Bunes Beach, or Bunesstranda, is located on the northern side of Moskenes (part of the Lofotodden National Park) and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in Lofoten.
They say that adventure is as much about the journey as the destination, which is certainly true of Bunes. A ferry that leaves from Reine and arrives at Vindstad is the most popular way to access the beach. During the summer, there are several departures per day (often fully booked), but far fewer in the wintertime, so ensure you check the timetable. However, I’d recommend avoiding the ferry altogether in favor of kayaking over with a guide. Experience is not essential if you’re happy to ride in a tandem kayak, but it will be required if you desire to paddle solo. Furthermore, a reasonable fitness level is essential as the crossing will take approximately 1.5 hours each way and is followed by a short hike to the beach. The journey across Reinefjorden is truly magical, and despite guiding kayak tours in the fjord for a year and a half, I never tired of its majesty. Furthermore, if you’re fortunate, you may spot orcas, which occasionally enter the fjord to hunt fish (also expect sea eagles and seals). The views on the water are nothing short of otherworldly and will enrich the trip to Bunes tenfold (Reine Rorbuer and Reine Paddling both offer guided trips).
Once you arrive at Vinstad, it’s a short 2.7-kilometer (1.7-mile) hike to the beach with 80 meters of elevation gain. It’s worth noting there are no amenities upon arrival, and the village is usually deserted during winter. Make sure you use the bathroom before leaving, and pack some food and drink to take with you. The trail and beach are clearly signposted, so you’ll have no issue finding your way. If you want the ultimate experience and are feeling ambitious, I highly recommend hiking up Helvetestind (the Norwegian is Helvetestinden which means “Hell Peak”). Simply follow signs for Bunes, climb out of the village until you reach the small pass, and look for a trailhead forking off to the right (I can’t remember seeing any signage). This 602-meter peak is moderately challenging and exposed in places but offers breathtaking views over Bunes below (check with local guides if attempting this hike during winter as it could be dangerous). Alternatively, stick to the main trail, and you’ll soon set eyes on one of Lofoten’s most beautiful and isolated beaches.
In the summertime, many people spend the night on the beach and pitch their tents on the grassy dunes. I didn’t get the opportunity, but I wish I had, as it’s a fantastic location to watch sunrise and sunset. If you spend the night, please bring trash bags and leave the area better than you found it. The white sand beach is much bigger than it may initially appear, with lots to explore and various artifacts washed ashore by the turbulent Norwegian Sea.
The journey to Bunes Beach is as magnificent as the destination, which makes it one of the best bang-for-the-buck days out in Lofoten. If you’d like to know more, then check out visitlofoten.com.
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