Værøy is a small island located approximately 30 km from main ‘body’ of Lofoten archipelago. It’s accessible by ferry, however due to sailings schedule going for a day trip to Værøy can be tricky. We have long planned visiting this charming island and finally managed to set our feet on Værøy hiking trails only a couple of weeks ago.
Continue reading out little guide to Værøy to find out: how to get to Værøy Lofoten, get around the island, learn a bit about Værøy hiking trails and our experience of the island!
How to get to Værøy Lofoten
Værøy is accessible only by ferry operated by Torghatten Nord AS, however due to the sailing route and timings, it’s essential to ensure you’re checking the most up-to-date sailing schedule, otherwise you may get stuck on the island for up to 3 days!
Vaeroy ferry sailing route includes Bodo, Rost, Værøy and Moskenes. Also, there is limited connection during weekends.
Bearing that in mind, we carefully planned our visit; actually the tricky ferry schedule was the reason why we didn’t manage to explore the island when we visited Lofoten last year…
But, let’s have a look at the ferry timetable to help you understand why planning is so crucial when it comes to visiting Værøy Lofoten.
OK, I appreciate it’s not perfectly clear at the beginning, but I promise it will make sense once you have a closer look at the schedule. Basically, it’s the ferry from Moskenes to Bodo (or Bodo to Moskenes), which stops in Værøy and Rost along the way.
In yellow I highlighted the only sailing from Moskenes to Værøy. It leaves Moskenes at 9.45am and then leaves Værøy at 11.15am (meaning that it arrives to Værøy at 11.00am).
Let’s have a look at the return option, from Værøy to Moskenes. I highlighted the only return sailing stopping over at Værøy, in orange. So it leaves Værøy at 22.45 and arrives to Moskenes at midnight.
This is the only possible way of visiting Værøy on a day trip, without staying overnight at the island. Also, keep in mind that the schedule vary depending on the day of a week!
I guess you can now appreciate the importance of planing ahead and ensuring that you consult the most up-to-date timetable!
So, let’s complicate things a bit more and check out the weekend schedule!
Have you noticed it yet? On Saturday you can get to Værøy, but you can’t return; on Sunday however you can’t get to Værøy but you can return to Moskenes. So, if you miss your return connection on Friday night, the next opportunity to come back to Moskenes would be Sunday night!
Getting around Værøy
That’s definitely easier subject than ferry connections! You can get around Værøy on foot, by bike or by car.
Getting around Værøy by car. We don’t recommend taking your car to Værøy if you’re coming to the island for a day trip. Remember, it’s only a small island – the maximum distance ‘between A and B’ on Værøy is 7 km. It’s not worth taking a car and paying premium ferry ticket price! It’s also much more enjoyable to experience and see the island ‘live’, rather than just drive thru (or around) and seeing it thru the window (unless the weather is totally horrible, but then you can choose to visit another day!).
Getting around Værøy on foot. It’s the easiest and cheapest option, however it does have its cons, especially if you’re not a keen walker! Firstly, crossing to Værøy as a foot passenger is cheap (approx. 10 EUR per person, summer 2019) and you won’t ever risk that there isn’t enough space on the ferry (unlike for cars). However, from our own experience (we explored Værøy on foot only) having to walk to all places of interest (or trailheads) is a bit of pain in the backside and takes a serious chunk of time… Despite the distances on Værøy being relatively small, when added together they could come to a rather impressive figure! Here’s the example: distance from ferry harbour to Sorland (main village of Værøy) is 2 km. From Sorland to Haheia or Hornet trail head is another 1.8 km. Then, to get anywhere else we had to return to the village (add another 1.8km) and walk further… To sum up, we liked exploring the island on foot, but we also found it very time consuming and a bit tiring.
Getting around Værøy by bike. We believe it’s the best option. How to go about it then? If you don’t happen to travel with your own bike, you can either rent a bike in Moskenes or possibly your accommodation provider offers such service. Great news is that Torghatten Nord treats cyclists the same as foot passengers, you can take a bike to Værøy at no additional cost! Another option is hiring a bicycle on Værøy; have a look at the tourist information board at Værøy ferry ‘terminal’ to check out latest offers. During our visit to the island we noticed that cycling is the most popular mean of transport and many fellow visitors rented them in Sorland.
Our experience on Værøy Lofoten
We were both very excited on the thought of finally going to Værøy! Last time we tried to visit the island, our plans were spoiled by ‘tricky’ ferry schedule and very limited weekend connections. Hence, this time we ensured to be more flexible to be able to play around the ferry schedule and Værøy weather forecast. Surely, we wanted to enjoy the island in good weather, admire the views and walk about in sunshine, under blue sky! Therefore we continued checking the forecast (Værøy weather forecast) and were very pleased to see that it was very, very promising!
Excited, we arrived to Moskenes ferry harbour (directions) well before time and queued together with other foot passengers and cyclists. We were going to Værøy! We made plans, picked some Værøy hikes and beaches to relax.
Crossing to Værøy takes just over 1 hour and only a couple of minutes after leaving Moskenes, I spotted a very familiar shape in calm sea waters. ‘Bea, I said, ‘I can see something in the water right there, I think it is…’ And I didn’t manage to finish, as the vessel’s captain announced that we were accompanied by a Sperm Whale, and confirmed my suspicions! You can only imagine my excitement!
The first sight of Værøy in the distance was unsettling. I looked thru ferry window and consulted Bea ‘do you think Værøy is that island in the cloud, over there..?’
Any other direction we looked was clear – blue sky and sunshine, Værøy however seemed to be totally covered by low clouds! But we did check the forecast again in the morning and it promised heavenly weather! Well, so much about weather forecast in Lofoten…
Luckily, when we approached the island, with relief we discovered that not the whole island is covered by clouds… ironically, the village was pretty much clear… Unfortunately, the hills almost completely disappeared under the thick, white blanket… but, as some parts of ridges were sticking out, we were hopeful.
We were especially looking forward to two hikes on Værøy: Haheia and Nordlandsnupten. Sadly, both hills were almost completely covered by low clouds, or rather a mist, coming from the ocean, behind the island. It was actually very dramatic view and despite the disappointment, we admired the unpredictable nature. Yep, Værøy was bathed in sunshine, with only one exception – the high ridge, the spine of the island, our main hiking destination! Oh!
We decided to still give it a go and hike, starting with an easy walk to Haheia. As we approached the trail head, we felt the temperature drop and clouds moving fast. They were like a waterfall moving down, over the ridge, to a small valley and lifting again, just over the village. When we finally reached the main ridge leading to Haheia, we already knew we’re not very likely to have magnificent view… lucky if we see anything! Despite waiting for over 1 hour at Haheia’s top, we only managed to catch a glimpse of the beautiful hills and beaches down below. Below are photos of what we expected to see (rugged narrow peninsula) versus what we actually saw (only a tip of the hill)…
A bit disappointed, we retraced our steps to the village, still enjoying the view of these annoying cloud ‘waterfalls’ that spoiled our Haheia hike!
At that point we also already decided that hiking to Nordlandsnupten, the highest summit on Værøy didn’t make sense as we wouldn’t see anything from the top either. Nordlandsnupten was covered in low clouds head to toe.
‘Great’, we thought, ‘what are we supposed to do for the next 5 hours then???’
We took it easy, had a good look around the village, walked to lower viewpoints, sunbathed… last 3 hours before the return ferry to Moskenes we spent at the pub. What is more, we couldn’t resist but try local cuisine, we went for a fantastic dish made of ‘torrfisk’ (aka ‘stokfisk’), which is dried cod – Lofoten’s speciality. Ela was quite enjoying the beer and the thought we didn’t have to drive anywhere that day, as we left the van at the campsite only 5 minutes walk from Moskenes ferry harbour. We also noticed that most pictures on pub’s walls portraying the ‘spine ridge of Vaeroy’ reflected the very same weather we experienced that day, so it must be a pretty regular occurrence, the ‘cloud waterfalls’ coming from north-west ocean. Suddenly we realised that while hiking to Moskenesoya’s highest mountain, couple of days before, we have already seen Vaeroy and its cloud blanket, therefore the weather must have been like that for at least 3 days!
Hiking trails in Værøy
There are several hiking trains on Vaeroy island, varying in length and level of difficulty. The trails are marked and signposted at trail head.
HAHEIA. This is a relatively short and easy hike, plentiful in spectacular views over the Sorland and Mastad villages and to beaches in remoter parts of Vaeroy. Assuming they’re not totally covered in clouds, like during our unlucky visit. The trail begins at Hagskaret (directions) where you can also find a small car park. The marked path (marked red on the map below) runs thru a lovely meadow, at first, and soon joins the small road (also known as ‘NATO road’) to old NATO buildings. The trail is very easy (if you follow the road till Haheia summit), or alternatively you can take a small detour and instead walking along the road, climb a bit higher, to the ridge and follow it to NATO buildings (this option is marked ‘demanding’). Round trip to Haheia is approx. 5 km (from Hagskaret).
A couple of photographs from our hike to Haheia, in very poor visibility.
NORDLANDSNUPTEN. The highest summit of Vaeroy is relatively easy to conquer, however one thing to keep in mind is that trail head is located quite a distance from Sorland (and approx. 6 km from ferry harbour), near Breivika beach (directions). It is a short, but steep climb to the Nordlandsnupten summit; first up the Breivikdalen valley and then even steeper, along the ridge. Just before reaching Nordlandsnupten, you’ll come across another, lower top, Breiviknupen. If you feel that final climb to Nordlandsnupten is too airy or difficult, don’t push further – Breiviknupen views are very similar!
HORNET. This short and very steep trail starts at the small car park in Hagskaret and follows the Haheia path till the third hairpin bend of NATO road. At that point look out for a signposted trail heading directly up to the ridge. Once at the ridge, turn right towards the summit. There is an alternative path climbing steeply over Hornet’s south slopes, but we believe this approach is a bit more difficult. Hornet trail is marked as ‘demanding’, distance to the summit is approx. 1.2 km from trailhead in Hagskaret.
Click on the map below to enlarge it and explore even more hiking options. On the map, paths are marked with small red dots, most of them are signposted at trail head.
What we loved about visiting Vaeroy Lofoten
Despite being a bit unlucky with the ever present cloud cover over our main focus – the hills, we enjoyed the visit to Vaeroy. The island has a very relaxed ambience. We really liked the fact that it’s easily explored on foot, without the need for car. Even thou we didn’t manage to hike as much as we planned, we still felt happy to have come to Vaeroy and see a bit different side of Lofoten archipelago; without crowds of other tourists.