About 1300 km north of the capital Oslo, the small fishing village of Hamnøy in the Lofoten Islands is a paradise, not just for photographers, but also for all sorts of tourists. Though small in size and rather remote in access, it has hardly stopped visitors from making a stop at this beautiful destination. Appraised as one of the most beautiful places of all in Lofoten, Hamnøy offers varieties of exciting experiences and activities to look out for.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when travelling to Hamnøy for the sole purpose of tourism is that, it is always the best option to rent a car for the trip. Yes, it really is advised to do so, for the public transport on Lofoten Islands is minimal in numbers and is mostly for the purpose of serving the locals and not tourists. One is bound to miss out on many sights and attractions that are not reached by public transport. Do try to book your car at least 1-2 months beforehand, as renting a car is a popular choice in Lofoten and you may find the availability difficult later on.
Resting in a rorbuer
The iconic view of red stilt houses erected on seashores of Lofoten Islands is a sight that many may have viewed on pictures in several popular websites and the internet. However, perhaps the one that has stood out amongst all the rorbuers in the district is the picturesque little cabins in Hamnøy that has even made it to the cover of top and renowned editorials such as National Geographic and Condé Nast. These tiny homes are fishermen’s cabins and are called rorbeurs in the local language. They were traditionally used as resting places by travelling fishermen, but now they are popular as they offer one of the best accommodation experiences that the tourists must definitely opt for when choosing a resting place to stay in the village. These charming tiny cabins, though modest on the outside, have been renovated to suit for cosier and comfortable seating on the inside. The renovated fishermen’s cottages provide for a perfect way to connect to the village’s history.
The Eliassen Rorbuer, is one such resort in the village that is considered to be one of the most famous in all of Lofoten and is also considered to have cottages dating back a century. The resort provides private kitchen facilities for those seeking to avoid restaurant food and also offers rented boats parked just outside one’s cabin, on which one can just hop onto one fine morning and spend the entire morning boating around and viewing the entire area from the water.
Fun fact: An interesting fact on why all the rorbuers are red in colour is that it was the cheapest colour at the time, so all of them were painted red and the tradition has caught on.
Fishing tops activity list
Since it is a fishing village, it comes as no surprise that fishing is one of the most popular activities to do here. Being one of the largest fish producing areas of the world, Lofoten holds the annual World Cod Fishing Championship every year. This means that just like every other places of the islands, the destination creates for an idyllic fishing area for fishing enthusiasts. One can also find many fishing tours on the internet or just ask at the place where one is staying. The best time to visit to experience fishing is from January to April which is the fishing season of Lofoten.
Beyond fishing, and especially appealing to nature lovers and adventure seekers, the village offers cycling enthusiasts bicycles on rent through which one can explore the island on their own. With a number of hiking trails available here, hikers and climbers may get overwhelmed as where to start, in fear of missing out on others, while bird lovers will enjoy the birdwatching tours offered here. The Haukland Vestvagoy is the best option for hiking.
There are also several other options for adrenaline junkies. Deep-sea rafting, kayaking and scuba diving are just some of the adventure activities that one can find there.
The best time for outdoor enthusiasts is mid to late August, when it is still summer and the weather is warm enough for carrying out all the activities and the summer crowds have already gone.
However, if one does not mind the crowds, then July is another lovely option. Do book everything six months in advance, as July is the peak season and most accommodation is fully booked at the time.
The Northern Lights & the Midnight Sun
Situated just beneath the auroral oval, a belt of light that encircles the geomagnetic poles, Lofoten provides some of the best chances in the world of seeing the northern lights, Aurora Borealis. And with that in mind no place in the islands is not ideal to view these enigmatic emerald trails of light that look like waving flags, including the famous fishing village of Hamnøy.
To get a sight of these lights, one will have to stay up till at least 2 am in the morning. Yes, it may be difficult to stop oneself from being tempted to get back into the sheets, but once you have passed through the ordeal, you will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful and enchanting sights in the sky that may even feel surreal and magical to some.
The best time to view these stunning trails of lights is from September to March which is the main Northern Lights season in Lofoten. Do keep in mind that from September to November it may be very rainy, so pack accordingly. Also, it is never fully guaranteed that one may get to see the northern lights, So, just look at this as a potential bonus on the trip.
Another interesting and unique phenomenon here in the summers is the Midnight Sun. This natural phenomenon means that the sun does not disappear below the horizon and is visible 24 hours a day and visitors may be shocked to see that it is never really night here.
The Midnight Sun in Hamnøy usually starts in late May and lasts until mid-July. Though, a special and surreal experience for the visitors, one should be aware that sleeping under the Midnight Sun could be tricky, as it may likely disturb one’s internal clock. This unique phenomenon can only be seen in eight countries in the entire world.
Surrounded with rugged mountains and serene water around, the little village makes for a scenic sight to behold with loads of snow piled on these very mountains including covering the entire village. One can view sharp crystal shards frozen and hanging from the roofs of the beautiful little cottages on the coast and other houses.
The best time to witness snow here is between mid-February and March. December to mid-January has lots of snow to offer, but nights are much longer during the time, accounting for not many hours of daylight during that period.
With all the natural phenomena as well as the sheer beauty of Lofoten and Hamnøy are considered photographer’s ultimate destination. The Hamnøya Bridge Photo spot Viewpoint connecting Hamnøya and Toppøya islands, another destination in Lofoten, is one the most popular spots for photography lovers in Lofoten. It is through this very bridge that one can get the iconic shots that made it to the famous editorials. Hence, one should not be too surprised to see a number of photographers crowding here during the peak season of tourists.