INTRODUCTION TO WILD CAMPING ON LOFOTEN
The Lofoten Islands, like the rest of Norway, enjoy the right of access to the countryside known as ‘Allemannsretten,’ or ‘every man’s right.’ This means that nearly all uninhabited lands are open for recreation and camping. Restricted areas are cultivated fields, yards, animal enclosures, and within 100 meters of any building or dwelling. As a common rule, be respectful when on others’ land and, when in doubt about camping, ask for permission. However, just because you ask, does not mean permission will be granted, as was expected by some campers when they wanted to camp on a friend’s front lawn and were astonished to find they couldn’t.
Due to the impact of the high concentration of tourists during the summer months, there are some areas where it is asked that one does not camp; mostly at beach parking spots along the E-10. While at other popular places a small fee is required, such as at the popular beaches of Eggum, Unstad, and Utakleiv, though there is no developed campground.
There are numerous developed campgrounds throughout the Islands. These are helpful if you want the luxury of a shower or a kitchen to cook in while it’s raining outside. My favorite campground is Skagen Camping at Flakstad, situated on the grassy dunes on the edge of Skagsanden beach. Most campgrounds are only open during the main tourist season, typically May-Sept.
Wild camping is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoor experience of the Lofoten Islands, most especially in summer. While there is plenty of wild land available, it can often be a struggle to find a both flat and dry spot to pitch a tent, as most flat ground tends to be either boggy or too rocky. The best places for pitching a tent tend to be at the beaches along the northern coast, as they often have large, flat areas of grassy turf. These can be drive-up, car camping beaches such as Utakleiv or Eggum, or hike in locations like Kvalvika or Bunes. An added benefit of camping along the coast is there is typically no shortage of driftwood for that evening campfire – though as it will likely still be daylight at 11:00 pm, a summer campfire sort of looses a bit of its ambiance.
Leave No Trace
The summer of 2016 has been quite a busy one and locals are becoming annoyed at the poor behavior by some visitors. This has involved camping in cemeteries and other forbidden areas, as well as a growing collection of toilet paper and tissue across the islands as every tree and rock becomes used for a toilet – even near lakes used as local drinking water. If someone is able to see more than a few footprints and perhaps some matted grass from where your tent was, your are making too much of an impact! Lofoten is a fragile arctic environment, treat it is such…
Do not be the person who causes new laws on regulations to be passed due to poor behavior.
Camping supplies and stove gas cannisters can be found at the following locations:
Intersport – Storgata 5
Skandinavisk – Torvgata 2
Sport1 – Gamle Riksvei 21,
Skandinavisk – Håkon Kyllingmarksgate 3
Sport1 – Lofotgata 33
StatOil – Repslagergata 20
Intersport – Lekneskroken 9a
Sport1 – Storgata 8
StatOil – Reine Center