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Winter at North cape

Credit: Beate Juliussen | nordnorge.com

Freelance writer Kenneth Kiesnoski

Kenneth Kiesnoski

Author
3 mins read

Why you need to add the North Cape to your bucket list

Bragging rights … it’s a thing these days. How does “I’ve gone as far north as you can possibly go in Europe” sound?

Good? Then put a trip to North Cape — that’s Nordkapp to Norwegians — on your bucket list. Here are 6 amazing reasons to book the trip of a lifetime — to Norway’s pole position: the North Cape.

It’s only natural: 

The moment you set foot on the island of Magerøya, the island where you’ll find the North Cape, you’ll know you’re someplace special. There’s a stark, piercing beauty to the barren tundra, devoid of trees except for some small birch here and there. 

Steep cliffs line the island’s coasts and soaring mountains loom in its interior. In summer, reindeer spend summer holidays here, grazing on grass, moss and lichen, while birds like puffins, auks and sea eagles crowd the shores and skies. It’s like nowhere else.

Sunglasses at night: 

This far north above the Arctic Circle, the Midnight Sun rules the “night” skies from mid-May to the end of July. Days last longer the closer the summer equinox gets, until the sun doesn’t dip below the horizon at all. 

Locals claim the best place to experience the Midnight Sun is the North Cape Plateau or the historical port of Gjesvær, which dates to Viking times.

Something’s fishy: 

Gjesvær - one of four fishing villages on Magerøya - each a must-see in its own right. Nordvågen is the largest and home to a fish-processing plant, while tiny Kamøyvær boasts an inn, art gallery and lighthouse. 

Skarsvåg, the world’s northernmost fishing village, is a short hike from the Kirkeporten natural arch — perfect for peeping through at the Midnight Sun. Gjesvær lies a stone’s throw from the Gjesværstappan reserve, a chain of islands with colonies of seabirds.

People pleasers: 

They say the locals are something special, fiercely proud of their home but friendly to a fault. It’s quite possible to be invited to a cup of coffee by curious islanders eager to engage — or so says the tourist board. Visit, wave hello and you be the judge!

A phoenix from the flames: 

Though it was named by the Vikings, nothing in the main town Honningsvåg — apart from its whitewashed church — predates the Second World War. Retreating Nazi occupiers, facing defeat, burned everything but the 19th century sanctuary to the ground. 

Delve into this history and more at the North Cape Museum. Then explore this bustling port’s present, trawling the shops or tucking into the catch of the day.

Cape crusader

Last but certainly not least, there’s Nordkapp itself. By some measures the northernmost point in continental Europe, the North Cape is a 307 m (1,007 ft) cliff offering unbroken views out over the Barents Sea to, in summer months, the Midnight Sun. 

Perched at the cliff’s edge is the iconic, and very Instagram-able, Globe monument; nearby lies North Cape Hall, offering a movie, a museum, meals, souvenirs — and even a post office. Mail a postcard from the ends of the Earth!