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Road Tripping Norway – Lofoten Islands

There is something special about a road trip.  It seems more personal, you experience the elements more intensely and become more connected to the place.  For the last year and some change I’ve been partaking in a perpetual road trip, mainly in the USA, but occasionally getting to spend some time internationally.  Returning from seven days in the Lofoten Islands, Norway, I think I’ve found one of my new favorite road trip locations.  From the culture, stunning mountains, vast oceans, and the proximity of all these things to one another, it’s got a little bit of something for everyone!

Being a VW owner and lover, needless to say I was excited to find out you can hire a fully set up van with Arctic Campers (www.arcticcampers.no), just down the street from the Leknes airport. Fast forward to some months later, and I was chatting with the folks there at their shop, getting some insider information on some of the best views and hikes to start the day.  Driving off down the road, I couldn’t help but smile with anticipation of what we had in store in the coming week.  It’s easy to see why I was excited to get started, with views like this right out your back hatch how can it get better?!

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Besides having some of the best views from any given road side, of course you can choose to get a little higher up and get in to the mountains.  Only an hour or so from the car park, we gained a decent bit of elevation, enough to get above the clouds and see some of Lofoten’s pristine lakes.

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I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘foodie’, but I love cooking and fresh food, so having access to a stove and fridge whilst traveling is a treat.  Do you ever get home from a trip and feel like you haven’t had a home cooked meal in ages?  Vanlife is the answer 🙂

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I don’t know how anyone could want to stay inside in a hotel room when you can have the best sleep machine earth ever created right outside your windows.

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I was fortunate enough to find a little access road that led to an amazing overlook of the tiny town of Unstad.  Yes, you can camp here, or if you would rather you can sleep down on the beach.

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It wouldn’t be a trip to Lofoten without exploring the tiny fishing village of Reine.  This became our home base, stopping in for coffee in the morning, or afternoon, and of course a softis or two.  If you don’t know what a softis is, you will be pleasantly surprised when you find out.

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Rolf is a fisherman on the islands, and from what I experienced a pretty good one at that.  It’s great to get off the shore and see the mountains rising stark out of the sea.

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Every so often, you find a place in this world that drastically changes your concept of beauty and serenity.  For me, that place was Kvalvika beach.  A short hike over a mountain pass is the only thing that separates you from the rest of the world, but you feel completely detached.  Honestly, I could have stayed there for days, weeks even.  If I was forced to choose just one place to visit the next time I am in Lofoten, this would be it hands down.

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Second place behind Kvalvika Beach would be Reinebringen, the prominent mountain just outside Reine.  Although we had a comfy camper waiting for us at the base of the mountain, it was such a good view of the midnight sun and the mountains we decided to stay at the summit overnight.  That being said, it was sure nice to come down after a few hours of sleep (when the sun doesn’t set it’s hard to go to bed instead of photographing all night!) and hop in the bed for a morning cat nap.

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The only problem I’ve found with Lofoten, is that now I have to return in the other seasons.  Spring was wonderful, and there weren’t too many tourists, the weather never got too cold, but I am intrigued to see summer, fall, and winter.  Well, there is always next time!