Photography Sailing Expedition to The Arctic Islands of Norway

Explore the Lofoten Islands while sailing on a 47ft yacht - 15 days

Our fortnight-long sailing and photography expedition to the Norwegian Arctic islands of Lofoten is a rare chance to photograph wild coastal locations which are inaccessible to others. To us, sailing rather than driving is the most logical way to fully experience these stunning islands.

This small-group expedition (with a maximum of six participants) will use a very comfortable 47ft (14m) yacht built in 2012. The group will be guided by the Arctic photographer Vlad Donkov and our seasoned skipper.

The adventure starts in Svolvaer and follows the coastline of the awe-inspiring mountainous islands, wild fjords and passages.


2015: 22 August - 05 September

2014: 23 August - 06 September 

Group:  max 6 + crew

Accommodation: sailing yacht - 14 nights

Sailing presents us with plenty of opportunities to take photographs from unusual viewpoints and to reach locations only accessible by sea. In addition to the yacht, we will use an inflatable boat with an outboard engine. This will enable us to land at wild beaches and explore our surroundings on foot. There will be very good chances of observing orca and minke whales, as well as dolphins and seals. White-tailed eagles hunting for puffins and fish will also frequently keep us company.

You will benefit from the knowledge and experience of Arctic photographer Vlad Donkov. Since 2008, Vlad has spent a total of more than a year on these islands, visiting them in all seasons. Those of you who know about sailing (or want to learn a thing or two) will have the fantastic opportunity to assist our extremely experienced the skipper.

This sailing adventure is suitable for people without any previous sailing experience. However, participants should be adventurous by nature and ready to endure long days. This expedition is about chasing great light and experiencing places that most people never get to see.

So, are you ready for a real photographic adventure at the end of this summer? The crew members and maximum of six participants will enjoy the long Arctic days, amazing wildlife and breathtaking landscapes (and maybe even some Aurora Borealis), all while sailing on a state-of-the-art yacht. Most of the basic details about this expedition are listed below, but please get in touch with us via the contact form if you have any questions.

One of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever had, with an enormous amount of expert knowledge of sailing, photography and the area on offer. The encyclopedic knowledge of Lofoten offered by Vlad allowed to find some truly unique shots and his coaching made sure I made the most of the opportunities. Have recommended this trip to friends, as it really was a brilliant experience.
— Charlie Bilsland (UK), 2014

A typical day on the yacht:

The master plan is to sail for several hours each day between locations. We will have two photographic sessions each day - either exploring wild beaches and mountains on foot, or shooting from the deck. Our choices will depend on the terrain, the weather and the wildlife. We will hopefully see whales, dolphins, eagles and seals.

We will be sailing into narrow fjords and getting close to bird rocks and waterfalls. On some evenings we will simply sail towards the sun under full sail with the mountains as a background - it's an experience which is second-to-none. At night we will often be on the lookout for the Northern Lights. The master plan: Sailing for several hours a day from one location to another. Our aim is to spend the nights in small marinas and sheltered bays and make sure we get plenty of sleep. We will avoid crowded ports, except when we need to make short stops every few days for food, water and fuel supplies.

If you are eager to gain some extra sailing expertise, you can help our experienced skippers with the watch, navigation or operation of the sails.

As with most expeditions, everyone shares the daily chores of cooking, washing and keeping the boat tidy – although with several people on board, these jobs get done quickly and pleasantly.

None of the days will be alike. However, our aim is unshakeable: to experience as much of the amazing Arctic nature as we can and go home with unforgettable memories and images.


  • One-to-one and group guidance by Arctic photographer Vlad Donkov.

  • The services of an experienced skipper.

  • A single berth in a two-berth cabin (we have two double bed cabins for any couples on the trip – otherwise, the crew will use these).

  • One set of bed linen and blankets per person.

  • Use of VHF handheld radios for communication between parties onshore and the crew.

  • Final cleaning of the boat by a cleaning company.

  • A one-hour Skype conversation with one of your guides before the expedition.


  • Food, gas, diesel and harbour fees (we will shop and cook together) - approx. 350 EUR per person.

  • Alcoholic drinks.

  • Anything else not mentioned in the 'included' list.

  • Any personal phone calls or internet access (we will have good mobile coverage on most days).

  • Any transportation from Svolvaer.

Equipment needed:

  • Digital or film camera.

  • Tripod.

  • A 'dry bag' for your photographic backpack.

  • Outdoor clothing.

  • Graduated ND filters (optional).

  • Spare batteries and memory cards.

Fitness level:


You will need to carry your own photographic equipment only. Our walks will last for up to four or five hours, but with lots of stops for photography and a lunch break. The terrain will often be uneven, sometimes steep, but no rock climbing or glacier walking will be undertaken.

About the yacht:

As mentioned above, we will sail on a comfortable 47ft (14m) yacht. It was built by the renowned Delphia shipyard in 2012, and is fully equipped for sailing in Arctic conditions. The yacht has six single berths and two double berths (either for the crew or for couples) in five cabins – so there will be two people per cabin.

The yacht has 112 square metres of sails, a reliable heating and hot water system (with 760l water tanks), a power generator, four WCs/showers, a kitchen and a large saloon with TV, stereo system and radio. The yacht is also equipped with all the safety equipment needed, including radar, autopilot, large liferaft, lifejackets, satellite SAR beacon, powerful 75 hp outboard engine and inflatable dinghy boat (also with an outboard engine) for getting to the shore.

Link to images and more info about the yacht.

Getting there and back:

- Getting to Svolvaer is relatively easy. The three main airports in the area are:

A map of the airports in the area - link 

We will be happy to help you should you need any assistance with finding the most suitable flights.

Please do not book any flights before we confirm your booking. Please get in touch if you have any questions.


One of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever had, with an enormous amount of expert knowledge of sailing, photography and the area on offer. The encyclopedic knowledge of Lofoten offered by Vlad allowed to find some truly unique shots and his coaching made sure I made the most of the opportunities. Have recommended this trip to friends, as it really was a brilliant experience.
— Charlie Bilsland / Sailing Expedition to The Lofoten Islands, Norway
The Lofoten Islands have been an obsession of mine for more than a decade. But thus far, I had only seen the views in which my feet could take me. So when I heard about Vlad putting together a sailing expedition around the islands, I made an immediate booking.
I thought I had seen everything while standing atop mountains and staring across the sea. That was until I was sitting on that calm sea, sailing into the sunset and looking up towards those familiar peaks. We traveled to places that I’ve dreamed of visiting for years, yet never had a way of getting to.
Our days were filled with new friends and the rhythm of the sea. Our nights with campfires and northern lights.
I look forward to sailing the islands again one day!
— Cody Duncan
The Lofoten expedition was hands down an experience of a lifetime. It allowed us to access so many remarkable locations which would otherwise take many months to reach by hiking and traveling around. On top of that, traveling by boat allowed us to travel very comfortably and at our own pace, to benefit from the great maritime infrastructure of Arctic Norway and to know that there’s always a hot teapot around for the pauses between the shooting sessions from the deck.

Vlad, Dominik and Wojciech swiftly introduced the trip, guided us through the sea of options and made us feel at home so that we felt like a proper crew after a day or so of getting used to the boat.

The crew was very diverse in terms of photography and outdoors background. The team did a tremendous job in building the right dynamics, taking the necessary time and making sure that everyone got the most out of the trip. I truly believe that great experiences happen organically given the right people, at a special place and time: choosing an adventure with Vertical Shot Expeditions automatically checks the first ingredient while the others are quickly taken care of!
— Georgi Kirov