Photo: October snow flurries pass over Veggen and Himmeltindan, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. October 8, 2023. 15:08
As I wrote in last weeks post, the weekend’s north wind brought winter like snow flurries across Lofoten and icy roads across much of northern Norway. The temperature has warmed up slightly since then and heavy rain has fallen this week, but with the sun ever lower in the sky, one can sense that winter is not far away.
On the icy roads of Leknes Monday afternoon I noticed quite a few European motorhomes and camper vans still around the islands, and almost all still with summer tires on. This is getting a little risky so late in the year, and snow is already starting to fill up the mountain passes required to exit Lofoten – unless one plans to take the Hurtigruten all the way down to Bergen. Though the official date for winter tires in Northern Norway is October 15, it is expected that one drives as the conditions demand. If Norwegians crash in wintry conditions with summer tires on, they will lose their driving license on the spot. The police are nicer to foreigners though, who won’t have their license confiscated.
For those on a road trip on Lofoten at this time of year and waiting to see when you need to drive south, the weather of Lofoten itself is deceptive, as the islands are quite mild compared to the mountain areas required to leave Lofoten and reach Europe. I can see on the webcams that it looks like full winter over Bjørnfjell – Riksgränsen pass on the E10 east to Sweden. The E6 south over Saltfjellet is maintaining below freezing temperatures as well. This only leaves the coastal FV 17 road as a possible route south avoiding winter conditions at the moment. Though one will still need to pass over the high mountains on the E6 south of Trondheim, where winter is also fast approaching.
If you plan to stick around the north, I would suggest picking up a pair of winter tires soon – which can be bought from most gas stations around Lofoten. Though be prepared for a bit of a price shock if you’re not used to Norwegian prices!
Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north
Nikon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6