Kirkenes is situated between two timezones; Helsinki and Moscow. In Kirkenes, which lies in the municipality of Sør-Varanger, people speak Norwegian, Sami, Finnish and Russian. The small mining town has approximately 3,300 inhabitants.
The Russian czar, the Russian Revolution, Finnish immigration, and World War II made their permanent tracks here. Visit Sør-Varanger Museum and the Andersgrotta Cave to gain more information about the border region and its history.
The nature in Sør-Varanger will give you fantastic experiences. In the Pasvik Valley you will find one of the biggest remaining primeval forests in Norway. It is the only place where the brown bears reproduce regularly. The Øvre Pasvik National Park Centre is situated in Svanvik and will provide you with information about fauna and flora in the Pasvik Valley.
Grense Jakobselv is as far east as you can get in Europe. Grense Jakobselv is a small abandoned settlement with the King Oscar II’s chapel. In the summer you might have the chance to watch Beluga-whales from the beach towards the Barents Sea.
Bugøynes is where Finnish imigrants created their own vital necessity after years with summer frost in Finland. The main industry here today is kingcrab fishing.
Neiden by the Finnish border was the place where the East-Sami were during the summer and also where they had their graves by the Russian Orthodox chapel. Here a Norwegian church was built, in stave church traditions, to mark Norwegian territory. You will also find an excellent salmon river in Neiden.
Activities in Kirkenes and Sør-Varanger
The area has a good infrastructure for visitors and there is a whole world of experiences awaiting you: Mountains, fjords, forests, lakes, northern lights in the winter time and the midnight sun between 15 May and 28 July. You can for example stay at Kirkenes Snow Hotel.
Discover the region on different trips, such as on snowscooter safaris, boat trips, quad safaris, hiking and fishing tours, king crab safaris and dog sledging trips.
Find more information about Kirkenes and Sør-Varanger on kirkesinfo.no.