Wildlife in Lofoten
There is a rich wildlife in Lofoten’s wild and beautiful nature. You may encounter animals such as elks, foxes and hares on the ground, while the white-tailed eagle soars with its enormous wingspan above you. If you are extremely lucky, you may spot whales too.
Which animals can you encounter in Lofoten?
Numerous animal species live in the Lofoten archipelago. You can encounter elks, foxes and stoats in the forest and mountains, while there is a hare population on the islands of Flakstadøya and Moskenesøya. You can spot seals and otters along the coastal zone throughout the archipelago.
A vast number of bird species can be observed in Lofoten, including both migratory and wintering birds. In marshland and wetland areas, you can observe herons, swans, ducks and wading birds.
Røst in the far south of the archipelago is a favourite among birdwatchers. Several rare species stop on the island of Røstlandet during their annual migrations. More than 300 bird species have been registered on this island, including the pied wheatear, Pechora pipit and turtle dove.
Røst is also renowned for the seabird colony that nests on the steep bird cliffs at the Røstøyan Landscape Protected Area. Species such as the black-legged kittiwake, razorbill, guillemot, cormorant and puffin nest here. In recent years, the seabird colony has been reduced drastically and the puffin is now classified as highly endangered.
Dog sledding and husky visit
Let the impressions sink in while you’re sitting in the dog sled enjoying the arctic scenery of snow cowered, steep mountains. Your professional guide will make you feel safe and give you a unique experience. Once you’re back, the dogs will be more than will be ready for play and cuddle – if you are.
White-tailed eagle safari
Lofoten has a large population of white-tailed eagles. These mighty birds can be observed throughout the archipelago and, with a two-metre wingspan, are an impressive sight. Several activity providers arrange white-tailed eagle safaris. A boat trip in the Lofoten archipelago offers excellent opportunities for an encounter with this majestic predator.
If you want a close-up experience with the wildlife in Lofoten, we recommend going on a guided nature safari. If you book a wildlife photo tour, the chances are high that you will see elk, foxes and various bird species. This is a wonderful option for nature photography enthusiasts. The guide knows where the animals tend to be and makes every effort so you the greatest chance of observing the animals and taking photos without disturbing them.
Whale watching safari
Many people dream of seeing whales. Encountering these large marine mammals is an experience that is completely unique. For several decades, the Vestfjord was one of the largest feeding grounds for orcas (aka killer whales) during the winter. Orcas and humpback whales mostly feed on herring. However, the herring has migrated north in recent years, and there are now few whales to be seen in Lofoten. If you are extremely lucky, the occasional minke whale, orca or porpoise may still appear in the waters around Lofoten. Whale watching safaris are no longer arranged from Lofoten.
If you want to see whales, we recommend visiting the neighbouring archipelago Vesterålen. Or you can book a safari with one of our partners in the Tromsø area. It’s possible to go on whale watching safaris here year-round and you will have a chance of seeing sperm whales, humpback whales, orcas, minke whales and pilot whales.
As many want to experience Lofoten, it’s important to remember that the sea, uncultivated areas, mountains and coastal zone are already inhabited – by animals and birds. When enjoying Lofoten’s fascinating wildlife, be considerate by giving the animals the priority they deserve and desperately need. As humans, we have a duty to give way – and the animals have the right of way!
- Don’t scare animals or birds. If you encounter animals, stay calm and let the animal pass or continue uninterrupted. Sit still and observe from a distance.
- Show special consideration during the breeding season (May – July).
- Observe the requirement to keep dogs on a leash restraint.
- Feeding wild animals is prohibited.
- Remove your rubbish and don’t leave traces in nature.
Frequently Asked Questions
Elk (aka moose), fox, seal, otter, stoat, mink, porpoise, orca, eagle and a variety of other birds.
As there are few whales in the sea around the Lofoten islands, no whale watching safaris are arranged here. Nevertheless, you may still be lucky to encounter whales, but no guarantees are offered here. You can go on a whale watching safari with our neighbours in Vesterålen.
The book Birding the Islands – A birdwatcher’s guide to Lofoten and Vesterålen by John Stenersen.
The wetlands around Leknes, Fredvang and on the island of Gimsøya are all good, while Røst and Værøy are a must for birdwatchers.