Overlooking the Vestfjord on the island of Austvågøy, Svolvaer is a picturesque harbour town in the Lofoten archipelago. It’s a major fishing hub that’s renowned for its large catches of cod and is surrounded by dramatic mountains and beautiful beaches where you can swim during the summer months.
Things to do in Svolvær
If you’re interested in Norway’s involvement in World War II, pay a visit to the Lofoten War Memorial Museum where military artefacts and old uniforms are on display. Get up close to a peaked cap once belonging to the Gestapo officer Siegfried Wolfgang Fehmer and a lamp from the German battleship “Tirpitz”. The museum also showcases rare objects such as swastika-decorated Christmas decorations and a framed image believed to have been painted by Adolf Hitler.
Experienced climbers can tackle the 150-metre-tall pinnacle of Svolvaergeita, which dominates the southwestern face of Fløyfjellet mountain. It was first ascended by Ferdinand Schjelderup, Alf Bonnevie Bryn and Carl Wilhelm Rubenson in 1910 and offers unparalleled views across the archipelago from the top.
A short drive west of Svolvaer is the 1,200-seat Vågan Church, which was constructed in 1898 on a Gothic design by the Norwegian architect Carl Julius Bergstrøm. Also known as the Lofoten Cathedral, it’s the largest wooden building in Northern Norway and is painted a distinct yellow colour that makes it visible to fishermen far out at sea.
Getting around Svolvær
Harstad/Narvik Airport is around 2.5 hours’ drive from Svolvaer and has regular flights to destinations across Norway while Svolvaer Airport, Helle is just 10 minutes away. Svolvaer is a port of call for the Hurtigruten cruise vessel and express boats connect from the mainland city of Bodø. Buses travel throughout the Lofoten Islands, although having your own vehicle is the most convenient way of getting around.