Read on for an overview of all transportation options when it comes to getting from Tromsø to Lofoten, complete with duration times and costs.
Granted, once you’ve first made your way to Northern Norway, chances are that you might want to stay and explore the area a little longer. Get the most out of the time and expense it takes to get there in the first place. And what is better than combining a city trip to Tromsø - the Paris of the North - with a few days of road tripping in the Lofoten Islands - a region that can easily be described as Norway in a nutshell?
That’s right - a trip to Tromsø AND Lofoten is hard to beat, but how exactly can you travel from Tromsø to the Lofoten Islands? The distance is a whopping 400 kilometres after all. Should you take the plane? Rent a car? Take the bus? Or go by cruise?
Learn more about the different ways to get from Tromsø to Lofoten and find out which way works best for you in the following!
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Tromsø to Lofoten by Plane
Arguably not the most environmental-friendly option, going by plane is also the fastest and most comfortable way to travel between Tromsø and Lofoten. The Norwegian airline Widerøe goes from Tromsø to Leknes - the administrative centre of the Lofoten island Vestvågøy.
These direct flights take 50 minutes and, if booked in advance, can cost as little as 900 NOK. The standard fare on this route is 1200-1500 NOK, while so-called “flex” and “full flex” tickets (giving you more flexibility to change or cancel your flight) cost between 2000 and 4000 NOK.
Widerøe also offers flights from Tromsø to Svolvær and Røst, however in that case, you’ll have at least one stopover in either Stokmarknes, Bodø or Leknes. As the airline is most commonly known for their so-called “milk route” - meaning that their flights often stop at multiple airports before reaching their final destination, without you having to change planes - you might want to pay attention when booking and stick to the direct flights instead (especially if flying in small planes isn’t exactly your thing).
Tromsø to Lofoten by Cruise
The Hurtigruten coastal steamers travelling the Norwegian coast from Bergen in the south-west to Kirkenes in the far north-east are a wonderful way to travel slowly and see more of Norway’s coastline. While visitors to Norway most commonly book the full 12-day cruise going from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, it’s also possible to travel from port to port.
Unfortunately, Hurtigruten has removed this option from all its international websites in an effort to attract more people to book the entire cruise, however that doesn’t mean that the port-to-port option is only reserved for Norwegians. Simply call your local Hurtigruten office or use a local travel agency to book your cabin on board.
The journey time from Tromsø to Svolvær is approx. 17 hours. The ship departs Tromsø at 01.30 am (however, it’s possible to already board upon the ship’s arrival in town at midnight) and arrives in Svolvær at 6.30 pm the same day.
For journeys that take less than 23 hours, you don’t need to book a cabin but can also sleep in the common lounges. Note that this is sometimes frowned upon by staff on board, but absolutely legal and within the realms of Hurtigruten’s own policies and online booking system. If you don’t book a cabin for the trip from Tromsø to Lofoten, the cruise ticket will cost approx. 700-900 NOK, while a ticket including cabin costs between 1500 and 2000 NOK (per person).
Tromsø to Lofoten by Bus
Slightly cheaper than going by plane (if booked in advance) and taking the cruise without cabin, taking the bus might save you some 100 to 200 NOK but is way less scenic than the cruise and also less comfortable than both, cruise and plane.
If you want to go from Tromsø to the Lofoten Islands by bus, you start by taking bus 100 from Tromsø Prostneset to Bjerkvik close to Narvik. There, you change to bus 300 which will take you to all major towns and villages of the Lofoten Islands, including Svolvær, Kabelvåg, Leknes, Nusfjord, Sakrisøy, Reine and Å.
The journey time from Tromsø to Svolvær by bus is approx. 7 hours (be aware of possible delays caused by icy/snowy road conditions in winter), while going all the way to Å takes approx. 13 hours. There are three daily departures of both, bus 100 and bus 300, but only bus 100 leaving Tromsø at 4 pm gives you the least amount of waiting time for your change of busses when going to Svolvær, while only bus 100 leaving Tromsø at 10.30 am gives you the chance to go further than Svolvær and all the way to Å (otherwise, you miss your connection and have to stay the night in Narvik).
Make sure to check the exact schedule here. The bus journey from Tromsø to Lofoten costs approx. 750-850 NOK.
Tromso to Lofoten by Car
While I would 100% recommend you to rent a car in the Lofoten Islands to explore more of the archipelago, renting a car in Tromsø only to return it in the Lofoten Islands comes at quite a steep price as the car company has to drive the car back to Tromsø itself later on.
A quick search with Rentalcars shows that while it only costs approx. 800 NOK to rent a car for a day, the fee for delivering the car in Svolvær instead of Tromsø is 4000 NOK! Top that off with gas, which for the journey of 420 km costs around 3500 NOK, and you see yourself that driving from Tromsø to Lofoten by means of rental car is a pretty expensive endeavour.
Rather go by plane, cruise or bus and rent a car for a few days in Lofoten itself - it’ll be so much cheaper!
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