Nordic Islands

Lofoten Islands, Norway

The Lofoten Islands lie within the Artic Circle, on the same latitude as the ice-bound northern coast of Canada and Alaska. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, temperatures rarely dip much below freezing even in a land where the sun does not appear above the horizon for a month in midwinter.

The islands were formed from a mixture of ancient and newer rocks, sculpted as the ice ages. The islands are a set of sharp jagged peaks rising 1,200 meters (3,940 ft). When approached from the sea, the peaks look spectacular just like a massive wall. The Islands stretch about 240 kilometers (150 miles), and have a population of just over 24,000. The road, the E10, now runs right through the islands from mainland Norway, linking them with bridges and tunnels.

Most settlements on the islands have harbors lined with boats. Fishing is a big part of the culture and industry here. Air-dried Cod has been perfected here for well over 1000 years. Stockfish is made in a variety of dishes. Lofoten Islands have become a popular tourist destination because of the midnight sun in the summer and winter, as well as the hope of seeing the Northern Lights.