Midnight Sun Safari Lofoten, Nordland, Norway
Late May through mid-July, the midnight sun’s perpetual rays produce around-the-clock daylight in northern Norway’s Lofoten archipelago. Located in the Norwegian Sea north of the Arctic Circle, fairy-tale Lofoten, with its jagged peaks and quaint fishing hamlets, is the departure point for magical midnight sun safaris. One of the most spectacular options is a midnight voyage to open water, where the goldenrod sky appears to melt seamlessly into the shimmering sea. “Experiencing the landscape and wildlife in the extraordinary light and colors from the midnight sun is spectacular,” says Camilla Figenschou of Lofoten Adventure, a nature outfitter offering 2.5-hour midnight safaris departing at 10 p.m. The safari, which begins in the Henningsvær village harbor, passes seal and cormorant colonies and often provides breathtaking views of white-tailed sea eagles swooping down—wings (up to eight feet across) and talons extended—to snatch unsuspecting fish from the sea.
How to Get Around: Lofoten consists of seven main islands. The closest airport with daily service from Oslo is Harstad/Narvik Airport Evenes, located about 2.5 hours east. Rent a car at the airport to drive to Lofoten (the LOFAST road connects the mainland to the islands) or take the public bus. In Lofoten, travel options include ferries, passenger boats, public buses, and rental bikes, kayaks, and cars.
Where to Stay: Many of Lofoten’s traditional, barn-red, wood rorbu (fishermen’s cottages) have been restored as guest cabins. At Eliassen Rorbuer on the tiny island of Hamnøyin, there are 26 tidy, one- and two-bedroom cabins equipped with compact kitchens and living rooms, bunk beds, and, inexplicably, Wi-Fi. For unobstructed fjord and mountain views, book a unit perched on stilts at water’s edge. No linens are provided, so bring your own or pay the rental fee.
Where to Eat: Fiskekrogen’s location on Henningsvær harbor make this popular fish house a convenient choice for a pre-midnight safari meal. Try a traditional northern Norway dish, such as Lofoten Boknafisk: semi-dried cod chunks topped with diced stewed carrots and bacon and served with boiled potatoes and dollops of pea purée.
What to Buy: Artists have drawn inspiration from the Lofoten landscape since the 1880s, when large panoramic paintings displayed in Germany, Paris, and London introduced the world to the archipelago. Learn about Lofoten’s artistic evolution, and purchase island-inspired paintings, photographs, posters, and postcards in the gift shop of Galleri Lofoten Hus. Housed in a restored Henningsvær fish cannery, the gallery showcases a permanent collection of more than a hundred works by notable north Norwegian artists, including Karl Erik Harr and Gunnar Berg.
What to Read Before You Go: The Fellowship of Ghosts (Picador, 2006) chronicles novelist Paul Watkins’ solitary hiking-camping odyssey among Norway’s mountains and fjords.
Helpful Links: Visit Norway
Fun Fact: Lofoten Golf Links is the only golf course in the world where—for more than two months of the year—you can play in natural light all day and night. Thanks to the midnight sun and the seaside course’s location on the 68th parallel, midnattgolf season extends from late May to early August.
Travel With Us: Explore Norway’s fjords and Arctic Svalbard on a small-ship expedition with National Geographic. >>
- Best Of
Best Summer Trips 2014
This year’s list of 10 best summer trips showcases some of the world’s wildest places.