Norway // North Norway //

Nordkapp and around

At the northern tip of Norway, the treeless and windswept island of Magerøya is mainly of interest to travellers as the location of the Nordkapp (North Cape), generally regarded as Europe’s northernmost point, though it is in fact nothing of the kind (see True north?). The development of the Nordkapp as a tourist spot has not been without its critics, who argue that the large and lavish visitor centre – Nordkapphallen – is crass and soulless and grossly overpriced; their opponents simply point to the huge number of people who visit. Whichever side you’re on, nearly everyone who comes this far north does so to visit Nordkapp, though Magerøya island has other charms too, notably a bleak, rugged beauty that’s readily seen from the E69 as it threads across the mountainous interior from Honningsvåg, on the south coast, to Nordkapp, a distance of 34km.

The obvious base for a visit to Nordkapp is the island’s main settlement, Honningsvåg, an extremely quaint fishing village with an unexpected clutch of chain hotels. More appealing, however, is the tiny hamlet of Kamøyvær, nestling beside a narrow fjord just off the E69 between Honningsvåg and Nordkapp, and with a couple of family-run guesthouses. Bear in mind also that Nordkapp is within easy striking distance of other places back on the mainland – certainly the picturesque fishing-station-cum-hotel at Repvåg, and maybe even Hammerfest and Alta, respectively 210km and 240km away.

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