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A Hike for Women in the Land of the Midnight Sun
There are some places in this world where you stop and wonder, “Why haven’t I heard of this place before?!?”
The Lofoten Islands (lo-FO-tin) in Norway’s far north is one of those places. Mountains rising up out of the ocean streaked in velvety grey. Quaint, colourful fishing villages like the ones on the puzzles we all did during COVID. Miles of pristine wilderness, white beaches, and epic views where you feel like you are the last person on the edge of the earth.
And of course, the treks! Those of you who know me know I’ve walked in some pretty special places in my quest to find walking adventures for women. None of them gripped me in quite the same way as the Lofoten Islands did. It was like walking through a home I never knew existed.
In the summer, the temperature is always perfect for hiking – a jacket to keep you warm in the morning which you’ll likely shed in the afternoon. Well-marked trails up mountains and down valleys and around tiny little inlets carved from the North Sea. I was absolutely giddy every morning to get up and get started!
A Mirrored World…
I think what makes the Lofoten Islands special is that different people see different things. Nature lovers will love it all – there is nothing “urban” about the Lofoten Islands. History buffs will imagine back to the time of the Vikings and appreciate how the land shaped them. Lovers of fantasy novels and movies will connect with the Middle Earth/Game of Thrones landscape. And if you love the sea, it is everywhere. If you love the mountains, they are everywhere. If you love the Scandinavian way of life… well, you get the picture. You’ll see you. It is a mirrored world where you see what resonates most with you.
And what better place for a journey of self-discovery? As with all my Global Walking Adventures (G’WAs), the real goal is to explore and re-discover you. This is not your typical adventure hike for women. We’ll spend some quality time every day one-on-one and in group settings “exploring our shit” and finding answers to some of our biggest questions. Career crossroads? Changing family circumstances including Empty Nest Syndrome? Emotions you just need to work out? The answers are out there, on the trail.
…of course, the answers are also already inside you. You know that. But travelling to a foreign place heightens the senses, excites the mind, and sets fire to the heart leaving you more open to see the world – and yourself – in whole new ways.
Your Own Adventure Awaits
Did You Know…
The Lofoten Islands in Norway is home to the town with the shortest name in the world – just one letter! Å (pronounced “aw”) is at the southernmost part of the main island accessible by car.
Global Walking Adventures (GW’As) for women are more than an epic trekking experience. They are mini-pilgrimages – reflective journeys of self-discovery as you walk alongside like-minded women. The external adventure is exhilarating, of course: walking through mountains, exploring fjords, and learning about a new culture.
But G’WAs are designed to turn you inside-out. Through our guided internal journey, you’ll be looking at yourself – and life – in whole new ways. Transformation is a given when you truly unplug, recharge, and re-evaluate.
Explore the Wild You
Here’s what you can expect:
We partnered with a trekking company with local knowledge of the Lofoten Islands. But as mentioned above, this isn’t your average trek! GW’As are more of an adventure retreat for women: they will take care of the logistics of our daily hikes while we focus on our inner journeys.
Be humbled, challenged and inspired: There isn’t anywhere that I’ve been to in this world that is quite like Lofoten. Among other things, it has one of the highest ratios of adventure to comfort. Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to walking distances. However, as far as global treks go, the daily pedometer is relatively low. A few of the days involving significant elevation changes (such as climbing up and down a mountain) will be the hardest part of our journey. But every tough section comes with its own rewards in the form of sweeping views 99% of the world will never see and the realization that you’ve pushed yourself in ways you never have before.
Perspective, gratitude and camaraderie: Over a lifetime of travel and adventure including walking with women, I’ve reflected deeply on what I prioritize as “worth chasing” and the things I can happily do without. I’ve leaned away from accumulating stuff and become better aware of the importance of today. Relationships and experiences over baubles and status symbols.
Targeted meditation and structured self-evaluation: Walking is so much more for me than “just a hike”. It’s a way to work out thoughts and feelings. This is particularly important when we hit a crossroads in life. (You can read about my own personal epiphanies on the Camino de Santiago here.) I help women dig deep into their own psyches through meditation and guided internal reflection. This is the part of the program you won’t find anywhere else.
“Me” time: That would be “you” time! A big part of the healing power of G’WAs is that they remove you from the daily grind. You step outside yourself and take a hiatus from your life. That in itself is amazing! But it also gives you the distance you need to re-evaluate your life – what’s working and what isn’t? You might have a huge epiphany or you might finally accept what you knew all along. You might come away with a whole new appreciation for the life you already have, and rekindle the desire to cherish it after a break from the stress. We adventure women all have our own answers to discover.
Things I’ve Learned…
I’ve learned a few things over the years. About always living up to other people’s ideas of who I should be as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a careerist – as a woman. About the treadmill. About the importance of taking out time for myself.
Travel gives us the opportunity to literally look at our lives from a new perspective. With time and distance, you can step outside of your life and examine it more objectively. Plus, you’re flooded with new cultures and a new way to look at things. You can’t help but look at your life through a whole new lens. And travelling with someone who’s been there – a career woman who got off the treadmill herself and can guide you to do all the same – makes all the difference.
That’s what She Walks the Walk and this Global Walking Adventure (G’WA) is all about. If you feel you need change in your life or you are about to make a big life decision or you believe you’re not living up to your potential, then get off your own treadmill and join me. I may not have all the answers you’re looking for, but I can help you find them. And I promise you’ll gain whole new perspectives.
Let’s chat ahead of time! I’m available for emails and Zoom meetings if you want to learn more about G’WAs and how they can help you. I can answer your practical questions about travelling to this part of the world, and I can help you understand what to expect on your personal journey.
An adventure retreat for women like no other, trekking throught the wild beauty of the Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle in Norway!
Drive Time: 15 minutes
Accommodations: Nyvågar Rorbuhotell
You’ve arrived in the small town of Svolvær, Norway above the Arctic Circle! Plan to fly into Svolvær no later than 2:00 pm*, in order to be ready for a 3:00 pm team meeting and orientation. We’ll have a Welcome Dinner that night, which will be a great chance to get to know each other. Plan for a spa or traditional sauna to literally soak in the Lofoten Islands on our first night.
*We recommend spending at least a night in Oslo a day in advance. Not only will this help with your jet lag, but it will ensure you catch a reasonably early flight into Svolvaer the next day. Flights to and from Svolvær Airport are your responsibility. Multiple airlines operate flights into Oslo, Norway from many Canadian, U.S. and European international airports. From Oslo, you can easily fly into Svolvær through Bodø. SAS, Norwegian or Widero are the local airline companies to fly domestically within Norway to get to and from Svolvær. From Bodø you can also take a Ferry to Svolvær through Reis Nordand. (Tip for Travellers from North America: If you don’t mind an extra flight to save some money, it’s usually cheaper to fly to London, UK and then on to Norway from there. Worth pricing out!)
Hiking Mileage: 1.9 miles (3 km)
Elevation Gain: 1740 feet (530 m)
Elevation Loss: 1740 feet (530 m)
Drive Time: 1 hour
Accommodations: Nyvågar Rorbuhotell
After some breakfast and our daily meditation, we’ll drive to the trailhead of our first hike on Festvågtind, Lofoten’s most famous mountain. It’s a short but steep hike – and well worth the effort. With sweeping views of the surrounding islands and the Norwegian Sea beyond, it is the perfect first walk on our adventure. We then walk down to the fishing village of Henningsvær and cap our day with a local Norwegian dinner and some group conversations.
Hiking Mileage: 4.4 miles (7 km)
Elevation Gain: 2297 feet (700 m)
Elevation Loss: 2297 feet (700 m)
Drive Time: 1 hour
Accommodations: Lofoten Links
Today we walk sea to sky, hiking up the mighty Kleppstadheia mountain for a picnic lunch at the top you’ll remember forever. Another great evening with another great traditional restaurant caps off this amazing day.
Hiking Mileage: 2.2 miles (3.5 km)
Elevation Gain: 1148 feet (350 m)
Elevation Loss: 1148 feet (350 m)
Accommodations: Lofoten Links
We’ll summit Mount Hoven to soak up 360-degree views, including (weather permitting) the Vesterålen Islands to the northeast along the same island chain as the Lofoten Islands. We’ll enjoy today’s picnic lunch on the summit or on the beach below depending on timing. We end the afternoon with a private sauna on the beach (also weather permitting).
Hiking Mileage: 5 miles (8 km)
Elevation Gain: 3051 feet (930 m)
Elevation Loss: 3051 feet (930 m)
Drive Time: 1.5 hours
Accommodations: Solsiden Brygge
Are you ready for our most challenging hike? We’ll hit the trailhead of one of Lofoten’s highest peaks, Himmeltinden, “Top of the Sky.” Expect an even, but steep hill up to about 700 altitude metres, without any pause in the terrain. But again, totally worth it – you could make a calendar of the photos you’ll get from this vantage point! We’ll be treated to an array of mountains, lakes, valleys, beaches spread out beneath us as we sit on the southern summit. We then head to Solsiden Brygge where we’ll have some down time soaking in the hot tub.
Hiking Mileage: 5 miles (8 km)
Elevation Gain: 1739 feet (550 m)
Elevation Loss: 1739 feet (550) m)
Drive Time: 1 hour
Accommodations: Eliassen Rorbuer
Get ready to feel like you’re on the edge of the world! Today we’ll peak down at the turquoise waters of secluded Kvalvika Beach from the summit of Mount Ryten. You should find this hike relatively easy after our days of steep climbing. Trod wooden walkways over bog, scramble up a few boulder sections using fixed ropes and drink in the most incredible views from this isolated part of Moskenesøy Island. Then, it’s on to Reine where we’ll get to spend the night in ocean-front fisherman’s cabins.
Hiking Mileage: 4.3 miles (6.8 km)
Elevation Gain: 1641 feet (500 m)
Elevation Loss: 1641 feet (500 m)
Drive Time: 20 minutes
Boat Ride: 2 hours
Accommodations: Eliassen Rorbuer
Normally we take road transport to our trailheads, but today we take to the water with a one-hour boat ride at the mouth of Reinefjord. We’ll hike the coast and do a short vertical over a mountain pass to another breathtaking beach below for a picnic lunch. Our boat shuttle takes us back to Reine.
For those with energy still left in the tank, we’ll spend our afternoon hiking the world-famous Reinebringen trail. It’s short, but stunning! Nepalese sherpas have installed stone steps all the way up to the summit, improving the quality and safety of the path. Then, it’s back to our cabins for our final dinner and evening together, reflecting on the incredible trip we’ve had together.
Day 8 – No Extension
Driving Time: 2.5 hours
For those skipping the extension (see below) and going home today, we get a rare sleep-in before taking the shuttle back to Svolvær. We recommend booking flights back home for anytime after 3pm – but don’t forget you can plan to stay a few extra days on your own if you like! It’s the perfect opportunity to decompress and reflect with some alone time before heading back to the “real” world! (You can also join us for the Ridgelines Extension, below.)
Day 8 – Ridgelines Extension
Technical Climbing without the Technical Expertise
Travel/Climb Time: 4-8 hours
If you have ever wanted to do some spectacular mountain climbing but don’t have the technical expertise, read more about this incredible one-day extension below!
Are you ready for a hike that leans to the extreme? The Ridgelines Extension takes you to places you normally need years of training and expertise to reach!
If you’ve ever watched those mountain-climbing documentaries, invariably they show spectacular shots of the team walking along the knife-edge of a ridge. Let me tell you, hiking that ridgeline is even more amazing in person and will get your heart racing! Thanks to the unique geography of the Lofoten Islands, you have the opportunity to summit several mountains along these ridge traverses without a lot of training. Our guides take care of all the details including harnesses, rope lines, and more.
Although the hike isn’t technically difficult, it does require a higher level of fitness and stamina than your regular trek. You will be using all your limbs and will need to focus more on the path ahead. But it’s well worth it – there is nothing like taking in the magical Lofoten Islands from above, strapped to one of its picture-perfect peaks!
I highly recommend taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk these narrow ridgelines!
This climb including travel time takes 4-8 hours depending on the number of climbers in the party and their fitness levels. (We are encouraged to take our time if we need to.) No previous mountain climbing experience is necessary; our guides will teach us everything we need to know. This is real rope climbing though, so although it is not technically difficult, you will be kissing granite with nothing but air below. If heights are not your thing, you may prefer kissing a glass of wine in the hot tub instead! But we are always safe and secure at every step. It’s a thrilling trek that few in this world ever get to experience.
Cost for this extension is $500/person USD and requires a minimum of two people to make it a go. It’s a full-day experience departing at 8:30 am and includes a packed lunch, licensed guides, all the equipment and transfers. Accomodations are not included, but we are happy to help arrange. Contact me for more details.
Please Note: SWTW does everything possible to follow the itinerary set above. However, sometimes changes are necessary for reasons beyond our control such as extreme weather, fires, flooding, and a range of other eventualities. (This is part of the reason why travel insurance is so important!) If you have concerns before we leave, feel free to contact Sam at anytime!
Your 8-Day package includes almost everything for your Lofoten G’WA:
- Authentic Norwegian, “Premier” Lodging from Night 1 through Night 7
- Transportation from Day 1 through Day 8 in Svolvær
- Use of Top of the Line Daypack and Trekking Poles
- All meals from Dinner, Day 1, through lunch on Day 8
- Group Emergency Equipment (first aid, comm device)
- Details on Travel, Training, Packing, and Preparing
- Professional hiking/backpacking guide
What’s Also Included (That You Won’t Likely Find Elsewhere)
The inner journey is just as important as the trek itself. I’ll help you identify what led you to this crossroads in your life and what path might be right for you. Here’s what makes G’WAs truly special and much different from basic trekking tours:
- Pre-G’WA preparation via Zoom to establish your personal goals
- Guided daily meditations
- Nightly discussion circle using our The Big Questions© tarot deck
- Our Who I Am journal including more than 50 thought-provoking prompts
- Post-trip follow-up on your G’WA learnings
- Priceless personal revelations and lifelong connections with new friends
- Complimentary membership in our SWTW Private Community
- Little things that make a big difference
What’s Not Included
- Transportation to/from Svolvær, Norway
- Mandatory Emergency Medical Health & Trip Cancellation insurance*
- Expenses due to unavoidable events (e.g. flight cancellation, personal illness, strikes, etc)
- Bar bills, drink bills, extra snacks, telephone bills, wifi bills and other personal expenses outside the itinerary
- Gratuity for guide(s)
- Visa, which will likely be required for most non-Europeans starting in 2024. This has been delayed several times, but is expected to be rolled out soon. Cost is expected to be 7 Euros through an online application. For the most up-to-date information, please see: What is ETIAS
*Must include at least $200,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage
Entry requirements can change quickly. Please consult the following websites prior to travel to ensure you are current with any restrictions:
Little Things, Big Difference
Isn’t it often the little things in life that make the biggest difference? On a She Walks the Walk G’WA, many of the activities scheduled – such as meditation and group discussions – are about the inner journey you will take. These expeditions are as much about exploring the wild you as they are about trekking the wild terrain. Self-discovery is the main goal of every G’WA.
Our G’WAs include a number of special touches that we believe set us apart from most other guided tours. We want to create a worry-free atmosphere so that you can set yourself up for an optimal personal growth experience:
- We want you to unplug, but recognize you’d appreciate a lifeline back home. All clients receive a local SIM card so you’re connected when needed.
- Back-up activities should you need a “break” from hiking! Go kayaking, lounge in a hot tub, relax in a meadow… We let you do you! Please note though that these activities outside of the G’WA programming would be at your own expense. Leaving the scheduled program even for a few hours will require you to sign a waiver.
- Pre-travel angst is especially common following the chaos of COVID-19. All confirmed G’WA participants receive a one-on-one call with Sam (phone or Zoom), one month in advance of departure. Nothing beats talking with someone who understands the world of travel insurance, who has stickhandled COVID-specific policies firsthand – not to mention someone who knows the itinerary intimately. We can discuss any aspect of the trek you like so you can go prepared.
- We also recognize the importance of showing cultural respect and will furnish each client with a Cheat Sheet featuring key phrases in Norwegian.
Finally, our Post-G’WA Follow-up is something you won’t find anywhere else. We call the process of returning home “Re-Entry” and it starts the moment you board your flight. It can be overwhelming to get back to the grind; or maybe, you’ve made some decisions on your G’WA?! Myself and our community of fellow walkers will support you through what you’ve learned so you can apply it to your everyday life.
She Walks the Walk’s Global Walking Adventures are partly about absorbing the local flavour and culture. That’s why we stay at local accommodations that are clean, safe, sustainable and friendly. Our Lofoten Islands G’WA is primarily a day-hiking expedition, so we’ll be spending our nights in guesthouses and boutique, converted fisherman’s cabins called “rorbuers”.
Accommodation is offered as double-occupancy.
Dates & Prices
2023 Dates & Prices for our 8-Day Lofoten Islands G’WA
|Date||Price||Deposit||Minimum to ‘GO’|
|June 30 – July 7||$5,999 / person||$995 / person||6 clients|
Prices are based on double occupancy in USD and do not include international airfare to/from your destination. We recommend arriving a day in advance and spending the night in Oslo, for early afternoon flight to Svolvaer. All prices are subject to change. See terms and conditions for this trip for more information.
You may be wondering if you can do this… and the short answer? Hells yeah, you can!
But, She Walks the Walk Global Walking Adventures (G’WAs) are not for everyone. We know that most women would be up for a self-discovery adventure, given the right opportunity. However, the reality of walking several challenging kilometres every day requires a fitness level I describe as “active-fit”.
The terrain in Lofoten is deliciously rugged, and you can forget any flat! And although the daily distances are short, they are very steep and often rocky. Expect scrambling, potentially sore knees and a nifty degree of exposure. Note: this is the perfect opportunity to work on your fear of heights!
You’ll want to prepare well in advance physically to ensure you’re ready for both the climbs and the descents. It’s important you understand the physical demands of this adventure, both for your own comfort and safety and for that of the group.
G’WAs are designed to be challenging, but not extreme for the average active person!
If you have any questions or concerns about the trek and your abilities, let’s talk! I can answer your questions and help you assess if this is the right journey for you.
This DJ Takes Requests…
If you are looking for a Global Walking Adventure that is less active, drop me a line! I am always on the lookout for new and exciting walking adventures. I’m willing to look at options if the interest is there.
What to Bring
Like many, I subscribe to the “Pack Light” philosophy. However, we all have our attachments to specifics we’d classify as “unnecessary” but “so very necessary!” For our G’WAs, we encourage you to stick to the basics as much as possible. The below list is based on years of collective trekking experience, along with a nod to the climate, terrain and length of the G’WA for Lofoten, Norway. Bear in mind that the majority of your gear will be transported each day. You’ll be required to carry your own water, sunscreen, and layers in a comfortable daypack supplied by us.
Meet the Team
Sam Plavins is a former financial service advisor who got off the treadmill to pursue her own passions. She believes we should not be afraid to question the path we’ve taken. Or society’s version of who we ought to be.
A life-long adventurer, Sam has travelled the world with her family and on solo adventures. She started “She Walks the Walk” as a way to help other women at crossroads find more meaning and purpose in their lives. Sam lives with her family in Thunder Bay, Canada, and when she’s not out walking, she’s writing her book or looking for her lost cell phone. Sam speaks English, French and German.
FAQs & Terms
Do I need a travel visa?
As of 2023, citizens of most Western countries outside of Europe including Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand do not need a travel visa to enter Norway. However, this is in the process of changing. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is a planned electronic authorisation system of the European Union for visa-exempt visitors travelling to the European Union or the Schengen Area expected to start in May 2025, though this date has changed several times.
Although Norway is not part of the EU, it is part of the Schengen Area.
The visa will be/is available online and is expected to cost 7 Euros.
For more information including updates on when ETIAS will come into effect, please visit their website:
What about tipping?
For tipping your guides, tipping is completely discretionary but always appreciated. Tips enable them to make a livable wage while providing an outstanding experience to others. The industry recommendation is a range between $200-$500 USD for a full week of guiding.
If you have two guides, typically they will split the tip evenly. Please ensure that you have cash in Norwegian Kronor (NOK) or USD for tipping guides.
What happens if I’m slow?
If you’re realllllyyyy concerned, check with Sam. She’ll tell you she’s always the turtle. And she likes to hang out at the back. We leave no soldier behind. We are a team, and it’s not a death march.
What happens if I can’t finish the walk due to injury or sickness?
All participants are required to purchase mandatory Emergency Travel Health Insurance (minimum $200,000 of coverage), including coverage specific to hiking. While we hope that nothing untoward will come your way, shit can happen. The islands are tiny and the nearest clinic/hospital may be a bit of a drive away.
Rest assured, if something major happens, your travel insurance will be there to help pick up the pieces. But it’s a wise idea to have a back-up plan should you have nothing left in the tank for the following day’ hike.
We have you covered if you decide you need to leave the scheduled itinerary for some R & R. You should be able to remain at our hotel (inns/rorbuer) or, if we are changing accommodation, we may be able to transfer you to the next location (if a taxi is necessary this is at your own expense).
We will discuss insurance in more detail during our meeting.
What languages do they speak in Norway?
I’m still nervous about the physicality. How fit should I be?
What is the food like?
Breakfast: Muesli. Warm oatmeal. Nuts. Jam. Bread. Cheese. Meats. Sometimes Fish. Limited veggies. Limited fruit. Sometimes an option for eggs. Coffee and tea.
Lunch: Norwegians eat Matpakke, which is a cold lunch made from breakfast supplies. Typically, guests make sandwiches with cheese, meat, peppers and cucumber. We will have a few days where guests experience traditional Norwegian Matpakke and a few days where guides will make custom lunches for the group. Wraps, picnic style, spreads, warm soup in thermoses, local specialties (reindeer sausage, dried fish, mackerel, Norwegian chocolate, etc.).
Dinner: Dinners will be 3-course warm and local meals. Guests can expect a lot of fish in Lofoten (famous for fish) and seafood such as shrimps, oysters, clams, etc… Sometimes guests will see whale on the menu, which can upset some people. We do not order this on a set menu unless guests request it. Most restaurants require groups to have a set menu without choice or limited choices. This is very common in smaller tourist destinations in Norway. Our team/guides try to limit this as much as possible, but is usually not fully avoidable on trips.
Norway has a simple mentality about breakfasts and lunches. As visitors to Norway, it’s important for us to understand the food we are eating is traditional Norwegian fare.
We will try to accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher (except strict kosher) and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee. Please inquire with us for more information if you have specific needs.
What about currency?
Some shops do not accept foreign credit cards, although they happily take debit cards. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted credit cards, with far fewer accepting Amex or Diners. If in doubt, ask before shopping. Prices for items will have VAT or tax already included in the listed price.
What is the weather like?
Terms & Conditions
We do not believe in mollycoddling our clients. You’re a grown woman. And you get that travelling to the other side of the world presents some new challenges.
You must be prepared to accept the risks, both known and unknown, of your Global Walking Adventure. The following policy provisions form part of the SWTW Terms and Conditions and will apply to all services being provided to you and your participation in a G’WA with us. Please read this policy very carefully as you will need to sign off on it in order to participate.
Your She Walks the Walk Global Walking Adventure is confirmed once the following conditions have been met:
- A mutually satisfactory “Introduction Meeting” with Samantha Plavins
- Payment of the deposit
- Completion of our Registration Package
- Execution of the SWTW Terms and Conditions including the SWTW Travel Policy
Scroll Down to Book Your Introductory Meeting
Have Questions? Ready to Reserve Your Spot? Either Way, Let’s Talk!
Our Walk Lofoten G’WA is an extraordinary “inside-out” hiking adventure for women with a limited number of spaces. Let’s talk about your questions and your self-discovery goals to see if a Global Walking Adventure is a fit for you. You can either email me or book a time on my Calendly for a Zoom call together.
Schedule a Meeting
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