Tonje's Travelogue 13: Spectacular Lofoten & Reinebringen
After a couple of very relaxing days on board the Hurtigruten ferry boat, we finally arrived at the island paradise, Lofoten, where we spent almost a week fishing and hiking. Lofoten is pretty famous here in Norway, but have you guys heard of it?
Lofoten is an archipelago in Nordland county located at 67 and 68 degrees North on the West coast of Norway inside the Arctic Circle. Lofoten is known for good fishing with idyllic fishing villages nestled at the foot of majestic mountain peaks. What might be more surprising is the abundance of white sandy beaches which would not look out of place in Thailand or the Caribbean. Lofoten claims to have the world’s most beautifully located football stadium in Hanningsvær and arguably the most picturesque golf course in Norway, Lofoten Links.
One of the things that is so special about Lofoten is the midnight sun from the end of May to the middle of July. The sun barely sets during this period making it a little disorientating but equally mesmerising when it comes to telling the time.
It was almost seven in the evening when we arrived at the tiny port in Stamsund with the sun still high in the cloudless sky, and 23 degrees on the car thermometer. Although we would spend nearly a week here, there was so much that we wanted to see and do that we felt we had to hit the ground running and attacked our first hike straight off the boat.
Lofoten consists of bedrock millennia before our time. The landscape has been eroded and sculpted by the harsh Arctic climate which makes for some jaw-dropping selfies. We wanted one of Lofoten’s must-have selfies and drove approximately an hour in the direction of Å, with one goal in mind: Reinebringen.
If you have seen pictures of Lofoten then you have almost certainly seen pictures from Reinebringen. One of the most popular mountain hikes in Norway, with the view from the top that is so beautiful that it will take your breath away.
Reinebringen (448 meters above sea level)
The trip up to Reinebringen takes about 1-2 hours, and you walk approx. 2 kilometers round trip. In recent years, like many other popular spots in Norway, a Sherpa staircase has been built almost all the way to the top by specialists from Nepal. The huge stones are dropped on top by helicopter and then carried down the mountainside before being strategically placed by hand. These Sherpa teams are incredibly fit and knowledgeable to be able to produce these incredible stairways.
The steps really help when the ground is wet compared to a previous trip I climbed here 3 years earlier, but you still need to be reasonably fit in order to make it to the top in good form.
The last 150 meters is more how I remember the trail. Small single track which can be slippy and muddy from the rain and the number of footsteps eager to get to the top. Roughly 1000 people visit Reinebringen every day during the summer, and in 2019, a total of 71,000 took the trip. Parking can be tricky in the three small car parks close by and it can be a gamble parking along the roads with blind corners and traffic.
As we were a little late in the day, and the season for that matter, we managed to park very easily but were still surprised by how many tourists had the same goal as we did; to reach the top before the sun dropped below the mountains.
We made good time up and were completely stunned by the view that appeared as we reached the first ridge. The pointed mountain peaks that surround the small islands in the ocean gap below us, and a sunset that cast beautiful orange light all over, were enough to make a tear trickle down the corner of my eye, while Douglas immediately found the camera. This spot was incredibly beautiful, but seeing as it is the first place with stunning views, it was also a little crowded. With trails to the left and right, we decided to hike another 10 minutes up to the left and were so happy that we did, the most insane views for our next water break and full-blown photoshoot.
It’s in spots like this where you are overwhelmed by the views and focusing on getting the most epic shots that you must be particularly careful and respectful of your environment. Always take care when walking on paths and beside cliff edges, especially when you are tired or out of breath. We had plenty of water and snacks with us even on this short hike and were very glad of our warm jackets at the top even though we hiked up in shorts.
The archipelago you can see from Reinebringen includes Reine, a fishing village in Moskenes municipality. Reine is one of Norway's most photographed landscape motifs and inspiration for many artists. Reine is the start point for boat trips into the stunning Reinefjord where you can hike over the mountain to the giant Bunesstranden which is a local tip to find a secluded paradise. Reine is also the starting point for many of Fjord Tours' experiences and activities, have a look HERE.
When the last rays of the sun disappeared behind the pointed mountain peaks beyond, it was time to revisit the steps and start our way down. As we descended we noticed the orange sun had been replaced by a large, yellow supermoon that reflected the sea to brighten up the walk. As our first hiking experience in Lofoten, we don’t think this could have been any better but although this was a short hike, our legs were burning by the bottom and we were glad to find our sleeping bags ready in the van below.
Lofoten, we love you already!
Douglas & Tonje
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