Destination: Reine, Lofoten Islands

North of the Arctic Circle, nestled amongst dramatic snow-peaked mountains and surrounded by ocean, is the dreamy Norwegian fishing village of Reine. This remote settlement, characterised by wooden rorbuer (traditional fishing huts), and located on the island of Moskenes in the Lofoten archipelago, has been a trading post since 1743. In more recent years, it has become one of the most popular tourist spots in Norway, with approximately 1,000,000 visitors per year.

In the summertime, the mountainous area surrounding Reine (part of the Lofotodden National Park) is world-famous for its hiking and mountaineering, sea kayaking (sometimes with orcas), fishing/boat trips, and photography workshops are also very popular. The area is transformed into a frozen wonderland during wintertime, with various cold-weather activities available and frequent Northern Light displays.

As with most popular tourist locations, Reine is best enjoyed during the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn—the latter is my personal favourite with stunning autumnal colors) to avoid peak tourism. These periods ensure there’s enough daylight for sightseeing, many hikes remain open, weather conditions are generally temperate, and the evening sky is regularly illuminated by the aurora. If you plan to travel overland, there are a number of designated campsites nearby and many free overnight park-ups.

Reine is often voted one of the most beautiful villages in the world; despite living there for a year, I never got used to the magnificence of my surroundings. At 1,677 feet, Reinebringen is the most popular local mountain. Easily accessible via the main road, the hike includes 1,670 stone stairs that make ascending more straightforward (the trek still requires a decent level of fitness, however). Once summited, the peak offers panoramic views that are simply breathtaking. I will add that sustainable tourism is a hot topic among the locals, so please be respectful of nature, stick to designated paths when possible, and leave places better than you found them. Reine and Lofoten still feel like a dream. If you have the opportunity to visit, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro but spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK preparing for his upcoming expeditions—looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or on Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.