Lofoten islands have a lot of attractions that give travellers a wonderful experience, with the real
taste of norwegian tradition. One of them is the so called rorbuer. But what’s a rorbu?
Rorbu, or the fisherman’s house
Rorbu is a norwegian word made by roer (rower) and bu (cabin). You’ll find many rorbuer in the
villages of islands. They are fishing villages and the rorbuer are now restored to offer visitors an
accomodation with comfort and facilities.
The classical and historical wooden building is a sort of red coloured pilling, part built on land and
part in the sea. It’s a typical fishermen’s house you can see in the western and northern Norway.
Svolvær and its rorbuer
So, if you have in mind to visit Lofoten islands, don’t miss Svolvær, in the Vågan municipality, a
small city but the capital of the Lofoten. In the district, one of the most popular place in Lofoten,
you can see the coastal life of Norway.
There are many rorbuer in Svolvær, cosy and redeveloped seahouses, well appreciated by tourists
every year. It’s possible to find also new rorbu in Svolvær, recently built to enlarge the offer of
accomodation in Lofoten.
These rorbuer have modern services (bathroom, shower), but they mantain also the old style of
seahouses, so they look like authentic cabins of the old fishing era.
The history of rorbu in Svolvær
The history of rorbu cabin in Svolvær comes since 1800, when some cabins was built for
fishermen that came to overwinter here during the cod season of the Lofoten.
At the beginning a rorbu was a very spartan house, with only two rooms. The fishermen used one of
them to live (sleeping, cooking) and the other like a storage (fishing gear and food). A rorbu could
host more than one person, even up to 10 fishermen, that lived in a crowded place.
The tradition of rorbuer in Lofoten is very old. Initially, fishermen slept under their small boats, in a
very bad conditions. It was King Øystein that ordered to built the cabins, around 1100.
Why to choose a rorbu in Svolvær
If you go to Lofoten, you have to feel the old fishing atmosphere that fishermen had in the past. You
will not sleep with others in the same bed, obviously, but living in a rorbu in Svolvær will give you
quiet and silence.
Now the rorbuer are restored and they are a part of the tourist industry in Lofoten: a stay steeped in
a cultural and historical house to enjoy the old norwegian tradition.