Getting to Lofoten
There are many options how to reach Lofoten, and often getting there can be part of the travel itself. (especially true for the option of travelling by Hurtigruten from Tromso to Svolvaer)
The least hassle way in my opinion is this option, and then you can also get a direct flight to Tromso from London, which is a handy way of getting there.
There are some gode tips on how to get to and around Lofoten here: http://iglobetrotter.com/norway/lofoten/lofoten-getting-there
In terms of base camp - I agree with Svolvaer, but Moskenes is also a good option!
Lofoten Light and Rainbows
One of the most beautiful things in Norway, and therefore in Lofoten too, is the light and the amazing feeling one gets just by watching the sky. The light changes colour and intesity so quickly and is so different throughout the day - absolutely unbelievable!
The rainbows are a rare sight too. We have been in the Lofoten Islands for less than a week and still managed to see three beautiful rainbows. Of course, we wondered how many tresures are burried where the rainbow drinks its water from in the Lofoten... The fondest memory must have been waking up close to the sea and seeing the sun up in the sky after a heavy rain and a thick rainbow running across in front of my window.
An artist's palette of blue and green
The Lofoten are a group of islands in Northen Norway. Their economy is based on tourism in summer and on cod (stockfish) in winter. From December to April cods leave the cold waters of the Barents Sea in millions to come to the Lofoten Islands more temperate shores to spawn: at the same time fishermen from all over Norway move temporarily here to fish them. What about summer? I believe it‘s the dramatic way the sea meets the mountains that attracts visitors here. The peaks are high, rugged and rocky, steep, barren, grey: little grows on them, other than saxyphrage and the occasional patch of green grass. They are like solitary sentinels looking out towards the sea. Where the mountains finish, the sea starts abruptly unexpected. The waters are crystal clear and painted in all possible hues of blue and green, interrupted only by the occasional deserted beaches or coves, of immaculate white sand. Beaches like one would not expect to see here... beaches that would look appropriate in the tropics only. In between mountains and sea human kind struggled to conquer a place to live on and to inhabit. Often people could find no appropriate ground and had to settle for the rocky shores, building their red Rorbus on precarious stilts, like the racks where they used to hang their cods to dry before selling them as stockfish. Many - Stamsund with his great hiking opportunities - A i Lofoten for the general charm and the excellent outdoor museum - Steine for great scenery and food, Kabelvag for more amazing landscapes and museums - Ramberg for its perfect crescent beach... and all the wonderful locations in between and around. There's perfect beauty in the Lfotoen islands
I picked up an excellent and informative guide to Flakstad and Moskenes, the southernmost islands of Lofoten, It was interesting in the guide to read about the efforts of local people to maintain the integrity and viability of their lives and communities. Cod fishing is on the decline, has been for a long time, and will probably only get more difficult in the future as the local fishing stock is further depleted and IF (or WHEN) Norway joins the European Community and become subject to a completely new set of environmental and economic regulations. As in so many other places in our globalizing world, the local population here is turning to tourism - however warily - as a response to the erosion of their economic base. Yet mass tourism would destroy the very character and essence of Lofoten which is worth preserving. "The struggle for fish resources has been going on for a long time. It started 1000 years ago - concerning to right to export, and later process the fish - and it has continued over the past 50 years with the right to catch the fish. . . Fishing has always formed the basis of settlement here. The struggle for this resource will determine the continued existence of our small coastal communities. We ask visitors to help us take care of our settlements and our environment."
The Lofoten Adventure
There's a big festival "Lofot-eventyret" going on every year in Svolvær, throughout the last days of March.
All kinds of fish and fishery related events, music, cafés, entertainment, exhibitions. The programme for 2003 looked really fun and creative. I also noticed that the Svolvær hotels lowered the prices for accomodation, while the festival goes on. So maybe a great time to visit Lofoten, check out the dates for next year.
Link to their website, but unfortunately only in Norwegian:
Immediately after this festival, the annual
World Cup in "skrei" fishing is held, also in Svolvær. The skrei is the special, famous kind of cod which every winter comes in flocks into Lofoten, and which has been the reason of the big, legendary Lofoten Fisheries, which gave life to the whole region through generations.