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Varanger

Welcome to the wild

Far to the north and farthest east in Norway, – a few people, and very many birds, cling to the rocky and barren landscape.

Hornøya, Finnmark .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com
Hornøya, Finnmark .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com

Are you ready for a journey to the end of the world?

At least, you might feel so while following the Norwegian Scenic Route as it winds through the rough, lunar like landscape...

Norwegian Scenic Route in Varanger .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visit Norway
Norwegian Scenic Route in Varanger .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visit Norway

…and ends up in abandoned Hamningberg.

The picturesque old fishing village is one of the few places that was not burned down by the retreating Germans at the end of the Second World War, and still have the houses from the 19th century intact.

Hamningberg .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen
Hamningberg .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen

Varanger is especially known for one thing in particular – it's the world's best, arctic birdwatching destination!

Here you can spot a variety of rare bird species on close hold, and the Hornøya island is one of Norway’s largest nesting sites, with 150,000 birds, including puffins, guillemots, sea eagles and many more.

Hornøya, Finnmark .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com
Hornøya, Finnmark .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com

The architectural firm, Biotope, even created special birdwatching shelters, which also protect against the weather.

But you don't need to be interested in birds to have a rest here, how about just enjoying nature under maybe the midnight sun or the northern lights?

Hasselneset, Varanger .
Photo: Tormod Amundsen / Biotope
Hasselneset, Varanger .
Photo: Tormod Amundsen / Biotope

Even though Varanger might be most famous for it's birdwatching sites, here is a lot more to explore. Go for a boat trip, hiking, climbing, cycling, diving or maybe fishing for...

Birdwatching by Hornøya .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen
Birdwatching by Hornøya .
Photo: Christian Roth Christensen

...King crabs!

The red delicacies love the arctic water in the area. If you are lucky, maybe you will spot some whales too?

King crab safari in Kirkenes .
Photo: Visit Norway
King crab safari in Kirkenes .
Photo: Visit Norway

If you love snow, this is the place to be in the winter! Try ice fishing, snow shoeing, arctic surfing, kiting, or maybe a trip with these four-legged friends?

Dog sledding in Kongsfjord .
Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen
Dog sledding in Kongsfjord .
Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen

History also left it's traces in Varanger.

At the Steilneset Memorial in Vardø, you can visit a thought-provoking monument erected in memory of the 91 people, mostly women, who were burnt at the stake during the witch hunts in the 17th century.

Steilneset in Vardø .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Artist: Louise Bourgeois Architect: Peter Zumthor
Steilneset in Vardø .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Artist: Louise Bourgeois Architect: Peter Zumthor

Are you a real art-enthusiast? Then you should have a stop in Vardø.

After many years with eviction, the famous artist, Pøbel, invited other artists on a project in 2012 to fill the streets with life again. Therefore, you will now find street art on almost every corner.

Art outside house .
Photo: Emilie Holba / Visitnorway.com
Art outside house .
Photo: Emilie Holba / Visitnorway.com

Who said you need to go south to find beautiful beaches?

At Ekkerøy, Varanger's own arctic riviera, you can rest on long, sandy beaches and have a swim in the water.

But be aware, the temperature is for Vikings! Brrrr...

Beach at Ekkerøy in Varanger .
Photo: Sven-Erik Knoff
Beach at Ekkerøy in Varanger .
Photo: Sven-Erik Knoff

Get a good night's sleep at Kongsfjord Guesthouse

The old seaside yard from the 20th century has been restored, but preserved the culture and tradition, so you can feel the atmosphere from earlier times.

Winter in Kongsfjord .
Photo: Sven-Erik Knoff
Winter in Kongsfjord .
Photo: Sven-Erik Knoff

Arctic adventures in the far northeast

Far to the north and farthest east in Norway, where the sky meets the sea, lies Varanger, bathed in the summer's midnight sun and the winter's northern lights. Here, the wild landscape meanders along bird rock, fishing grounds and craggy cliffs towards the end of the world.

Nature presents itself with fish-rich rivers, snow-covered expanses, exotic king crabs, spring-like birds, leaping salmon, sparkling seas and dancing northern lights.

People and traditions make Varanger an arctic melting pot of peoples and cultures. Varanger is a different experience. Nature and settlement, the light, the colors, the high sky and wide horizon, the exciting activities and the open people.

There are several options for getting to Varanger. 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

Activities and attractions

See a bird rock in the midnight sun, go dog sledding or fishing for king crabs, or learn more about the history of eastern Finnmark!

Where to stay

Find zen-mode in historical surroundings!

Food and drink

Wonder where the best places to eat in Eastern Finnmark is?

Getting here and around

Get in-depth travel information for travelling to Northern Norway

Varanger map of attractions
Berlevåg is an active fishing community at 70° N on the Arctic Ocean. The inhabitants live in the fishing villages of Kongsfjord and Berlevåg, where… Read more
Berlevåg Tourist Information - Visit Varanger
Varanger Brygge located in Bugøynes is the natural choice for tourist fishermen who want to get in close contact with the good fishing opportunities… Read more
Deep sea fishing and boat rentals in Bugøynes, Varanger
Norway is home to most Sami (The indigenous people of Norway )in the world. The total population of Sami in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia is… Read more
Experience the Sami culture in Varanger Arctic Norway
Snowshoe walking in Varanger . Local guided trips in Varanger Arctic Norway. Read more
Snowshoe walking in Varanger with guide
The exhibition Airships and Boats on the Coastal Express quayside exhibits local fishing boats, and narrates the exhilarating story of Amundsen and… Read more
The Polar history in Varanger
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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.

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    • 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.

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    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 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.

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