Norway // North Norway //

East to Kirkenes

Southeast of Nordkapp the landscape is a relentless expanse of barren plateaux, mountains and ocean. Occasionally a determined village relieves the monotony with commanding views over the fjords that slice deep into the mainland, but generally there is little for the eyes of most visitors. Nor is there much of anything to actually do in what are predominantly fishing and industrial settlements, and there are few tangible attractions beyond the sheer impossibility of the chill wilderness.

The E6 weaves a circuitous course across this vast territory, hugging the Finnish border for much of its length. The only obvious target is the Sámi centre of Karasjok, 270km from Nordkapp and 220km from Hammerfest and easily the region’s most interesting town. Frankly, there’s not much reason to push on further east unless you’re intent on picking up the Hurtigruten coastal boat as it bobs along the remote and spectacular shores of the Barents Sea. Among the Hurtigruten’s several ports of call, perhaps the most diverting is Kirkenes, 320km to the east of Karasjok at the end of the E6 and near the Russian frontier: if any European town comes close to defining remoteness then this surely must be it.

Finally, accommodation is very thin on the ground, being confined to a handful of the larger communities. Reservations, therefore, are strongly advised. Campsites are more frequent and usually have cabins for rent, but they are mostly stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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