travel

Take a beach vacation in the Arctic

By David Nikel

Published October 8, 2018

Sonia Arrepia Photography/Visitnorway.com

Northern Norway may not spring instantly to mind for those planning a beach vacation.

Eirik-Ohna/www.nordnorge.co/Vestvaagoe/

Yet the golden sands of the remote Lofoten Islands draw tourists from around the world.

cabday/Foap/Visitnorway.com

The islands have a milder climate than their latitude suggests. The temperature is often compared to that of Seattle, 20 degrees farther south on the globe.

Sonia Arrepia Photography/Visitnorway.com

Backpackers, hikers, photographers and surfers are especially enthusiastic Lofoten tourists.

Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Seaweed-strewn sands, jagged mountain peaks and boulders fading into the waves create a dramatic setting for watersports and filmmakers alike.

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The summer offers a mild climate for camping.

Samuel Taipale/visitnorway.com

Many photographers hope to strike it lucky with a Northern Lights show in late winter or the fall.

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Unstad Beach is familiar to cold-water surfers. The Lofoten Masters, once a local gathering, is now an international event.

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As much as the beauty of Lofoten is a major tourist draw, local authorities are caught in a quandary. Each summer the complaints from locals get louder.

Courtesy Eirik Ohna / www.nordnorge.com

Norway's freedom to roam laws allow wild camping, but not all visitors clean after themselves and traffic is an increasing problem.

OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images