Off season adventure in Lofoten and Vesterålen

The Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands are without doubt among the most beautiful travel destinations in the world. This spectacular archipelago lies in the Arctic North of Norway, and attracts lots of travellers during high season. If you want to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit is during autumn, winter or spring. Here’s how to make an off-season hostel tour through the islands. 

Throughout the Lofoten region, we have 5 HI-hostels. Among these, 3 are opened all-year round. This makes the Lofoten a perfect travel destination during the low season. Here are our tips for an off-season roadtrip:

Lonely beach in the Lofoten Islands


The most convenient place to start your tour through the Lofoten, is in the city of Bodø. Situated on mainland Norway, this is where you can take a ferry to the islands, and take a train or airplane to and from Oslo and Trondheim. It’s also the end point of the scenic Kystriksveien Coastal Route.

While you’re here, make sure to take some time to explore Bodø itself. This city is going to be the European Capital of Culture in 2024, as the first city above the Arctic Circle! It has an interesting city centre with lots of cafés, some small-scale museums (most notably, Nordlandmuseet), and a beautiful new waterfront with a new public library (Stormen bibliotek). Stay at HI Bodø.

Harbour of Bodø – photo: Manu el Loco


From Bodø, catch a ferry to Moskenes, lying on the island of Moskenesøy, the southernmost island of the Lofoten. From here, go to the nearby village of Å. This tiny village is one of the most beautiful in the region, and is world-famous for its very short name. It has well-preserved wooden houses by the waterfront, and is surrounded by magnificent mountains. Spend some time in the Stock Fish Museum or the excellent Fiskeværsmuseum. But most of all, take the opportunity to soak in the epic and desolate atmosphere in this tiny village on the edge of the world.

In Å, stay at our HI Lofoten Å hostel. It’s located right next to the Stock Fish Museum, in beautiful wooden houses next to the water.

HI Lofoten Å Roadtrip Jan 2019 (31)
HI Lofoten Å



Further up north, you’ll find the beautiful Vesterålen Islands. This archipelago has, just like its Lofoten neighbours in the south, spectacular mountainous landscapes and charming small villages. The biggest town in the area is Sortland, and here we have a brand new, year-open hostel. It lies somewhat outside of town, in a beautiful part of the island, overlooking the sea.

Up here, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature. Close to the hostel, there is a reindeer farm, and further up north, the town of Andenes is known for its whaling safaris.

2019 HI Sortland (89)
HI Sortland

Feel inspired? Book your stay at


photo top: Zen Whisk

text: Robin Van de Walle


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