Rorbuer of the Lofoten Islands
Rorbuer of the Lofoten Islands
The brightly colored seaside wooden huts of the Lofoten Islands (rorbuer plural, or rorbu singular) are steeped in tradition, once housing scores of hardened fishermen who made the winter pilgrimage to the world’s most fertile cod fishing grounds. Fish are still the basis of all human settlement on Lofoten, but beginning in the 1960’s a number of the huts have been converted into accommodation for travelers. Visiting the Lofoten Islands and staying in a rorbu makes an already extraordinary experience even more distinctive.
Rorbuer, like all accommodations in Norway, can be pricey. Many rorbu have multiple bedrooms and can fit four or more people. For each group of cabins there is a noticeable price difference between the cheapest and most expensive options. Rorbuer generally are outfitted with full kitchens giving you the option to cook. Prices below are for the 2013 summer high season and include VAT.
Editor’s Choice: Reine Rorbuer (Reine)
Reine is the most scenic fishing village on the Lofotens and the Reine Rorbuer are best in class. The helpful website has a map of the grounds and a selection of photos of each unique cabin, allowing you to book the specific rorbu of your choice. 2013 summer prices: 1200K–2580K ($205–$440 per night).
Reine Sleeper: Sakrisøy Rorbuer
Ownership may want to consider playing down its porcelain doll museum (although the story behind it is interesting) and start playing up its fantastic location and beautiful cabins. Rorbuer aren’t cheap in general, but the Sakrisøy rorbuer are a good value and include the free use of a rowboat. 2013 summer prices: 1175K–1650K ($200–$280).
Location, location, location:
Rorbu Cabins at Valen (Reine)
These two exceptional rorbuer, Valbua and Aronbua, sit side-by-side on their own stretch of water. Their only shortcoming is proximity to the main road through Reine, which runs directly behind the cabins and gets a decent amount of traffic in the summertime. Nevertheless, the renovations are fantastic, the rorbuer have ample exterior space, and are centrally located 100 meters from the market. 2013 summer prices: 1600K and 2100K ($275 and $360). 10% discount for one-week rentals.
The ‘New’ Guy: Eliassen Rorbuer (Hamnøy)
The site may be old but the rorbuer were renovated in 2010 (the term ‘gutted’ is more accurate). The rustic charm is gone but the cabins are clean, slightly cheaper than the nearby counterparts, and have superb views. The Eliassen Rorbuer are located in Hamnøy just down the road from Reine, and also offer modest hostel rooms for 450K ($77). 2013 summer prices: 1190K–1790K ($205–$305).
Svolvær’s Finest: Svinøya Rorbuer (Svolvær)
The Svinøya Rorbuer are several well-regarded cabins situated on a small island in the Svolvær harbor, a short walk to the town center. The offerings include original rorbuer that have been thoughtfully restored as well as some cabins newly built in the traditional style. The downside is that they are located in Svolvær, still beautiful yet less desirable than nearby Henningsvær or Reine. 2013 summer prices: 1325K–3000K ($228–$515).
Where to Stay in Henningsvær
Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware): Henningsvær Rorbuer: Everybody loves Henningsvær, but not the Henningsvær Rorbuer, and in particular the management. Avoid the headache and make the most of your stay in this superb fishing village by considering these Henningsvær alternatives:
Henningsvaer Bryggehotell: Popular and well located, but pricey. Rooms from 1500K ($256).
Three outstanding apartments located in the Henningsvær Harbor and an exceptional deal for Norway. A three-night stay is required during the peak season; 1100K–1700K ($190–$290).
More on the Lofoten Islands
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Norway’s Lofoten Islands are referred to as the Lofoten Wall, because quite literally, they are vertical rows of granite shooting out of the Arctic Sea. A number of tiny fishing villages hug the shoreline and a majority of the inhabitants still depend for their livelihood on the epic winter cod season… Read More
The breathtaking village of Reine is located on the island of Moskenesøya on northern Norway’s Lofoten archipelago. With red and white fishermen’s huts dotting the shoreline and surrounding peaks of granite shooting out of the Reinefjorden, the village has… Read More
On Norway’s Lofoten Islands thirty minutes east of Svolvær is the picturesque fishing village of Henningsvær. Comprised of a number of islets spread among the waters of Vjestfjord, Henningsvær has the most well-preserved architecture of the traditional Norwegian villages… Read More