124 km - 1100m
Wild and beautiful.
Steep mountains and wide horizons, fishing villages, green farmland and beautiful beaches. The loop on Lofoten's second largest island goes across on of the most beautiful and famous landscapes in Norway. The trip gives both a fantastic proximity to the lofoten mountains and the ocean, and great views to the mainland, northern parts of Vesterålen and the other islands of Lofoten. The loop is varied and serves not only sea and mountains. You pass large marshes that are characteristic of northern Norway, and the central and flat parts of the island take you through one of the largest agricultural areas in Nordland county. A cultural landscape with roots far back. The Viking Museum at Borg is a reconstruction of the largest long-house found in the Viking era and shows us that people have harvested the sea and the earth in immemorial times.
Leknes, the center of the municipality, is a natural starting point for the trip, while the traditional fishing villages Ballstad and Stamsund are good basecamps if you are of the more picturesque type who want to combine cycling and fishing holidays. Otherwise, there are plenty of accommodations around the entire island.
The loop follows the narrow and charming county road 815 through Valberg, the busier E10 through Borge which is part of the national tourist route, smaller county roads and a 2 km long gravel road (see front picture) that takes you to Vik and Haukland (FV 820 is an alternative if the gravel road is in bad condition). The terrain on Vestvågøy is flat with smaller climbs like Einangen and Sjurbakken. The former takes you through one of the few hairpin turns in Lofoten and is a great lookout point eastwards towards the mainland and west towards Lofotodden, Skottinden and Buksnesfjorden. Although the loop is relatively flat, weather and wind conditions can play a factor. A hard north wind, sea mist and changing weather can make the trip heavier than the height meter suggests. And it's hard to get away from the wind by the sea.
It is possible to extend and shorten the loop. The road around Gimsøy and detours to the famous surf spot Unstad (you have to go through two short and illuminated tunnels) and Eggum are recommended. If you are tired of the tourist traffic on E10, you can ride Pollvegen which is a 9 km long gravel road that runs along Indre Borgfjord (sign to Vendalsjord). In Lauvdalen you will find the farmhouse Aalan Gård, which also has a nice café in July. If Pollveien gives you a taste of gravel, you can take off E10 at sign to Ostad and follow a gravel road a few kilometers between farms to Rise. If you only follow FV 815 and E10 you will get a tour of 80 kilometers in addition to the climb over Hagskaret. Leknes, Einangen, Sennesvik, Steine, Stamsund and then returning to Leknes over Hagskaret also make a nice and shorter round that is popular among local heroes. When you come to Vik you are only a few strokes away from the wonderful beaches of Haukland and Uttakleiv (tunnel, last part of the beach at Uttakleiv goes on gravel). At Haukland you have the possibility to test your legs at the end of the ride. A climb with a midsection on gravel takes you up to the closed entrance to the radar station located on the top of Himmeltindan (yes, it sounds like a scene from a James Bond movie). The last part is a proper challenge with a average grade on 15-20%. As fresh as the bath temperatures in the sea.
"Huset kafé" has the best norwegian roasted coffee at Leknes and is a natural stop for a cup or two before you hit the road. Sans & Samling, situated it the cultur center "Meieriet" is a great place to sum up the trip with dinner or lunch, great baked goods, cakes, coffee and beer. "Himmel og havn" are worth a visit if you have base at Ballstad or want some extra kilometers. You are not far away from a complete person when sitting on the fishing dock outside the cafe in sweaty tights with a calorie bomb of a piece of cake and a black cup of coffee. "Gamleskola" in Lyngedal is a new and nice addition with a perfect location. We have not measured, but it must be about halfway on the loop. An old school converted to a playland for kids in one wing and a cafe in the other. In other words. Possibilities for alternative core training and coffee break. And space in the hallway to park your bike. At Haukland you will find "Kraftstasjonen", a small and cozy café in the old power station to the village. There are grocieres at Leknes, Stamsund, Vestresand and Borg with different opening hours. Intersport Leknes and Sport-1 at the Lofoten Center are standard chain stores with workshops. You will also find the bike- and workshop L Barth Sport along the way.
"Lofoten sykkelklubb" (the local cycle club) organizes Lofotrittet in early August on parts of the same loop, just the other way. The 2. stage of the Arctic Race in 2013 also went in the area with finish in Svolvær. Almighty Thunder God Thor Hushovd won the stage .
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