Bea and I always dreamed of exploring Lofoten, our dream has finally came true when we went for a trip to Northern Norway. It was one of best experiences ever, we had time of our lives! To make the most of it we ensured to visit all the most iconic locations in Lofoten. Kvalvika Beach and Ryten are one of best hikes in Lofoten, there is a good reason for its ever growing popularity! Panoramic view from Ryten is amongst best views in Lofoten; it stretches from never-calm waters of Flakstad, towards magnificent mountains Moltinden and Middagstinden, over Torsfjorden and finally, to turquoise waters and white sands of Kvalvika Beach.
Kvalvika Beach and Ryten hike fact sheet
- Height: Ryten 543 masl
- Total time: 5-6 hours
- Total distance: 7.5 km
- Parking: small parking bay in Bergland, past Fredvang village (click here for directions)
- Level of difficulty: 3/5 -moderate, possible some steep sections. Norwegian standards: BLUE – moderate.
- Ryten weather information: Ryten weather forecast
- Which map: Vest-Lofoten 1:50 000 (click to buy)
How to get to Kvalvika Beach and Ryten
Ryten and Kvalvika Beach are located in Lofotodden National Park can be accessed by at least three trails, all similar in level of difficulty and terrain. The first and longest trail to Ryten begins in village Medvoll (no parking bays, nor facilities). The other two trails begin past Fredvang, along road Fv808 Holdanveien; 1km past Fredvang in Lomstjonna and 2.5 km past Fredvang in Bergland.
How to get to Fredvang Lofoten, then? From main Lofoten road E10 turn into Fv808 and follow the road for about 1.5km, passing the two Fredvang bridges.
Free Parking at Kvalvika Beach and Ryten
There are numerous dedicated car parks therefore it’s essential to know which one to choose.
Directly past the second bridge is Fredvang Rest Stop. This large, free car park (rubbish bins, toilet available) is on the left hand side. Unfortunately it’s 3km walk along the road to Kvalvika Beach trailhead.
On the right hand side, also directly past the second bridge, is another Ryten dedicated car park. We would recommend ignoring this one, as it’s a large private car park (daily charge applies) without facilities; and again, 3 km walk along the road to Kvalvika Beach and Ryten trailhead. OK, in high season it may come handy and one will have no other choice but use this paid facility, but otherwise we recommend trying out the below two parking bays, as they’re both located directly at Kvalvika & Ryten trailhead:
- small Ryten car park – 2.5km past Fredvang village, free of charge, fits up to 5 cars. Exact location 68.074638 13.137341 (paste to Google Maps), directly at Ryten trailhead
- Kvalvika Beach car park – 3.5km past Fredvang, free of charge, fits up to 20 cars. Exact location 68.068351 13.129468 (paste to Google Maps), directly at Kvalvika Beach trailhead
Please keep in mind that parking on road verges is prohibited and in the summer the Police run regular checks to penalises drivers for such parking.
When we arrived to Fredvang Lofoten we only followed very vague directions on how to find parking nearest to Ryten trail, we struggled to know whether we were in right place at all. We felt that other hikers may be facing the same challenge so why not learn from our experience; hence all details provided above.
Lofoten… moody, rainy Lofoten
It won’t be to anyone’s surprise that we felt a bit fed up with Lofoten weather; it hasn’t been easy on us. Even since we arrived it rained every day, although we visited Lofoten in summer, the experience was far from ‘summer holiday feeling’. We came to realisation that we had to be flexible to be able to enjoy Lofoten without getting soaked. Due to constantly changing weather conditions, some days we had to go exploring in the afternoon or evening (read about our evening hike to Roren and Yttersand Beach), some days we had to stay put and hope that tomorrow brings some better, drier weather; other days we had to leave our cosy camper van at sunrise to be able to hit the trail as early as possible, before rain comes. Exactly that was the case on the day we decided to hike to Ryten and Kvalvika Beach.
Having checked weather forecast we knew that to have a chance to hike Ryten and Kvalvika Beach in dry conditions we had to hit the trail early, before rain comes at about 2pm. Luckily, we wild camped nearby Fredvang, therefore the drive to Kvalvika and Ryten car park was only a couple of minutes. We had, however, some issues with finding the car park (check out detailed location, above).
A word of explanation; although we noticed many visitors walking to Kvalvika Beach first and then decide whether they feel like hiking to Ryten, we did it the other way around – hiked to Ryten first and then descended to the beach. We felt that it would suit us better to do ‘the hard part’ first, especially that we were not sure about weather conditions later in the afternoon.
Ryten and Kvalvika Beach hike
What a relief that our self-converted camper van is of such small size! Having arrived to the small Ryten car park we took the last free space! Phew! After a quick change we looked around one more time, to ensure we were exactly where we intended. There was a small signpost with ‘Ryten trailhead’ at the far side of the road, so we reckoned we were alright, ready to hit the trail!
At first, the faint path followed edge of small woodland, but as we progressed higher, we found ourselves on open, grassy slopes below lake Eingnansvatnet, which reminded us greatly of our beloved Scottish mountains. We had to stay focused on the path, it was a bit wet and we needed to be careful where we stepped; nobody would like to end up with wet feet at such early stage of hike! From our earlier experiences of hiking in Lofoten (especially visiting Munkebu hut) we knew that Gore-Tex or not, no boots are 100% waterproof in Lofoten. Luckily, there were small foot bridges built over the wettest sections, we appreciated them greatly.
We gained height easily, having been so focused on our steps we didn’t even realise how much we have already climbed! The path improved a little and just as we reached a plateau at Skjettendinkan, we took a brief break to admire the view.
At that point we already loved the scenery around us; rugged green slopes of nearest mountains, dark waters of Torsfjorden we left behind, and Ryten directly in front of us. We also found a small red mountain hut, Fredvangshytta (Fredvang mountain hut), on top of little hill at Skjettendinkan.
In no time we were already climbing rough slopes of Ryten. We followed a well defined, easy path to the summit, keeping to the slope edge and looking for Kvalvika Beach to appear far down below. There it was, finally! Its white sand contrasted with turquoise water making it look so unreal! View from Ryten to Kvalvika Beach was phenomenal!
Ryten summit is an amazing viewpoint, it makes it a very popular hike. We, however, meet only two other couples all the way up, and guess what!? We had Ryten summit all to ourselves! Not to mention that we made it to the top very early, well before 10 am! Well done to us! We felt very happy to have such good timing!
Having Ryten summit all to ourselves, we wanted to make the most of it; also it was a perfect time and spot for a break. The well deserved sandwiches and tea popped out of the rucksacks. Mountain tops must have some special kind of magic; however plain the snacks may be, they always taste awesome on mountain top! This never happens, for example, in the office… wonder why…
We sat at the summit cairn (pile of stones) and enjoyed the moment. Apart from bread, nuts and raisins, we always ensure to have a tea filled flask. Do you agree, there’s nothing quite warming as a cup of hot tea with ginger and honey? I mean, look at us on the photo above, we weren’t really dressed as one would imagine ‘summer’, that’s a special ‘summer in Lofoten’ attire! These circumstances required hot tea!
It’s not a coincidence we always try to have a flask of hot tea. It has been a life saver on many of our hikes; hot tea with ginger is perfect to warm up anyone chilled by cold, northerly wind, while honey gives an extra boost of energy. One would say ‘so does whisky!’, but we’re just too found of green tea 🙂
‘OK, time to move on!’ said Bea, and we slowly got ready to descend from Ryten. We were both looking forward to exploring Kvalvika Beach, it looked great from above, we just couldn’t wait to set our feet on the white sand.
We retraced our steps from Ryten to Forsvatnet (a little lake) and turned right, followed a faint path along the lake and further, down to the beach. Descent from Forsvatnet was steep and wet in places, we were extra careful not to slip not twist ankle.
As we came down, we realised that the beach was not as quiet as it seemed from above. There were several visitors enjoying it already, as well as campers – their tents hidden amongst small dunes at the edge of beach, which we did not spot from Ryten.
We must have a lucky gene for outgoing tides. Most of the time we visit beaches, we somehow come at low tide, without planning it. Kvalvika Beach was no exception – outgoing tide revealed lovely fine, white sand, the beach widened greatly.
Despite the fact that there were several visitors enjoying the beach already, there was enough space for everyone and we all could enjoy Kvalvika Beach without disturbing one another. Somehow everyone found a quiet spot to enjoy the beach their own way. We, traditionally, had some more nuts and tea!
About 1 hour later we were ready to call it a day and return to the car park, without rushing of course. We slowly walked along water edge, picking up stones and shells, escaping waves. We really enjoyed visiting Kvalvika Beach, but conscious of the timing and weather forecast, we continued towards beach end where our return path was.
Extending the hike, Vestervika to Markjorda
We’re sure this will be of interest to many hikers: there is another way back from Kvalvika Beach to the main road and car park. It starts at the most westerly end of the beach, called Vestervika, climbs up high to saddle near lake Agotvatnet, passes an impressive lake Markvatnet before descending to Markjorda. Honestly, we found this idea very appealing, but sadly had to decide against it. Choosing longer return way would extend our hike by additional 2km in the mountains and 3km walk along the road. That, we felt, would be too much; we were tight on time, remember? Instead, we continued to the beach end and slowly climbed to a low saddle, a highest point between Kvalvika Beach and car park.
Very quickly we reached the saddle, there already was a considerable traffic on the path, with many visitors coming and going from the beach. Kvalvika Beach itself is a well known landmark in Lofoten and attracts countless visitors every time of the year.
Hiking down from saddle to car park was quick, there were more foot bridges over swampy grounds and path was generally in good condition, making the descent to Kvalvika Beach car park very easy. Couple of minutes later we were already back to the little parking bay at Ryten.
We only managed to get changed and decide on visiting the next location in Lofoten, before the heavens opened. It was 2 pm.
Wild camping near Kvalvika Beach and Ryten, and the nearest campsite
Finding a good spot to stay overnight off grid is generally difficult in Lofoten. In most suitable spots camping is forbidden. By Norwegian law, wild camping is only allowed 150 metres from nearest dwellings, however on many occasions we found notice boards put by the locals that they do not wish campers to stay overnight on their land.
The best low-level wild camping spots in the area would be Fredvang Rest Stop (for a camper vans) and little hills near the bridges, however they’re both ‘No Camping’ zones, loud and clear. If one travels in a camper and wants to wait out bad weather, Fredvang Rest Stop is an ideal spot to have a break, or spend the day even (free toilet available), however it would only be respectful to move somewhere else for the night. We camped along main road E10 for two nights as there are parking bays large enough to fit 2 cars, near junction with Fv 808 direction to Moskenes.
For tent enthusiasts we recommend wild camping in the mountains, there were numerous suitable spots, one would easily find a bit of flat ground. Camping is also allowed at Kvalvika Beach, in fact it seemed very popular. There were several tents pitched, sheltered by small dunes at the foot of Ryten cliffs.
Campsite nearest Ryten and Kvalvika Beach is ‘Fredvang Strand’. This small campsite is located at the far end of Yttersand Beach, however we can’t comment on its prices nor facilities. It’s hard to believe, but there aren’t many campsites in Lofoten, therefore one can find themselves having to stop over as far as Moskenes Campsite.
Hiking trail to Kvalvika Beach and Ryten map
*Level of difficulty explained: 1– easy walk, mostly flat 2-easy hillwalk, good path 3-moderate, possible some steep sections 4-long hillwalk, possibly some scrambling involved, possibly pathless 5-difficult, possibly pathless, long, requires technical skills
NORWEGIAN DIFFICULTY LEVEL EXPLAINED: GREEN – easy , BLUE -moderate, RED – demanding, BLACK -expert