Laukvik an Enchanting Hidden Village of Norway

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By jeroen

In 2018, I visited Laukvik, an enchanting place that is located on the island of Austvågøy.  What is weird is that a lot of people think that  Austvågøy is part of the Lofoten but it is actually part of the Lofoten Islands and parts of the Vesterålen archipelago, so … some parts of Austvågøya belong administratively to Hadsel municipality in Vesterålen. while other parts belong to the Lofoten.

The border runs between Hadsel in Vesterålen and Vågan in Lofoten. Laukvik belongs to Vågan in Lofoten. The Vesterålen archipelago is less known to tourists but is nonetheless equally breathtaking. With its fjords, mountains, and stunning coastal landscapes, it was a destination high on my wishlist upon my return to Norway. So, in late October 2019, I found myself there once again.

As I drove along the winding roads, both over water and land, amidst the mountains of the Vesterålen archipelago towards The Lofoten, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the surroundings. There are many places I could talk about, but in this idyllic fishing village, there is one spot you must visit, preferably in the early morning or late evening, and that is none other than the Laukvik Pier. The Laukvik Pier, where fishing boats dock, offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of a peaceful fishing community with less than 400 inhabitants.  Take a leisurely stroll along the pier and let the sea breeze caress your face while you enjoy the rustic view over the water and the majestic mountains in the background. Experience the bustling activities of the local fishing industry and get to know the friendly people who predominantly lead their lives at sea. Here, you’ll find everything your heart desires as far as rest is concerned. And if you’re here in the summer, you’ll witness the village gathering on the pier to chat or even play a game of chess. The pier was adorned with Swedish benches (keep in mind that I was here pre-corona, and I’m unaware of the current situation).

While I didn’t have the fortune to witness the Northern Lights here, I can easily imagine why Laukvik is considered one of the best places in Norway to experience this enchanting natural phenomenon. With its remote location and minimal light pollution, the village provides optimal conditions to admire the dancing Northern Lights. But for me, it will remain a memory captured through night photography with the lighthouse on the pier, as you can see in my photo reportage.

However, the uniqueness of Laukvik is not limited to the winter months. During the summer months, when the midnight sun casts its rays, the sun does not set in Laukvik. It’s a unique sensation to enjoy 24 hours of daylight, blurring the boundary between day and night. Though your circadian(bio-) rhythm may need some adjusting.

Laukvik is a destination that will touch your soul with its beauty and make you want to slow down in life. you just have to sit on the pier for a while and witness everything in tranquility. Afterwards, you’ll realize how life, in reality, has rushed by unnoticed, despite its seeming busyness.

I’ve used too many words already that fall short of capturing the essence of this seemingly uneventful yet mesmerizing village.

A nerdy deep dive into Laukvik(a)

The surroundings of Laukvik are an ideal spot for whale watching. During certain times of the year, various species of whales migrate through the Norwegian Sea, including humpback whales, orcas, and minke whales. It is possible to take boat trips to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Let yourself be amazed by the majestic sight of these magnificent sea animals as they swim through the Northern Sea. As you drive around, you will notice that whale safaris are offered at various locations.

I cannot emphasize enough that Laukvik is a welcoming community, and enjoying it means experiencing the warm hospitality of the local people, mass tourism has not really been discovered here yet. (I must be careful with what I say, as some locations suddenly become very popular due to my influence. And remember, I always travel during the off-season. I feel more like a traveler, an explorer, and I prefer not to come across as a tourist.)

All my photos come from the surroundings of the pier! The picturesque lighthouse on the pier of Laukvik, which has been illuminating the coastline for over a century and safely guiding ships, makes my pictures almost perfect. Admire the breathtaking view from the lighthouse and the breathtaking mountain view in the background. If you see a group of locals sitting on a bench on the pier, feel free to ask if you can sit with them and strike up a conversation.  Simply ask them if they were born and raced in Laukvik,  this is a simple question that can effortlessly lead to an hour-long conversation. You will learn much more from them than from any travel guide! Many people here speak English fluently in Norway.

Here’s a nice tip for a place to stay : For an authentic and comfortable experience in Laukvik, consider staying at the Polarlightcenter, where the prices are quite reasonable compared to the rest of the Lofoten Islands. This apartment offers two double bedrooms, a shared kitchen, bathroom, and toilet, and stunning views of the northern lights, the sea, and the midnight sun during the summer. With free wireless internet and a minimum stay of three nights, it serves as a charming base for your adventures in the area, including hiking up Mount Matmora and discovering local treasures. In the harbor of Laukvik, you will also find an excellent coffee bar and a coffee roastery, ideal for coffee enthusiasts.

More interesting facts about Laukvik:

  1. Maelstrom Legend: Near Laukvik, in the sea strait called Moskstraumen, lies the infamous whirlpool known as Maelstrom. This whirlpool is renowned for its strong currents and has been described in the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne. Although the Maelstrom is not directly located in Laukvik, it has fueled the imagination of people around the world and is an intriguing subject in Norwegian folklore.

  2. World War II: During World War II, in 1941, Laukvik was occupied by German troops. The Germans built a radar station on the nearby mountain Måtinden, which was part of the German defense system in Northern Norway. The radar station’s purpose was to detect enemy ships and aircraft. Today, remnants of the radar station can still be found.

BONUS: You may hike the Matmora Trail as well and discover some abandoned mines. You will pass a rail trail as well. At the beginning of the 1900s, iron ore was transported on a 5-kilometre-long railway line to Vatnfjord.

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