The Lofoten archipelago is located about 100 kilometers above the Arctic Circle and comprises seven main islands arching off mainland Norway. The five biggest islands are interconnected by tunnels and bridges that are part of 130 kilometers scenic road, known as King Olav V’s road. The final two islands, Værøy and Røst, are accessible by local ferry routes.
Even though the plan to construct a road that would connect Lofoten islands with the mainland was approved in the late 1930s, King Olav V officially opened the Lofotveien in between Svolvær – Å on August 1, 1963. There were still many ferries connecting the islands at that time, which made traveling in Lofoten rather tricky.
Later, bridges and tunnels replaced ferry connections and poor roads. For example, the Tjeldsundbrua bridge opened in 1967, the Vesterål bridges were finished in the 1970s, and the Nappstraum tunnel replaced the last ferry section on the road in Lofoten 1990.
LOFATS, or Lofotens fastlandsforbindelse, which means Lofoten Mainland Connection, was officially opened on December 1, 2007. Thanks to the Lofats, the islands became easily accessible, and the tourism in Lofoten could start to bloom.
As previously mentioned, you do not need to use any ferries to travel the whole length of the Lofoten islands. Even so, a few local ferries are worth mentioning because they take you to tourist places that sometimes can not be reached by car.
Bodø – Værøy – Røst – Moskenes Ferry
The ferry connection between Bodø and Moskenes operated by Torghatten Nord is the main transport link between the western Lofoten and the mainland. Some of the ferries operating this route stop on the islands of Værøy and Røst, which are worth a visit. Always check the schedule, especially during the weekends, to avoid getting stuck on the islands!
- Time: Bodø – Værøy (via Moskenes) 5h 10min
- Time Moskenes – Værøy (Direct) 1h 45 min
How much is the ferry to Værøy and Røst?
The prices depend on if you travel by motorcycle, by (electrical) car, or on foot. In addition, the prices differ based on the length of your vehicle.
For example, traveling between Moskenes and Værøy by car (<6m) is 315 NOK, while the journey between Moskenes and Røst costs 592 NOK. It can pay off to show up well in advance in the summer, as there is often a lot of traffic on these ferries.
You can, of course, visit Værøy (or Røst) only for a day, taking the ferry from Moskenes in the morning and returning in the evening. It is the easiest and cheapest option, as the ticket costs around 200 NOK.
Why should you visit Værøy island?
Værøy island covers an area of about 20 square kilometers and has about 700 inhabitants living in two villages.
The island has a fascinating history. Værøy old church on Nordland is the oldest church in Lofoten. It was built in Kabelvåg in 1714 and moved to Værøy in 1799. Also, for many hundred years up to the 1960s, the islanders hunted eagles using only their bare hands. Lying concealed in mountain caves, the hunters would lure the eagles with bait and catch them alive for bounty money.
The island is known mainly for its iconic view from the top of the mountain Håheia, but the views from Måhornet or Nordlandsnupen are also beautiful. An ideal way to explore the island is to combine hiking with bike rental, as the distances to trailheads are pretty substantial.
Why should you visit Røst island?
Røst is an island half the size of Værøy, best known for bird watching. Puffins were hunted here in the past, and the Norwegian Lundehund dog breed that was specially trained and equipped for hunting birds comes from here.
The island is, of course, associated with cod fishing, and it is said that the best stockfish (dried cod) comes from the island of Røst. You can learn more about fishing, drying, sorting, and exporting dried cod at Røst Bryggehotel, where you can also rent bicycles or book a fishing trip with a local fisherman.
Bodø – Svolvær Express Ferry
There is an all-year-round express ferry between Bodø and Svolvær called Nordlandsekspressen. It is a scenic voyage along the coast with several ports of call in Hamarøy and Steigen. The ferry is for pedestrians or cyclists only, and you will pay NOK 728 per adult and NOK 364 per child for one trip.
Please note that the express ferry runs only once a day. It departs in the morning from Svolvær (Mon-Fri at 6 am, Sat 07:55 am and Sun: 12:45 pm) and in the evening from Bodø (Mon-Sat at 6 pm, Sun: 7 pm). Therefore, in summer, we highly recommend buying your ticket in advance.
- Route finder: (type in Bodø Sentrumsterminalen båt and Svolvær hurtigbåtkai (Vågan)).
- Time: Bodø – Svolvær 3 h 20 min
Reine – Vindstad – Kjerkfjorden Ferry
Suppose you want to visit the famous sandy beaches of Bunes or Horseid located on the Moskenesøya island in the western part of Lofoten. In that case, you must use the ferry Reine – Vindstad – Kjerkfjorden. (Or hike through the mountains from Krystad).
The ferry to Vinstad and Kjerkfjorden departs from Reine 2-4 times a day from the pier near the petrol station during the summer. Therefore, it is good to be there early during the high season in summer before the ferry gets fully booked.
- Schedule: Reinefjorden – Rute 18-773
- Time: Reine Kai – Kjerkfjorden 15 min
- Time: Reine Kai – Vinstad 25 min
Why should you visit Bunes and Horseid beaches in Lofoten?
Bunes Beach (Bunesstranda) is perhaps the most beautiful beach in Lofoten. The beach is situated in the island’s northern part, nested among Helvetestind and Storskiva mountain tops. The hike to the beach is relatively easy, and it can be an excellent option for a hiking trip, even if the weather is not perfect.
You can return to Reine the same day, or it is also possible to camp near the beach. However, beware of the possibility of rockfalls from the Helvetestinden rock face and that the beach is completely exposed to north-western winds. Always check the weather forecast before deciding to go for a (camping) trip.
Horseid Beach (Horseidstranda) is similar to Bunes Beach, but it is more remote and usually less visited. Take the same ferry as to Bunes beach, but exit at Kjerkfjorden.
- Both beaches are located in the heart of the Lofotodden national park, where it is forbidden to use drones.
Svolvær – Skrova Ferry
Skrova is a group of islands near Svolvær, nicknamed Lofoten Hawaii due to its sandy beaches and turquoise waters. The primary source of livelihood on the island is fishing, fish farms, and whaling. Yes, you heard me right. Skrova is one of the largest whaling stations in Norway.
But whaling aside, Skrova has a lot to offer: excellent food, a relaxed seaside atmosphere, art exhibitions, or, for example, sea kayaking trips.
The ferry to Skrova departs from the outskirts of Svolvær up to seven times a day during the summer season. The journey takes 30 minutes, and you pay around NOK 70 for an adult passenger. Children pay half the fare.
- Route finder: (type in Svolvær hurtigbåtkai (Vågan) and Skrova ferjekai (Vågan)).
- Time: Svolvær – Skrova 30 min
Ballstad – Nusfjord Ferry for Cyclists
If you are cycling in Lofoten, you might want to avoid the underwater Nappstraum tunnel. Instead, you can enjoy Lofoten from the sea by using the local ferry between Ballstad and Nusfjord that runs between June 1 and August 15. There are daily departures from Ballstad at 10.00 and Nusfjord at 11.00.
You should book this ferry in advance. Call Ballstadgutt on +47 76 08 84 35. The price is about 300 NOK per person, and there should be a minimum of 4 people.
INTERACTIVE MAP OF LOFOTEN
Our Interactive map of the Lofoten Islands is a perfect tool for everybody who is planning active holidays in Lofoten. It includes