The Norweigian fjords have forever portrayed Norway as a country of natural beauty, with its magnificent dramatic landscapes surrounded by many deep narrow waterways which meander inland off the North Atlantic Ocean. With such a magnificent coastline which stretches the entirety of the country, there was a need to pick out a specific region which was feasible to explore and enjoy within a week.
As the geographical centre of Lofoten, and with so much to do and see in Vestvagoy, there was no doubt that we would stay somewhere on the island but the question was where? This decision is made very easy and simple when you have seen Hattvika lodge.
"Renovated traditional Rorbeurs, which were originally fishermen’s cottages"
Located on the small island of Ballstad connected to mainland Vestvagoy, Hattvika Lodge is an unbelievable place to stay as it provides the complete authentic Lofoten experience. With 12 recently renovated traditional Rorbeurs, which were originally fishermen’s cottages built over the water dating back to the 1880s, their setup has been beautifully thought out creating the perfect combination between retaining the old traditional style whilst offering a luxurious modern and comfortable interior.
As a family business, run by an amazing couple who are proud of what they offer (and so they should be), the experience they provide is exceptional which is clearly driven towards perfection, wanting to create a unique and memorable stay like no other. Unlike most others Rorbeur accommodations they did not just provide us with a beautiful traditional fisherman’s cottage but were also enthusiastic in us being able to take away a true feeling for the Lofoten Islands. Welcomed into their warm private restaurant, which is also a beautifully restored fisherman’s cottage from the 1880s, it was so humbling and refreshing how Kristian sat down with us for a couple of hours where we were able to just get to know each other and enjoy a few cups of coffee as the snow pelted down outside. As a local and expert of the area, he was able to give us a great insight into the area with all the must-dos and places to visit, along with some of Lofoten’s fascinating history.
As well as venturing out and doing some exploring alone, Hattvika lodge do also provide the opportunity to go out and enjoy a number of outdoor activities with Kristian who has the knowledge, experience and training to take you on some amazing trips which include fishing, hiking, skiing, SUP and kayaking.
Ballstad is a coastal village inhabited on an island off the east coast of the Lofoten Archipelago. Completely surrounded by water and with the mountains of Nonstinden and Skottinden just over the bridge, it provides the perfect playground for outdoor activities and adventures. As well as a great destination for tourists, it is also a key village for many locals as it is known to being one of the largest fishing villages in Lofoten. Home to many local fishing boats, if you are brave enough to face the choppy waters, there is also the opportunity to go out on a fishing trip in search of that iconic Atlantic Cod.
Having visited during the winter months in order to capture and enjoy the islands snowfall there is also the need to be patient with the frequently changing weather conditions before you can leave the comforts of your warm, cosy cabins to relish the unspoiled, fresh outdoors.
Each and every break in the unforgiving winter conditions in the Lofotens is most certainly your opportunity to see somewhere new as it never really lasts all too long. A clear and crisp early morning wake up call gave us the opportunity to take on the challenging steep climb of Nonstinden through knee deep snow up to the ridge which was most certainly worth it when rewarded with breath-taking views of the entirety of Ballstad; whether it be in the metaphorical terms due to the million dollar, well in this case million Krone views, or in the literal sense having climbed up a steep 2km uneven narrow track against the cold winds.
For something a little less strenuous there are also the sheltered waters on the west of the island where you are able to enjoy the calm waters in kayaks or on SUP boards when shelter is needed from strong Atlantic winds.
As well as a great destination within itself, it is also not too much of a drive to venture across to the west coast which has some nice beaches such as Uttakliev and Unstad which are renowned as great surf spots. En-route to uttakliev is also the stunning white sand, horse-shoe Haukland Beach which is lined with imposing mountains, and despite being the middle of winter it was still enjoyable to spend some time on it, albeit wearing multiple layers of clothing.
Although the Lofoten Islands are made up of a fair number of different islands extending off the coast, the impressive infrastructure in place connects each and every land mass via tunnels and bridges which makes exploring Lofoten so easy and enjoyable.
From Vestvagoy to Flakstadoy, a great day out and an easy and picturesque half an hours drive from Ballstad to the heart of the neighbouring island. An unforgettable 6km detour off the main E10 will wind you along some soaring mountains past the Storvatnet lake and then along the base of fjord arm to the sheltered prized village of Nusfjord.
As one of the oldest and what was once one of the most important fishing villages in Lofoten, Nusfjord has a settlement which dates back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Unfortunately, due to its restricted size and the increase in fishing on a more industrial scale, the tiny tucked away harbour of Nusfjord lost its importance due the diminishing influx of fish that it was once used to. Despite the loss of trade, the small coastal town received the necessary protection in order to preserve its history and is today described as one of the best preserved fishing villages. What were once fishermen’s cabins used by the locals during its hype of the fishing trade have today been restored into charming fishing huts for visitors and still sit amongst the listed buildings which were essential buildings for the trade. These include boat houses, a cod liver oil factory and a power station. With a lack of modern construction, the way in which the vibrant cabins intertwine with each other as they stand firm above the dark unforgiving cold winter ocean really gives it its unique charm and is great to see how it has retained its history so well.