Recently, Trey and I went on vacation—to Norway! I shared quite a few pictures on my IG, but I wanted to share a few more details about where we were, where we stayed, and what we did because it was such an amazing trip and Norway was so beautiful (and full of kind people) that I want to encourage others to go there if they get the chance. You won’t regret it!
Why Norway, or maybe an even better place to start is why Norway in the winter?! I love to lay out on a beach as much as anyone so I totally understand that some people might scratch their heads at our vacation destination choice here. Trey and I both really wanted to see the northern lights, also called Aurora Borealis, sometime in our life. There is just something about them that seemed beautiful, a touch mystical and spooky, and a totally interesting challenge to photograph (and I LOVE photography, as you know). The northern lights is a natural phenomenon, so it’s not really like you can be guaranteed a viewing. It just doesn’t work like that; it’s probably more like whale watching (which I have never done but hopefully you get my meaning here). After doing a little research, I found multiple sources that said northern Norway during February or March would be a good option, so that’s what we did. I really didn’t know much about Norway but I love exploring new places, so we started looking up Airbnbs and flights.
We found a beautiful little cabin in Leknes, Norway (which also had a small airport nearby we could fly into). Above you can see some of the views from our cabin, and they were truly spectacular! Our host, Tamara, was also incredible. She honestly saved the trip for us. You see my checked bag got lost on the way there, so I was without it for most of the trip. It had all of my camera equipment (DSLR, tripod, and our new drone) and my snow boots, among other things. And she actually loaned me a pair of hiking boots (my size, very lucky!) as well as a camera to use, and if she hadn’t, I would have missed the best weather hiking day as well as my chance to photograph the northern lights. So really, she saved the trip for us—I am beyond grateful for her above and beyond hospitality. The cabin was wonderful too, and in addition to the beautiful views, we loved the location (near a town but also access to hikes and the highway for exploring). We also really enjoyed the sauna. 🙂
I was able to see and photograph the northern lights, right from the back deck of our cabin. It was awesome and I’m going to do a separate post just about that.
Other than spending two nights in Oslo (to fly in and out of the country), we spent our week-long vacation in Lofoten. Although it’s only one small part of Norway, it’s SOOOO beautiful that I can’t help but suggest you specifically visit the area as well. There was a book in our cabin with all the hikes around Lofoten and the book was photographed in the spring and summer months and it looked just as beautiful then too. So no matter what time of year you go, I think Lofoten is worth the visit. Above are some photos we took while hiking, which was only about a five-minute drive from our cabin.
This is a beach about 5-10 minutes outside of Leknes (again, very near our cabin) and this photo is only barely edited—the sunset really was this pastel magic that day! Our host was also one of the owners of Lofoten Seaweed and we got to watch them harvest some of the seaweed at this beach one afternoon.
There was really only one day that was warm enough for hiking (in my opinion—I’m sure there are others who would not agree), so the other days we mainly drove around and would get out of our car to walk around a bit and take pictures or get a snack as we wanted. We drove from Leknes to the end of the road, which is in A. We really loved Reines for the views and Anita’s (just outside Reines) for the fish burgers. Yum!
One thing that was sort of funny, or different anyway, was we really didn’t eat out that much during this trip. The main place that was recommend to us, other than Anita’s, was Himmel & Havn, which is located in Ballstad (a short drive from Leknes and our cabin), but they ended up being closed every night we were there. For me, most vacations tend to revolve around eating and drinking out, but this trip was much more about the beautiful views and exploring the area. This is another reason we like to use Airbnb (or similar services) because although we didn’t plan to eat most of our meals at our cabin, we did, so we were thankful for a full kitchen to use. Enjoying a simple pasta dinner and some wine with the views from our cabin was just perfect for Trey and I on this trip. It reminded me of our honeymoon (almost five years ago!).
Our favorite beach in the area was in Ramberg, which is on the drive from Leknes to Reine. It was just beautiful, and I realized this was my first time (in my life) to see the Arctic Ocean (specifically the Norwegian Sea).
I should mention that we did finally get our luggage in time for our last day in Lofoten, so we got to use our new drone to get a few photos of the area, including some of these ocean photos from Ramberg. I just love the colors and I really want to find somewhere to display a few of these in our home. If you are thinking about a drone, we bought the DJI Mavic Air and really liked it. Very easy to use and it takes great photos (as well as video).
I keep saying this to friends, but the whole area felt like something out of a Wes Anderson movie to me—it just felt classic and almost frozen in time. It’s an absolutely beautiful place to be and for me it was a great spot to just unplug and enjoy the present moment because everything around me was so special feeling. In summary, FIVE STARS WOULD RECOMMEND! 🙂 xo. Emma
Beautifully written. I fell in love with Norway so much, that I moved there and launched business so others can travel there budget friendly as well. If you want, check it out and we will love to welcome you <3
Amazing! You explore great places in Norway! its amazing. Whole thing is amazing. Pictures clicked saying alot.
gorgeous pictures! looks like a great trip!
Wow, this looks so gorgeous! I had no idea I had to add Norway to my bucket list!
INCREDIBLE pictures!!!! Just stunning!!!!
I live in Norway but I never been in Lofoten before.
Hi Emma, Ihave been following A beautiful mess for years, and I’m getting so inspired by you and Elsie (loved the scrapbook items she created some years ago). I Love your Creativity, ideas and the mix of colors you use. That’s why I really enjoyed reading about your trip to my own homecountry, Norway (I live on the west coast). Glad to hear you had such a wonderful stay, and Thank you for sharing such beautiful photographs.
My instagram; aivili
I’ve been to the Lofoten islands during summer a few years ago and I loved it there. During summer you get to experience the midnight sun, it really never get’s fully dark. And I’ve never seen so many rare animals in free nature before, moose and sea eagles among them.
Amazing pictures! I LOVE the one with Emma and her red hat, it practically SCREAMS “album cover”! <3 <3 <3 Glad you liked Norway; I've been to Lofoten once (over a decade ago, in the early fall) and I loved it.
I will probably never make it to Norway, but I love hearing about it and looking at your gorgeous photos!
What a spectacular place, your vacation sounded so good! I think it’s a nice change to concentrate on nature and taking it all in than to spend the days and evenings in cafés, bars and restaurants. I love that, too, but I think this is really so much better for these kinds of places!
That picture of Emma is gorgeous.
Norway looks amazing. I definitely need to travel there someday!
That drone photo of the beach is uh-mazing!!! Please please please make that available in the beautiful mess shop as a digital download 🙂
I’m going to Norway this summer, and this post has gotten me even more excited! Thanks for sharing!
Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing these. I’m *so* looking forward to your post on the aurora borealis, it’s definitely on my bucket list.
These photos are so incredibly beautiful. Especially that one of the full moon over the mountains!!!
So gorgeous. Bright and majestic beauty is the best kind of beauty.
Norway looks breathtaking! I’ve just published a travel guide of 10 places that I really want to visit soon and Norway is in it as well! Your post just made me want to go even more! Thank you for sharing those beautiful insights, I hope I’ll get to see the Northern Lights at some point myself!
Wow!! Norway looks amazing! I definitely want to travel there one day! xx