to our home, the Lofoten Hostel Å. Aka: A top floor of a fishing museum, but it might rank in my top 5 all time favorite hostels. That night it was partly cloudy and we got a taste of the gorgeous night sky with a touch of northern lights.
When we woke up it was drizzly, so we did what any sane person would do and that's to climb a mountain. And when I say climb, I mean hand over foot, barely a trail kind of style. It was seriously awesome and the slopping mud and sort of rivers washing away what little trail there was really gave it good charm. The view from the top of the Reinebringen hike was awesome and kind of frightening. If you're looking to do the hike for yourself, you can find some great info sites here and here.
After all that hiking we were kind of broken, so we walked around Hamnøy [another gorgeous little town] and checked out the cod fish heads drying on a rack. For some reason the seagulls wanted nothing to do with them. Later on I found out that the fishermen used to just chuck the heads into the ocean, but now they found a market for them...in Nigeria. They're considered a delicacy there believe it or not.
The next day we went for the Ryten Hike over on the other side of the islands, but it started pouring. And my feet got swamped very quickly into it.
One of the crazy things about the Lofoten Islands is its beaches. If it was a little warmer, the sun was out, and there were some of those beach umbrellas you'd swear you were on some Caribbean island or something. The water is crystal clear and the beach is all white sand. It's slightly incredible.