The Lofoten Islands and Manshausen Sea Cabins: Nature & Culture in Harmony
In combination, Steigen and the Lofoten Islands make up the perfect Autumn or Spring travel adventure for those seeking an authentic immersion in Norwegian culture and tradition, nature, architecture, art and design.
September - April (*excl. Nov-Jan)
Best suited for
Those seeking to be immersed in Norwegian nature and culture, architecture, art and design
Lofoten is epic – nature on steroids! – featuring huge contrasts between dizzying peaks, bone-white Arctic beaches and pastures that form the foundation of some of the most incredible food. It’s also the Kingdom of the Weather Gods – the constantly changing climatic conditions, light and seasons are an attraction in themselves. With access to the right insiders, authentic encounters await you around every corner. From September to April, this is also one of the best places to capture the Aurora Borealis, and plunge into some Northern Lights photography.
The Manshausen sea cabins have received international acclaim for their unique design and dramatic setting. The place is now a world of its own, situated in the coastal area of Steigen, once an old trading post. It is also a dream realized by Norwegian polar explorer Børge Ousland.
Travel like the locals on an express passenger ferry from coast to island, and get a sense of the authentic life of the Northerners - by travelling outside of the Summer season. Many of our partners have moved from bigger cities to these rural areas to breathe life back into the smaller districts, and counterforce the urban migration trend. Bringing people back to rural areas has a profound social, environmental and economic impact, and this is one method of contributing to the United Nations SDG 11.4 - 'Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage'.
Itineraries are designed by our travel curators in collaboration with our partners to give you the most rewarding experience possible.
Please note that itineraries can be tailored to your specific wishes, when you make an inquiry.
Welcome to the Steigen Archipelago
Crossing The Arctic Circle
Your adventure begins in Bodø, the gateway to Norway’s Arctic Circle region known for its street art and the local speciality; 'stockfish'. From Bodø, you will embark via local express passenger ferry to Nordskot and private boat to your island escape of Manshausen in the evening.
The nature at Manshausen is as encapsulating as its history; the island is steeped in heritage and was used for centuries as a trading post. The owner and visionary behind the buildings, Børge Ousland, also has a few stories of his own, having been on dozens of expeditions to both the arctic and antarctic including skiing to the North Pole!
Your base will be in a seaside cabin while you explore the frontier where the sea and mountains meet. On arrival, you will be treated to a local meal, where the menu is inspired by and sourced from the surrounding landscapes.
The Island Escape
Polar Nights and Panoramic Views
Absorb the arctic sunrise over morning coffee from your window - it may be winter, but the lights and weather around these parts can shift constantly, like a kaleidoscope and there’s no better place to watch it unfold than at Manshausen.
How you choose to spend your days here is up to you. There is time to just be, perhaps to stroll around the island - it may be small, but there’s wild sheep, a dock, lots of coastline and even a beach! We recommend exploring the surrounding mountains or kayaking in the crystal clear waters arounds the fragmented islands - both with a professional guide who can help give you a better understanding of the area.
The evening can be spent in total peace, with no sounds but the nature outside your windows and maybe the turning page of a good book or the clink of a wine glass! Enjoy the island's stamp (wood-fired hot tub) and sauna - if you’re fortunate, the aurora borealis might be dancing overhead as you do so. If that's the case, make sure to plunge into some Northern Lights photography!
Norway's rawest playground
Lofoten and Beyond
After another full day at Manshausen, you will get back on the passenger ferry in the evening and head towards the Lofoten islands; a 2-hour voyage North across Vestfjorden.
First touch down; Thon Hotel Svolvær which is within immediate walking distance of where your boat journey ends.
Sightseeing on Scenic Route Lofoten
Spend your morning getting a feel for Svolvær, the Lofoten island’s ‘capital’ or venture out on a fishing trip with MS Symra; a traditional 49-foot fishing cutter with a history dating back to 1917. During the traditional Lofoten season from the end of February to mid-April you may take part in ‘Lofotfiske’ and catch skrei (Barents cod).
With your own driver guide, you will travel through the Lofoten islands on Scenic Route Lofoten to the village of Ballstad. You will be guided through the picturesque landscape typical for the Lofoten islands. Stops along the way can include historical sites, beaches and mandatory photography opportunities that you cannot miss in Kabelvåg, Lyngvær, Hov and Henningsvær. You can sit back and enjoy the scenery while we introduce you to the fishing culture and history, plus a taste of Lofoten.
On arrival at Hattvika Lodge, local host Kristian and his team will stand ready to introduce you to their local playground. We’ll get you nestled in your home for the next 3 nights; a hillside lodge overlooking the island or one of the comfortable and rustic ocean-facing 'rorbu' (fisherman’s cabins). After you’ve had time to get your bearings, you may hop into the iconic sauna or outdoor hot tub, and gaze up in the starry polar sky! Dinner is served at Hattvika’s own bistro, Fangst.
Footprints in The Snow and Aurora photography
In the Mountains and Skies
Explore Lofoten on foot. The best thing about the colder half of the year – apart from the island not being as crowded as the summer months – is the spectacular colours and dynamic contrasts in weather and light. On foot, the area offers everything from light hiking in mythical Kyllingdalen to art walks at Eggum and hardcore climbing on peaks such as the majestic Skottind. We will work with you to find your perfect fit. Your professional mountain guide will be on hand to help you better understand your new playground. A packed lunch will be eaten at the summit of your chosen route. Lunch with a view!
Your current base is truly the place to practise your photography with a local pro. In the evening you will meet with a professional photographer who knows all of the island's nooks and the best places to witness the aurora borealis dance overhead.
Arctic Surfing or Artistic Immersion
For adventurous souls, this is your chance to get into the water and get the adrenaline pumping. Arctic surfing has been part of the Lofoten culture since the 60s when the first surfers found their way to Unstad bay. Wetsuit technology has revolutionized surfing in cold water which means a surf lesson in Arctic waters during Winter can be a surprisingly warm experience. A surf guide will guide you through an Arctic surfing lesson at your own level; enter the water, catch the waves, pop-up and action on wipe out. After a fun session in the waves, the sauna will be hot and ready for a steam.
The Lofoten islands are also a destination where artists find residence; discover for yourself how being here triggers creativity. This day can also be spent exploring handicrafts such as glassworks, wool colouring and knitting, sausage and cheese-making or ceramics, or getting immersed in impressive local and international art collections.
Fly home or extend your Arctic week with a cruise onboard HMS Gåssten
Bid farewell to the locals and the archipelago as you depart from Leknes airport or extend your stay for another 48 hours whisked away on HMS Gåsstein, a lush vessel with all amenities needed for a relaxed sea voyage at the spectacular coast of Lofoten. The captain will steer the vessel down the peninsula into the outer and quieter reaches of the archipelago.
HMS Gåssten was originally built as a Minesweeper in the Swedish Navy in 1973, constructed with a wooden hull to limit her magnetic signature and the only boat of her class still afloat. She underwent a full refit in 2018/19 to provide a cosy atmosphere for eight guests in four wood-panelled, ensuite cabins whilst still retaining many of her original features, such as her beautiful exposed oak roof beams.
Enjoy freshly caught seafood in the spacious forward saloon and dining area after a day of exploration in the archipelago. Enjoy wild dining on the edge of the sea, soft hikes, golf, and horse riding along the rugged coastline on sturdy local horses.
Personalize and book the Lofoten Islands and Manshausen Sea Cabins: Nature & Culture in Harmony journey
This journey has been curated for you to experience the ancient mysteries that circulate around the Northern Lights. It can be booked as proposed or further personalized to you.
With our flexible terms, we hope to provide you with all the certainty and adaptability you need when booking your well-deserved escape.
Read more about our pricing here.
Recommended by our Travel ManagerSee my recommendation
Experience the realm of Norwegian folklore
Norway has a long and diverse history which can be found in the small villages and nature along the coast and countryside. Mari grew up in one of these villages, Beitostølen, close to Skåbu – Norway’s oldest village (and the highest settlement in Northern Europe). Spending time in small fjord and mountain communities allows time to truly be immersed in local culture and the realm of Norwegian folklore.
Mari Hovi Viken
Explore some of our other journeys
Norway's Arctic Circle Region: Myths and Marvels in Helgeland
Bergen, Ålesund & Beyond - Heritage Awakened
The Discovery Route - is this Norway’s most sustainable journey?
Do you have questions about our itineraries? Here are some of the ones we get asked most often.
Our local expertise and network, our sustainable approach, digital itineraries and passion for Norway provides a journey like no other. All our curated itineraries can be personalised further to you; you tell us about your interests, and we will propose accordingly. We design experiences with our partners, many of these are not available unless you are an Up Norway guest. We use technology to enhance our personalised service, not to replace it; you will receive your itinerary in our app where you have access to necessary details and recommendations, and can easily reach us through chat while travelling if you need advice or assistance. When you travel with us, we save you from frustrating internet searches and travel logistics.
No! These itineraries are put together by our team and meant as inspiration. They can be booked as is or personalised further to you. You choose your desired starting date, and we confirm availability and the exact price based on your desired room types, other activities or destinations you might like to add etc. You will be provided with a complete travel plan in a digital itinerary and travel independently.
No, all the details you need, such as confirmations and reservation details will be provided in your digital itinerary.
You can pay by card via the secure international payment solution Stripe or via international bank transfer.
Before we confirm availability for your requested dates, we ask for a advance trip-design payment of min NOK 3000,- to cover the time that goes into planning your journey, confirming availability and prices. This amount also ensures that we do not hold reservations with our partners unnecessarily. The amount goes towards your trip, but is non refundable should you choose not to book.
When you are ready to confirm your trip, we ask for a 15% deposit payment, and 45 days in advance of your trip, full payment is due. Please note that the deposit may be higher if items in your trip require advance payment to our partners.
Pauline SolheimTravel Curator