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An island of striking landscapes, where rivers run through deserts and molten lava erupts from ice, Iceland is best described as a realm of stark contrasts.
This isn't an adventure just research can provide insight into though. Instead, we handed things over to content creator, Matthew Massa...
READ ON FOR 3 OF MATTHEW'S MUST-SEE SPOTS IN LOFOTEN, NORWAY
In November of last year, I spent a week exploring the Lofoten Islands of Norway. White sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters are probably not what first come to mind when you think about the Arctic Circle. However, beaches like this are abundant in the culturally rich fishing communities of the Lofoten Islands.
You pretty much have 2 options when it comes to getting to the Lofoten Islands. Catch a ferry, or fly - I chose to fly. When else!
If you choose to fly, you'll be looking for flights to Svolvær, a small city located on the Lofoten Islands. This is where I picked up my rental car - in my opinion, an essential for getting around the archipelago.
*Tip - if you can, don't rent a car until you arrive in Svolvær. You'll save money by flying in and picking up a rental car there, rather than loading a car on to the ferry and sailing across.
WHERE TO STAY:
For our base of operations, we chose to stay at the Hattvika Lodge - formerly, a fisherman's wharf located right in the Hattvika Harbour. It's a newly renovated property and has a very unique style that pays homage to its cod fishing heritage. If you're lucky, the owner will welcome you to the property with a shot of the traditional cod liver oil (a local tradition).
There are multiple saunas located on the property, which I took full advantage of during my stay! The constant hiking and exploring (although amazing) is quite exhausting, especially for the legs, so a tip from me to you - the sauna is a great way to rejuvenate, unwind and loosen up those tight leg muscles, ready for the next day of hiking.
Ok, so you've got your wheels and a place to stay. So, what should you go and see?
Here are my top 3 things you can't miss whilst on the Lofoten Islands.
A LOCAL FAVOURITE FOR VIEWING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS.
Weather permitting, this is probably your best bet for seeing the Northern Lights on a clear night! I was lucky enough to see the aurora on our first night. The best time for Northern Light viewing is from October to March, when there are more hours of darkness.
Keep in mind that you won't see anything when there is cloud cover, though!
A little bonus: if you continue on the "Fv286" road for no more than 2 minutes, you'll find yourself on the neighbouring beach named: Uttakleiv Beach. This is also one of the prime spots for viewing the Northern Lights!
Mount Ryten at Kvalvika Beach:
One of the most scenic views in all of Lofoten.
If I had to choose just one hike to complete here, it would be this one! This moderate 3 hour hike rewards you with stunning views overlooking topaz blue waters. You'll also be standing on top of a 540m sea-cliff which in itself is pretty dramatic!
Festvagtind’s views make for a rewarding finish to this short hike.
This 2-3 hour hike offers gorgeous 360-degree views and overlooks the small town of Henningsværveien - a township which is situated on multiple, small fragmented islands.