Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World

8 Reasons to Love the Lofoten Islands in the Summer | Arctic Norway

Summer hums above the Arctic Circle

For a while now, my internal compass has been pulling me north. Recently, I answered the call. And I am so happy I did. We just returned from a 10 day trip to Northern Norway. Above the Arctic Circle. I had seen pictures and read stories but truly underestimated the awe I would feel. We loved The Lofoten Islands in summer. I am home now with lungs still full from breathing in nature. My soul is content from so much wonder and awe. Lofoten was beyond lovely at summertime. Let me share with you why.

So Many Reasons You Should See The Lofoten Islands in Summer
1 | THERE ARE MILLIONS OF MOUNTAINS

I will admit, it was mountains I was seeking. That drew me to this place. And I found them. So many. Ok. Maybe not millions. But it feels like there was yet another peak in every direction you looked. Jagged and rocky, they define these islands and set this scene. A backdrop for memories of mountainous goodness.

Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World
2 | THE MIDNIGHTS are FULL OF SUN

For one month before and one month after the summer solstice on June 21st, the sun does not set this far north. At all. And while we missed the true midnight sun by a week or so on our visit in late July, it never truly got dark. Even when the sun sets at midnight, it rises again at 2 am. Sunset…. sunrise. Sunset… sunrise. If you have trouble sleeping or a photographer’s fear of missing out, it may mess with your head. But we fell in love with the perpetual twilight that threw lots of light in the sky every night.

3| WHITE SAND BEACHES WILL tempt you

Who knew that the Arctic has some of the best beaches in the world? Here you will find sugar fine sand that sits in wide white crescents. Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes. Look for pink clam shells, striped limpets and fragile urchin skeletons. Dare to take a dip. We did and you should. It’s not THAT cold. But maybe we’ve been Scandi conditioned. The water here is so clear and such a brilliant aqua blue that it felt perfect to cool off in after a hike in the hills. We loved the swaths of perfect white sand at Kvalvika, Haukland, Uttakleiv and Ramberg Stranda.

Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World
4 | There are hikes in them hills

The Lofoten Islands offer hikes for all abilities and energies. With a good pair of shoes, you should be all good to go. We hiked over hills to white Arctic beaches. We scrambled up rocks to see views over villages. We strolled along cliffs with no ascent needed for stunning. Stay on the trail and pack out what you pack in. This is the Lofoten code of conduct. Protect this beautiful place for all to enjoy.Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World

5 | TRY A KAYAK TO CRUISE

Back down at sea level, take to the water. A kayak is a perfect way to see into the clear water. We loved paddling around Skrova with WildSeas Adventures. Keep watch for Sea Eagles in the sky or little crabs scurrying on the seafloor. It is that clear. Quiet and calm, serene and safe. There is something magical about the sound of paddles dipping and pushing as our boats slid smoothly over the sea.


RELATED: SUMMER GLAMPING SAFARI ABOVE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

6 | SO MUCH FRESH SEAFOOD TO TASTE

Fishing has been important to the peoples of the place before written history. Cod is king here and you’ll see stockfish drying on racks all over the islands. Try some as jerky or in a tomato stew-like dish called Bacalao. In the southern archipelago, don’t miss Anita’s Sjømat on Sakrisøy for the best fish sandwich or peel and eat shrimp.


RELATED: OH DEAR COD, EAT THIS IN NORTHERN NORWAY

7 | You can rent a RORBU TO SLEEP IN

Those classic Norwegian fisherman’s cottages, rorbuer have been renovated for your Lofoten respite. Rent them all over the islands in darling seaside villages like Å, Reine, Sakrisøy, Henningsvær, Nusfjord, Ballstad, Kabelvåg and Svolvær – just to name a few. There is something special about sitting out over the water and watching the sun set behind the mountain ahead of you.Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World

8 | Blossoms Blooming, there are WILDFLOWERS TO FIND

For a place that is covered in snow much of the year, I couldn’t stop marveling at the many wildflowers blooming. Fields and forests were blanketed in color. Like icing on the cake on why there’s so much to love about Lofoten in the summer.

Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World
WHAT TO PACK:

Weather in Northern Norway can be unpredictable – I was happy to have waterproof pants, sturdy trail shoes and my red raincoat while we were there. I can recommend all of these products for your trip north. 

Reasons to Visit the Lofoten Islands in Summer | See the Midnight Sun above the Arctic Circle in Norway | Oregon Girl Around the World

Suitcases and Sandcastles

Faraway Files #24

TRAVEL BLOG COMMUNITY

TIME TO GET OUTSIDE

The Norwegians believe that there is no problem that can’t be solved by going outside. Danes put their babies sleep outside. In all kinds of weather. Sweden created allemansrätten or everyman’s right to roam. Outside. All land is open and available to explore and encourage people to get outside. And you will find all of the Scandi’s with faces to the sun when it is out. It’s good for you. Soak it up.

But what does getting outside mean to you? Is it active? Hiking, biking, skiing, surfing? Is it something that makes your heart pump and adrenaline flow? For some it does. The two go hand in hand. For me, it can. But these experiences are more the exception than the rule.

For me, getting outside is a way to restore balance. Fill the buckets. Right the scales. It is contemplative and rejuvenating. It can be that crazy, balls-out, exciting endorphin rush. Sometimes. But mostly, it’s communing. With nature. Or seriously, it’s as simple as a sit on a bench with a view. Vitamin D. Vitamin me. Outside. I need to do it more.

Clearly, the Faraway Files Travel Blog Community has been getting outside lately. There was a clear theme last week with many posts offering ways to get outside for both the adrenaline junkies and the nature communers. Which are you? I’m a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Depends on the day. Missed last week’s collection? Check it out here.

READ MORE ABOUT ALLEMANSRÄTTEN : Fall in Sweden | Everyman’s Right to Roam

Continue reading “Faraway Files #24”

Fall in Sweden – Everyman’s Right to Roam

Sweden is super cool. Yep, you heard me. I know, I know. I live in Denmark. But our Scandi neighbor really is. Cool. In a completely different way than Denmark. I mean Copenhagen is cool. VERY COOL. Sometimes, maybe possibly – a little too cool for school. Don’t get me wrong. I love it here. In all it’s tatted, skinny black panted, chunky white trainer wearing, oversized trench coated, giant scarf wrapped, top-knotted or bearded, coffee drinking, Tuborg swilling, design toting, bicycling glory. I said I loved it – remember?

But today – it’s all about Sweden. Denmark’s tall leggy blond and blue eyed cousin -Sweden. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. Not all Swedes are tall, blond or blue eyed. But… Sweden’s flag is blue and yellow. Coincidence? I don’t think so. And so is IKEA. All blue and yellow. (P.S. – you pronounce it ee-KAY-uh here. Not EYE-kea.) And every time you step inside one of those enormous Swedish box stores and think – jeesh, I just came in for cheap candles and a couple picture frames – do I really have to wind through all of these displays? Just think of how big Sweden is! Compared to Denmark anyway. It’a all relative. But Sweden is pretty big! Have you looked at a map? Much larger than Denmark. In fact, Sweden is the third largest country by area in the European Union. And it’s all kind of tall and long. Another coincidence? I don’t think so. (*wink, wink.)

SWEDISH FACTS:

AREA:  450,295 square kilometers (173, 860 square miles)
POPULATION:  9.9 million
DENSITY:  21 people/square kilometer (54 people/square mile)

And of all those 9.9 million people living in Sweden, 85% of them live in urban areas – mostly Stockholm, Gothenberg and Malmö. That means there is a lot of land with nobody on it. Lots of space for all the moose. And farms. And trees. And nature. Lots of nature. Want to know the coolest part about Sweden? All of that land and all of that nature is available to everyone.

You heard me. It’s open to EVERYONE. Sweden has a law called Allemansrätten that gives the right of public access to everyman. It literally translates to everyman’s right. Also known as outdoor access rights or freedom to roam, it means that you have the right to walk, hike, bike, ski or camp on any land in Sweden. The only exceptions to the rule being that you can’t tromp through someone’s private garden, across cultivated land or hang out near homes. Because that would be just rude and really kind of creepy. But everywhere else – open. Yep. It’s awesome.

As an Oregon girl – this resonates with me. In the state of Oregon we border the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful stretch of coastline. But when we visit, we don’t say we’re going to the beach or the shore – while both are there. We go to the coast. The Oregon Coast. It is also known as the “people’s coast.” And for good reason. Every inch of the Oregon Coast belongs to the people and because of that you have access to it. Where it is safe to do so – of course. My inner Oregon-ness appreciates Sweden. In fact – it feels a little like Oregon over there. Especially when you start throwing in evergreen trees across the landscape the further north you travel.

Come on over to Sweden. But bring your passport. You’ll be checked. Even if you’re Danish. Maybe especially if you’re Danish. Just kidding. Maybe. But once here – roam where you want to. Roam around the land. Explore Sweden. That is cool. Sup-ah cool. And Swedes take advantage of it. We’re lucky to have Swedish-American friends living in Sweden while we’ve been here who were willing to share one of their favorite places to hike and explore.

Today, we’re going to Skåne, the beautiful region at the tip of southern Sweden. Think rolling green hills, tall beech forests, farms full of brilliant yellow rapeseed, old castles, rocky coastlines, little inlets and islands all await you in Skåne. (Pronounced “skona.”) From Copenhagen – you can drive across the Øresund Bridge to Malmö and head north or take the short 20 minute ferry from Helsingør, Denmark to Helsingborg, Sweden. Then take the E20 north in the direction of Gothenberg. Need a place to stay? Try super charming little Torekov or nearby Båstad. It’s not a bad word. It’s pronounced BO-stah and is the home of the Swedish Open. And unless you’re a huge Björn Borg fan or are just really into tennis, steer clear of this place for two weeks in July every year. Otherwise it is a charming little outpost to base your outdoor exploits.

Now that you’re here. Let’s get outside! Only about 10 minutes outside Baståd heading east on route 115 is the gorgeous Naturreservat Osbecks. Officially you are now in Halland County, but just right on the border of Skåne County. If coming from the E20 motorway, take the exit towards Hasslöv. After 2 kilometers there is a sign saying “Hiking area”. There is should be a football field on your left. Turn right onto the gravel road and follow the road up to the car park. A forest of beech trees cover this open nature preserve. Parking here and pick a trail. Autumn is an amazing time to visit as the leaves are turning, coloring the landscape  and there is a crispness to the air.

Map to Osbecks Naturreservat, Halland Sweden

The trees here at Osbecks are mostly deciduous with many beeches, birches and old oaks, which is why it gleams in autumn. Some of the trees here loom overhead nearly 200 years old. History rocks at this nature reserve in the form of stone age and bronze age cairns. Literally piles of rocks that farmers of yore piled to the side of their plot – both marking their territory and allowing cultivation. See if you can find them! But remember, the general rule when accessing allmansrätt is:

Do not disturb – do not destroy.”

Look out for tree snails and song birds, ferns and funghi. Sweden is proud of the diversity that has taken root here. Plan ahead and pack a picnic. There are several spots where you can make a fire in the pits available. Firewood is available free for your use. We grilled hotdogs and roasted marshmallows while soaking in the views. It was a perfect end to a perfect afternoon.

Can you believe all this lovely is just over two hours from Copenhagen. Cross the big bridge or take the ferry. Go for a hike. Pick ligonberries. Hunt mushrooms. You can. It’s allowed. It’s allemansrätten. Tack Sverige! Thanks Sweden!

More inspiration to be found at Visit Sweden.

Danish ferry to Sweden on Øresund
Drive from Copenhagen north to Helsingnør and take the 20 minute ferry to Helsingborg, Sweden. Head north on E20.

Happy Fredag! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

Happy to link this post and introduce a new collaboration of travel bloggers today. Join myself, Katy of Untold Morsels and Clare of Suitcases and Sandcastles in a new supportive and inspiring linkup community we’re calling #FarawayFiles. Read more here about how we started it, what we want it to be and how you can engage. We’d love to see you there!

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Faraway Files – A new travel blog community with weekly linkup hosted by Katy @UntoldMorsels, Clare @suitsand and Erin @OregonGirlWorld

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