Hiking in Lofoten: the Scenic Horseid Beach

Hiking in Lofoten: the Scenic Horseid Beach

The views from the mountain pass to Kjerkefjorden and to the Horseid Beach are just out-of-this-world scenic. When you look back at Kjerkefjorden, you see the glimmering emerald green fjord between the majestic mountains. On the beach side, you see the massive walls of grey rock rising steeply on both sides of a green valley. Then you see a white beach in the horizon.

Would you like to experience scenic, out-of-this-world views, without the disturbance of 100 other people? Hike the Horseid Beach in Lofoten islands! The Horseid Beach (Horseidvika) is one of the most difficult beaches to reach in Lofoten, as it basically requires a ferry trip and several hours of hiking unlike the easier destinations Kvalvika Beach and Haukland Beach. But the reward from the effort is something to remember.

The trail in general is quite easy and suitable for a day trip. I hiked the Horseid Beach trail in a beautiful summer day in July.

Taking the ferry from Reine to Kjerkefjord

Reine is quite a small village, and finding the ferry is easy. After crossing the bridge, turn left and walk or drive along the (only) road and turn left again to Kirkeveien. Find the ferry at the end of that short road. There is a very small free parking area in front of the ferry office, and it’s probably full unless you are lucky.

The tickets are sold only around one hour before the departure, and all the passengers need to show their faces by the desk when buying the tickets. So, it’s not possible to reserve seats or buy tickets in advance. It’s highly recommended to arrive early (1.5 hours before the departure or so) in the morning to find a parking spot and be queuing early enough, as the ferry is small too, and it leaves when it’s full. The boat will be crowded (expect a jam-packed tour), but then again, so is Reine and the destinations in Lofoten during the summer months.

I stood in the queue for over an hour, ate my breakfast there as did many others, and took the 9:45 AM ferry. First, the boat drives across the Reine Fjord. If you are very lucky, you may see mighty Orcas (Killer Whales) coming up from the water. I wasn’t. Anyway, just cruising the astonishing fjords in a beautiful morning is enough to charge up batteries for the whole next winter season.

The ferry visits the pier in Vindenes first, after a twenty minutes’ trip. People going to the Bunes beach hop off here. The Bunes beach is an easier destination and therefore more popular, so most people were dropped off here. There were under 10 persons continuing to Kjerkefjorden (great news for the solitude hunter!). Then it takes only 10 minutes to arrive at the Kjerkefjorden pier.

The trail to the Horseid Beach

From the pier, turn right. There are a few cute red and white houses and cottages along the coast. It may feel like walking through somebody’s garden (which is probably true). After around 100 meters of walking, you should see a stream coming down from the mountain on your left. There is a white-painted wooden sign marking the trail head, and if you look close enough, you can imagine there is a faded H letter.

The narrow path heading up to the mountain pass is the trail to the beach. The trail is grassy but visible, and it is mostly rock-free.

Consider filling your water bottles from the stream at the beginning of the hike, as later on the streams are more or less bog waters. After reaching the mountain pass, the trail becomes rocky and it flattens for a while. The views from the mountain pass to Kjerkefjorden and to the Horseid Beach are just out-of-this-world scenic.

When you look back at Kjerkefjorden, you see the glimmering emerald green fjord between the majestic mountains. On the beach side, you see the massive walls of grey rock rising steeply on both sides of a green valley. Then you see a white beach in the horizon. Here the trail starts going down the hill. The descending is a bit slow, as there is a muddy boulder field on the steep slope. All the way you can hear streams gently bubbling under the rocks and a lot of small birds singing all around.

Once the trail reaches the valley, it becomes boggy. You pass the oval shaped Lake Horseidvatnet and some narrow streams. Oftentimes you can go round the most wet spots, but I got my trail running shoes and socks somewhat moist. But when you see the scenic mountains on both sides, the colorful wild summer flowers, and the white sand beach against the blue sky, it doesn’t matter at all.

The Horseid Beach

The fine sand beach is wide, and it still takes 15-20 minutes to get to the waterline once you reach the back of the beach. Between the mountain pass and the sand beach the trail is sheltered from the winds, but on the beach the wind can be hard. At times, it was like sandblasting. I had thought of eating on the beach, but I didn’t want to eat sand on my sandwich.

There are some dunes providing shelter here and there, but if you go tenting, it’s probably better at the back of the beach. There’s also a small cape with a grass turf at the right corner of the beach, that could be nice for pitching a tent closer to the sea. And if the weather is nice, swimming in the freezing arctic water could be quite refreshing!

I saw some people continuing walking the waterline to Kvalvika direction and they disappeared from my sight. My plan was to make it back to the evening ferry around 6 PM, so I didn’t go any further. I spent some time sitting on the warm sand, looking at the sea and meditating wind in my hair.

If you were hiking with camping gear, you could probably hike to the Horseid Beach from the Kvalvika Beach, or vice versa. From the Lake Horseidvatnet there is a small trail running between two peaks on the East side, Markan and Kråkhammartinden. From there the trail goes North to the Lake Fagervatnet and to Selfjorden and Selfjordhytta. After walking a couple of kilometers on the road there is the trailhead to Kvalvika.

So, if you would like to skip the morning ferry, you could reach the Horseid Beach from Selfjorden by hiking some extra kilometers. I don’t know how easy or hard it would be as a day-hike, but I saw one trail runner, so I think it’s doable at least with a faster pace!

Then it was the same trail back to the ferry. At the top of the mountain pass there are great big rocks and shelter for having a late (or early) lunch break, and the views to both sides are incredible. The hike to the beach and back with breaks and chillout pace took all the hours there was to spend, leaving not much waiting time at the pier.

I still didn’t see any whales during the boat trip, but a group of kayakers leaving Reinefjorden instead. I hope I don’t see Orcas (at least closely) if I ever go kayaking into a fjord!

Some links:

Visit Lofoten

Horseid Beach hike info

  • Destination: Lofoten islands, Reine, Moskenesøy, Norway
  • Distance: 4.5 km (one way)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • When to go: from June to August for a summer hike
  • Duration: a daytrip 10 hours (5-7 hours for the hike), or overnight camping by the beach

Equipment for Horseid Beach dayhike

Good shoes: e.g., trail running shoes, waterproof shoes (bogs)
Sunglasses (apply sunscreen before you go)
Windproof and water-resistant outerwear (jacket)
Warm change clothes according to the forecast (+ it can be freezing on the ferry deck)
Food, water from the stream

If you are planning an overnight trip to Horseid beach, check the equipment from my Kvalvika hike.

Norway Lofoten Horseid Beach Hiking Summer


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