Discover Værøy

A Secluded Gem in the Lofoten Islands Archipelago

Nestled in the rugged beauty of the Lofoten archipelago, Værøy is an enchanting island that promises an unforgettable escape to one the most remote island communities in Norway. This unique arctic island offers adventurers and nature lovers a serene retreat.

Journey to Værøy via the World’s Northernmost Helicopter Route

Reaching Værøy is an adventure. Start your journey by flying into Bodø, a charming coastal town in northern Norway, and maybe stay a night at one of the hotels there. From Bodø Airport, you can take a scenic ferry ride, or a helicopter operated by Lufttransport to Værøy. The approach to the island, whether by sea or air, offers stunning views of the surrounding waters and the jagged peaks of the Lofoten islands.

Fly to Bodø

International Flights: Fly into Oslo Airport (OSL), Norway’s main international airport. Also, from Finland, Helsinki, you can fly directly into Bodø on June 17th with Finnair (2h 35 min). 

Domestic Flights: From Oslo, take a domestic flight to Bodø Airport (BOO). There are multiple flights daily operated by airlines such as Norwegian Air Shuttle and SAS.

From Bodø to Værøy

By Air: At Bodø Airport you travel with Lufttransport to Værøy (VRY). (20 min). Either 09:00-09:25 or 16:30-16:55.

By Ferry: You can take a ferry from Bodø to Værøy (learn about the ferries in Lofoten here). The ferry trip takes about 3-4 hours, depending on the weather conditions and schedule. Note that the ferry schedule varies seasonally, so check the latest schedule in advance.

Helicopter to Værøy with Lufttransport
Helicopter to Værøy with Lufttransport

Example of a 3-Day Itinerary

You can use this example to better understand how you could plan an excursion to Værøy.

Day 1: Embracing the Local Charm of Værøy

Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the picturesque village of Sørland, the island’s main settlement. Check into one of the welcoming guesthouses, such as Bensvik Brygge, where you’ll experience the warm hospitality of the locals.

Begin your exploration with a leisurely stroll through Sørland. The village is home to charming wooden houses, a quaint church, and a few local shops and a bar.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Værøy Church, a historical site that offers a glimpse into the island’s cultural heritage.

As the day winds down, head to Håen, an epic hike from the village, to witness a breathtaking sunset. The panoramic views from this vantage point are mesmerising, with the sun casting golden hues over the surrounding sea and mountains. You can even see Røst, Mosken, and Lofotodden National Park from this spot.

Værøy’s cultural history dates to the Stone Age, around 6000 BC, with cave paintings that are 3000 years old. Settlements from the Iron Age and Viking Age also remain. Værøy’s history is mostly unique in hunting and fishing in recent times. Eagle hunting with bare hands and the capture of puffins using the puffin dog, or Måstad dog as it is also called, are practices that are unqiue to the people of Værøy. An old tradition that is no longer practiced, only told. We suggest a local guided walk for a deeper understanding of this history.

Here, you can see one of many hideouts the locals used to catch eagles with their bare hands:

Hole where hunters hid to catch eagles with their hands
Hole where hunters hid to catch eagles with their hands
Hole where hunters slipped out bait to catch eagles
Hole where hunters slipped out bait to catch eagles

While Værøy is a small island, there are a few dining options where you can enjoy a meal during your visit. Tonight, we suggest dinner at Værøy Brygge, which offers a dining experience with views of the harbor paired with local seafood dishes, including freshly caught fish prepared in traditional Norwegian cooking. Enjoy the halibut with boiled potatoes and truffle tongs or stockfish in the charming atmosphere of Værøy.

Day 2: Hiking Through History and Natural Beauty

Værøy is a hiker’s paradise, and one of the must-do hikes is the trek to the abandoned village of Måstad. This hike takes you through rugged terrain and offers spectacular views at every turn. Once a thriving community, the village is now a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the island’s past. It’s also known for its large puffin population, making it a tremendous bird-watching spot.

Pack a picnic and enjoy your lunch surrounded by the serene beauty of Måstad. The combination of historical ruins and natural splendor makes this a unique experience.

After a day of hiking, return to Sørland to relax and rejuvenate. Treat yourself to a hearty dinner at a local restaurant, where you can savor fresh seafood dishes, including the renowned Lofoten stockfish.

You can rent a bicycle from Fru Johansens Kiosk. To reach the starting point for the hike to Måstad from Sørland in Værøy, you need to cycle to Nordlandshagen, which is commonly used as the trailhead for this hike. Approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Sørland to Nordlandshagen.

Biking will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on your pace — cycle south on Fv772 from Sørland. Continue until you reach Nordlandshagen. The hike to Måstad takes approximately 2-3 hours each way.

On the way, you will also pass “Nordlandsnupen”, another mountain you can hike. It’s the tallest mountain on Værøy, 470 MASL, with the trail starting in Breivik. 3-4 hour round tour.

Picture of Nordlandsnupen on Værøy
Picture of Nordlandsnupen on Værøy (

On the way, you will also pass Værøy Old Church. Built in approx 1740 with a curious design.

Local Tips

  • Ask for Directions: The locals or your local host can provide specific directions and the latest information about the trail conditions.
  • Be Prepared: The hike offers stunning views and the opportunity to see local wildlife, such as puffins, so bring your camera and binoculars.
  • Carry sufficient water, snacks, and a map or GPS device.
  • Check the weather forecast and be prepared for rapid weather changes.

Following these steps, you can easily reach the starting point for the hike to Måstad in a sustainable way and enjoy one of Værøy’s most beautiful and historically significant hikes.

Day 3: Exploring the Island’s Natural and Cultural Riches

On your final day, delve deeper into Værøy’s rich cultural and natural offerings. Start with a visit to the Lofoten Stockfish Museum to learn about the island’s storied history of stockfish production, which has been a cornerstone of the local economy for centuries.

For a different perspective of the island, rent a bicycle and enjoy a leisurely ride along the scenic roads. The island’s small size makes it perfect for cycling, allowing you to take in the stunning landscapes at your own pace.

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a kayaking tour or a boat trip around the island. These excursions provide a unique vantage point to appreciate Værøy’s dramatic coastline, sea caves, and marine life. If you are not a hiker but want to see the birdlife of Værøy, we recommend doing a RIB/boat safari. From the ocean, you will be intrigued by the abundant birdlife in Værøy. And another highlight is cruising past one the world’s most beautiful beaches; Puinn Sand beach, which can only be reached by boat. 

As the sun sets on your final day, indulge in a farewell dinner, enjoying the best of Værøy’s culinary offerings. If you’re visiting during the winter months, the evening might also present an opportunity to witness the magical Northern Lights, a fitting end to your secluded island adventure.

The Mountains of Værøy

The mountains on Værøy are part of a landscape approximately 400 million years old, shaped by tectonic activities that date back even further. This ancient geological history contributes to the island’s striking and rugged natural beauty, making it a fascinating destination for geologists and nature enthusiasts. The smoothing of peaks and summits primarily occurred during the Ice Age (2-3 million years ago).

The mountain Håen on Værøy towards Måstadvika
The mountain Håen on Værøy towards Måstadvika (Bård Løken)

The Birdlife on Værøy

Værøy is renowned for its diverse and abundant birdlife. The island’s varied habitats, including cliffs, coastal areas, and meadows, provide ideal breeding grounds and habitats for numerous bird species. Værøy is famous for its large colonies of Atlantic puffins but also the Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, White-tailed Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Arctic terns, snipe, sandpipers, and also the common eiders.

Birdwatching tips:

  • Best Time to Visit: The best time for birdwatching on Værøy island is during the breeding season, which typically runs from late spring to early summer. This is when bird activity peaks, and you can witness nesting and feeding behaviors.
  • Binoculars and Cameras: Bring a good pair of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens to capture the best views of the birds without disturbing them.
  • Respect Wildlife: Always maintain a respectful distance from nesting sites and avoid disturbing the birds, especially during the breeding season.

Key Locations for Birding at Værøy

  • Måstad: The abandoned village of Måstad is a prime location for puffin watching. The cliffs around this area are home to large colonies of puffins and other seabirds. The mountain’s name is Målstadheia 407 MASL.
  • Håen: This viewpoint offers excellent opportunities to spot white-tailed eagles and raptors soaring over the island.
  • Nordlandshagen: The meadows and coastal areas around Nordlandshagen are great for observing various bird species, including waders and seabirds.

Værøy’s rich birdlife, set against the stunning backdrop of its rugged landscapes, makes it a must-visit destination for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re captivated by puffins nesting on cliffs or the majesty of eagles soaring overhead, Værøy offers an unforgettable birdwatching experience.

Onwards from Rural to Urban Coastal Culture in Lofoten

Or, after two nights in a rural island community, it is time to hop on the morning ferry from Værøy to Moskenes. The beginning of the Scenic Route Lofoten is an adventure with vibrant coastal culture and jagged peaks rising from the ocean. Travel either onwards on foot, with a rental car, the 300 bus or the Arctic Route, or take a local taxi to one of the villages nearby in either Å, Sørvågen or Reine in Moskenes Municipality. To continue traveling, we recommend that you jump on the local bus route 300 or the Arctic Route that will take you through all of Lofoten Islands, onwards to Evenes Airport (EVE) with direct flights to Frankfurt, Zürich, and Paris or further on to Narvik and Tromsø.

Reflection of the Remote Island Life on Værøy

Værøy is more than just a destination; it’s an experience that stays long after you leave its shores. Its raw landscapes, rich history, and welcoming community perfectly blend for a secluded getaway. Whether hiking through ancient trails, savoring local delicacies, or simply soaking in the natural beauty, Værøy offers a peaceful, invigorating, inspiring, tranquil retreat. So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to this hidden gem in the Lofoten archipelago.

From Evenes Airport (EVE) to Lofoten with Moskenes & Onwards to Værøy

You can reverse the journey by flying into Evenes Airport; from there, go exploring the charming fishing villages like Svolvær, Henningsvær, Ballstad, Reine, Sørvågen and then go to Moskenes with the local ferry over to Værøy and finish the adventure with the helicopter ride from Værøy to Bodø, and from there travel onwards in Norway.

And reaching Evenes by plane has never been easier. With direct routes from Frankfurt, Zürich and Paris, you can reach Lofoten from almost any place in the world with only one connecting flight.

Daytrip to Værøy from Moskenes

If you are not able to stay on Værøy over night, you can also go on a day trip from Moskenes to Måstad on Værøy arranged with a RIB safari. You can book this activity here.

Picture of Nordlandsnupen on Værøy

Your Impact of Traveling to Værøy as a Responsible Traveler

Today, Værøy is trying to find a supporting business for the locals that not only rely on the fishing industry; by this, the village and the island have been tapping into hospitality and nature tourism. By traveling to Værøy, you support a remote island and the community that lives there. 

By traveling from Bodø to Værøy on a helicopter, you are supporting the local’s travel way, maintaining that they have a route operating each day. Helicopters typically have lower carbon emissions per passenger than larger aircraft, so to Værøy, it is an option that visiting guests and travelers can fill up the seats that locals do not manage to fill. 

Helicopters still produce carbon emissions; if you want to consider your overall environmental impact, you can also travel the local way with the ferry from either Bodø or Moskenes to Værøy. Also, you can use a bike as your mode of transportation when sustainably exploring Værøy Island.

Practice being a responsible traveler by listening to the locals, minimizing waste, and supporting local businesses in Lofoten. 

Explore low-impact activities, that nature-based activities such as hiking, wildlife, and cultural experiences have minimal environmental impact, and support the local community by using local guides. By doing these small steps, you are adopting a sustainable travel practice that will reduce your footprint while still enjoying the unique raw nature and the culture of Værøy and Lofoten. Thank you for helping Lofoten preserve these pristine environments for future generations to enjoy.

If you have time, consider checking out the “Lofoten Code of Conduct” as well :).