Set on a picturesque island in Svolvær harbour, Svinoya Rorbuer is a collection of traditional fishermen cabins, brimming with history, located as they are between old quayside buildings, fish racks and the fish landing station. A stay here allows you to step back in time to the heyday of this small fishing village, in modern comfort, with bedrooms, efficient bathrooms and lounge-kitchens all sheltering within well preserved old timber walls.
The surroundings are spectacular – sea and mountains all around. It’s the perfect place to fall in love with the simple, rustic lifestyle of the Lofoten Archipelago, setting out to fish, returning with your catch, accompanied at all times by the evocative squawk of gulls and lulled by the lapping of waves against the shore.
Meals at Svinoya are served in the Borsen Spiseri, an atmospheric restaurant located in a quayside warehouse built in the early 19th Century. This history is reflected indoors by characterful wooden floorboards and beams, creating a vibrant and seductive dining ambience. As delicious as the décor, the food features the fresh fish and seasonal ingredients of the Lofoten Islands.
A rorbu is the Norwegian word for the little wooden fishing cabins you will see straddling the shorelines of the coves and inlets of the coastline, their stilted sides extended over the water to create an easy jetty for fishing boats to land. There is no accommodation that captures the spirit of the Lofoten Islands better than a historic fjordside rorbu. At Svinoya, all come with their own en suite bathrooms, and large groups should opt for the Suites which extend over two floors.
Staying in a rorbu really does turn the clock back to a bygone era when the Lofoten Islands' economy depended on the sea for survival and the islanders were expert fishermen. The Norwegian Sea is still teeming with tasty shoals, so fishing trips here are always fun – and you'll catch sight of the Moskstraumen, a whirlpool system that gave rise to the word maelstrom. Elsewhere, the archipelago is great for sea kayaking, while Svinoya is also home to a small museum detailing the ichthyologic history of the islands.