Fishermen’s cabins (Rorbu) in Norway
Classic North Sea fishermen's shelters are now popular waterside 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 historic cabins are reminders of a time that has now gone by - for the most part.
Once shelter from the seas
Even though this type of accommodation is found along the entire Norwegian coast, it is the fishing villages of northern Norway that are best known as locations for these fishermen’s cabins. This is no coincidence: even in modern times, a winter fishing trip here is an icy experience.
In the old days, 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 favoured vacation homes
Many rorbu now serve as cafes and tiny restaurants or are rented out as accommodation. Originally providing a place for the fishermen to be able to offload equipment directly from the boat, the cabins now attract tourists from near and far. With their characteristic atmosphere, they have become the topic of a popular catchphrase, ‘Fishermen Cottage holidays’, in Norwegian tourism. Holidaying in fishermen’s cabins is particularly popular in Lofoten and Vesterålen.