In the heart of the Norwegian coastal town of Lødingen lies Lødingen Brygge – a place to spend the night, somewhere to eat or find a relaxed drink at the pub, and a hub of fun local events.

Lødingen is a small township in northern Norway with a tiny population of around 2,000 people. It’s surrounded by water, tranquil nature and the beautiful northern lights. It also happens to be home to Stine Ytterstad, a self-proclaimed northern patriot and the owner of the local café and accommodation Lødingen Brygge.

“Lødingen is at the geographical junction between Lofoton, Vesterålen and Ofoten, making it the perfect place to stop, rest and explore,” says Ytterstad, who had dreamt of creating her own small cozy café for years before she founded Lødingen Brygge –meaning Lødingen Harbour – in 2021.

Lødingen Brygge: Travel north for a unique and serene holiday

“A café wasn’t enough though,” she says. “We needed both somewhere for people to be social and for our visitors to stay, especially as the pandemic encouraged Norwegians to explore their own country more. That’s how the restaurant and Havnebørsen, our pub, was born.”

Situated on a beautiful coastline that rolls into majestic mountains, the harbour provides a space for both locals and tourists to rest, recharge and have fun. Whether it’s for one night or several, Lødingen Brygge provides excellent local culinary experiences. At Havnebørsen, there is also live entertainment and a calendar of fun seasonal events, like a mini-festival in May, as well as Oktoberfest.

Lødingen Brygge: Travel north for a unique and serene holiday

Left: Stine Ytterstad.

Local excellence with an exciting twist

Ytterstad’s roots are deeply entrenched in Lødingen. Alongside the harbour, she works for her family’s fishing boat business, Ytterstad Fiskeriselskap AS, while her husband works in the family’s mechanical workshop, Lødingen Mekaniske. It’s perhaps no surprise that Ytterstad, along with the rest of the team at Lødingen Brygge, values its local identity and prioritises creating a space for and by locals, as well as tourists.

“It’s really important to us that we hire local youth, giving them an opportunity to get into the workforce,” says Ytterstad. “Many of our employees have had to learn by doing, and they’ve shown that they’re both willing and passionate about creating a space for all of us here in our little hometown.”

She explains that the people of Lødingen have a “what’s good for you is good for me” mentality, and that it’s important for them to support other local businesses. Their pantry and kitchen are filled to the brim with products from local waters, farmers and bakers.

“We try to serve local, traditional foods with a twist, often inspired by foreign tastes and flavours. Much of our food is based around locally sourced items, especially fish,” she says. “Our head chef, Rolf-Johan Kanstad, was trained by Jamie Oliver and has previously served as the head chef at the Norwegian embassy in Washington, so he’s very talented. We worked really hard to bring him home to Lødingen, and the best decision we made was to give him free reign over the menu.”

People from small sleepy towns like Lødingen have not always been able to spoil themselves with big-city habits like frequent meals out or loud social arrangements. Still, the head chef at the harbour has, through carefully curated menus and dishes, managed to lure more and more locals out of their homes.

“Part of our dream with Lødingen Brygge was to create a social space for locals. Slowly but surely, our dream has come to life and more and more people are coming out to dine and enjoy themselves on the weekends,” says Ytterstad.

She adds that they want Lødingen to be a place that travellers both seek out and return to, which is why they’re looking to expand even more. Room renovations, new conference and event spaces, a sauna, more boat space – there’s much to do. “We’re hoping that by creating this new harbour promenade, we’ll elevate our local community even more.”

Lødingen Brygge: Travel north for a unique and serene holiday

Experience tranquility in Lødingen

From the blazing green and purple aurora borealis, to serene waters that stretch to the base of far-off mountains and the horizon, this northern town has everything you need to re-learn how to breathe. “While here, we encourage our guests to spend some time outdoors and explore our beautiful hiking paths, ancient petroglyphs and surrounding waters,” says Ytterstad.

Northern Norway has been heavily influenced by the fishing industry for hundreds of years, so it’s no surprise that Lødingen has some of the world’s best fishing spots. Only a stone’s throw from Lødingen Brygge is Gunnars Fiskelykke. Gunnar offers guided fishing trips, fishing equipment, as well as tours to Barøy Fyr, an old lighthouse where guests can stay the night.

So, whether you’re an intrigued beginner or an avid and experienced fisherman, there are opportunities for a scenic, tranquil day on the water for all. And if you simply wish to sit on shore and taste the fresh air, with a coffee and cinnamon bun in hand, there’s always Lødingen Brygge.

Lødingen Brygge: Travel north for a unique and serene holiday

Instagram: @lodingenbrygge
Facebook: Lødingen Brygge

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