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Photo Essay: Picture Perfect Reine

Reine is one of those places that, like New Zealand’s South Island, appears in popular culture more often than you would realise if you hadn’t been there. I, for one, had seen this stunning place over and over again on sites like Pinterest, so when I realised it was only a few hours’ drive from my originally planned starting point in the Lofoten Islands, I knew I had to go.

As soon as I stepped off the car ferry in Moskenes, I knew I was in for a treat. Even though it was 12.30am and nearly at the new moon, I could still see massive walls of snow-encrusted rock rising all around me. Had my tripod not been securely packed away for my flight earlier in the day, I would have been tempted to start taking photos there and then. As it was, I snapped a few photos of the harbour in Reine, a few kilometers to the north, as soon as I got there.

Reine at Night

My first view of Reine from outside my rorbu (cabin) in the middle of the fjord.

The next morning, brilliant sunshine streamed in my window as the calls of hundreds of seagulls woke me up. Knowing it was a huge change from the snowstorm the previous day, I grabbed my camera and snapped as many photos as I could of the stunning panorama that was just outside my rorbu’s doorstep. It helped keep my mind off the fact that I was about to jump into the freezing cold water too!

Just Outside My Rorbu
Snow and Empty Stockfish Racks
My Footprints in the Snow
Golden Hour in the Fjord
Early Morning Panorama

My snorkeling trip provided no end of amazing sea-level views as well. It’s hard to truly feel the sheer size of a fjord without sitting near the bottom of one of the rock walls and looking up.

Reine Reflections
Golden Hour Reflections
Heading Out to Sea
The Coastline
Heading Back to Shore

Unfortunately, by the time I had showered and properly warmed myself up after snorkeling, clouds had started to inch their way up the fjord. In blocking the brilliant sunshine of the morning, they gave the fjord a completely different feel. In the morning, the village had felt like a little piece of paradise, a little hamlet by the ocean where people wanted to be even if the temperature was below zero. Now, it became brooding and a bit melancholy.

Brooding Reine

This didn’t mean it stopped being starkly beautiful, or that I stopped staring in wonder at each new angle I saw as I walked the 4km round-trip to the coop grocery store on the other side of the village. I took more photos to be stitched into panoramas here than on any other part of my trip, which is really saying something since nearly everywhere I went was gorgeous (sorry Kiruna, you’re the odd one out here).

Moody Reflections
The Tail End of the Fjord
Reine in Black & White

I found the houses and other buildings in the town to be quite interesting as well. I love how the Scandinavians have all sorts of different colours in their houses, especially the bright reds and yellows. Plus, it seems like they’ve mastered the art of building cute, small churches in every town.

Reine Kirke
Such a Cool Tree
Flying the Norwegian Flag
The Houses of Reine

Walking over to the coop store rather than taking the bus (which only ran a few times daily, the last time at 2.30pm) meant that I got to see so much more of the village than I would have otherwise. From a speeding bus, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the semi-sunken boat filled with ice, and I definitely wouldn’t have seen the fact that the tractor overtaking me had a scoop (and trailer) full of cod, presumably brought back to port fresh that day.

Reinefjord from a slightly different angle
Ice on the Fjord
The Daily Cod Delivery?
Tractor Full of Cod
Fishing Boats Back in Port

Even in the midst of heavy snow showers the next morning, I couldn’t get enough of the view. As much as I would have liked it to be another brilliantly sunny morning, I still managed to get a few photos once the fjord re-emerged from the mists. Plus, I saw firsthand how quickly the snow could dump down there. It definitely lent credence to the story that multiple people had told me about how rain had washed all of the snow away in the week before I arrived, only for a big dump of snow the day before to coat the village once again.

Not exactly the same view as the day before...
Not exactly the same view as the day before…

Re-emerging from the mists

Now, to find a way to go back so I can see it lit by the orange glow of the midnight sun…

What’s your favourite view of Lofoten from this post? Bright and sunny or dark and moody?

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8 Responses to Photo Essay: Picture Perfect Reine

  1. Deborah April 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm Reply

    Wow! Stunning pics as always!

    • Kristin April 6, 2013 at 10:47 pm Reply

      Thanks Deb! I’m so glad that I got some photos that even somewhat lived up to how beautiful Reine really is.

  2. Cheryl Archer April 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm Reply

    Kristin, these images are some of the most amazing that I’ve ever seen, and some of the best you’ve ever taken. What a picturesque place and I can truly see how you fell in love with it. Seeing and reading this makes me want to hop on the next flight and get there to experience it first hand. Thank you for sharing your amazing adventures with us.

    • Kristin April 6, 2013 at 10:48 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Cheryl, it means a lot to hear that. It’s so good to hear that it makes you want to go there, since that was my goal in writing about Lapland as a whole 🙂 I hope you do get to go there someday. If you do, can you pack me in your suitcase and take me too? I’d love to go back!

  3. northierthanthou June 1, 2013 at 5:36 am Reply

    Gorgeous pics.

  4. Kay March 14, 2015 at 2:03 pm Reply

    Amazing photos. I’m so glad found your photo essay while Google on the Lofoten Island. I would love to go there sometime next year. May I sake when these photos were taken? Which month is the best time to visit there? We love winter.

    Thank you so much!


    • Kristin March 16, 2015 at 7:55 am Reply

      Hi Kay, I hope you do get to go to Lofoten sometime soon — it’s an amazing place! These photos were taken in early March, towards the end of winter. It’s tough to say which month is best since I have only been there in January and March. January was very very wintery and there were only 2 hours of sunlight per day but it was very cool to see it during that Arctic twilight period. March is good because you still get the wintery temperatures (and snow, provided it hasn’t rained too much recently) but the days are much longer — there’s about 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness then (so still plenty of time to see the northern lights)! The high season in Lofoten is actually in the summer, when you can do more of the activities there, like kayaking and hiking.

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