It is known as the capital of the Barents Region...
... and the small town, located in the far northeast of Northern Norway, is full of life and adventure!
Imagine waking up in a frozen world, where everything around you is made of ice and snow.
...you can experience it in real life at Kirkenes Snowhotel!
The hotel is open year around, and the temperature inside is a constant minus four degrees Celsius. But don't worry – the reindeer hides will keep you warm and comfortable.
Do you dare to take the plunge?
Kirkenes is one of the most important ports for harvesting king crabs in the Barents Sea.
Visit historic Oscar II’s Chapel Stone church, located in the small village Grense Jacobselv.
The stone church was erected by the Russian border in 1869 as a means of defending the Norwegian bank of the river.
Hop aboard a dog sled, and let your new four-legged friends take you on an Arctic adventure through the wilderness!
The 100 km-long valley, Pasvikdalen, has large pine and birch forests, protected primeval forests, and wetland areas with rich and diverse flora and fauna.
It's also the home of Norway's largest brown bear population!
You can learn more about the wildlife, as well as the culture and history of the Pasvik Valley, at the Øvre Pasvik National Park visitor centre.
You can also hike on your own and explore beautiful and remote areas. You might even spot some exciting animal tracks!
Kirkenes is the last stop on the Hurtigruten and Havila coastal routes, but you can also start your cruise adventure here and sail the opposite way down Norway's coast. If you are lucky and the season is right, you can experience the northern lights.
If you want to explore more in the Finnmark area, a good tip is to book a round trip with public transport!
Kirkenes is certified as a Sustainable Destination.
Although this does not mean that the destination is sustainable, it does mean that it has made a commitment to work systematically to reduce the negative effects of tourism.
A snow hotel, dramatic World War II history, and king crab safaris are among the many exciting attractions awaiting visitors in Kirkenes.
Although Kirkenes is a small town, it has a multicultural population thanks to its location close to the borders of Finland and Russia. That's why you can find signs on different languages all around town.
Kirkenes offers lots of activities all year around. Among the most popular summer activities are boat trips, hiking, diving, fishing, hunting, climbing, and bird watching. During winter, activities include dog sledding trips, snowmobile tours, ice fishing, and king crab safaris.
The area is also a fascinating destination for history buffs. WWII definitely left its mark on Kirkenes, with the town experiencing more than 320 air raids. Andersgrotta, an underground bunker that was used as a shelter during the war, is now a museum.
Roads have a high standard, and are for the most part open all year, except for some mountain passes serving small fishing villages on the coast, which may occasionally be closed in 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.
Hurtigruten and Havila both call at harbours in Varanger: Berlevåg, Båtsfjord, Vardø and Vadsø.
The ships begin their return journey to Bergen in Fjord Norway in Kirkenes, calling at the same ports on the way back, with the exception of Vadsø.
Kirkenes Airport is the nearest of the regional airports, offering several daily connections to Oslo, and connecting flights to many smaller communities such as Vadsø, Vardø, Båtsfjord, Berlevåg and Mehamn, as well as connections to Alta and Tromsø, among other destinations. You can also fly from Helsinki to Ivalo in Finland and rent a car to drive to Varanger from there.
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 sometimes 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.
Learn more about the northern lights.