While the first “official” tourist to visit North Cape was a Franciscan friar, Francesco Negri, who arrived in 1664, the point was named by the English explorer Richard Chancellor in 1553, as he drifted along the Norwegian coast in an attempt to find the Northeast Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Chancellor failed, but managed to reach the White Sea, from where he and his crew travelled overland to Moscow, thereby opening a new, northern trade route to Russia. Chancellor’s account, published in the geographer Richard Hakluyt’s Navigations, brought his exploits to the attention of seamen across Europe, but it was to be another three hundred years before the Northeast Passage was finally negotiated by the Swede, Nils Nordenskjøld, in 1879. In the meantime, just a trickle of visitors ventured to the Nordkapp. Among them, in 1795, was the exiled Louis Philippe of Orleans (subsequently king of France), and King Chulalongkorn of Thailand, who had his name carved into a nearby rock. But it was the visit of the Norwegian king Oscar II in 1873 that opened the tourist floodgates. Two years later, Thomas Cook sent a tour group of 24 to visit. There were no island roads to the plateau, so the tourists had to be ferried by rowing boat from Gjesvær to Hornvika, at the base of the cliffs, before being instructed to climb the steep crags up to the top. The globe monument that now stands in for the actual cape – famous in postcards all over the country – was erected in 1978.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Norway features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…

31 Mar 2017 • Steve Vickers insert_drive_file Article
Aurora Spirit: a magical journey to Norway’s Arctic north

Aurora Spirit: a magical journey to Norway’s Arctic north

This year, there’s more than the aurora borealis to draw you to ethereally beautiful Arctic Norway. On the shores of Lyngenfjord, two hours from the city of T…

07 Feb 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
Tromsø: why you need to discover Norway’s Arctic gateway

Tromsø: why you need to discover Norway’s Arctic gateway

Norway isn't short of incredible landscapes. This is the country of majestic lakes, lush meadows and snow-covered mountains. Yet one part of Norway continues to…

31 Jan 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month