Plan Your Trip to Northern Norway

A Place With Thousands of Kilometres of Coastline

The Hurtigruten cruise liner also takes advantage of the geography of the Norwegian coast, with ships making daily stops in the important ports between Bergen in the south to Kirkenes at the Russian border. This is a crucial service both for the locals — as the Hurtigruten still makes regular deliveries — and for visitors, who can use the ships as transport or as a cruise holiday along the entire coast.

Sápmi

While much of Northern Norway is made up of coastline, the inland areas of Finnmark are considered to be part of Lapland, which stretches across Norway, Sweden, Finland, and into the Kola Peninsula in Russia. This region, also known as Sápmi, is characterised by its rolling fells, and many of the indigenous Sami people here still work as traditional reindeer herders.

Karasjok and Kautokeino are of particular importance, with Karasjok being home to the Norwegian Sámi parliament and Kautokeino playing host to the annual Sámi Easter Festival.

A Place Of Light

Wrapping around the top of Scandinavia, Norway reaches extremes not quite attained by any other country in Europe. Because its northernmost point (excluding Svalbard) is a whopping 71º 11’ north, the times of polar night and midnight sun are much more exaggerated than they are further south.

If you were to stand on the peninsula of Knivskjellodden (or Nordkapp, its more hyped neighbour that sits slightly to its south), you would see the sun circle around you a whopping 80 times between May and August before it set again. Likewise, in winter, this region experiences more than 60 days where the sun does not make it above the horizon.

As you head further south, these numbers decrease drastically. Lofoten experiences a month of sun in the summer and a month of bluish twilight in the winter; at the Arctic Circle, you will experience just one day of each. Regardless of how long it lasts, though, it is a magical time like nothing else you have ever experienced.

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What You Should Know

Currency: Norwegian kronor (kr)
Time Zone: CET (Central European Time) – GMT+1.
Daylight Savings time from March-October – GMT+2
1 hour behind Finland
Drives on: Right
Latitudes (not including Svalbard): 66º (Mo i Rana) to 71º 11′ (Knivskjellodden)
Size: 112,951 km2; around 1/3 of Norway’s land area
Population: 463,000
About 4 people per km2 and 11% of Norway’s population
Sámi Population: 40,000-50,000, many in the Norwegian Lapland area of Finnmark
Reindeer Population:
Largest city: Tromsø (72,000 residents)
Northernmost town: Honningsvåg (2,400 residents) although Hammerfest (population 7,500) disputes this
Borders: Sweden (south), Finland (south), Russia (south & east)
Visas: Standard Schengen visa regulations apply. Russian visa required to cross eastern border; application must be approved prior to arriving at border.
Seasons:

  • Winter — can be divided into:
    • “Dark time” (Nov-Jan)
    • “White winter” (Feb-Mar)
  • Spring (Apr-May)
  • Summer (June-August)
  • Autumn (Sept-Oct)

Longest period of polar night (at Nordkapp): 20 November – 22 January (63 days)
Shortest period of polar night (on the Arctic Circle): 1 day, 21 December
Longest period of midnight sun (at Nordkapp): 12 May – 31 July (80 days)
Shortest period of midnight sun (on the Arctic Circle): 1 day, 20 June