|Jan Vidar Haukeland, Mette Ravn Midtgard
The report explores how tourists perceive the natural and man-made aspects of the fishing villages and their surroundings in the Lofoten islands in Northern Norway. The tourists’ perceptions of the coastal landscapes and the human settlements are identified through qualitative interviews with independent tourists staying in fishermen’s huts in three different locations; Nusfjord, Henningsvær and Nyvågar. The interviews reveal a clear impression that Lofoten’s nature and dramatic scenery is overwhelming, and the peaked mountains in a coastal setting are particularly underlined as unique. The green mountains, colourful wild flowers, green pastures and grassland are all part of this experience of a verdant coastal landscape. The tranquillity found in such a natural environment is highly appreciated by the visitors as a break from a demanding and stressful everyday life. The respondents often find peace and inner harmony by watching nature unfold. Closeness to the natural world is especially intense because of the location of the fishermen’s huts at the water's edge. The character of Nusfjord, Nyvågar and Henningsvær are all seen as typical of Lofoten, both because of their location and built environment. Most of the respondents staying in original fishermen’s huts emphasised this type of accommodation as real and truly authentic, and seemed quite satisfied with the simple material standard of these relative primitive huts.