The Lofoten Islands is an outdoor enthusiasts dream destination. A place where the summer’s endless daylight provides the perfect platform for boundless exploration and the winter brings early sunsets and dark skies lit by the dancing colors of the aurora borealis.
We traveled to the Lofoten Islands during the summer months to take full advantage of the outdoor adventures that the islands are known for.
Located on the island Moskenesøy, the Reinebringen hike is one of the most iconic hikes in the Lofoten Islands. Rewarding hikers with the ultimate panoramic view of Reinefjorden and the surrounding fishing villages and mountains it’s no wonder this hike was at the top of our adventure list. While the trail isn’t long, only 3-4 kilometers, it is tough. The trail begins with a somewhat steep, stone plate and then slightly flattens out for a bit while weaving in and out of the trees. There is no marked path but it is quite easy to follow the trail other hikers have left behind. At the very end, the trail becomes steeper and muddier with lots of loose rocks, turning more into a climb or rock scramble then an actual hike. This section of the trail is much more difficult so it’s very important to have the right gear while taking your time with foot and hand placement. At a soaring 448 meters, the view of Reine and the surrounding mountains and fjords is worth every nerve-wracking step. And just over two hours after our feet first touched the trail, we stood at the top enjoying the spectacular views for a while before heading back down. If you are feeling uncomfortable at any point during the hike, don’t continue. My first attempt at hiking Reinebringen didn’t go so well, however, in an attempt for redemption and some new found confidence I tried again and made it to the top.
How to Get There: Drive along the E10 towards the village Reine where there will be a parking lot directly on the corner of the crossroad. From there, walk along the side of the road in the direction of Å, towards the tunnel, where you will round the corner and eventually see the trail head on the outside of the tunnel.What to Bring: Dress in layers. You may be cold before you start the climb, warm up while hiking and then become cold again once you’ve reached the top. Wear comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes, preferably ones that add extra support to your ankles.
Hiking to Kvalvika Beach
Having the midnight sun on our side, we started our hike to the secluded Kvalvika beach just around midnight. Located on the northern side of Moskenesøy and only accessible by foot, the easy, 2km trail begins just across from the small, red boathouse. We followed the path along the planks of wood layed out atop the muddy trail, that eventually lead us up and through the pass. Reaching the top, we could already see the breathtaking view of Kvalvika Beach and began climbing our way down. The descent is the only “tough” part of the hike as you’ll find yourself climbing over large boulders until you reach the grassy area that meets the golden sandy beach. After hiking halfway up another trail, along the south side of the beach towards the summit Ryten, we spent some time walking along the beach as the waves crashed ashore.How to Get There: Turn off the E10, heading in the direction of Fredvang. You will cross two bridges before reaching Fredvang where you will turn left and follow the road a short distance till you see a small, red boathouse. There will be a small parking area where you can park if there is room.
Kayaking in Reinefjorden
Our guided kayaking tour with Reine Adventures departed right from the harbor in Reine. Once we arrived, we assisted in carrying our kayaks (one double and one single) down to the grassy area for a brief introduction, before placing them into the water. Sliding off the edge of the dock, as gracefully as possible, I seated myself comfortably in the kayak and lifted the spray skirt up above my lap. With the wind at our backs we paddled out of the picturesque fishing village and towards the surrounding mountains into the fjord. We had high hopes of spotting a pod of orcas, although our guide Emily informed us that they hadn’t seen any in the last couple of days. Our journey around Reinefjorden and the surrounding area lasted four hours including a stop for lunch. We even kayaked past the rorbuer, or sjøhus, we were staying at in Hamnøy! Paddling back towards the harbor with the open sea to our left, the wind picked up and it became slightly more difficult to keep our kayaks pointed in the correct direction. Eventually returning to Reine, we strategically climbed out of the kayaks and carried them back to shore. Even though there weren’t any orca sightings, kayaking around the Reinefjorden was worth it for the adventure and the breathtaking views.
What to Bring: Wear waterproof clothing and shoes that can get wet. We were not informed about the proper attire before arriving but luckily they had a few drysuits and booties that we were able to borrow during our trip. Also, be sure to pack your own lunch and plenty of water. And do not forget your waterproof camera or GoPro!
Horseback Riding with Hov Hestegård
Situated on the beautiful island of Gimsøy, Hov Hestegård Riding Centre is the ideal way to escape the present and go back in time. After driving for about two hours, from our rorbuer in Hamnøy, we arrived at their location in Hov. Before saddling up, we headed down to the beach to meet some of the 24 Icelandic horses that call this place home. After a brief introduction, we put on our helmets and riding boots and hoisted ourselves up on our horses. My sweet horse, Bylur-meaning Snowstorm, was the perfect riding companion during the 2.5 hour Viking tour. Our journey began right out of the stables and it was just us three girls and two female guides. We rode steadily along the old Viking Age Trail and the Gimsøy Nature Reserve while learning about the history of the area. Once we turned around and headed back towards the beach we decided to try a slow trot. Even though we were riding the small Icelandic horse a slow trot felt like a fast run and we were quite unprepared for it, especially since my horse would sometimes trip over his own feet! Slowing back down to a walk we found our way back to the white sandy beach before ending our journey at the stables. Saying goodbye to our new horse friends we drove back to Hamnøy.Would you like to go horse back riding in the Lofoten Islands? Visit Hov Hestegård to check out all of their riding options!