The paradise like beaches of Lofoten

Stränder im Lofoten

Durch fur gegen um

Arctic Beach Life on Your Bucket List? Many people travel south to enjoy beach life. But if you go north, maybe as far north as you can on the Norwegian mainland, you will discover that Finnmark also offers top-quality sand. Here, where the brutal Barents Sea is constantly punishing the Norwegian coast, natural forces have been shaping the coastal landscape through the millennia. The result is bright white beaches, where animals like whales, seals, and sea eagles soon are the only ones you are sharing the landscape with. You won’t likely be offered a massage or cheap sunscreen here. But if a night-time kiteboard ride in bright midnight sunshine.

A sandy endless beach in Lofoten

Stränder... of Lofoten has few people, but plenty of poetry

Unfold your towel and get comfortable in the low evening sun. Welcome to your very own sandy beach – somewhere in the Arctic. Norway may not be synonymous with the phrase “beach vacation”. If you search for the word “beach” on the Internet, Norway probably won’t show up among the first one hundred matches, and Northern Norway – maybe even less so. Nevertheless, beach life and Northern Norway are indeed a combination anyone who appreciates areas where land meets water should experience.

The northern beaches are unique in a global context – and here, you will never have to fight for an unoccupied beach bed. Because there are no beach beds. Nor will you be bothered by pesky beach vendors – or by pounding assembly line music from cheap speakers along a crowded beach promenade.
On the contrary, the beaches in Northern Norway are found in the middle of unrivaled and majestic nature. Here, you’ll have a golden eagle soaring watchfully above you as you wander through the open landscape, looking for your own, completely private beach. The only thing you hear is the sound of the waves, beating against the beach the same way they have done for thousands of years.

Woman doing yoga on a deserted beach in Lofoten

Find your own beach in Lofoten

If you aren’t sure of how elegant you will look in a wetsuit on a surfboard, and you really just want to relax on a beautiful sandy beach, Lofoten is still the place for you. The desktop-background-friendly Hauklandstranda (“Haukland Beach”) has been voted Norway’s best, and if you visit, it’s easy to understand why. The turquoise lagoon is surrounded by towering mountain peaks, and if you bring a candybar or two as a calorie-packed snack, you can hike from the water’s edge to one of the peaks for a panoramic view of both mountains and ocean.

From here, with a little bit of imagination, you will be able to see all the way to Sommerøya (“Summer Island”). This fishing village at the mouth of the fjord bathes in the Arctic midnight sun – a one hour drive west of Tromsø. This place is famous for its bright white beaches and turquoise waters, and a sea kayak is the perfect mode of transportation for someone who would like to explore the area from a barnacle goose’s perspective. Pack a lunch, something to drink, and a camera – and the Arctic archipelago is ready for discovery. Most likely, you will find a well-hidden beach all to yourself!

Lofoten summer with beach like Maldives

The distinctive white beaches in the north are formed by degraded calcareous shells from shellfish and marine organisms. The ravages of time have ground these pieces down to tiny particles, which today make it very comfortable for Arctic visitors to lie on. Should you get so comfortable that you fall asleep to the sound of the rhythmic waves, the good news is that you don’t really need to worry about getting particularly sunburnt…

Nor do you need to worry about being run off a Northern Norwegian beach. In Norway, the law of public right of access is strong. This right means that all of nature, including the greater part of the long coastline, is open to all. That means that anyone who wants, can anchor a boat, put up a tent, or, yes, spend a summer night on, for instance, a beach. With a few provisions and a desire to explore you can thus become king or queen of your own island – as long as the royal highnesses remember to clean up after themselves after abdicating.

Because, unfortunately, Norwegian beaches are not exempt from marine pollution. In recent years, however, Norwegians and visitors alike have become more conscious of the big problem related to pollution of the oceans, and how plastic garbage affects animal life along the coastlines. This has led to countless volunteer cleanup campaigns, where anyone who wants to can help make a difference for the environment. Often such cleanup campaigns turn into social events, where you get the chance to meet the local driving forces while helping protect the unique, Arctic nature for posterity.

What to wear on a Lofoten beach? “Northern Norwegian Swimsuit”

Surfere med pause i Lofoten

The absence of annoying beach vendors, noisy beach promenades, and already occupied beach beds is probably caused by only one thing. The water temperature. It rarely creeps above 15 degrees Celsius, and swimming this far north is indeed for the hardier souls. Still, by learning from the locals, you can frolic in the waves without screaming in too high of a voice. When the locals go swimming on chilly days, they wear a so-called “Northern Norwegian swimsuit” – also known as a wetsuit. We warmly recommend using one of these, pun intended. The suit insulates against the wet element by letting in a thin layer of water underneath the fabric. This water stays fairly lukewarm because of the wearer’s own body heat, and that’s how you can enjoy even Northern Norwegian bathing facilities!

There are loads of activity options for those who are willing to enter the Arctic saltwater. The beach at Unstad in Lofoten is famous for being one of the country’s best, and definitely one of the world’s most exotic surfing destinations. Surfers from all over the world have found their way to this spectacular beach since the 1960s. Here, the Atlantic waves come rolling in between Arctic mountains, before they break against the beach at the end of the fjord. Whether you surf in the summer under the midnight sun – or in the middle of winter with the Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky above – experiences like these are hard to come by on most beaches around the world.

Just remember your “Northern Norwegian swimsuit”.. or don´t :)

Surfers beach in Lofoten

Surf in Lofoten

Surfe Lofoten Flakstad beach

This picture is from Flakstad beach. A stop by E10 end with a camping close by

We surfed Undstad during winter, but this place is just as amazing all year

Have you ever tried surfing before? If not, The Lofoten Island is the perfect place to start.

Two degrees of latitude north of the midnight sun’s farthest extent is a place that has gained a great deal of international attention in recent years. The combination of Northern Norwegian nature and an active surfing milieu makes Unstad in Lofoten a very unique place. Here, surfing enthusiasts have for the past half century fallen in love with the waves, the beach, and the surrounding mountains. Today, Unstad is considered to be the world’s northernmost surfing destination. What once was a remote coastal settlement has now been transformed into a surfing paradise – and still far from the beaten track.

Every year Unstad attracts both world famous and beginning surfers from all over the world. Thundering waves roll in from the rough, open ocean and entice surfers into the water at all hours of the day and night. There are varying degrees of difficulty that fit most skill levels. People with a mutual passion for pumping adrenaline and the wild forces of nature come together here at Unstad.

They all chase the unique experience of mastering the waves in surroundings you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. The eight-degree water continuously makes your body really feel alive. 

Good tip: remember wetsuit, hat, and mittens!

After a long surfing session at this outpost on the Norwegian coast, there is nothing better than jumping into one of the area’s own open-air jacuzzies. Drink to the Arctic summer night with old and new friends – secure in the knowledge that the Arctic waves will continue to roll the next day too.