An urban surprise along a barren, mostly uninhabited coast, Hammerfest is an arctic town full of life and outdoor adventures.
After a hundred kilometres of deserted, naked Finnmark coast, Hammerfest suddenly bursts onto the retina like a Fata Morgana. Surrounded by mountains, sandy beaches, and impressive coastal landscapes, this eye-catching town is an ideal starting point for an active holiday.
For hiking enthusiasts, Hammerfest is a definitive winner. The landscape may be barren and naked, but it also offers easy walking country and gentle ascents. And you will be surprised how easy it is to orientate yourself, simply by following the coastline and mountain peaks. For the best panoramic view of the town, take a zigzag walk up the Salen "mountain".
Good things come to those who wade, and especially in Hammerfest. Here you will find some of Norway's best spots to catch a big trophy fish. While cod, halibut, coalfish and wolffish are the most common species for sea anglers in this area, the nearby lakes and rivers are plentiful with top notch quality trout and char.
The town of Hammerfest is a compact and colourful micro-metropolis. The city square and streets are buzzing with life, whether the sea mist lies heavy over the city or Finnmark is panting in tropical heat. There are several options for getting to Hammerfest.
When the cruise ships are in port, the atmosphere can be positively carnival-like, and when it is time to catch a bite, you can choose between everything from traditional Sami food served in a Sami turf hut at Mikkelgammen, to the world’s most northerly Chinese restaurant.
For being one of the oldest towns in Norway, it might strike you as odd how modern Hammerfest looks. The town’s history includes several attempts by men and Mother Nature to remove it from the map, like after the hurricane that blew it down in 1856, and again after a devastating fire ravaged the town in 1890. But the worst thing was the Nazis in 1945, when the order came down that “no building be left standing”. Gjenreisningsmuseet, the Museum of Reconstruction, commemorates the cold, bleak years after the event.
The Meridian Column is a rather unusual landmark; the place the monument stands on was used to work out the size of the Earth, and the Column is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Find more inspiration on Hammerfest’s official website.
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Hammerfest can easily be reached by car. Coming from the south, take the E6 and come through the town of Alta. Follow the road to the north over a high plateau called Sennalandet. When you get to the junction in Skaidi, take the Rv94 over the Kvalsund Bridge and after about another hour you arrive in Hammerfest. Coming from the North Cape, just drive straight ahead along the Rv94.
Amongst others there are direct public bus connections to Hammerfest from Skaidi (one hour), Alta (2,5 hours) and Honningsvåg (3,5 hours).
The most beautiful manner of getting to Hammerfest is probably to take the coastal steamer Hurtigruten. Most of the ships can take cars and come to town twice a day – one southbound and one northbound.
Hammerfest Airport is a regional airport at Prærien in Hammerfest which provides the town with connections to Tromsø, Alta, Honningsvåg and many other destinations in Finnmark.
Read more about the northern lights.