The second major island in the archipelago, and relatively flat, Vestvågøy is home to some 11,000 rugged island people who turn to the sea for their livelihood.

If you base here, we recommend you skip the air and bus transport home of Leknes and head inside the Stramsund to the immediate east, the best base along the southern coast, with numerous accommodations. Stramsund is the island port where the coastal steamers from Bergen stop.

Buses from Leknes take only 30 minutes to reach Stramsund, costing NOK50 ($10/£5) one-way. Leknes can be reached by bus from Svolvær, taking 2 hours and costing NOK120 ($24/£12) one-way.

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Seeing the Sights

In the hamlet of Borg, archaeologists dug out the biggest Viking Age building ever found. It's been turned into the Viking Museum of Borg (tel. 76-08-49-00). The museum has been built up around this impressive full-scale reconstruction of a Viking chieftain's house, measuring 83m (272 ft.) in length. Also on display is the Viking shop Lofotr, reconstructed as a replication of the Gokstad ships. The ruins were discovered in 1981 when a farmer was plowing his fields.

The museum setting duplicates the aura of the Iron Age, with light flickering from the hearths or gleaming from cod-liver oil lamps, and the smell of tar wafting through the air. Demonstrations of handicrafts authentic to the Viking era are presented. Artifacts are on display as well, including gold foil fertility figures, Frankish pottery, and Rhineland glass. Outside you can see some domestic animals such as horses, sheep, and hens that would have been commonplace 1,000 years ago.

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Admission is NOK100 ($20/£10) for adults, NOK90 ($18/£9) for seniors and students, and NOK50 ($10/£5) for children, including a guided tour. From May 8 to May 31, it's open daily 11am to 5pm; June 1 to August 24 daily 10am to 7pm; August 25 to September 14 daily 11am to 5pm; otherwise, it's open only Friday from 1 to 3pm. The Svolvær bus to Leknes passes by the entrance to the museum.

The best walk in the area begins at the road at the local youth hostel. Go for about 300m (984 ft.) and then take Ringveien for another 400m (1,312 ft.). Here a trail begins that will take about 3 hours to walk, passing the hamlet of Ørntuva and going up to the Heah, a big cairn with a panoramic view toward Henningsvaer. This is an easy trail to follow, about 380m (1,246 ft.) above sea level.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.