Interesting facts ...
Lofoten is an archipelago of 80 islands. They line up at the northern edge of Norway, far above the Arctic Circle along the coast. Around 24,000 people live on these 1,227 km2 islands, the largest of which are connected by bridges or tunnels. The name of the archipelago has its origin in Old Norse: Lofoten can actually be translated as "the lynx foot". The Old Norse word "ló" means lynx and the word "foten" means foot. Originally only the island Vestvågøy was called with the name "Lofot". Today the name stands for the entire archipelago.
When you think of Lofoten, you immediately have certain images in your mind: rugged rocky mountains that seem to grow directly out of the sea. In between, fjords with Arctic blue water, crossed by mighty shoals of fish and the mail ships of the Hurtigruten. White-tailed eagles, who make their rounds over the sea in search of fat fish prey. Green-blue shimmering northern lights shimmering across the dark sky. And last but not least: the wooden frames for the famous stockfish. These are all the Lofoten - all this and much more...
If one takes a look at the map, one can see that mainly the eastern sides of the islands are populated. Maybe because here the stormy winds and the rough sea hit the islands less strongly. The mountains of Lofoten, some of them more than 1.200 metres high, also offer a protection against the too strong weather influences. These are particularly impressive, as they rise steeply from the sea.
Midnight Sun and Northern Lights
Thanks to the warm Gulf Stream that flows around the Lofoten Islands, the climate here north of the Arctic Circle between the 67th and 68th latitudes is much milder than in other parts of the world that lie on the same latitude. However, here, so high up in the north, the sun and the light also have their very special characteristics: Between May and mid-July, the midnight sun bathes the landscape in its very own golden light. But in the dark months between September and mid-April you can be enchanted by the fascinating blue-green flickering and waving Northern Lights. A spectacle that fascinates the viewer inevitably.
Made in Lofoten
The people of Lofoten also owe one of their biggest export hits to the Vikings: the stockfish! The waters off Lofoten have always been very rich in fish - but the harsh climate of the high north demanded a lot from the people. And so the northerners found a way to preserve the cod that migrates every year in the cold winter months to spawn in the warm, nutrient-rich waters off Lofoten. Namely, by allowing it to dry in the salty sea winds on wooden racks. Even then it was a commodity that was in great demand in the rest of the continent.
Skrei, stockfish and clipfish
Not least because in the Middle Ages the Catholic Church preached the meat-free Fish Friday. However, in some places there was no fresh fish and so the stockfish was already sold far beyond the borders of Norway. In the southern regions dishes with dried fish are also known as "Baccala" or "Bacalao". And still today stockfish and clipfish - which is dried on the rocks as the name suggests - are exported from Lofoten all over the world. Fishing was and still is one of the most important economic sectors in Lofoten and continues to shape people's lives today and in the past. If you visit one of the many fishing villages such as Svølvær, Henningsvær, Ballstadt, Napp or Reine, you can see for yourself. Even if nowadays the fresh cod, the skrei, sets the tone in exports.
Powered by nature
It is not for nothing that Norway's official slogan is "Powered by Nature" - and this applies especially to Lofoten. The diverse natural landscapes offer the right outdoor activity for every taste: whether hiking, skiing, fishing, golf, horse riding, cycling, sea rafting, paddling or diving. The islands are also ideal for surfing - the coasts of Lofoten are among the best and most northerly surfing areas in the world. But don't forget your neoprene suit...
Borg and the Vikings
In Lofoten, on the northernmost edge of the world, where the sun cannot be seen for weeks in winter and the storms of the North Atlantic roar over the sea, the powerful Viking princes of Borg once ruled. However, only until the year 900 - when the last Viking ruler, Olaf Tvennumbrunni in Old Norse because of his dense, dark eyebrows, left his 83-metre-long chieftain's farm on Lofoten island Vestvågøy. Why? Nobody knows for sure. At the Lofotr Viking Museum in Borg, the history of the Vikings is brought back to life in a reconstructed nave - by the way, the largest ever found from this period.