The Lofoten Islands are full of some of the world's most stunning hikes, and one of our favorites was our adventure hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach.
This hike is unlike the others, because it has two amazing parts, and they are experiencing Kvalvika Lake from two different aspects. You can hike up to a viewpoint where you see a stunning panorama of Kvalvika Beach, or you can hike all the way down to the beach itself.
During our time there, we decided to do both, and highly recommend them. The info on many other sites seemed very confusing to us, and we found some of it to be very misleading. For that reason, we decided to track every step of the way. That way, you can experience hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach in the best way possible!
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Where Are Ryten & Kvalvika Beach Located?
Ryten and Kvalvika Beach are located in Fredvang, Norway, in the Lofoten Islands. The Lofoten Islands are all the way in the north of Norway, along the Arctic Circle, and are one of the most northern parts of Europe, and the world! The only way to reach this area is by hiking Ryten and Kvalvika Beach.
How to Get to the Trailhead of Ryten & Kvalvika Beach
There are actually three different trailheads for visiting Ryten and Kvalvika Beach! This can make it quite confusing on which one to take, and important to following the right trail on your way back.
Some people decide to hike just to Ryten, some just to Kvalvika Beach, and others decide to combine the two. We decided to visit both, and are going to share the different options for doing so.
Which Trailhead Should I Start From?
- Ryten/ Kvalvika Beach Trail (Fredvang): If you plan on doing Ryten first, then this would be the best option (this is also the one that we chose to do)
- Kvalvika Beach Trail Head: Located nearby the Fredvang lot, this is an alternative route, and is the only route we did not take
- Parking Kvalvika Beach: If you plan on just going to the beach, or would like to go to the beach first, this is the easiest place to park, and is very scenic along the way.
How to Get to the Parking Lots
One of our biggest suggestions for visiting the Lofoten Islands in Norway is to rent a car. There is so much to see and do, and having your own means of transportation gives you a ton of flexibility, especially to explore at all hours of the night during the midnight sun (the months in summer when there are 24 hours of sunlight).
Renting a Car in the Lofoten Islands
We rented a car from Tromso, as that is where we flew into for the most affordable flights. However, you can also rent a car from whichever airport you decide to fly into (one of the closest in the area is Leknes).
Rent a Car in the Lofoten Islands:
While we think it is absolutely worth the splurge, there is another way that you can reach the trailhead for hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach, which can be a bit more affordable if you are planning on not moving around a ton.
Taking Public Transportation to the Trailhead
If you do not have a car, you can opt to take the public bus to Fredvang Kryss. This is on the other side of the bridge, which is a 4 km walk, and takes about 50 minutes to the Ryten/Kvalvika Beach trailhead.
Hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach
Now you have made it to the trailhead! So let's dive into exactly what you should expect.
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Starting the Hike to Ryten & Kvalvika Beach
We decided to park at Fredvang, which is the most popular lot to start hiking from. The trail starts right after the parking lot, and begins with wooden boards that you will need to walk across. The hike itself is a mix of walking on wooden boards, through rocks, and up grassy areas.
Hiking Ryten gets a bit confusing, because there are so many times where the trail ends up forking, and there are no signs around, making you feel lost. However, the good news is that pretty much every trail leads you to the same place, as long as you continue to go up, and stay to the right of the water.
All throughout the hike we were asking people how long it took them. Some said three hours up, some said 2 1/2, and some said two. To our surprise though, going up only took us and hour and a half! Also, 10 minutes of that was stopping to take pictures. You'll know you're almost there (about 10-15 minutes away) when you start to see the views pictured below:
Reaching the Top of Ryten
The top of Ryten offers stunning views of Kvalvika Beach, as well as the mountains surrounding it. Not only are the views breathtaking, but there is also a super Instagrammable photo opportunity with a rock jutting out over the view. Of course as photographers, this is what made us even more excited to reach the top.
Hiking Ryten to Kvalvika Beach
When we first were reading articles about hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach, it seemed that you either had to choose one or the other. Many people say you need to go all the way back and do a completely different trail, but that is not the case! In fact, you can easily combine the two. While the hikes are separate trails, the trail from Fredvang actually forks about 3/4 of the way through, so you can do one and then the other.
We personally were very happy we decided to hike up to Ryten before hiking down to the beach, as hiking down and then up would have been a bit more difficult.
In order to hike to Kvalvika Beach from Ryten, you'll have to go back down where you came from. After 15 minutes you'll reach a fork, and you'll then want to take a right. You'll have 5 minutes of walking straight along wooden boards, until you find a big waterfall on your left, and the trail continues by having to climb down rocks. You'll see the beach at this point, so you can't get lost! It took us about 20-25 minutes to get down, adding an extra half hour each way to the hike.
Enjoying Kvalvika Beach
Once you make it down to Kvalvika, you'll be greeted with a long stretch of golden sand, bright turquoise waters, and giant towering mountains surrounding the area. Chances are it won't be warm enough to swim per say, but you can jump in if you're looking for a cold plunge.
We saw a ton of people camping on the beach, which we think is a great way to break up the hiking, as well as enjoy the area to the fullest.
Hiking Back from Kvalvika Beach
There are two trails that you can take to get to Kvalvika Beach. However, it's important that you take the same trail that you came on. We made this mistake, and ended up arriving in the wrong parking lot, which was a full hour walking away from where we started! There were no buses, taxis, or even people driving at that time, so we had no choice but to simply walk the entire way.
If you came from Ryten, you'll have to walk back up the rocks, and then stay to the right, going back down to the beginning of the trailhead. If we had done this, it probably would have taken us around an hour and a half to get back to the parking lot.
The Other Trail to/from Kvalvika
We ended up going straight up the large stones facing the beach instead. The hike was 30 minutes uphill, and then it flattened out. For another 15 minutes we walked across wooden boards, and then down through the trees to make it to the parking lot.
From there, we then had the one hour walk along the paved road. While this was certainly not what we were planning, we have to say that the views were stunning along the way.
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Amenities at Ryten & Kvalvika Beach
Ryten and Kvalvika Beach do not have any amenities on or around them. For that reason, it's important to be properly prepared before hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach.
Make sure to use the bathroom before starting the hike, and bring toilet paper and a bag to dispose of it incase you need to go out in nature as an emergency (or if you happen to camp overnight).
There is a large waterfall on the way down to Kvalvika Beach from the Ryten viewpoint, so you can fill up your water bottle with fresh water. We were told it is perfectly clean, but we also did use a Steripen on it as an extra precaution.
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Price & Timetable
Hiking Ryten & Kvavlvika Beach is completely free of charge. The only fee that you will have to pay is for parking, which costs 100 NOK, and it can be paid in either cash or with a credit card. If you don't want to pay for parking, you could alternatively park on the side of the road around the area, and just walk a little extra.
The trail is open 24/7, 365 days a year, so you don't have to worry about making a reservation, nor getting there at a certain time.
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Safety at Ryten & Kvalvika Beach
The hike up to Ryten is fairly easy, and there isn't too much to worry about. The rock itself definitely looks much scarier than it is, but you should still be careful when you are climbing on top of it.
When hiking from Ryten down to the beach, there will be an area where you will need to scramble along big rocks and boulders, and it can get slippery, so watch your footing. Other than that, the hike is completely safe, and it is accessible for people of most hiking abilities, as well as dogs.
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Other Things to Keep in Mind While Hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach
Now you know almost everything you need to know for hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach! Here are just a few final details to keep in mind:
Weather Conditions Around Ryten
The weather in the Lofoten Islands can be so unpredictable! We arrived with clear skies and sunshine, and by the time we finished it started pouring rain. It's quite cold in this area of the world, and can even get chilly in the height of summer! For that reason, it's important to layer up, and to be prepared for all types of weather.
The top can be windy and cold, so make sure to bring layers.
The Best Time for Hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach
If you want to escape the crowds and have the best lighting, we would suggest you to do the hike late in the afternoon or night time. We did most of our hikes in the Lofoten Islands anywhere from midnight to 5 in the morning for colorful skies and less traffic on the trails.
If you want the most sunshine, and prefer other people to be around you, then we would suggest going midday.
How to Prepare for Hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach
Now that you know almost everything you need to know, here is a packing list for hiking Ryten & Kvalvika Beach:
- Hiking boots or a pair of good sneakers
- Reusable Water Bottle (we suggest this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
- Steripen (the water is potable, but just in case)
- Umbrella or poncho in case it rains
- Flip Flops for the beach (we personally always get Havaiana flip flops, as they are comfy and long lasting)
- Zippered Bag or Backpack - take a look at our favorite backpacks for travelers
- Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)