There are just not enough descriptive words in the English language to describe the Lofoten islands in autumn. It is a Machiavellian world set apart from reality with all the seasons happening and changing within 10 minutes; with a haunting, heart breaking beauty and some of the most unspoilt landscapes that you can find.
Access to the Lofoten islands in our case was done via the 3 hour drive from Narvik Harstad airport. The beauty of this is that your sense of anticipation increases as you drive deeper and deeper into one of the most dramatic parts of Norway.
The drive to Svinoya Rorbuer, our end destination, in magical Svolvaer was amazing – every corner of the winding roads revealing a different vista of sea and land, incredible light and dark contrasts with the severe mountains surrounding small farms and green meadows whilst the rock falls at the roadsides have the most incredible moss and lichen adding to the rich colour scheme of autumn. Stopping at the polar park on the way was a good break and very interesting with lovely wolves, bears and lynx amongst the moose and deer.
After an incredible drive through mountains (there are some very long tunnels!) and over bridges, including an extraordinary humpback bridge as you arrive at Svinoya, you reach the fishermen’s huts overlooking the sea. Svinoya is a Norwegian National Heritage site with picturesque fisherman’s cottages turned into guest accommodation.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a heated floor in the bathroom and a hair drier under the sink but sad that there was no tea or coffee although there were the facilities in the cute hut (cups spoons kettle etc.). It did seem a long walk to the restaurant when the weather closed in but the food was really good and the staff were great, telling us not to forget to take our lunch from the breakfast buffet in the morning and advising of changes to the itinerary.
It was a short walk down to the quay, to find the rib boats and change into warm waterproofs, before setting off the next day on the rib boat wildlife safari to Trollfjord. Seeing the mighty sea eagles coming at a call to catch the fish that the guide was throwing into the air was something I will never forget and the beauty of the fjord where you had to peer to see the hydro power station hidden at the inlet. I was impressed with how clear the water was all around us, the cliffs reflecting back at us in a picture perfect way.
The next day was a long drive further south with many photo stops at each turn of the road when a different view unveiled itself and the autumn colours just seemed to get better because of the snow on the mountain tops that had appeared in the night. The sunlit day was cold but perfect with hardly a cloud in the sky. The whole drive was so amazing and I don’t think that you could ever tire of the clean unspoilt beauty and purity of the Lofoten Islands, even the return drive was amazing as you got a different viewing angle. However the clouds piled in that evening when it was time to go off with the aurora hunters and it was much colder with a brisk wind – but we did see a glimpse of the lights dancing through the clouds which was a lovely end to the experience.
If you want to experience breath-taking beauty, fabulous autumn colours and be mesmerised by the northern lights then an autumn northern lights holiday in the Lofoten islands is well worth a consideration.