Nonstinden and Ballstadheia Hike, Lofoten Islands

The southernmost tip of Vestågøya in the Lofoten Islands is the home of the Nonstinden and Ballstadheia hike combination – offering up spectacular views over Ballstad and the Vestfjord. Make it into a seven kilometre loop hike and include the scenic rugged coastal walk around Brurstolen.

Nonstinden is the high point of the hike from which you’re supposed to see the serrated peaks of Skottinden – though all we saw at the top was fog. Still, we enjoyed enough views early and late in the hike to make it a highly worthwhile outing.

The Nonstinden hike is popular with locals, but virtually unknown with people visiting from afar. If you include the loop hike around Brurstolen, chances are good that this will be the quietest hike you do in the Lofoten Islands.

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The last part of the hike up to Nonstinden was in the fog

Nonstinden hike summary

Distance: 7 km loop hike that incudes Ballstadheia

Elevation gain: 459 m or 1,506 feet

Time needed: 3.5 – 4.5 hours round trip.

Level of difficulty: Easy if you’re a regular hiker, moderate otherwise. The trail is more rugged around Brurstolen.

Where to park: Parking is beside the Kræmmarvika Havn Restaurant and Kræmmarvika Rorbuer. The trail heads up from there. 

Highlights: Beautiful views of Ballstad – a working fishing village.

Good to know: The trail is rugged around Brurstolen

Don’t forget: Carry the 10 hiking essentials even though it’s an easy hike and please practice Leave No Trace principles.

Dogs: Allowed but keep them on a leash and pick up after them.

Read: The Lofoten Islands are busy. Be kind and respectful of the local population. Read the Lofoten Code of Contact

Don’t miss the fox mural in Ballstad on the way to the trailhead

Finding the Nonstinden trailhead

Make your way to Ballstad. Look for Highway 818 also called Ballstadlandet and follow it south past the Lofoten Hostel Ballstad.

Turn right on Kraemmervikveien and follow it for about 400 metres to reach a parking lot near the Kræmmarvika Rorbuer. You will see trail signage from the road.

We are one of the three cars in a parking area across from the fish drying racks
Signage pointing to the Nonstinden hike

Description of the Nonstinden and Ballstadheia hike combination

The hike starts on a good track across the road from the parking area beside fish drying racks. Head uphill, quite steeply almost from the get-go, enjoying excellent views immediately. There is one rest area early in the hike, nestled beside a large rock and out of the wind.

After climbing 200 m you’ll reach a large green plateau stretching towards Nonstinden called Ballstadheia. There is a network of trails across Ballstadheia. You’ll want to take the trail to the right and follow it along the eastern side of the plateau where you’ll witness spectacular views down to Ballstad and across the fjord. It’s also quite something to see all the snow fences above the town.

Hike up towards Nonstinden, over Fløya – where the views are supposed to be amazing. The fog had rolled in thickly by the time we hiked the final stretch up towards Nonstinden, so we focused on staying on the trail.

The summit of Nonstinden is the high point on a narrow mountain ridge. There are reportedly great views of Unstad Beach from here.

A place to catch your breath on the Nonstinden hike
Some signage along the hike to Nonstinden and Ballstadheia
The hike was steep but not too tricky
The hike up Nonstinden is initially very steep but good views right off the bat
It looks ridiculously steep on the hike up Nonstinden from where I’m standing
Snow fences in place above the town of Ballstad

The hike down from Nonstinden and around Brurstolen

To continue on a loop hike, descend the steep trail on the western side of Ballstadheia. Look for a trail zigzagging down a very steep grassy slope towards the sea. That’s the one you want. Once down by the sea, the trail becomes far more rocky and rugged. Watch your footing.

Follow the rocky trail along the coastline as it winds its way around Brurstolen and eventually returns to your starting point. Along the trail you’ll have to duck and hike through some small caves – which adds a nice bit of variety on the hike.

The coastal section of trail around Brurstolen feels far removed from civilization. We saw one person only, a far cry from the usual crowded trails in the Lofoten Islands.

The Nonstinden hike along with Ballstadheia and Brurstolen provides a lot of variety over just 7 kilometres. I highly recommend this off the beaten path hike.

Heading down to the water to do a loop hike around Brurstolen
Looking up to the ridge we’d descended in the fog
The hike around Brurstolen
Heading through some caves
The hiking is more rugged as we make our away around Brurstolen
The only signage we saw for Brurstolen
Marvelous scenery with no one around just 30 – 40 minutes from the parking lot
Almost finished the loop around Brurstolen – but what a difference underfoot compared to the hike up Nonstinden
Coming into view – all the fisherman’s cottages for rent near the parking lot

Where to stay in and near Ballstad

We stayed at Hattvika Lodge in Ballstad and enjoyed a cabin right on the water. I’d highly recommend it – and the place is well-positioned for many other nearby hikes including Nonstinden and Skottind.

Other options in Ballstad include Hemmingodden Lodge – rated superb and Solsiden Brygge Rorbuer – a well-priced apartment with a living room and kitchen rated fabulous.

Our cabin at Hattvika Lodge in Ballstad

Interested in more great hikes in the Lofoten Islands?

Offersøykammen Hike in Norway’s Lofoten Islands – amazing views for not much effort.

Munkebu Hut Hike + Munken, Lofoten Islands – A scenic full day’s hike with lots of variety underfoot and a hike up a mountain with magnificent views.

Reinebringen Hike, Lofoten Islands: A Complete Guide – Climb 1,978 steps over 1.1 km one way for one of the top views in Norway. Getting a parking spot is the crux of this hike.

Ryten Hike and Kvalvika Beach, Lofoten Islands – A great combination of a white sand beach and glorious mountain views. One of my faves and you can do it in just 3 – 4 hours.

Mannen Hike in Norway’s Lofoten Islands – Knock off a visit to beautiful Haulkand Beach with a climb up Mannen for unforgettable views.

The Ryten hike doesn’t get much more spectacular than this

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