Lofoten is an archipelago—a cluster of small islands in the Norwegian Sea. An outdoor paradise for nature lovers— diving, horse-back riding, fishing, hiking, and more—there is plenty of exploring to do on these unique islands.

Flying is the fastest and easiest way to reach the Lofoten region. Depending on which city in Norway you’re coming from—Oslo, Bergen or Stavanger—driving or taking public transportation can be a possibility. 

If you want to get an insider’s perspective about the islands, you’ll want to sign up for this 7-day Arctic Adventure Tour, where you’ll begin in Tromsø with highlights, including hiking and kayaking through the islands. 

From Oslo

Duration: 2-5 hours by plane, 16 hours by car, 18 hours by train

Departing from the capital city of Oslo, many airline carriers offer flights to the distinct islands—Leknes, Røst, and Svolvær—usually with a stopover in Bodø. Non-stop flights from Oslo to Bodø are an hour and a half. On a clear day, choose a window seat for fabulous aerial vistas. 

The distance from Oslo to Lofoten is 743 miles (1,195 km) and takes sixteen hours without any stops, so consider dividing your drive into 2 days. Leaving Oslo, you’ll merge onto the E6—the National Norwegian toll highway and stay here for the duration of the journey. You’ll pass by the city of Trondheim after 6 hours of driving, and it’s a great place to have a meal and stretch your legs.  

As you continue on, you’ll pass by the Trondheim fjord and later, the Ranfjorden fjord—plan on making a pit stop to admire the views. You can either take a car ferry from Bodø or take the E10 highway, connecting the islands to mainland Norway. 

Riding the train is relaxing and enjoyable, however, it’s an eighteen-hour trip. You'll take 2 trains—one from Oslo to Trondheim where you’ll transfer trains, and then Trondheim to Bodø. A sleeper car is recommended for the night leg of your trip so you can wake up refreshed and ready the next day to explore.

There is a food car serving Norweigan specialties, sandwiches, snacks, and drinks available to purchase. You are also allowed to bring your own food and drinks. Wi-fi is free and outlets to charge your devices are available.

From Bergen

Duration: 2-5 hours by plane + ferry or express boat

Reaching the Lofoten region from Bergen is a distance of 825 miles (1,328 km). Air travel is the recommended way to travel to the Lofoten region. Several airlines offer direct flights to Bodø, a gateway town to the islands, most days of the week. Travel time is an hour and a half. From Bodø, you can fly to the island towns of Leknes or Svolvær, choose the ferry or express boat or take a local bus.

Driving and taking the train are not recommended since it requires 2 full days of travel. 

From Stavanger

Duration: 3.5-5 hours by plane+ ferry or express boat

The city of Stavanger to the Lofoten area is a distance of 1,088 miles (1,751 km) and takes around twenty-four hours to drive. Air travel is the best way to reach Lofoten. There aren’t any direct flights to Bodø or non-stop flights to Leknes or Svolvær. 

The best option is to fly from Stavanger to Bodø, usually with stopovers either in Bergen, Oslo, or Trondheim, depending on air carrier and route. Travel time is typically around 3.5-5 hours. Tickets are reasonably priced if you purchase in advance.  Once in Bodø, you can choose a local bus, ferry, express boat or flight to reach the different islands.

Taking the train and driving are not recommended because it takes 2 full days of travel.

Planning a trip to the Lofoten islands?

Here are a few more guides and itinerary ideas to help you get started.