How To Get To Lofoten (Full Guide & Multiple Options)

Lofoten is one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations, but getting there can be a bit of a hassle since it’s far from all the big cities in Norway. So, let’s take a close look at what you can expect you are want to get to Lofoten, and which types of transportation fit your needs.

There are plenty of different options for getting to Lofoten, and the most common ones are to travel to Bodø and take the ferry from Bodø to Svolvær or Mosknes in Lofoten. Other options are to fly directly from Bodø to Svolvær or Leknes, or to Harstad/Narvik Evenes and drive a bus or rental car from there.

All these different options have both positive sides as well as drawbacks, and we will be looking closer at the pros and cons of each method of transportation to get to Lofoten.

I found it a bit confusing the first time I traveled to Lofoten, but hopefully this article will make your planning a bit easier. But be prepared for either a long time on public transport, a long car ride, or having to buy plane tickets. It’s not the easiest place to get to, but it’s well worth it once you’re finally at the beautiful destination!

PS. I got a short travel summary for getting to Lofoten from all the major Norwegian cities at the bottom, so check those out if you want a cheat sheet.

Reine Lofoten 1
Reine village in Lofoten. Photo published with permission.

Getting from Bodø (airport) to Lofoten

Bodø is the biggest city close to Lofoten, and the airport has departures from all the major cities in Norway. You can catch a flight from Oslo, Bergen or Trondheim to Bodø pretty easy, and it’s not going to be very expensive either. It’s also possible to ride the train, buses or drive to Bodø yourself.

If you’re going to Lofoten, chances are that Bodø is going to be your first stop. This is where most of the ferries and local planes depart from, so it’s a good place to aim for as the first stage of the trip. So, get to Bodø, then change transportation there for the final part of the journey.

Bodø
Bodø. Photo by Røed / CC BY-SA 2.5.

Fly from Bodø to Lofoten

The airport in Bodø is located just a few kilometers away from the main city center, and it’s a hub of connection flights that take you straight to Lofoten if you want to. You have two different options when it comes to flying from Bodø to Lofoten, and can fly to either Leknes or Svolvær.

Leknes airport to Lofoten

There are flights between Bodø and Leknes during the summer. Leknes is pretty much in the middle of Lofoten, so it’s a great place to start exploring the region. The downside to this is that the plane ticket is pretty expensive, so feel free to do it if you get a good deal or just have some extra money to spare.

Svolvær airport to Lofoten

Svolvær is also in Lofoten, and a great place to start exploring at the one end of the island group. Again, only Bodø airport has connecting flights, so feel free to buy an expensive plane ticket to Svolvær if you don’t want to take the express ferry.

I personally don’t really see any good reason to fly to Svolvær if you get a ferry ticket. The ferry ride is pretty amazing in my opinion, but I suppose you might save a few hours and some hassle by choosing to fly the plane instead. In this case you won’t even need to go down into Bodø, and can just stay at the airport until your flight is ready.

Svolvær airport
Svolvær airport. Photo by Algkalv / CC BY 3.0.

The express ferries from Bodø to Lofoten

Most people opt for the express ferry when traveling from Bodø to Lofoten, since it’s a very scenic ride that is much more affordable than plane tickets. Make sure to book tickets well in advance if you are planning on visiting Lofoten in the middle of summer, since it tends to fill up quickly.

You can ride the ferry either with or without a car, but you will want to leave your car on the ferry to go to the cafeteria to chill out and have a coffee and a svele.

There are two ferry options. One takes you to Svolvær, and the other to Mosknes.

The ferry to Svolvær is called Nordlandsekspressen (NEX2), and you can find departure times at this website by clicking on the tab called “Regionale hurtigbåtruter” then choose NEX2. It leaves once daily during the summer season, and takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes in total.

The ferry to Mosknes is ran by Torghatten Nord, and takes about 4 hours in total. This also tends to be pretty full in the summer, so book well in advance to make sure you get a spot. You can book tickets from Torghatten Nord’s website by clicking here. The Mosknes ferry is the most popular ones for tourists who are traveling to Lofoten.

Lofoten express ferry between Bodø and Mosknes
Lofoten express ferry between Bodø and Mosknes. Photo by rheins / CC BY 3.0.

Driving from Bodø to Lofoten

I would not really recommend driving from Bodø to Lofoten, because it’s a bit of a hassle to get there. You will need to either drive a long way or use the ferry, so the best option for getting your car from Bodø to Lofoten is to ride the ferry with your car directly to Lofoten.

That said, it’s entierly possible to drive from Bodø to Lofoten if you feel like it, or the Lofoten express ferries are fully booked.

If you are driving yourself, drive E6 towards Bognes and ride the ferry to Lødingen from there. This ferry is about a 3 hour drive from Bodø, and then the ferry ride itself is another hour.

When you arrive in Lødingen, drive towards Lofast until you get to Lofoten. The drive from Lødingen is only 1.5 hours away from Svolvær. On other words, be prepared for 8 – 9 hours of travel when driving from Bodø to Lofoten when you include the wait at the harbor in Bognes.

Read more: How many does should you spend in Lofoten?

Harstad/Narvik Evenes airport to Lofoten

If you don’t want to stop at Bodø, flying to the Harstad/Narvik Evenes airport is your best option.

The airport is also close to Lofoten, and you can get from the airport to Lofoten in about 3 hours. There are bus departures that take you from the airport to Svolvær, and you can of course choose to pick up a car rental at the airport instead.

Aerial view of Harstad
Aerial view of Harstad. Photo published with permission.

The travel time from the airport to the first destinations in Lofoten is only around 3 hours, and you can ride Flybussen’s bus line all the way to most of the bigger towns in Lofoten. Expect to pay around 350 – 400 NOK for a single adult ticket from Evenes to Lofoten.

Here’s a more detailed article about getting from Harstad/Narvik Evenes to Lofoten.

One of the major reasons to travel to Lofoten from Harstad/Narvik airport is that you don’t have to ride the ferry, so it’s perfect for those of you that are afraid of boats and ferries. It’s also often a decent option if you are traveling from northern Norway and are heading south towards Lofoten.

PS. you don’t need to actually stop by Harstad city when driving from the airport to Lofoten, but it’s well worth a few hours if you got a rental car and want to experience a medium sized city in northern Norway.

Driving to Lofoten

You can do a road trip from anywhere in Norway and head towards Lofoten. Your first goal should be to get to Bodø, and then either drive to Lødingen to catch the ferry from there and drive along the beautiful islands, or just ride the ferry all the way from Bodø to Mosknes or Svolvær.

Mosknes in Lofoten
Mosknes in Lofoten. Photo by Petr Šmerkl, Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Driving all the way from Oslo is a pretty long journey, and it is expected to take around 16 to 18 hours of driving in total. There will be plenty of toll booths along the way, so be prepared for some additional expenses. You can get to Lofoten without riding a ferry if you really want it, but it will take much longer if you’re coming from the south.

Here’s a guide on getting from the major cities in Norway to Bodø. You can pretty much drive on E6 the entire trip from Oslo, so it’s a very easy route.

Riding a train to Lofoten

You can easily get to Lofoten by train if you want, and you pretty much ride the train to Bodø, then catch the ferry from Bodø to either Mosknes or Svolvær. The train to Bodø departs from Trondheim, so you might need to switch train in Trondheim if you are travelling from Oslo or other parts of Southern Norway.

You don’t need two separate tickets, so buy a train ticket from Oslo to Bodø. There are no train tracks north of Bodø, so you depart at the final destination.

Nordlandsbanen
Nordlandsbanen, the train railroad between Trondheim and Bodø. Photo is somewhere close to Dalselv. Photo by: David Gubler / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Getting from the major cities in Norway to Lofoten as easy as possible

If you just want to get to Lofoten from the big cities in Norway as easily as possible without worrying about all the different options, here’s a short summary for you!

Get from Oslo to Lofoten

The quickest way from Oslo to Lofoten is to catch a plane from Oslo to Bodø. Ride the express ferry from Bodø to either Mosknes or Svolvær, and you’re already in Lofoten. The plane ride is around an hour and a half, and can cost as little as around 1.000 NOK.

Other options are to ride the train to Bodø (takes about 18 hours), or drive your car along E6 all the way to Bodø (takes around 18 hours), then jump on the express ferry (an additional 4 hours).

Henningsvær
Henningsvær in Lofoten. Photo published with permission.

Get from Stavanger to Lofoten

It’s a bit difficult to get from Stavanger to Lofoten. You will probably want to ride an airplane, but you will have a layover in either Bergen or Oslo. This makes the trip around 3 hours until you are in Bodø, where you must change to the express ferry to get to Mosknes in Lofoten.

Driving from Stavanger to Lofoten is not really recommended, and you can expect around 24 hours of drive time. This will be a long and pretty demanding car ride that will take you along lots of fjords and mountain passes. So only do this if you want to see a lot of Norway, and be aware that there are plenty of better options for actually getting to Lofoten easily.

The same goes for the train ride. To ride the train from Stavanger to Bodø, you first need to ride the train to Oslo, then change there.

Get from Bergen to Lofoten

To get from Bergen to Lofoten easily, ride the airplane from Bergen airport Flesland to Bodø, then get on the express ferry to get to Lofoten. The flight time is only 1 hour and 30 minutes, and is usually reasonably priced.

Bergen has some of the same issues as Stavanger when it comes to both car and trains. It’s a bit of a hassle to drive from Bergen to Bodø, but it’s possible if you are up for a difficult ride that has a lot of amazing scenery. Expect to spend around 20 hours driving to Bodø.

Unstand Lofoten
A beach close to Unstand in Lofoten. Photo published with permission.

Get from Trondheim to Lofoten

Trondheim is a lot closer to Lofoten than most of the major cities in southern Norway, and the quickest way of getting from Trondheim to Lofoten is to ride the plane to Bodø, then change to the express ferry to Mosknes or Svolvær there.

You can also drive from Trondheim to Bodø pretty easily by following E6 north for around 9 hours, or get on the train between the two cities.

Get from Tromsø to Lofoten

It’s pretty easy to get from Tromsø to Lofoten if you got a car, and the 6 hour drive is pretty amazing. Drive south on E6 until you get to Narvik, then change to E10. Keep driving on E10 until you are in Lofoten! You can also choose to book a plane ticket from Tromsø to Bodø, then get on the express ferry to Lofoten in Bodø.

It’s much more difficult to get from Tromsø to Lofoten with public transport, and it does not seem like there are any direct routes. Your best bet is to ride a bus to Narvik, the change buses in Narvik to get to Lofoten.

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