All of my life, I have been attracted to the Far North, at first to Alaska but also to Scandinavia. There is nothing quite like north-latitude light for photography. This tour captures the essence of the landscape of northern Norway. Lofoten, an archipelago situated at the 68th and 69th parallel, features startlingly rugged peaks, breaktaking fjords and beaches. Sea eagles criss-cross the skies. In recent years–luckily for visitors–some of the homes in this part of the world have been converted to comfortable living quarters for visitors. And–if sun flares accommodate us–we’re in one of the prime spots on the planet for aurora borealis. With luck and decent weather (never guaranteed in this part of the world), we’ll enjoy that shimmering sky dance that is the experience of a lifetime. We’ve timed this trip to be there before brutal winter cold sets in, but at a time when we have plenty of night sky and fabulous autumn color. We’ll begin the trip in the village of Reine, arguably called the most scenic village in the world. After several days here we’ll move on to Mortsund and Svolvaer.

We suggest taking this tour in tandem with the September 28-October 9 tour to the highlands of western Scotland.

Special thanks to Dan Anderson for his beautiful Norway images.

SEPTEMBER 19: HOME

Your journey to Norway begins with an overnight flight, likely connecting through Oslo, and Bodo, Norway to your final destination Leknes (arrive September 20) (LKN).

SEPTEMBER 20-22: LEKNES – REINE

Arrive in Leknes Airport by 2pm today, where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your accommodations in Reine (45 minute drive). The Lofoten archipelago is made up of a multitude of tiny islets – according to legend, the island chain was created by Thor, flinging fistfuls of rocks into the sea. The main population is concentrated on four main islands, all now linked by modern bridges and tunnels. Overnight three evenings Eliassen Rorbuer or Reine Rorbuer (D; BLD two days), please note lunches may be picnic style to get the most out of your photographic locations.

Your accommodations are situated in idyllic Mortsund, a small fishing village in the heart of the Lofoten archipelago, on the island of Vestvagoy. The island of Austvagoy lies to the east; to the west are Flakstadoy and Moskensoy. This means that there is a short distance to travel for those who would like to see and experience the whole of Lofoten.

Fishing is the lifeblood of the Lofoten Islands. From late January, spawning winter cod – skrei – make their way to the islands from the Barents Sea, attracting fishermen from all along the Norwegian coast. Rorbuer are described as the original temporary homes that these visitors occupied during the three-month cod-fishing season. Nowadays, the numbers of visiting fishermen have declined. Until the mid-20th century, some 25,000 fishermen came to the islands each year; today numbers are more like a 10th of that. But the islanders themselves remain dedicated to, and dependent on, the industry. The key product is torrfisk, or stockfish – cod that has been dried out to a fifth of its original body weight and is exported, primarily to Italy, as a delicacy. The constant salty whiff of stockfish and the huge wooden drying frames that seem to cover every available square foot of level space are as integral to the Lofoten landscape as its rorbuer. Overnight Statles Rorbuer (BLD both days)

SEPTEMBER 25-26: SVOLVAER

Svolvaer is the administrative center in Nordland County, Norway. Located on the island of Austvagoya, it is one of the busiest towns in the archipelago. It is a transport hub and has long been an inspiration to many artists. You will find many artists in town, along with local galleries. Svolvaer faces the open sea to the South and is backed by mountains immediately to the North. Overnight Svinoya Rorbuer(BLD both days)

SEPTEMBER 27: LEKNES – HOME

After breakfast this morning you will be transferred (approximately 1 hour) back to the Leknes Airport for flight home (time to be announced).  (B)