It’s easy to be captivated be the sheer beauty of the Lofoten Islands, and it’s no wonder that this is Norway’s most popular tourist destination during the summer months.
That said, the number of tourists also make for a crowded and busy visit. You won’t ever feel alone on Lofoten in the summer, no matter how far off the beaten path you travel. In addition, the high demand for accommodation and car rentals lead to high prices, making it a costly affair to visit Lofoten.
But don’t fear! There are actually several regions and areas in Norway that are very similar to Lofoten, but without the high number of tourists. We will be looking closer at the 8 best alternatives to Lofoten in this article, starting with it’s “little brother”.
Vesterålen is an island group located just north of Lofoten, and it has many similarities with the island group just south of it. You will often find Vesterålen referred to as “Lofoten’s little brother”, but don’t be fooled, it’s just as spectacular and amazing as Lofoten itself.
You can expect many of the same things in Vesterålen as you would in Lofoten, including beaches with ivory sand, dramatic mountains dropping into the ocean and pristine nature all around.
And as a bonus, there are fewer people in Vesterålen. Don’t ask us why, because we think that Vesterålen is just as great at Lofoten itself!
So what about going just a bit further north the next time and head for Vesterålen instead of Lofoten? I’m sure you won’t regret it!
Senja is one of Norway’s biggest islands, and is located just a short ride away from Tromsø. It’s a popular tourist attraction, and for a good reason.
You can expect to find incredible mountains that drops steeply down into the ocean below, and it’s an eldorado for hikers. It’s just as popular in the winter time when it becomes one of the best places to go off-piste skiing in all of Norway.
The island is much more than just mountains though. You will find wooden forests, inland lakes and untouched nature in the middle region of the island, so it’s a great place to put up your tent and use as a base for hiking.
You will also find some incredible beaches at Senja, but I must be honest and admit that it’s not as spectacular as Lofoten when it comes to the diversity of beaches.
If you’re the adventurous type, then Senja is going to be a great option for you, and one of the better alternatives to Lofoten.
3) The Helgeland Coast
The Helgeland Coast is an archipelago on the coast of north-western Norway, and considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the country.
One of the great ways to see the Helgeland Coast is to drive along it; the road takes you all the way trough the archipelago, and it’s considered one of Norway’s Scenic Roads.
Just driving along it makes for an incredible experience, especially if you’re not in a rush and are able to stop whenever you see a nice place to go explore. As an official Scenic Road, it’s filled with pretty cool rest stops that offer insights into the region.
The road itself is 200 kilometers long, and it’s going to blow you away with incredible views all the time.
The Vega Islands
A special area at the Helgeland Coast that is worth mentioning is the Vega Islands, a group is 6,500 islands that have made it on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Norway.
These islands are located just off the coast of Helgeland, and many of these small islands are just insanely beautiful, filled with incredible nature and awesome beaches.
I really urge everyone to get on a ferry to explore on of the many Vega islands if you have the time for it. You are going to be absolutely captivated by their beauty.
Sommarøy (can be translated to summer island) is an island just a short distance away from the big city Tromsø, and it’s absolutely one of the best contenders for the title of being one of the best alternatives to Lofoten.
The island has had a surge in popularity in the recent years, and I’m sure it will keep getting more popular as more people discover this hidden gem.
You will find white beaches that will remind you of the Caribbean next to picturesque small fishermen’s cabins all over the island, and these are far less crowded than the beaches at Lofoten.
One of the great things about Sommerøya is that it’s so close to Tromsø that you won’t need to spend the entire day on a ferry or in your car to get to it.
5) The Lyngen Alps
The Lyngen Alps are a mountain range known for it’s high peaks that drop directly down into the ocean below. It’s a spectacular sight, and can easily remind you of the dramatic mountains of the Lofoten islands.
But don’t be mistaken, the Lyngen Alps are far from as easy to hike as the mountains in Lofoten, so they are better suited for fit people who want a bigger challenge.
It’s the perfect destination for those of you who want the awesome nature of northern Norway, but also want a taste of challenging mountain hikes that can span multiple days.
The area is also very popular during the winter season where it turns into an amazing winter sport area that reminds you of the real Alps.
Ofoten is just a single letter away from being Lofoten, so they must surely be similar. But jokes asides, Ofoten is actually a pretty decent alternative to Lofoten, and it’s known for it’s big wilderness areas with very few people.
You can expect idyllic beaches with white sand just a short distance from raging mountains, making it the perfect picture of the dramatic nature of northern Norway.
It’s also a huge area with very little tourism, so you can get a more authentic experience by visiting Ofoten in the otherwise busy summer season.
Bremangerlandet is an island that reminds us a lot of Lofoten, but it’s surprisingly far south. As a matter of fact, this island is pretty close to Måløy, right in the middle of the pristine fjord regions of western Norway.
So if you want the Lofoten experience without actually travelling far north, Bremangerlandet might just be the perfect location for you. It’s home to nesting colonies of sea birds (like the puffins), several incredible beaches and spectacular mountains.
There’s something for everyone here, from just chilling at the beach (which is much warmer than in Lofoten) to hiking the awesome mountain tops nearby.
Engeløya can be directly translated to “Angel island”, and it’s a great destination if you want to explore the incredible and dramatic nature of northern Norway without feeling crowded at Lofoten.
The island itself is just south of Lofoten, and offers much of the same types of nature experiences as you would find in Lofoten. And don’t worry, Engeløya is reachable by car and bus since it’s connected by a bridge, even though it’s an island.
One of the major advantages of visiting Engeløya is that there are very few tourists there yet, so it’s easy to find an area to set up a wild camp and just enjoy the nature without being bothered by many other people.
The island is known to have a very relaxed atmosphere, so you can just chill out and forget about the time when you’re visiting Engeløya.
Protip: Rent a bike when visiting Engeløya. It’s the most interesting way to explore the rather small island!
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.