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A paddle trip with destination Lofoten

Escaping everyday life and going on a trip to get amazed by Mother Nature, broaden your mind and recharging your battery with fresh air is compelling to all of us. So it is for Kristin and Katrin. These two friends from Berlin took on the challenge of going on a roadtrip for 2.5 week and escaped their everyday life. Destination: Lofoten (Norway) Read their interesting SUP story, get to know about their routes and see the photo's to get inspired for your next trip!

Why Norway?
We both have a great passion for sports and any kind of outdoor activities, but especially watersports are what’s connecting us. We first met on a surfboard in Portugal and ever since then spent most time being out together on the water, but instead of on a surfboard, we spend time on a SUP board.

Our home waters are in and around Berlin, but we had this nice talk about Norway and this one special group of islands very up north. Both of us have been fascinated by the idea of doing a road trip, so we did not think about it for that long we just decided to go to Norway to explore the Lofoten Islands together.
A mix of a lot of great coincidences this year made this trip happen and simply one of our best spend holidays ever in our lives. Firstly I needed to meet Kristin and find a deep friendship. Secondly, we both needed to fall in love with some photos of the Lofoten Islands in Norway and decide that we really want to explore that very special place on earth. Third, having friends in life who spontaneously decide to give their camper to you, or make everything possible to make sure you have the best photo equipment with you. 

The challenge
Since the Lofoten Islands are not that easy reachable by direct flight from Germany, and besides the fact, that you need a rental car to get from A to B up there anyway, the plan to do a road trip was settled very fast.
To be as flexible as possible we needed to do is with a camper!
The biggest challenge for both of us was the total of distance of 5.500 km being on the road in only 2.5 weeks. We did not plan the trip day by day ahead, but somehow we still had a pretty tight schedule for the whole trip to be back home on time and do as many outdoor activities as possible.

Our gear
Being on the road with the camper gave us the great possibility to take as much equipment with us as possible. Our Inflatable SUPs have been a total must on our packing list.

We don’t like boundaries and Norway has so much water, lakes, rivers and of cause all the incredibly beautiful fjords. Where ever you go you have the option to explore the beauty of that country on the water and the inflatable SUPs give us the great flexibility of not just exploring mountains and wood. For those who don’t want to take heavy and unhandy kayaks with them on the road, ISUPs are a perfect addition to any equipment list.
Another good reason for doing a trip like that with ISUPs is simply the small packing size they have in the end.
Have a look at how packed our little camper was after day 3 on the road. Our bike carrier broke on the Norwegian roads and we needed to stuff the bikes inside the camper as well, in the end, the ISUPs fitted in the last corner inside the camper after we finished our Tetris for adults. Can you spot the boards?
I decided to buy the 11,6’’ aero SUP, which for me is the ideal touring SUP on my home waters in Berlin, I chose it especially because of its lightweight and I wanted an ISUP-package that comes with a backpack and not with a trolley. Don’t blame me for that I’m still a girl I’m in love with the color as well and maybe has been the final purchase reason in the end.
We took everything with us that girls need basically, 2 SUP boards, 2 bikes, lots of camera equipment, hiking boots, food etc…. Do you really need all of that, yes! We planned to explore the Scandinavian capital cities by bike, the lakes and rivers along the road by SUP and the Lofoten Islands in the end with our hiking boots day times and either in the morning or in the evening by SUP.

Worked out pretty well, although you always need to have a close look at the weather forecast and plan the day accordingly a little to make the most out of it as possible.
Our trip
2 girls
1 camper
2.5 weeks
5.500 km on the road
3 countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark)
6 SUP tours (Lillehammer, Å I Lofoten, Borgværet, Ure, Stockholm, Gränna)
4 hiking tours (Kvalvika Beach Trail, Munkebu Hut Trail, Offersøykammen Trail, Smørdalskammen Trails)
4 metropolitan cities (Oslo, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen)

On the road Pt.I.
We started in Berlin with Kiel as our first destination. A 20-hour ferry ride later we arrived in the harbor of Oslo exploring the city by bike. After spending the first day in Oslo we spontaneously decided to drive further north for the first night in the camper.
Not really knowing how well located our first camping spot would be, we arrived in Lillehammer with the river Mjøsa right in front of us.

Perfect conditions for a short and first moonlight SUP session made us want to paddle out early in the morning the next day before being on the road all day long.
6 am and Lillehammer simply topped it all, no wind, mirror flat water, and a super lovely sunrise above the Olympic ski jumping hill. Experiencing for the first time how well camping, traveling with a SUP and Norway go together, it made us feel really excited to continue our journey to explore as much as possible.
Let’s hit the road, 1,000 km, and one ferry ride to go until we reach our main destination.
The following 2 days we spend the most time sitting in the camper driving straight up north to the ferry in Bodø to cruise to the southern tip of the Lofoten Islands. Crossing the arctic circle for the first time and our broken bike carrier are just 2 highlights along the way.
It took us 4 days in total to reach the Lofoten Islands by car from Berlin. We planned to stay on the islands for 7 days, plus 6 more days for driving back home.

Lofoten islands:
Researching for the ideal time to spend on the Lofoten we read articles and blogs and most people recommend staying 7 days, but we totally disagree.

Sure, depending on how you want to explore the islands, 7 days might be enough. Since we wanted to do some hiking, paddling and of cause just spending time there, 7 days are not enough, especially when you think of weather conditions that can be very changing within hours. We’ve been a little unlucky with the weather on the first couple of days, hiking with rain and wind might be doable, but a SUP tour with strong arctic wind is unfortunately not the best idea you can have.

With having a constant look on the weather forecast we managed to spend every calm hour on the water to enjoy the nature around us not just from the top of the mountains, but as well from a water perspective.
Exploring the Lofoten with a little hike first is probably the best way to start your adventure, Kvalvika beach a perfect destination. A moderate trail with a very rewarding first postcard view.
Weather conditions forced us to wake up very early to start our first arctic SUP adventure. Given was a timeframe of about 2 hours before wind and rain would catch up again.

Let’s paddle, 7 am, no traceable wind, mirror flat water, and the beautiful mountain lake Ågvatnet in the little fisherman village Å just for us ahead of us.
Waterfalls and the clear water made us fall in love with paddling in cold water from the very first stroke on.
Rainy days followed and we had a lot of fun doing super muddy hikes and drive around the islands the other days. Hiking is fun but we were really hoping for better conditions to go out paddling again.
Luckily our last 2 days on the Lofoten have been really sunny with less wind, offering us the awesome combination of hiking and paddling on the same day.

First, we started the day with a lovely hike to the Offersøykammen, on top you have a breathtaking view of 3 fjords at the same time. Finding the perfect spot can be tricky for a sunset SUP tour the islands of Borgværet on the west coast have been the best option.
That SUP tour is for us a very special one since it was our first time being out on the open sea. It’s all about exploring.
Our home base for the last days was the harbor of Ure in Sennesvik, a perfect playground for going out on the water or going on a hike. Why going for one or the other option when you can have both, right? The summit of the Smørdalskammen is reachable with just very little afford and is basically around the corner of Ure. Being alone on top and not a single cloud in the sky made it quite hard to leave the Lofoten the next day, but not before we had the last SUP tour in arctic waters.
Perfect conditions in the evening and the islands of Gåsøyflaget in Ure offered us the best farewell we could imagine and made us leave the Lofoten with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other. Crystal clear water, mountain scenery, jellyfish, sunlight, mirror flat water, and our ISUPs are simply a perfect combination.
 
Dear Lofoten, it was a pleasure and most likely not the last visit for us.
 
On the road Pt. II:
Going back home felt different this time, knowing it will take us 6 days to be back in Berlin. Next planned destination Stockholm, 1.700 km and two days on the road to go. After crossing the arctic circle and rushing through Lapland, Swedish woods and driving along countless lakes we arrived in Stockholm after 3 days being on the road in total.
In Stockholm, we discovered that you can stay on a caravan camping ground in the heart of the city on the island Långholmen. That’s what we call camping deluxe, although we more or less felt like sleeping under the bridge.
Since we unplanned camped on an inner-city island (fun fact: it’s a former prisoners island) we of cause wanted to go out on the water for a SUP sightseeing tour. The short tour surrounding the island Långholmen offered a perfect closing for Stockholm with a great different perspective of the major sights of the city while paddling along the bay of Riddarfjärden and along the Söder Mälarstrand with its beautiful boats.

Three more days before we need to be back home in Berlin and still two cities on the wishlist ahead of us.
We had a late night drop-in at the camping ground of the city Gränna at the giant lake Vättern between Stockholm and Gothenburg and we simply had the feeling, we need to rest. 

For our last SUP tour, we’ve been blessed with perfect SUP conditions, clear blue sky and mirror flat water. Lake Vättern is a really big lake, the surrounding was not as special as you might think, no mountains nor a beautiful city skyline, we pretty much had the same background for paddling as we have in Berlin. But the water is so crystal clear compared to Berlin waters, that we, in the end, had a lot of fun with the SUPs and camera on and under the water.
Following our way to Gothenburg after having a lazy day at the camping ground and the lake we only had a couple of hours left for exploring. A lovely sunset walk through this beautiful harbor city was really worth it, even if it was just a short stopover before reaching our final destination Copenhagen.
 
Hello Copenhagen and soon goodbye Scandinavia.
Nordic late summer vibes turned our last stop into a perfect day exploring the city by bike with good food, great coffee, shopping, and chilling by the seaside. We could continue driving for so long, but Berlin waters are already waiting with warm late summer days, so time to go back home to spend the last summer days on our home waters.
Thank you, Kristin, for doing this trip with me. I’m feeling very blessed to have a friend who supports every crazy idea and shares all these great moments with me.
Girls get outside and explore!

Kristin & Katrin
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