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KIRKENES

Arctic adventure in the far northeast

Kirkenes in Northern Norway .
Photo: Monika Raab
Kirkenes in Northern Norway .
Photo: Monika Raab

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!

Kirkenes in Northern Norway .
Photo: Monika Raab
Kirkenes in Northern Norway .
Photo: Monika Raab

Imagine waking up in a frozen world, where everything around you is made of ice and snow.

Kirkenes Snow Hotel .
Photo: NevraArts
Kirkenes Snow Hotel .
Photo: NevraArts

...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.

Kirkenes Snow hotel in Finnmark .
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life / Visitnorway.com
Kirkenes Snow hotel in Finnmark .
Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life / Visitnorway.com

Do you dare to take the plunge?

Kirkenes is one of the most important ports for harvesting king crabs in the Barents Sea.

Join a safari!

King crab safari in Northern Norway .
Photo: Siv Nærø – Visitnorway.com
King crab safari in Northern Norway .
Photo: Siv Nærø – Visitnorway.com

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.

Oscar II’s Chapel Stone church .
Photo: Visit Kirkenes
Oscar II’s Chapel Stone church .
Photo: Visit Kirkenes

Hop aboard a dog sled, and let your new four-legged friends take you on an Arctic adventure through the wilderness!

Husky tour in Kirkenes .
Photo: Snowhotel Kirkenes / Book Finnmark
Husky tour in Kirkenes .
Photo: Snowhotel Kirkenes / Book Finnmark

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!

Autumn in the Pasvik Valley .
Photo: Visit Kirkenes
Autumn in the Pasvik Valley .
Photo: Visit Kirkenes

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!

Pavik Valley .
Photo: Visit Kirkenes
Pavik Valley .
Photo: Visit Kirkenes

Kirkenes is the last stop on the Hurtigruten and Havila coastal routes, but you can also start your cruise adventures 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!

Spotting the Northern Lights from Hurtigruten .
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
Spotting the Northern Lights from Hurtigruten .
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon

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.

Puffin in Kirkenes .
Photo: Roy Mangersnes / wildphoto.no / nordnorge.com
Puffin in Kirkenes .
Photo: Roy Mangersnes / wildphoto.no / nordnorge.com

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.

There are several options for getting to Kirkenes. Find more inspiration on Northern Norway's official website.

Explore all the options below, or go directly to:
Things to do | Where to stay | Food and drink | Getting here and around

Top things to do in Kirkenes

Where to stay

Food and drink

Getting here and around

Get in-depth travel information for travelling to Northern Norway
Plan your trip to Kirkenes with Entur.

Attractions and activities in Kirkenes
15 min transfer by bus from Kirkenes to our basecamp. Snowmobile tour with local guide and interesting information along the way. The trip goes in a… Read more
Snowmobile safari Kirkenes with Barents Safari
Thon Hotel Kirkenes opened May 3rd 2010, and is located at the wharf in the centre of the town. The hotel has 144 rooms, a restaurant and bar with an… Read more
Thon Hotel Kirkenes
Get to know Kirkenes in 1 hour. A local guide will take you on an interesting tour of the city. In winter we can offer the trip with kicksledge, our… Read more
Guided walk Kirkenes town
Tour with local guide (Norwegian, English or German speaking) through the town and surroundings incl visit at two viewpoints, the Russian bordern en… Read more
Kirkenes sightseeing and Russian border - private tour
We offer transport with high comfort in our new Mercedes Sprinter minibuses. In addition, we also arrange transport in buses up to 50 seats and taxi… Read more
Pasvikturist Minibus - Transport and private sightseeing in Kirkenes and Finnmark
Welcome to our restaurant in the heart of Kirkenes. Try our delicious pizza from our own bakery, or choose from our ala carte menu where you will find… Read more
Ritz Ribago Kirkenes
Welcome to our bakery and patisserie in the middle of Kirkenes (in the pedestrian zone). On nice summer days we also have outdoor seating. We have a… Read more
Amundsen Bakery in Kirkenes
We offer transport in Kirkenes and the whole region. Read more
Kirkenes Taxi
We pick you up from your hotel and transport you to Snowhotel Kirkenes, where our snowmobiles are ready. Read more
Snowhotel Kirkenes - Snowmobilesafari 4 hours
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    Statens Kartverk, Geovekst og kommuner - Geodata AS
    • Kirkenes road

      By road

      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.

      There are daily bus connections from Kirkenes to Murmansk in Russia, and more sporadically to Rovaniemi in Finland. Pre-booking and visas might be required when travelling across the border.

      Ad: AutoEurope - always a smooth rental experience

    • Kirkenes boat

      By boat

      Kirkenes is the northern terminus for Hurtigruten, the Norwegian Coastal Voyage, which also calls at Kjøllefjord, Mehamn, Berlevåg, Båtsfjord, Vardø and Vadsø.

      Hurtigruten turns around in Kirkenes and heads back on its return journey to Bergen in Fjord Norway, calling at the same ports on the way back, with the exception of Vadsø.

      Ad: Hurtigruten - "The World’s Most Beautiful Sea Voyage"

    • Kirkenes plane

      By plane

      Kirkenes Airport is one of several 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.

      Ad: Widerøe - the largest regional airline in Scandinavia

    Search for trips with Entur and receive suggestions based on the entire Norwegian public transport system.

    Seasons and climate

    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.

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