Lofoten Islands

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An Arctic Archipelago

The Lofoten Islands tumble southwesterly from the coast of northern Norway in a wall of jagged and breathtaking peaks. Though they draw summer tourists from all over, the foundation of the economy is still in cod fishing, as it was in the time of the Vikings.

Reine harbor

The harbor at Reine is so striking that its portrait graces the cover of our cruising guide.

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sunrise and sunset
Above the Arctic Circle, it's daytime for several months. Here's how sunrise and sunset are reported on the weather forecast. About five o'clock in the afternoon is also usually the warmest time of the day.
cod fishing
Cod fishing is the foundation of the Lofoten economy. It's a winter fishing season, and 25,000 guest fishermen join the 3,000 local fishermen to catch 35,000 tons of cod. They're dried on racks, boxed locally, and most of it is shipped to Italy and Spain.
Lofotr Viking Museum
In 1981, a farmer plowed up an 83-meter (273-foot) dwelling of a Viking chieftain. Further excavations revealed the workings of a Viking community, and ruins that go back to the Iron Age. The building pictured is a reconstruction of the chieftain's abode, adjacent to the original location, which is still under excavation.
Wood carving at Lofotr
The Viking site at Borg is now a living museum, where workers recreate the cultural experience for visitors. Here, an artisan carves a table leg that will be used to furnish the museum's display of life in a Viking village. Elsewhere, a blacksmith forges tools, and a cauldron boils in the center of a room, providing both heat and lamb soup for the visitors.
Viking ship
The Vikings were fantastic navigators, merchants, and yes, warriors and pirates, and their reach extended to Newfoundland in North America as well as Russia's Volga River, Baghdad, and Constantinople (now Istanbul). This replica of a longship demonstrates how exposed the sailors were to the sea and weather on their long trips across the North Atlantic. There was no inside cabin, either.
Queen Sonja
Queen Sonja of Norway opened the Lofoten International Art Festival in Svolvær while we were visiting the town. We encountered her ─ or her entourage ─ two more times during our visit to the islands.
Lofoten International Art Festival
The Lofoten International Art Festival 2008 celebrated the sustainability of the fragile and beautiful Lofoten ecosystem. You'll be happy to know that the refuse cascading out of this building was a statement, not a dumpster, and that all of those stray pages were secured. Even the island winds didn't release them.
Glassblowers
The beauty and serenity of the Lofoten Islands draw artists at all times of the year. Here in Henningsvær, two glassblowers make a candlestick that will then take its place on the shelves of the shop/gallery.