Reachable only by foot, Kvalvika Beach is situated on an isolated bay on the northern side of Moskenesoy, on the Lofoten Islands. It is one of those destinations that can make you feel as if you’re standing on the edge of the world. With terrifically brilliant turquoise waves crashing against golden white sand and craggy, vertical cliffs that seem to rise to the clouds, this desolate but stunning spot makes for a truly inspirational visit.
Until the late 1930s, the bay at Kvalvika Beach used to have a few human inhabitants. You can still see a few traces of where their homes and other buildings used to be. You will also find a small cabin built from driftwood that was constructed by two young Norwegian men who lived on the bay for nine months a few years ago. Open to everyone, you can still see some of the items used by the men during their period of isolation in this windswept spot.
Wherever you are in Lofoten, if you’re driving to Kvalvika Beach you’ll need to take the E10 to Fredvang, and after leaving it, cross the twin bridges. Then, take a left turn into Fredvang and continue down the road into the village. After around 3 kilometers you’ll see a red boat shed on the left, close to the water. Immediately after this is a paved parking turnout where you can leave your car.
This beach is the perfect place to escape the humdrum and hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature at its finest. If you enjoy hiking, it becomes an even more special destination.
One of the Lofoten Islands’ most popular treks, walking to Kvalvika Beach is a visual joy. With a recently renovated and improved trail, it’s a cinch to walk, too. Once you’ve parked, you’ll look across and see a trail that heads up the hill. The main entrance point has some new stone steps and a wooden walkway to help when conditions are wet. There are a number of signs to ensure you don’t get lost. After around 10 or 15 minutes of hiking, you’ll clear the trees and make your way to the center of the pass to the north. The path takes you between two mountains, so do expect a gentle incline. After 30-40 minutes, you’ll get to the top of the pass and make your descent down to the beach. Be warned that in wet weather the trail can get quite slippery and, combined with its steepness, can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Proceed down to the beach, allowing the sound of the waves to guide you, and voila, after just an hour of walking, you get to the flat, grassy dunes at the rear of the beach.
For even more spectacular views of the sandy beach below, you can choose to combine your trip to Kvalvika with a hike up to Ryten Mountain.
To make sure you get the most out of your hike to Kvalvika Beach when you follow the trail, below are some tips and pointers:
There really is only one way to stay on Kvalvika Beach – and that’s camping. In recent years, this beach has become one of the most popular wild camping areas on Lofoten. With a large grassy area around the beach, a freshwater stream close to the trail, and an ample supply of driftwood for building a campfire, pitching a tent is pretty straightforward and pretty picturesque, too.
As with camping anywhere, and certainly on Lofoten, keep a close eye on the weather forecast so that you don’t get caught off guard by the wind, rain or snow!
With an outstanding landscape and rugged beauty, it’s easy to “sea” why this beach is so popular. Any trip to the Lofoten Islands would be incomplete without a stop-off – or an overnight camping stay – on Kvalvika Beach.