Accommodation Notes

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Updated December 22 2005

We took a tent, but tried to find a rorbu or sjøhus for each night, booking ahead the day before.  For these, you will generally be expected to bring your own sheets or sleeping bag, but you may be able to rent them.  Self catering is the rule, especially out of town. More popular places will have staff on hand, less frequented ones will display a board on the road with a mobile number on it and will be more fun to stay in.  Once or twice we arrived late at night on a ferry and had to book into a hotel. The hotel industry in the area seems to exist for coach parties and commercial travellers ~ since occupancy rates are low, the price per night is crippling for budget travellers.

The best accommodation guide I could find for the region on the Internet was the Adobe pdf document produced by the Nordland tourist board; this is usually available in printed form from the tourist offices in Svolvær, Moskenes, and Bodø.  Naturally a Google search for "overnatting rorbu nordland lofoten" or similiar will turn up other options, but at least the telephone numbers in the leaflet are accurate.

Henningsvær Bryggehotel 8132 Henningsvær

Night 3 - Monday 25 July

The white building on stilts in this picture.

1220 kr for a strange damp room with a gallery up a ladder with two small beds for kids, and a double bed at the foot of the ladder for adults, plus an ensuite bathroom below the gallery.  No curtains upstairs, so not good for sleeping in since it is bright all night. They sorted out a separate room for Janet and P. when we raised this as a concern, and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Bikes can be locked up outside on the porch. The hotel is right over the water and is in a quiet location, not that the town is particularly noisy.

Nyvågar Robuhotel, Storvagen 22 8310 Kabelvag

N 68° 12.31.8' EO 14° 27.002'

Night 2 - Sunday 24 July

1500kr, but I would say well worth the price for a deluxe white pine clad apartment with a fine view and loverly tranquil surroundings in mint condition.  Lots of nice touches here; the staff are friendly and the breakfast buffet bar is excellent. Self catering with the option of a meal at the restaurant for the super rich.  Given its location in Kabelvåg it would be a great base for a week's holiday; given the cost it seems to me only 30% occupied even in the peak season.

Svolvær Sjøhuscamping, Parkgata, 8300 Svolvær

N 68° 14.062' EO 14° 34.215'

Night 1 - Sunday 24 July

Much more reasonably priced at around 550 kr for three in a room with two bunks in it, over the water. Its key benefit is being five minutes from the quay in Svolvær if you follow the boardwalk to the left of the square (when facing the sea), the drawback is that it is a Lonely Planet pick and therefore fully booked in peak season, so call in advance (they wanted confirmation of our booking before we landed from Bodo).  Parkgata is tricky to find on a bike for some reason, but then all the roads in the town are weird; they aren't at the same level and tend not to join up to each other. Much easier if you go along the boardwalk.  The Sjøhus has two floors, each with a kitchen with cooker and fridge, plus several shower/toilet rooms. There's an additional building now too.  It's run by hired hands during the summer months who are tired of seeing a new influx of backpackers every night, but the owner is about in the background and is very helpful. Some cheapish hybrid bikes with rear racks for hire here.

P. soon discovered the fishing hole in the floor (accessible if the rag rug is pulled back and a wooden block lifted).  We spent a lot of time trying to entice him away from falling through it into the water below.

Noisy enough with gulls and late arrivals ~ bring earplugs.

Brustranda Sjøcamping

N 68° 12' 13.1'' EO 13° 52' 58.8''

Night 4 - Wednesday 27 July

Cabins and caravans with a restaurant and gift shop attached (the owner loves polished rock crystals and has a vast collection of kitsch for sale).  Small cabin with 20 watt bulb, table and three stools, combined sink/cooker unit and running water for 450 kr. The cabins in the picture here are I believe for weekly lets and and are vastly more expensive than you can afford.

This place doesn't need to try very hard because it is in a good midpoint location on the coast between Stamsund and Henningsvær so people have no option but to stay unless they can complete the journey in a day. I didn't enjoy staying in the cabin we rented.  It was tiny, damp and very dimly lit - but then again we stayed on a really wet and miserable night.  Perhaps it is the vast number of tourists that the owners see every week that contributes to its slightly offputting atmosphere.

Sjøstrand Rorbuer & Sjøhus NO-8373 BALLSTAD

Ballstad arrival

Night 5 - Thursday 28th July

700 kr for two rooms and a spacious downstairs kitchen/dining room, with TV, fridge, and electric cooker.

Hosts Marianne and Børge were very welcoming; they own two buildings on the shore in front of their house.  Ballstad is the departure point for the Ballstad-Nusfjord Bicycle Ferry which runs every day at 13:00 from Kræmmervika Rorbuer just up the road.  There's not much else to the town apart from a small supermarket, which is located opposite the big boat shed.

Lydersen Rorbuer & Sjøhus

Night 6 - Friday 29th July

450 kr for a large room with two bunk beds, dinner table, sofa and chairs, electric cooker, fridge and sink. The hostel-like building has communal showers and baths and sleeps about 40.

Fredvang is conveniently situated between Reine and Nusfjord but doesn't have a huge amount to commend it to the cyclist, other than its bakery.

Toppøy Rorbuer N-8390 Reine i Lofoten +47 900 35 419 / 76 09 21 43


Night 7 - Saturday 30th July

Reine is incredibly scenic.

Toppøy Rorbuer is managed for the owner during the summer; keys are available from Michael or his mother Dagmar at the Doll's Museum in Reine.   We stayed at Tömmerbua, and it was wonderful; very well appointed and seemingly entirely handmade from driftwood, with little personal touches throughout.  The building isn't large, and it is split into two ... so if the other side is taken by a party you may find it quite noisy (it's just wooden beams and planks so footsteps tend to make the whole place rattle!).  To make up for this, you can fish from the front door and the water is a fantastic turquoise colour in the sunshine.  

Prices from 550-1150 kr per cabin


Hov Feriegård, 8314 Gimsøysand

From their website, "This is a living farm with milk produksjon. we have cows and calfs and eaven rabbits, cats and goats for the children."

675 kr for two rooms and exclusive use of the kitchen and bathroom. The farm has a low single-story prefab-like Annexe with four or five rooms off a single corridor with a kitchen and bathroom at the end, plus another plusher building that is rented by the week.  Self catering in both. We had exclusive use of the prefab, not sure whether this is always the case.   The prefab was fine, and the farm is in front of a lovely white sandy beach and a golf driving range.  The farm also has a new trampoline if anyone has any energy left over after riding to Hov. P. loved rounding up the frisky young goats, which frequently escaped from the pen in the garden and made for the succulent vegetable patch.   The woman running the farm is very warm and friendly and made a big fuss of us. 

Hov Feriegård is in a very convenient position geographically for breaking up the journey down the islands, and seems to be the only place that one can stay in on Gimsøy this year; beware however that the road to Hov is unsealed and can be difficult to ride if the surface is in a poor condition; parts of the island have a sealed road to them however.  

Skippergården Camping
8316 Laukvik
Tel. 76075197

N 68° 14.062' EO 14° 34.215'

Kjell and Audhild Schultz made us feel extremely welcome after a difficult day of cycling.  Kjell was particularly patient with me because I had to ring him a couple of times to change dates and later to warn him that we were making slow progress towards him in the early evening before we eventually arrived. 

The cabins were well appointed and reasonably priced (around the 350 kr mark) with an ensuite bathroom and well-equipped kitchen. The one we stayed in was clean and snug.  We got the feeling that the site attracted a lot of repeat visits. Skippergården has five huts plus camping, and I understand from the website that there's possibly also accommodation in the main building.

Laukvik is a good logical point to stop with a day's ride to Svolvær to go if you are looking for the quiet route through Grunforfjorden from the Vesteralen islands (road may be poor if you do go this quieter way though)

Vesterålen Hotel & Kongressenter AS
Postboks 413
8455 STOKMARKNES 76 15 06 00

When we arrived in Stokmarknes in the wee small hours from the Hurtigruten, the rain was coming down in sheets and crazy young men were hurtling past us in old cars, apparently playing chicken with each other.  My abiding image of the hotel is of the reception desk, hence the picture;  they actually planned for us to stay in one of their cabins on the outskirts of town but there was no way we were going to run the gauntlet of the torrential rain and the mad motorists in the dark.  They put us up in a suite because they didn't have any rooms with three beds, so P. slept on a thermarest mattress in the sitting room. Everything is scuffed dark wood panelling or unsympathetic concrete, so I'd suggest you try the cabins if you get the opportunity.  The cost was somewhere in the region of 1500 kr for the night.

There's a retired coastal steamer from the 1950's (the M/S Finnmarken) in permanent dry dock attached to the hotel which is worth a visit.  The complex also boasts a wonderful Hurtigruten museum (quite moving) and a gift shop (very tacky).

Bodøsjøen Camping Kvernhusveien 1 Bodøsjøen +47 75 56 36 80.

Classic first night and last night springboard for arriving and departing from Bodø. Ok, so the smaller cabins don't have running water, but they are snug and quiet and the site has everything you need (including a laundry block and spacious kitchens).   The site is also good for camping and caravaning and is popular with fishermen and families. Expect to pay 350-400 kr for a small cabin with two beds, a sofa, and electric cooking ring and not much else, but this is pretty cheap for the city and the location is quiet (it is next to the airport, but the planes are few and far between and don't fly at night).  Helpful staff will also look after excess baggage for you while you are cycling as long as it isn't too burdensome. The Bodøsjøen peninsular is home to an unusual outdoor museum of old wooden buildings within a five minute walk from your cabin door, perfect for an evening stroll.  Also plenty of seabirds and seashore to explore beside the campsite.  Larger three-room cabins with ensuite also available for about 700 kr.

Justad Rorbuer og Vandrerhjem
Postboks 110 Hartvågen
8378 Stamsund

Roar's hostel is a veritable institution with a twenty-five year history of putting up budget travellers from around the world.  Roar himself doesn't seem to have aged much since I first stayed here in 1991.  He is still warm-hearted, monosyllabic, and completely unfathomable.  He seems to charge for rooms on the basis of how he takes to you, but it's well worth a detour to Stamsund.  Fishing trips in small rowing boats or on his larger motor vessel are positively encouraged, most of the time the other occupants are all in boats dotted around on the sea nearby or basking in the sunshine on the wooden decking in front of the hostel.


Mobbed by goats at dawn while free camping in the Lofoten Islands, 2004


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