Magnus Askeland

Blåisvatnet – The Blue Lake – is a gem in the Lyngen Alps

Lake Blåisvatnet has become a favourite on instagram – dubbed “The Blue Lake”. Magnus Askeland, a photographer from Alta, went there to check it out. Here is his tale.

Few places actually live up to their names. The Grand Canyon is a place I’d argue that does live up to it. It is a canyon and it is spectacularly grand. The same can be said about Lake Blåisvatnet – “The Blue Lake” in Lyngen, Northern Norway.

It is as beautiful IRL as on instagram?

When I visited Lake Blåisvatnet in late September,I had high expectations of the scenery. Could the colour of the lake be as saturated as I’ve seen on all those images on social media? The short simple answer is yes. It is as spectacularly crystal clear blue as the Grand Canyon is grand. The rugged mountain peaks surrounding Lake Blåisvatnet are worth the hike alone. Because that is the thing; You have to earn the views by getting there on your two feet.

Wear proper shoes

When arriving at the trail head, there is a large parking area where you can park your car. Payment is required. There are also toilets located in proximity to the parking lot. The trail is marked and has planks and other helpful measures. All this makes it easier to cross a stream or a boggy section. I’d highly recommend using hiking shoes with a good and sturdy sole. Most parts of the trail are very rocky and carrying a pack with some weight to it and shoes not suited for the terrain will definitely be problematic later. It’s a about 8 km in length round trip with an elevation gain of 200 metres. Expect about 1-1,5 hours of hiking one way. The water in the rivers and lake was fine to drink without filtering.

Staying overnight is best in Spring and Autumn

Some people prefer camping at Lake Blåisvatnet for the night. In September, we had a wonderful starry evening and Northern Lights in the night. One thing to note is that one shouldn’t wait too long to visit the lake in Autumn. Eventually the sun will be too low on the horizon and sunlight won’t find its way down on the lake surface. And sunlight is what makes the blue water even bluer. It can be crowded during the Summer months and there aren’t plenty of spots to pitch your tent. So get there early if you wish to stay overnight. Otherwise, go in Autumn or Spring when fewer people camp.

Try to find new angles

Photographing the lake is quite straightforward as many images in social media are from roughly the same spot. I recommend getting the obvious photos down by the waters edge with the peak in the backround, but I highly recommend getting a little away from the lake and try to find a more unique outlook from perhaps higher elevation. Polarizing filters can cut the glare from the surface of the water and bring out the rocks in the bottom and the blue colour even more. If you only have a camera on your phone and perhaps a pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses it can be worth trying them out in front of the camera lens. Perhaps the lake “pops” a little more in your images.

Stick to the path

Blåisvatn aka Lake Blåisvatnet is a gem. The lake itself and the scenery around is world class. Even though it has gained a lot of attention the last few years I’m certain it will increase way more in the years too come. In order for it to stay open to the public and tourists all around the world please stick to the path and leave no trace.

Good to know about Blåisvatnet – “The Blue Lake”

The correct name in Norwegian is Blåisvatnet. Literally “Blue Ice Lake”. In English, one tends to add “Lake” – so Lake Blåisvatnet is ok. However, on Instagram “Blue Lake” seems to be the name. We therefore use both Lake Blåisvatnet and “Blue Lake” in this article.

Lake Blåisvatnet – The Blue Lake – is one of several lakes found in the mountain chain of the “Lyngen Alps” – a ridge of alpine mountain peaks running along the Lyngen Peninsula.

Lake Blåisvatnet – the Blue Lake – is about 65 km. Because of the ferry Breivikeidet-Svensby, travelling time is estimated at an hour and a half.

The local Tourism Organisation, Visit Lyngenfjord, informs excellently on their website. Do consult their page for updated information. They also inform about organised tours.