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There is a place on Earth where the Sun never sets, the Northern lights never cease to amaze, and the landscape changes constantly, the wind never stops blowing and the people always smile. These are the Lofoten.

This Norwegian archipelago lies 300 km beyond the polar circle, and is often called “mini-Norway”. The archipelago consists of seven islands, of which five are connected by a national road E10, the remaining two can be reached by ferry or aeroplane. The steep mountain slopes, rocketing into the sky straight out of the ocean reaching as far as 1200 metres above the sea level, and the ragged range of mountain tops make a tourist often deny the experience of their own senses, deeming it an infantile drawing of a child. The neighbourhood of the sea is an additional appeal, and the visitors are amazed by the evidence of its primeval power, as, thrusting into land it created the celebrated Norwegian fiords. The towns and villages strewn around them form a colourful mosaic which incessantly changes upon the passing of the seasons. The first settlers here had to put in many years of labour to change the few strips of land torn away from the sea into fertile land, on which they were to live. Yet the skill developed by centuries, which made the most barren outcrop of rock bring fruit, can be fully appreciated today. With time, villages turned into towns, and the once isolated communities were connected by roads, bridges and ferries.

During the winter-spring period, the smell which dominates the islands is the scent of dried fish. The sea off the Lofoten coast from January to April has been a cod-fishing area for a thousand years. This delicious fish arrives here to spawn, covering the distance of 800 km from the Barents Sea. Once caught, it is dried on special wooden racks. Lofoten are the only place where the climate permits to dry the fish in a traditional, natural way, which not only preserves them perfectly, but also allows to retain their full nutritious value. During the fishing time the islands are a bustle of activity. The fishing boats are everywhere, while in the pubs one hears nothing but the tales of fishing adventures. For any visitor, this time is an exceptional opportunity to see the islands as they are.

The fish, quite naturally, are a main feature of the Norwegian cuisine, and they are served according to a wide variety of recipes. The Arctic menu has both traditional as well as more exotic dishes to offer. Any visitor staying for longer will learn to appreciate the taste of stockfish, fried cod tongues, fish cakes, baccalao or fish soup. The dishes featuring whale meat or seafood also enjoy a great popularity.

The tourist season begins in summer, with a major number of visitors, yet it is the other seasons that offer the most in terms of experience. Only then you can truly see the beauty of the wild and exotic corner of the Earth. Even the winter storms and the polar night, almost a month long, cannot discourage an adventure-hungry visitor. All the same the faraway, cold and arctic land is nothing but a myth or superstition. In actual fact, the weather of the archipelago is not much different from the climate of the Baltic Sea coast. The summers are not hot, and sometimes a cool northern breeze brings refreshment during mountain trips or sea voyages. In winter, on the other hand, the temperatures rarely reach lower than - 5°C, thanks to a warm current, the Golfstrom which skirts the Norway coast in its run and towards Spitsbergen.

A visitor may be surprised by the presence of beaches, which give the Lofoten a Mediterranean touch. The water temperature of the sea does not exceed 10-13 centigrades, still the crystalline clear, turquoise water attracts the swim-hungry bathers. The sky is filled with the cry of the seagulls greeting every newcomer. The colonies of cormorants, common and black guillemots and puffins are also found in abundance. The most eminent of all the white tailed sea eagle, is often seen hunting fish. Other prominent Lofotian members of the animal kingdom are the sheep, which enjoy perfect freedom to roam the archipelago. In spring and summer, the woolly creatures introduce a certain disorder in the infrastructure savouring the warmth of the sun straight on the roads. However, the local attitude resembles that of the approach of the Indians to cows, which have the right of way in all cases. After summer the breeders and their families round up their herds in the mountains and bring them to their pens. Thanks to special markings, the cases of mistaken ownership are infrequent. In September, the shearing begins. The wool of the local sheep and their meat are of the best quality in Norway, a thing easy to prove in the local shops and restaurants.

People say that whoever visited the Lofoten, must have got the bug, and is certain to return here. It is indeed difficult not to reminisce on the spectacular views of the sea, the mountains and the fiords, and all at the same time. Each visitor, on whom nature bestowed a little sensitivity, will appreciate the unspoiled beauty of the northern reaches of Norway.


Lofoten Diving
8373 Ballstad, Skarsjyveien 67
phone: +47 40051852
68.08320º N, 13.55602º Ø
68° 04' 59.5"N, 13° 33' 21.7"Ø
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