After our hiking adventure on Senja, we needed a break from all the amazing scenery. It’s weird to say that, but after a while, you get a bit of an overload of “wow” and can not take it anymore!
Looking at the rainy weather forecast in the Lofoten, we decided to go further north where it was sunny instead. It wasn‘t really part of the plan to go all the way north, but it meant a change of scenery and the weather looked a lot better, so off we went.
The drive was again quite crazy and really beautiful. We had to cross the Finnmark region which is not only vast, but also extremely remote. We drove through a sea of endless trees for hours on end … It’s kind of hard to describe.
Varanger – Land Of Vastness
After hundreds of kilometers and many hours of driving, we arrived at Vardø at the beginning of the Varanger Peninsula and National Park. It was very different from what we had seen before. Vast plains with almost nothing on them. The towns were all very small and you really had the feeling that you were at the end of the world.
While hanging out in the car park (as we tend to do in the van) in Vardø we got talking to another camper. He could not recommend enough the road to Hamningberg. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful roads we have driven on our entire Norway trip. The landscape was insane as we had to drive on a tiny road that was just “one car wide”. It also took us through moon-like rocks and past remote beaches.
The drive really took our breath away. The road took us to the end of the earth, on the Barents Sea where we parked for the night right on the coast. Unfortunately, a massive storm rolled in that night and nearly bowled our van over. We thought we were going to take off and land somewhere in Siberia. So, we moved away from the coast a bit and crossed our fingers!
Off To The North Cape
After this crazy adventure, we had to decide if we should go across to the North Cape or go back down to the Lofoten, our final destination. In the end, we decided to push on to the North Cape as we were already that far up and we wanted to finally see some reindeer!
When we arrived, the weather was absolutely very foggy, so we didn’t see much, but we did manage to spot some reindeer, finally! And they were soooo cute. They are actually very peaceful animals, just standing on the roadside, oblivious to the tourists around them. We thought we had arrived in Santa‘s hometown.
The North Cape itself was a little crazy. We thought it would be a very quiet place. But, obviously, it’s on many people‘s agenda, including the cruise ship’s. Loads of buses arrived continuously and we couldn’t quite believe how many people there were. Maybe because we have been away from the crowds for so long.
The ones we truly admire, are the ones arriving on their bicycles! It‘s an insane ride to from south to north Norway. The continuous up and downs, dozens of tunnels (sometimes pretty long and/or dark/scary) and the rough weather conditions turn them into real heroes. That’s what we think at least.
Lofoten, Or Not?
After taking 100 pictures of the reindeer, we had to head south – direction Lofoten. Unfortunately, the weather forecast didn’t look that great (again!), so we decided to take a break from the van and rented a little house in the Vesterålen, a group of islands, right above the Lofoten. But, as soon as we arrived, the weather turned great and we had a string of sunny days!
We were looking at the Lofoten and thinking, did we miss our chance now? Was this the only sunny week? It didn’t matter in the end, as the Vesterålen are almost as spectacular as the Lofoten and there are a lot less people.
We did a lot of amazing hikes and enjoyed the daily luxuries of a dishwasher, shower and sun!
Northern Lights Show
To top it all off, we had a few nights with the northern lights!!! Right in our backyard. We could almost see them from our beds. Magical!
We had actually hoped to see them. But, since it was September, it was only a small chance it would happen. There are a lot of things that have to go right to see the northern lights:
- the sky has to be clear
- the Aurora has to be active (solar storms on the sun)
- you have to have almost complete darkness (we were right in a town)
So, let’s just say we were very lucky!
Time For The Lofoten
Now it was time for the Lofoten. Our final destination in Norway.
We had read a lot about the Lofoten and had high expectations. They are all over Instagram. And in all the brochures. They have kind of a mythical status in the travel world. So, we were not sure they were going to be as “amazing” as everyone says. Or as the Instagram pictures show.
Luckily, they did not disappoint!
The scenery is breathtaking. Yes, it is possible to be even more amazing than the rest of Norway. And they were like nothing we have ever seen.
Even the weather gods were on our side and gave us quite a few sunny days! We were so happy, you have no idea. Sunny and around 12 degrees .. it was the Norwegian summer we never had! We hiked a lot, like always. Actually, we finally counted them all – we have hiked 35 of the 70 days in Norway. A fraction of what Norway has to offer, but not bad at all!
The Lofoten/Norway has so many amazing hikes that we will have to come back for sure and enjoy this crazy scenery even more. We will let the pictures speak for themselves. There is really no way to describe it – Or, maybe we can try: mountains and islands with beaches and turquoise water thrown in. Like the Bahamas met the Swiss Alps and had babies!
Sadly, we had to leave these jaw-dropping islands and head west to Sweden to drive the easy way home.
Lucky for us, we left in the middle of autumn and were blown away by an explosion of colour. No, we couldn‘t capture this in a picture. If you ever go to the Lofoten, go in autumn, you won‘t regret it!
We were both quite sad to leave Norway. The nature is stunning, it exceeded all our expectations and never disappointed us (or maybe it did in terms of moose. They were just hiding from us). I would move to Norway in a flash if it wasn’t for the weather.
And what now? We don‘t know yet. We will spend a few weeks in Switzerland and then head off to Oz. I haven‘t been for a long time and look forward to seeing family and friends. And maybe go for a swim in warm water?