In June, during our second stay in Finnish Lapland in Sotkaniemi, we decided to visit the North Cape. We had discussed the idea two evenings prior, but the decision to go was made very quickly at the breakfast table when we were finishing the pancakes. We were ready for a two-day adventure in 40 minutes, with sandwiches prepared, cold-weather clothing packed, and baby gear packed.
We started our 400 km drive at 2 PM in total rain. We hoped that the weather by the Arctic Ocean would be better. On the road, the weather got only worse. We had moments when the rain slowed down our speed.
As we expected gasoline to be more expensive in Norway, we filled the tank at Karigasniemi at the price of 1.42 EUR per liter. In the first Norwegian town Karasjok we saw that this was the right decision, as here the gasoline price was 12.48 NOK per liter. We had driven 150 km when we reached Lakselv. We stopped to stretch our legs at a gas station when we realized that we were already quite hungry. However, it still rained. Therefore, it was impossible to stop in the rest areas by the road. Although there are many rest areas on the way, they are all without a roof. So we had to take the opportunity to eat our sandwiches at the bus station. We stopped at the bus station, which was meant for one or maybe two people. So we stood there, two at a time, and enjoyed our lunch. This was a funny experience. Two mailboxes stood by the bus station with the names Larsen and Olsen. For us, it sounded like a Norwegian cliché.
From Lakselv on, we saw all different means of transportation, most of them having the same destination – passenger cars, tourist buses, motorcycles, and even bicycles heading towards the North Cape. Driving on the mountain roads in such heavy rain and cool temperatures must be a big effort.
It still rained heavily; the temperature was +12 to +14 degrees. Everything around us was quite gray. Some of us had doubts about whether the idea to go to Nordkapp was the best one-what if the weather does not change?
Suddenly, some kilometers after Olderfjord, the terrain changed. It was close to the Arctic Ocean that we saw the real beauty of nature. We can only imagine how terrific it is with beautiful weather. I believe our suspicions have disappeared here. This was worth driving for, even if it was just to see the scenic landscape of the North.
Closer to the North Cape
The road E6 by the Porsanger fjord changes after the village of Olderfjord to road number 95 and is unbelievably scenic until North Cape. Here you can stop to take a breath of the beauty of the mountains, waterfalls, and the clean Arctic Ocean. We could not enjoy it fully as it was raining. At one point, the rain stopped, and although it was still cloudy, we went outside to enjoy the scenery.
We passed five tunnels on that scenic road in this order: 2980m Skarvberg tunnel; 495m Sortviktunnel; 6870m Nordkapptunnel; 190m Sarnestunnel; and the last, 4440m Honningsågtunnel.
The Nordkapp Tunnel is an attraction in itself. Opened in 1999, it is the second biggest submarine tunnel in the world (6870m long, 212m below sea level). The traffic sign before the tunnel indicates the decline of the road—10%—as it goes below the Arctic Ocean. But you really feel this decline. In the tunnel, signs show how much you have passed and how much you have to drive until the end of the tunnel. There is a toll-140 NOK for a car, 46 NOK for adults, and 23 NOK for a child under 16 years old. (Bear this in mind when they ask how old your kids are.)
After Honningsvåg, as the time was already after 7 PM, we started to look for a place where we could spend the night. The road was not by the ocean anymore. The first camping ground was just some kilometers from the town of Honningsvåg. There were two hyttes and some double rooms available, each at 500 NOK for four people and the same for a double room. As it was quite noisy and we had earlier experience with camping in that country during our earlier trip to Norway, we decided to drive further. And it was the right decision.
We found the camping Midnattsol just 13 kilometers before Nordkapp for the same price. Here we found a cozy home in a quiet location. We had planned to grill sausages for dinner. But, everything was wet and there was no wood to use for a fire, so we made our sausages in the kitchen on the pan. If you want to grill so far north, you should take your own equipment or at least wood with you for grilling (there was a fireplace). We were so hungry that the sausages tasted very good, even when made on the pan.
In the ladies’ toilet, there was writing on the wall saying that it is worth it to go to Nordkapp after 2AM, as at that time there was nobody to pay the entrance fee of 195 NOK per person and many writings saying that they used this option.
Then looking for a camping ground or motel close to Nordkapp, there are even better options than the one we used. On the next day, we visited the northernmost fishing village, Skarsvg, just two kilometers from Midnattsol camping, and there we saw several campings and motels. Also, from that small village, there is the possibility to go on foot to the famous Kirkeporten. To do so, you need to pass one mountain. Unfortunately, we could not do this as we had a seven-month-old baby with us.
North Cape, our final destination
Having had a good night’s sleep in the Midnattsol camping we woke up at 8:30 and had a terrific breakfast in the camping restaurant for 65 NOK per person. We hit the road for the last 13 kilometers. Just as a side note, although there are several signs saying that if you want to have breakfast you must order it the night before, there is an option to buy the breakfast or just a coffee and muffin in the morning.
The morning was cloudy but not rainy. We were delighted with the weather. As taking photos and videos is an important part of our travels, having no rain was really important for all members of our family. The clouds were quite low and we drove through several of them. Again, the scenery was beautiful, with reindeer and deer on the mountainside with little flora.
We stopped at the gate to the northernmost point of continental Europe to pay the fee. The fee was as high as expected—195 NOK for adults and 55 NOK for children under 15 years of age. We were two adults with children of 14, 18, and seven-months old. The lady who sold us the tickets said suddenly: “I will be kind to you. I will sell you a family ticket. The family is usually two adults and two children under 16, but I will make an exception for you. ” The family ticket cost 390 NOK, so she saved us 250 NOK.
We parked our car and went to explore the area. The scenery of the North Cape is wild and beautiful. The terrain around the North Cape plateau is full of rock. First, we went to the famous Globe, the monument that symbolizes the North Cape. I believe everybody who has been there has a picture of the Globe. So did we. We took several photos.
Then we went inside the North Cape Hall and looked at the exhibitions and visited the cinema for a 17-minute educational film about the North Cape. This film runs every hour on the hour.
We also bought some fridge magnets and postcards from the souvenir shop. We used the opportunity to send the greetings home to our parents with special stamps from the North Cape. And suddenly, when we were in the post office, the sun came out! We were very happy and went outside to enjoy the northernmost beauty in the sun and to take the pictures again, of course. We found several good angles to see the mountains, the Globe, the Arctic Ocean, etc.
Finally, we visited the Children of the Earth monument. This stands as a witness to the ability of children to work together and understand each other all over the world.
Before going to the North Cape, we had heard or read several travelogs about the North Cape. I do not know why, but several of them have negative or neutral feelings. For our family, this trip to the North Cape was full of only positive and joyful memories.
See photos from Nordkapp, North Cape photo gallery