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Destination: the Swiss connection; how to get to Lofoten islands from... Zürich

It is tempting to jest about the multitude of Norwegian millionaires and billionaires who, in recent years, bid farewell to Norway, seeking refuge in Switzerland. Besides the Swiss flag, also the allure of favourable tax climates seems a big plus.


For those fortunate individuals, news of direct flights from Zürich to Harstad in the summer of 2024, courtesy of 'Edelweiss Airlines,' may be little interest, because Norwegians with such means might prefer chartering private planes. Nonetheless, it's a boon for the Swiss, because how to get to Lofoten islands is no longer a question (and of course Germans, French, Americans, Chinese and Koreans are more then welcome too).


Lofoten Islands

Hence, I extend a warm welcome to the Swiss from this remarkable region. Keeping it simple, I dedicate this article to ten splendid accommodations across various price ranges and categories. By the end of this piece, I hope you find yourself making a choice, though it's doubtful, given the breathtaking allure of each and everyone of them (and no, it's not allowed to stay neutral). Here we go, in no particular order:


These cabins have achieved legendary status, propelled by the rise of Instagram over the past decade. Everything you imagine about Norway is encapsulated here – red-painted wooden cottages in a rugged landscape with steep slopes and an icy blue sea. Traditional fishing sounds surround you – the lapping of water, seagull cries, and the clinking of anchor chains. Authentically immersed in the lifestyle, a stay at Svinøya Rorbuer introduces you to this captivating existence. Moreover, it serves as your one-stop-shop for a myriad of Arctic activities, from Northern Lights safaris to sauna visits, golf surfing (yes, you read that right), and fishing excursions.


Essentially a converted carpentry factory, this place buzzes with creative activity. What makes it special is, first and foremost, its location – right by the sea, with Bergen in the distance and an expansive sky overhead. It has become somewhat of an institution in Arctic Norway, a cultural hub hosting numerous concerts and events in the summer. The food is fantastic, and the entire atmosphere finds no equal in Norway. I've developed a bit of an affection for this place, and I believe you will too.


For those traveling with a large family, sometimes a hotel may not be the ideal choice. If you desire relaxation without worrying about your children inconveniencing other vacationers, and you appreciate stunning nature and architecture, then this is your place. I sense a tinge of jealousy at the thought of your stay here next summer.


Picture-perfect. That's what comes to mind for an architecture and interior enthusiast like me when I take in this place. The warmth of wood and the subtle minimalist design of this holiday cottage are impressive. But ultimately, it revolves around the surroundings, which are possibly even more breathtaking. Laupstad itself is a tiny hamlet on a calm bay. Don't spread the word, but there might be a pirate ship docking.


For those seeking more privacy, I highly recommend the recently opened (September 2023) WonderInn Arctic. This tried-and-tested concept of beautifully furnished secluded cabins, boasting fantastic beds and, more importantly, enormous glass walls offering a splendid view of the polar night from your bed, is worth considering. Here, you sleep with your curtains open, so you don't miss a minute of the celestial spectacle.


It's something humanity seems to yearn for more and more – a return to the essentials. What do you truly need? A roof over your head, a wood stove, some food, clean water, and good company. Maybe a cold beer after a long hike through the incredible wilderness. In all honesty, that's pure happiness for me. If you feel the same, then this is the place for you.


And by that, I mean the following. When you sail west, the first land you encounter is Greenland. When you sail north, it's Spitsbergen. Here, you immerse yourself in the coastal culture that has existed for thousands of years in this part of the world. The location is incredible in every way – the view, the tranquility, and the beautiful surroundings. Moreover, the guesthouse is cozy and intimate.


Fate led me to discover Tranøya in the summer of 2023 – a small island just off the coast of Senja. Here, against the backdrop of an old church, stands a unique old farmhouse managed by two sisters who practically grew up here. They have transformed the island into a destination in itself. Besides blissful sleep accompanied by the gentle lapping of waves, this serves as your base from which to explore the breathtaking surrounding nature, embark on boat and fishing trips (did you know the world's best fishing waters around Senja?), partake in guided or independent ventures, and delve into the island's history.


9. Surfin'

The cottage is situated near a pale white beach. And believe it or not, but this part of Norway is a genuine surfing destination. In fact, Unstad is the most northern surfing destination in the world. This imparts a uniquely pleasant atmosphere. There are always a few campers by the beach, and in the evenings, stories are shared around campfires. It is precisely for this reason that life has returned to Unstad. There has even been a documentary made about it.


Almost nobody lives here. Not unique to Norway, but unique in how you can be a part of that. This holiday home is not only wonderfully designed but also situated in a unique location. The panoramic view in all directions is stunning. Here, you stay in complete privacy with your family or a group of friends. But on one condition: that you occasionally refrain from touching your phone for an hour and only focus on the incredible nature and each other.

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