Teeming bird rocks in Hornøya, a snow hotel, dramatic war stories and a witch monument in Vardø are among the attractions awaiting visitors in Kirkenes and Eastern Finnmark.
The small town of Kirkenes is located northeast in Northern Norway, close to the Russian border. Kirkenes is labelled as a sustainable destination, and is known as the capital of the Barents Region and the gateway to the east.
Are you looking for a genuine experience right at the border to Russia and Finland, there is plenty to both see and do in Kirkenes and the surrounding area. There are several options for getting to Kirkenes and around.
Among the most popular summer activities are boat trips, hiking, diving, fishing, hunting, climbing - and bird watching. In Varanger you can spot a variety of rare bird species, while Hornøya island is one of Norway’s largest nesting sites, with 150,000 birds, including puffins, guillemots, sea eagles and many more.
During winter, activities that are offered are for instance dog-sledge trips, snowmobile tours, ice fishing and king crab safari.
For history buffs, Eastern Finnmark is an interesting destination. Located at the end of Varanger National Tourist Route, Hamningberg is a picturesque old fishing village and one of few places that was not burned down by the retreating Germans at the end of the Second World War. The war left its mark on Kirkenes however, with over 320 air attacks against the city. Andersgrotta, used as a shelter during the war, is today a museum.
In Vardø, you can see an intriguing monument erected in memory of the 91 people, mostly women, who were burnt at the stake during the witch hunt in the 17th century.
Find more inspiration on Northern Norway's official website.
Visit a bird rock in midnight sun. Stay in a snow hotel under the northern lights. Go dog sledding or fish for king crabs along the Russian border.
Roads have a high standard, and are for the most part open all year, with the exception of mountain passes serving small fishing villages on the coast. These are usually closed a few times during winter. Read more about driving in Northern Norway.
Long-distance express buses connect the region to points beyond, but departures are not frequent, so research and planning are required.
There are daily bus connections from Kirkenes to Murmansk in Russia, and more sporadically to Rovaniemi in Finland. Pre-booking and visa might be required.
Kirkenes is the northern terminus for Hurtigruten, the Norwegian Coastal Voyage, and in this region it calls at Kjøllefjord, Mehamn, Berlevåg, Båtsfjord, Vardø and Vadsø on its way there.
Hurtigruten turns around in Kirkenes and goes back to Bergen in Western Norway, calling at the same ports on the way back, except Vadsø.
Kirkenes Airport is one of the regional hubs for air travel, and offers several daily flights to and from Oslo.
From Kirkenes Airport, there are also connecting flights to many smaller communities in the region and beyond, such as Vadsø, Vardø, Båtsfjord, Berlevåg and Mehamn.
There are also connections by air to Alta and Tromsø.
Kirkenes and Eastern Finnmark has a humid subarctic continental climate with cool summers and no dry season.
The midnight sun shines from May 17 to July 21.
The winter darkness extends from November 21 to January 21. During winter you can experience the northern lights in Kirkenes and Eastern Finnmark.
The winter climate in Kirkenes and Eastern Finnmark is cold and dry, with a mean winter temperature of approximately minus 8-10 degrees Celsius.
July is the warmest month with an average temperature of 14,8 degrees Celsius.
Get the latest weather forecast on yr.no.
Read more about the northern lights.