Fishermen’s Cabins (Rorbu)
Classic North Sea fishermen's cabins are now popular holiday cottages
You’ll find rorbu, or fishermen’s cabins, all along the Norwegian coast, at the water’s edge and often built atop sturdy timber piles. These historical cabins are reminders of a time that has, for the most part, gone by.
ONCE SHELTER FROM THE SEAS Even though this type of accommodation is found all along the entire Norwegian coast, the fishing villages of northern Norway are the best-known locations for these fishermen’s cabins. This is no coincidence: Even in modern times, a winter fishing trip here is a popular, if icy, experience.
In the past, when fishing boats were open vessels without shelter from the elements, fishermen’s cabins were an absolute necessity. They provided a few hours of relief from the intensely demanding weather. Back then, cold, exhausted fishermen tied up their boats at the wharf, offloaded their fishing gear, and set about finding shelter for the night. These cabins were their refuge.
NOW-FAVORED VACATION HOMES Many rorbu now function as cafés and tiny restaurants or are rented out as accommodations. Originally resulting from the need for fishermen to offload equipment directly from their boats, the cabins now attract tourists from both near and far. With their characteristic atmosphere, they have become the topic of a popular catchphrase in Norwegian tourism known as ‘Fishermen cottage holidays’. Spending a holiday in a fishermen’s cabin is particularly popular in Lofoten and Vesterålen.