Why you want to consider an overland travel to Lofoten:
3) Train on a ferry
4) Yes. Train on a ferry!
Three reasons, why this little excursion starts in Hamburg, Germany (Hamburg Central Station). First of all, you are already kind of north when you arrive in (very well connected) Hamburg. Like knocking on Scandinavia´s door. Secondly, on your first leg to Copenhagen (Denmark), you will get on the ferry by train. Getting on a ferry by train does not happen too often on this planet and it´s a legit „Check. Done that!“ on the overland travelers bucket list. The cruise from Puttgarden (Germany) to Rødby (Denmark) will take 45 minutes. You can stay on the train or check out the ferry e.g. to do some duty free shopping, just in case you forgot to buy some proper beer in Hamburg, which of course is reason no. 3 to start your trip there in the first place.
Northbound through Sweden
Several options to get up further north. We like watching out of a window a lot. Especially during summertimes in Scandinavia with daylight 24/7 around „Midsommer“ (summer solstice). So we go through Sweden via Stockholm, Kramfors, Umeå, Kiruna and finally Narvik (Norway). What a ride. All along the Gulf of Bothia, trough Lappland over Bjørnfjell Mountain to Narvik. For the final stage of our trip up north we will take the Bus to Leknes, Lofoten. Five hours of spectacular sight seeing, provided by public transport.
Southbound through Norway
We will leave Leknes by bus (direction „Å“) to Moskenes. Again - it´s ferry time! In just about four hours we will cross Vestfjorden on board the ferry from Moskenes to Bodø, where we will put ourselfs in the hands of Norges Statsbaner - Norwegians railway company. First leg: Bodø -> Trondheim, 11 hours. A sleeping compartment is available and of course great fun. Standard seats are fine and if you are on a budget just skip the sleeper. Still we would recommend it - just because it´s nice to have. Speaking of budget: If you book your tickets early, prices start at 349,- NOK. That´s about 40 US$. One way from Bodø to Oslo Sentralstasjon (ca. 1200km / 18 hours). For another 10 bucks you can upgrade the second leg from Trondheim to Oslo to NSB Komfort, which includes your own power outlet, access to newspapers and the best: Free coffee and tea!
From Oslo you can go back to Hamburg via Malmö bei train or you can tke the ferry to Kiel.
Too long, didn´t read: Great fun, lots to see, very budget friendly for early birds. Also: Trains.